A drug bust in Manayunk went sour yesterday when a Philadelphia police officer shot at a threatening dog at the scene. The dog was wounded, but so was a DEA agent.
Agent John Douglas, 40, of the Drug Enforcement Administration, was admitted in fair condition at Temple University Hospital with a gunshot wound to the left calf.
The DEA special agent in charge, Carl Colder, said Douglas was shot as he and other members of a federal and local drug task force were serving a warrant in connection with suspected crack cocaine sales in the 4300 block of Fleming Street.
The arrest was part of a monthlong investigation into drug sales on the street, according to officials. Arrested was Frank Herbert, 34, who lives in a tan-brick rowhouse on the street.
Colder said that around 2:30 p.m., as the task force members were climbing the stairs of the house, a "vicious" bull mastiff lept at them. A Philadelphia police officer fired two shots at the dog, one of which struck Douglas.
Brian Doherty, a DEA supervisory agent, told reporters that it was not clear whether Douglas, a 12-year veteran, was hit by a ricochet or by a direct shot. Attack dogs are a common and serious threat to narcotics officers, Doherty said.
Officials declined to identify the officer who fired the shots, but said he had been routinely assigned to desk duty pending an investigation.
The tan mastiff, which appeared to weigh about 80 pounds, fled to the basement after he was shot, evidently struck in the hip and a rear leg.
He was retrieved by Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals staff, who walked the limping dog into a van and took it to the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary hospital for treatment.
Residents of steep and narrow Fleming Street expressed surprise at the incident.
Cybil Harris, 44, described the neighborhood as quiet and family-oriented, a place "where you can leave your door unlocked" and where people greet one another as they pass.
Two college students who live in the house adjacent to Herbert described the occupants as "really nice people" and called the mastiff a "sweet dog who used to poke his head through the fence so we could pat him."