Calls to 9-1-1 that a police officer needed assistance subduing an angry transient and his three aggressive dogs sent back-up units streaming into the city's shopping center early this afternoon.

ROGUE RIVER — Calls to 9-1-1 that a police officer needed assistance subduing an angry transient and his three aggressive dogs sent back-up units streaming into the city’s shopping center early this afternoon.

Rogue River Police Chief Ken Lewis was off duty when he received an emergency call that officer Lee Ruthart was having difficulties subduing the belligerent transient who had decided to make camp under a tree in the center’s parking lot.

“Obviously this is not a good place to fight a transient and three dogs,” said Lewis. “There are children and cars and all sorts of problems.”

Lewis responded to the call at just after 1 p.m., he said.

“The three dogs were chained together by the tree,” said Lewis. “Ruthart was trying to subdue the suspect who just went off, screaming ‘Kill me! Kill me!” and cursing.

As Lewis attempted to assist his officer in handcuffing the male, who was in his late 60s, the suspect kicked the chief in the legs, Lewis said.

“So I pepper-sprayed him liberally,” he said.

Then the dogs managed to get loose, Lewis said.

“Here comes three dogs,” said Lewis. “So I pepper-sprayed the dogs.”

The pepper spray deterred the dogs’ charge and the three canines ran behind the tree into the bushes, rubbing their faces, said Lewis.
As more help arrived, the dogs were captured and the transient, who identified himself only as “Aubrey,” was transported to jail. He will be charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and unlicensed dogs, Lewis said. The dogs were taken to the county animal shelter.

— Sanne Specht