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Jan-20-2012 19:25printcommentsVideo

Police Shoot and Kill Attacking Pit Bull

The police sergeant's injury was described as a "substantial bite".

In addition to his role as a sergeant with Salem Police, Jason VanMeder is a U.S. Marine.
In addition to his role as a sergeant with Salem Police, Jason VanMeder, who was attacked by the pit bull, is a U.S. Marine. photo by Tim King Video by Jerry Freeman

(SALEM) - Salem Police say a callout to a Domestic Disturbance on Lynda Lane NW, led to a police sergeant suffering injuries from a dog attack, and the subsequent fatal shooting of a pit bull.

Salem Police Lt. Dave Okada, says the call came in around 5:50 p.m. last night. Officers responding to the report reportedly knocked at the door of the residence, made contact, and issued instructions to the people inside the residence, to put the dog away.

Okada says, "I don't know why they didn't respond immediately, the officers said they kept repeating, 'Put the dog away! Put the dog away!...' but they did not. The next thing the officers knew, the dog was outside."

Salem Police Sgt. Jason VanMeder was the unfortunate target of the dog's aggression, according to Okada, "This was a very large pit bull and it actually had Sgt. VanMeder pinned up against the wall... attacking him".

Okada says the incident didn't last long; an officer also on scene with the Jason VanMeder took out his weapon and shot the dog, which died at the scene.

The injury suffered by Van Meder was described as a "substantial bite" by Dave Okada. He was transported to the hospital where he underwent treatment for the injury, and eventually released. Okada added that he had not had a chance to personally speak to Sgt. Van Meder about the incident.

Pit Bull Blues

I asked Lt. Okada what this left him thinking in terms of police work and dog attacks; and if the breed, the pit bull, clearly a dog both loved and feared by Americans, was at the center of this story.

"No, not necessarily, I'm a dog person and I know a lot of people who own pit bulls and they can be very mellow, super nice dogs."

Okada says that based on his experience, this could happen with any breed of dog, and there was nothing specific about the attack pertains to the pit bull specifically.

Of course the last dog any person wants to be attacked by is a pit bull because they can be very aggressive and even deadly. Most enthusiasts simply point to poor ownership and a lack of training.

In addition to his role as a sergeant with Salem Police, Jason VanMeder is a U.S. Marine.

Raw footage of the scene of the pit bull attack and subsequent shooting by's Jerry Feeman:


Tim King has over 20 years of experience on the west coast as a TV news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim has worked as a war correspondent in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address:


Jerry Freeman is part of a new generation of dedicated news photographers who entered the Internet news industry as a second career. He shares in common with many people who fulfilled their life dream of becoming a visual journalist. Joining the Navy at an early age, and the Oregon Army Guard a few years later, Jerry has a wide range of life experiences. He describes himself as “a truck driver with a new found passion to bear witness to the world’s events.”

Teaming up with he embarked on a new career as a video news photographer and reporter. Jerry's quick exhibition of natural talent and ability to shoot breaking news led to his becoming a published member of the team.

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Douglas Benson January 21, 2012 1:49 pm (Pacific time)

I suspect that the officers idea of giving an apropriate amount of time to secure the animal might be much shorter than you may think.

Amanda Leduc January 20, 2012 8:19 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, thank you for adressing the subject of wether this was a breed specific issue. I agree that the American Pitbull Terrier can be a very dangerous dog as they are powerful and strong willed, however, this was clearing negligence on part of the owners to not heed officers warnings to secure their animal. I commend the Salem Police Department for giving the owners the opportunity to remove the dog from the situation and am saddened that the owners did not do so, resulting in an officer's injury. It is always best when having a confrontation with any uniformed persons to secure your animal, regardless of breed, to avoid situations such as this.

Tim King: Yes Amanda, I agree that this one was handled well, I too know some sweet pit bulls, great comment, thanks!

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