HAGERSTOWN —Three people were bitten by two pit bulls in the area of East and Mulberry avenues Sunday afternoon and a Hagerstown Police officer shot and wounded the animals when one tried to bite him, officials said.
Both animals were later euthanized, according to an email sent Monday afternoon from Washington County Humane Society spokeswoman Katherine Cooker.
The dogs were a 3-year-old male and a 3-month-old male, and both will be tested for rabies, Cooker wrote in the email.
A man, woman and girl were taken to Meritus Medical Center for treatment after the attacks, but the police officer did not need medical treatment, the release said.
The people’s injuries were not believed to be serious, Renner said.
Hagerstown Police responded to the area after receiving a call at about 4 p.m. about two pit bulls running loose and attacking people, according to a news release.
Police found the dogs and cornered them in a yard in the 200 block of East Avenue, the news release said. One of the dogs lunged at a police officer and tried to bite him in the right leg, the release said.
The officer fired a gun at the dog, and the bullet struck the animal in the back and struck the second dog in the mouth, the release said.
The officer was not injured, Sgt. Mark Renner said Monday morning.
The injured dogs were taken to Mountain View Animal Emergency in Hagerstown, the release said.
A Humane Society officer was still investigating the incident Monday, she said.
Animal-control officers were contacted, officials said. The investigation is now in the hands of the Humane Society, Renner said.
“We certainly did not want to do this, but the officer’s hand was forced,” Renner said of the shootings. “He shot the animals to protect himself and the citizens.”
The Humane Society “is reminding everyone that all dogs in Washington County must be licensed,” Cooker wrote in the email. All dogs older than 4 months also are required to be inoculated for rabies, she wrote.
The county’s animal-control ordinance also states that owners cannot allow an animal to be at large, Cooker wrote.
All dog bites must be reported to the Washington County Health Department at 240-313-3200, she wrote.