A composite photo from Officer Willis's graphic arts website shows Fritz, the dog involved in the attack.
An off-duty Boston police dog bolted from its handler today in Mattapan and attacked a 60-year-old woman who was walking by with a small, Chihuahua-like dog on a leash.
"This is just a case of a dog going after another dog and unfortunately another woman got involved," Evans said at a press conference outside the hospital. He added, "Obviously the dog was loose and that's something we'll have to look into."
Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis visited the woman in the hospital and "was very apologetic and he took full responsibly for what happened," Evans said.
The dog's handler, identified by neighbors and sources in the Boston Police Department as Officer Bill Willis, is a veteran patrolman who grew up on the same Mattapan streets he now patrols. Willis holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and has been an officer with the Boston Police for close to 25 years and a member of the canine unit for more than a decade. His dog is named Fritz.
Dogs live with canine officers in kennels in their homes. Willis lives in Mattapan on Sturbridge Street where the attack occurred, in a home with a fenced-in yard.
Police responded to the home at 10:35 a.m. for a report of a person being bitten by a dog, according to Officer James Kenneally, a police spokesman.
A neighbor who witnessed the attack told the Globe that the police dog was off the leash and attacked the woman, who was walking a Chihuahua-type dog. The neighbor did not want her name published because police were involved.
The woman was walking her small dog by the police officer's home, the neighbor said. At that moment, the officer opened the door to his police cruiser and the German shepherd-type dog bounded out off the leash.
"The dog spotted the woman's dog and charged right at her," the neighbor said. "So to protect her dog, she leaned down."
The canine officer and his wife were also both taken to the hospital. "Both the officer and his wife were very shaken up by the event," Evans said. "They knew the harm they had caused to the woman."
Charles Donald, 57, went outside of his Sturbridge Street home and said he heard the woman crying for help. Within moments, police and emergency responders arrived.
"It's just so awful, I can't believe it," Donald said. "It's normally been quiet over here."
Gregory Jacquet, 19, lives around the corner on River Street and said he was friendly with the officer.
"The [police] dog seems so harmless," Jacquet said. "I think it's a tragedy, especially for the woman who got bit."
Police have not yet decided whether the animal will be put back in service, said Evans, who was not aware of any previous issues with this particular police dog.
"Our dog involved in this will be treated like any dog would be," Evans said.
The smaller dog was taken to Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. A spokesman for the hospital said he would need the owner's permission before releasing information about its condition.
This afternoon a uniformed policeman stood guard outside the canine officer's house and said no one was home.
Andrew Ryan of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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