On Tuesday, four women were fighting on a subway platform at Lexington Avenue and 59th Street in New York City. Why were they fighting? We don’t know. Perhaps this is what they do every Tuesday.
In any case, police were soon on the scene, and so was Bear, a six-year-old German Shepherd with the Transit Bureau, and his handler, officer Vincent Tieniber, who arrived to offer backup to officers dealing with the fight.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, when we come to the scene, people cooperate,” Tieniber told the New York Times. “No one really wants to be bit by a dog.”
One of the people involved in the scuffle wanted to be bit by a dog, though. She kicked Bear in the mouth. She never got her foot back.
Or, as Tieniber puts it, Bear “apprehended her foot, and held her” until other officers could handcuff her.
But Bear wasn’t all right. Though he nabbed his prey, he sustained two broken teeth and two chipped ones, along with “scuff marks” on his snout, according to police spokesman Paul Browne. He wasn’t hurt bad, though, and he was treated and released — just in time for the celebrity juggernaut to hit.
Bear is suddenly the toast of the city, according to the Times, with five television appearances and several radio interviews taking place on Wednesday alone. Reporters crowd around the pair, clamoring to get a look at Bear’s broken teeth and ask the pup how he’s holding up. Bear will be getting caps next week, for the record.
Interestingly, Tieniber says that Bear used his teeth “tactically” in the brawl, because he did not penetrate the shoe.
“It was like he pulled his gun but didn’t fire,” said the department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne. “He did what he’s trained to do, to hold on but not to bite.”
Ravenia Matos-Diaz, 22, the woman Bear got ahold of, was charged with injuring a police animal, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstructing government administration, according to the New York Daily News.
“At home he’s just like any other dog, hangs around, chews his toy, plays with kids,” said Tieniber. “But at work, he watches my back, and I watch his. That’s pretty much the same with any K-9 handler around the world.”