DODGEVILLE (WKOW) -- A woman who was attacked by a former police dog for the Iowa County Sheriff's department told 27 News she was not hurt badly and surprised the dog in its handler's home.
The Belgian Malinois, Ava, was euthanized last week on the order of Sheriff Steve Michek for what Michek termed concerns over the animal's unreliability around the public.
Ann Warner of rural Dodgeville told 27 News Ava attacked her after she let herself in at the dog handler's home July 6. Warner said the handler, deputy Dan Guentz had been dispatched to participate in a SWAT team response and Warner agreed to baby sit a child on short notice.
Warner said the dog nipped at her stomach four or five times in a rapid fire attack, breaking the skin. Warner said the animal was quickly restrained by another member of Guentz's household.
Warner said she received medical treatment but was not hospitalized. Warner said treatment costs were paid for through Iowa County.
Warner said she felt she invaded the animal's territory, but also faulted the handler's household for failing to have the door locked and the dog more closely supervised. Warner said following the attack, Guentz posted signs warning visitors of the presence of a guard dog.
Warner said she mourned the dog's destruction last week. "It's really said. I'm sad for Dan."
Warner said she wondered whether another setting for the animal was considered, if a residential area with children was deemed inappropriate.
Michek referenced a past bite case involving the police dog, but declined to provide any specifics to 27 News, other than confirming Ava remained a working police dog after the biting incident. Michek provided no other information on what led to his decision to have the animal put down last week, but said he considered alternatives to the dog's destruction. Members of a statewide organization of law enforcement canine handlers and a law enforcement dog trainer said re-training, or return to an animal behavior expert are often responses to a police dog's aggression.
Guentz's work with Ava in drug detection received statewide recognition in 2009, and Ava helped officers uncover more than $700,000 worth of marijuana last year.
Ava was adopted by Iowa County Sheriff's officials in 2007 after Greensboro, North Carolina police officials surrendered the dog because it was deemed too aggressive to mix with the public, but appropriate for narcotics detection under strict supervision.