Deputy attacked by pit bull in Effingham County speaks out - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Deputy attacked by pit bull in Effingham Co. speaks out


Back on the job, an Effingham County sheriff's deputy explained Wednesday to WTOC how a dog at large call turned into a scary and unpredictable pit bull attack.

It all happened one week ago in the area of Clyo-Shawnee Road in Effingham County.

He said all happened so fast, all he could think to do was protect his head and face as the dog had his teeth sunk into his arm - mauling him. He said the attack proved that anything can happen in law enforcement. 

"It was a very fearful moment. I never thought I would have put myself through it, but, it's unpredictable," Cpl. Derick Seckinger told WTOC.

Seckinger has the wounds that tell part of the tale. Puncture wounds and gashes on his arm, leg and chest and bruises all over his body. 

"I never really had been in fear of dogs," he said. "I never thought he would have tried to attack."

Seckinger is back on the job. The veteran deputy said all kinds of thoughts flashed in his head.

He responded to a call to the neighborhood for an aggressive dog at large. A mother and 3-year-old son were trapped in their house and scared. 

When he got there the dog turned his sights on him. He backed up to his vehicle and then he turned to get into his truck.

"When I looked over my left shoulder he was coming at me," Seckinger said. "When he hit me in my chest and knocked me down, that's when I knew things were going bad."

The dog bit into Seckinger's leg at first, he recalled, then let go and attacked again biting his chest. The deputy had no time to get to his feet.

"He backed up and came up on me a third time. Unfortunately, that's when I had to discharge my weapon." he said. "He grabbed a hold of my left arm, which gave me a chance to grab my weapon. Unfortunately, I had to discharge my weapon in protection of my own self."

"It ended a lot better than it could have," Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie told WTOC. He was happy his corporal was well enough to report to duty the next day, but sent him home early.

McDuffie said his officers have been trained in humane enforcement after taking over enforcement for Effingham County Animal Control. He stands by his officer's decision.

"When you are laying on the ground and a dog is gnawing on you, you react the best way you can. I think that was the wisest choice he could make," McDuffie said. "The training was there and he reacted accordingly."

"Of course, I feel bad about hurting an animal but when it comes down to it, it was me or him," Seckinger said. 

He's sore, bruised and on antibiotics. His boss says he did the right thing, but Seckinger is still questioning how he handled the situation and trying to learn from the dog mauling experience.

"Could I have been a little bit more cautious? Was a little bit complacent? Yes. Will I be a little bit more careful next time? Of course," he said.

The dog's owner was cited for a dog at large but Seckinger says he doesn't blame the owner. he says it appeared the dog was able to get away, despite a chain and tie away which were still around his neck when the corporal arrived on the scene.

As for being more cautious next time, he is hoping there is not a next time.

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