Riverhead Town’s head animal control officer was mauled by a pit bull she was walking at the town animal shelter Friday afternoon, police said.
Jessica Eibs-Stankaitis, who was hired in February after long-time dog warden Lou Coronesi left, was walking a pit bull from the outside pen area to the inside pens when the dog attacked her at around 3 p.m., said Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller.
“She got injured rather badly,” he said. “She had a laceration under her left eye, and I don’t know the extent of the injuries to her hip, but that’s where the dog latched on, to her hip.”
Ms. Eibs-Stankaitis was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment. Chief Hegermiller said he saw her about 5:15 p.m., and while he doesn’t know the extent of the injuries, they are not believed to life-threatening.
“It was a struggle to get the dog off,” Chief Hegermiller said. “A kennel attendant tried to use a snare pole to get the dog off, and that didn’t work. The ACO (Ms. Eibs-Stankaitis) was able to slip a snare pole over the dogs head to get it off of her.
“I have no idea how long the struggle lasted. All I know is that the kennel attendance was not able to get the dog off, she ran inside to call 911, and when she came back out, the dog was still on.”
Chief Hegermiller, whose department oversees the animal control office, said he can’t recall any previous instances where a town animal control officer was mauled by a dog in the shelter.
“We’ve had dog wardens get bitten before, I don’t think we’ve ever had one mauled,” he said.