Officer rescues teen from pit bull
A West Auckland police officer has drawn praise from top brass after he wrestled a vicious pit bull terrier off an injured 17-year-old youth.
Constable Ben Klinkenberg, 28, was called to a park on Sunhill Rd in Sunnyvale about 9.45am on Saturday after people reported hearing screams.
The youth had been walking his father's pit bull terrier when it had turned on him.
When Klinkenberg arrived the teenager was on the ground on his back being savaged by the dog, which was biting him and dragging him around.
Klinkenberg ran to his aid and sprayed the dog in the face with pepper spray, which forced it to let go of the victim's arm.
The youth managed to run to safety, but the dog then turned on the officer.
It latched onto his chest, biting into and tearing his stab-proof vest as Klinkenberg radioed for backup.
During the ensuing minutes he wrestled with the dog and was bitten on both forearms. The dog also attacked his can of pepper spray.
Eventually Klinkenberg managed to pin the dog to the ground and hold it there.
Soon after, an ambulance arrived, but despite his injuries the constable would not release the animal until animal control arrived.
Klinkenberg and the teen were taken to hospital.
The victim had multiple dog bites that would require plastic surgery. The officer had bites and punctures to both forearms that required stitches, police said.
Klinkenberg has been released from hospital and is recovering at home.
He posted a photo of his bandaged arms and a cheeky message.
"It seams yesterday I was irresistible to mr Pooch! You may have won the battle demon pooch but I won the war! (sic)" he wrote.
Klinkenberg will return to work next week on light duties and would no doubt get a pat on the back from senior staff.
"His bravery in managing to wrestle the dog to the ground and hold it there, even though he was injured, is highly commendable" Superintendent Bill Searle, district commander of the Waitemata police, said.
"I've spoken to him this morning and thanked him for a job very well done, and I'm sure the public will be thinking the same."