Weather Forecast


St. Paul Park police chief upbeat after pit bull bite

St. Paul Park Police Chief Mike Monahan was bit by a pit bull after responding to a house fire. He suffered wounds to his left hand and arm but was able to joke about the incident and the "Milkbone" nickname another officer gave him. (Bulletin file photo)

St. Paul Park Police Chief Mike Monahan’s effort to fetch a woman from a burning house left him with dog bite wounds and the nickname “Milkbone.”

Monahan is recovering after being attacked by a pit bull terrier while responding to a fire call last week. The dog bloodied his hand but didn’t sully his sense of humor.

Monahan was in the neighborhood when a house fire was reported about 10:15 a.m. Nov. 7 at 1367 Fifth St. He was first on the scene and said he saw flames coming from the house and a lot of smoke outside. Monahan said he heard someone inside so he went in the house, where he encountered homeowner Paula Hepola.

“I told her to get out,” he said. “We went outside, and then all of the sudden I turned around and it was on me. It was on my left arm.”

The dog, one of five that the woman had in the house, latched onto Monahan’s left hand and didn’t want to let go. 

“We struggled back and forth a bit,” he said. With Hepola’s help, Monahan shook his arm and kicked and hit the dog before it finally relaxed its jaws, leaving bloody bite marks. The homeowner put the dog back into an area of the basement safe from the fire, according to Monahan.

The dog was later quarantined. It tested negative for rabies but it was not clear whether it had a current vaccination against rabies, Monahan said.

The owner did not want the dog because of prior biting incidents and its aggression, Monahan said. The dog was euthanized.

The fire was caused by an unextinguished cigarette butt left outside, police said. It ignited the siding and the fire spread to the ceiling area. Nobody was injured by the fire.

Monahan got medical attention for the bite but didn’t need stitches. The wounds bruised but were healing, he said.

Monahan said St. Paul Park police investigator Kyle Lindquist gave his boss the “Milkbone” nickname after the incident. A police officer for over three decades, Monahan laughed off the razzing.

“I’ve been through worse in my day,” he said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

(651) 459-7600