Berkeley County Deputy bitten by dog

July 14, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Berkeley County Sheriff's Department deputy is expected to return to patrol duties in about two weeks after being bitten by a dog while attempting to serve legal documents to a Hedgesville, W.Va.-area resident, Sheriff Kenneth M. Lemaster Jr. said.

The attack on Sheriff's Deputy W.D. Christian happened about noon Monday along Cannon Hill Road, Lemaster said. The dog, possibly a Rottweiler, did not initially appear to be aggressive, he said.

"One of the puncture wounds was very deep and very severe," Lemaster said of the injury to Christian's right wrist.

Christian's wrist movement was restricted with a soft cast and Lemaster said he expected the deputy to resume "light" office duties in a couple of days.

The injury was to the hand with which Christian shoots and writes. The deputy said he first thought the dog had broken a bone, Lemaster said.


The dog was inside the house, but came out when children responded to the deputy's arrival at the home, Lemaster said.

Signs warning of a dog's presence were posted on the property, Lemaster said.

Capt. Dennis Streets said he made three previous attempts to serve the same legal documents, known as "process papers" at the residence, and the paperwork was ultimately served later Monday evening.

Streets said deputies probably served about 100 process papers issued by the state court system last weekend in between regular calls for law enforcement services.

Sheriff's departments in West Virginia are officers of the state court system and shoulder duties of providing official communication of judgments on past-due bills, family protective orders and notice of ongoing criminal proceedings, among other activities.

Lemaster, who began working at the Sheriff's Department more than 30 years ago, said the department's responsibility of serving court papers has grown with the county's population.

The U.S. Census estimated the county's population in July 2008 was 102,044, up from 75,905 in April 2000, when the last census was completed.

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