Woman Loses Dog, Part of Her Thumb in ‘Significant’ Dog Attack

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines woman is recovering after part of her thumb was severed from a dog attack.

Des Moines police say it happened around 9:30 p.m. Monday night in the 900 block of Southwest Maish Avenue, right off Southwest 9th Street.

Police say a Shepherd-mix named Denali was in his fenced-in backyard barking at the neighbor’s 10-pound Chihuahua-terrier mix named Jackie, who was in her own fenced in yard.

“From what we could determine from the evidence at the scene and from speaking with witnesses, one of the animals, the larger dog,  pushed its head through the fence and grabbed a hold of the smaller dog and killed that dog , and was pulling it through over to its side when the victim pet owners arrived,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. James Butler.

They say Denali was able to push his head through a part of the fence and grabbed Jackie by her throat, killing her.

Jackie’s owner ran out to help, and she was bit.

“From what we can tell, the victim was there trying to separate the two dogs. During the process, she was bitten on the left thumb and that’s how her thumb was severed,” Butler said. “This is a very significant dog attack where we have a portion of an individual’s thumb that has been severed. I have not seen that in four years that I’ve been here.”

Another neighbor also stepped in to help and was also bit on the hand. The owner of Denali voluntarily relinquished his rights to the animal.

After a 10-day waiting period, to make sure the dog doesn’t have rabies, Denali will be humanely euthanized.

Iowa law states any domestic animal that attacks another domestic animal and/or human beings, the police are required by state code and local city ordinance to quarantine the animal to make sure it is not rabid.

Both dogs were on their own respective properties, not at large, so Denali’s owner could face a fine because damage to property is covered under the city code. A person’s pet is considered property.

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