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RANTOUL — Rantoul police are investigating an incident Wednesday in which a police officer shot four vicious dogs that were attacking an animal control officer, killing two and wounding two.

Lt. Justin Bouse said about 8:45 a.m., a woman came out of her house in the 1400 block of Mather Drive and reported that three aggressive American Bulldogs rushed her as she tried to leave.

Unable to get out of her yard, she went back inside and called for help.

Thirty-year veteran animal control officer Danny Russell arrived to help, and as he got out of his truck, there were four dogs that swarmed him.

A Rantoul police officer arrived to help and turned on his siren in an attempt to distract the dogs, Bouse said.

That did not work and the dogs continued to bite at Russell’s legs and arm as he was pinned against his truck.

The officer, whose identity has not been disclosed, got out of his car and fired his gun at the dogs as they continued to attack Russell.

He fired five rounds, hitting all four dogs with the five shots. Two of the dogs died there and another two were taken to the University of Illinois Veterinary Medicine emergency clinic for treatment.

Russell was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital.

Bouse said Russell’s blue jeans kept his legs from being punctured but he was bitten on the arm several times.

“We do have the dogs’ owner identified,” Bouse said, adding that the owner lives in that neighborhood. That part of the investigation is continuing.

The officer was given the rest of the day off, Bouse said. He was not physically injured.

“We sent him home. It was a traumatic experience to go through,” Bouse said, adding there will be an internal review of the incident.

Bouse said the department was mistaken when it earlier identified the dogs as pit bulls. He said a representative of Champaign County Animal Control identified them for police as American bulldogs.

On June 8, a Rantoul officer shot and killed a dog inside a home on Abram Drive. The dog had broken out of a kennel while police were doing a court-authorized search and attacked the officer, biting him on the hand.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).