VALPARAISO, Ind. (STMW) — Heidi, a 10-pound black and white terrier mix, has a bite worse than her bark.
The dog, who lives with her owner in rural Union Township, is serving a 10-day sentence at the Porter County Animal Shelter after nipping a Porter County Sheriff’s officer trying to serve a warrant.
Accounts of the Thursday morning incident vary slightly.
A police report stated Patrolman Justin Reeder got nipped by Heidi while leaving the residence of Susan Brown after unsuccessfully trying to serve an arrest warrant.
Brown, who says her name is Mattie Sue Brown, not Susan Brown, lives on County Road 325W, south of U.S. 30 and west of the Aberdeen subdivision.
Three county officers, Reeder, Sgt. Erik Wiseman and Patrolman Darrell Hobgood Jr. arrived about 9 a.m. to serve an arrest warrant on Eric Mills, 25, who police believe is Brown’s grandson. The warrant was issued after he failed to appear for a court date after an arrest for driving on a suspended license, an A misdemeanor.
County Police Chief Steve Lawrence thought Mills had warrants from other counties, as well.
Brown said she was sitting on her front porch with her five dogs Thursday morning when she saw three uniformed officers climbing over her locked iron gate onto the fenced property.
According to the police report, Brown began yelling profanities at the officers, ordering them off her property.
“I don’t know who they are,” said Brown, 74. “Jack the Ripper could come in with a uniform.”
Brown said her dogs became agitated when they saw the police. She said she was trying to tell them to wait while she put the dogs in the house.
Police said Brown called her attorney, Robert Harper, on her cell phone as police approached. Brown told police she had a grandson named Eric, but he does not live there.
Because the dogs were barking so loudly, Brown invited the officers into her home, the report stated. As police searched the house, Brown told them her grandson has not lived there for years and she believed he lives in Indianapolis with his mother.
As police were leaving after the search, Heidi confronted them at the door and nipped at the toe of Wiseman’s shoe.
Heidi backed up, allowing officers to leave the house and then darted at Reeder, biting him on the back of his calf, tearing a hole in his pants and breaking the skin.
Police said Brown became hysterical when she learned Animal Control was being called. Police said Brown yelled more obscenities at them saying: “All over someone who doesn’t even live here. ”
Brown, a grandmother of eight who said she’s a retired nurse practitioner, looked at Reeder’s leg. She said she didn’t see blood or bruising.
Meanwhile, an animal control officer arrived and took Heidi into custody.
While visiting Heidi at the animal shelter on Friday, Brown admitted to swearing. “I yelled profanities, I don’t deny it.” She said she was worried about Heidi, a rescue mutt she’s owned for about 15 months after Brown said Heidi was found unconscious in a Lake County puppy mill.
Looking a bit gremlin-like, Heidi pranced around a grassy area outside the shelter Friday as Brown walked her on a pink leash. Heidi did growl as a male photographer approached.
Brown produced a copy of Heidi’s current rabies vaccinations. “What’s the good of getting your dog shots, if they can still have rabies,” she asked, referring to Heidi’s incarceration.
Lawrence said at the end of Heidi’s 10 days at the shelter, a veterinarian would check her out and she would be released to Brown.
Brown said police never showed her their warrant, even though she asked to see it.
“I want my dog back,” she said. “She was where she belonged.”
Brown said Heidi is eating OK at the shelter and drinking water. “They’re the most frickin’-nice people you’ll ever meet,” Brown said of the shelter staff.
Reeder, honored last year by the Indiana Sheriff’s Association for saving a 69-year-old man and his dog in a raging house fire in Washington Township, returned to work Friday, Lawrence said.
“Five years from now, or even three weeks from now, this will probably be funny,” Brown said.