Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 12, 2012

Dog bite incident leads to charge

BY ART BUKOWSKI
abukowski@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — A snarling, 100-pound dog chomped down on a Grand Traverse sheriff deputy's arm as he investigated an illegal fire complaint.

Now, the dog's owner faces a criminal charge for siccing the animal on the deputy.

Clyde Rex Robuck III, 50, is charged with assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury and failing to keep his dog vaccinated. He was arraigned this week and is free on bond.

Deputy Matt Jerome went to Robuck's East Bay Township home June 26 after someone called to complain that Robuck was illegally burning trash. Jerome, along with Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department personnel, arrived at Robuck's house not long after 2 p.m.

They saw smoke wafting from the property's back yard, a report states. Jerome walked to the front door of the residence and saw two dogs inside barking at him. He yelled through open windows multiple times, but no one responded.

Jerome walked into the back yard, continued to yell for the homeowner, and found an unattended fire. He then saw Clyde inside the home walking toward him. He told Robuck he was a sheriff's deputy and needed to speak with him, and seconds later two dogs burst from the house.

"A large black canine ran up to me and bit me in my left forearm," Jerome wrote in a report. "The canine is ... estimated to weigh around 100 pounds. The dog clamped down on my left arm and did not let go."

Jerome drew his gun, pointed it at the dog and told Robuck he'd have to shoot the dog. Robuck ran over, pushed Jerome's right arm, grabbed the dog and put it in a garage.

Firefighters determined Robuck's fire was legal, and Jerome went to an urgent care center for treatment of the bite, which left several cuts and abrasions. The same dog that bit Jerome also bit a firefighter investigating a burn complaint about a year ago, reports indicate.

Robuck told Jerome he uses the dogs "for protection," reports indicate. Jerome later discovered that the dog that bit him last had a rabies vaccination that expired in 2010.

Sheriff Tom Bensley said dog bites sometimes are a part of the job for deputies in the field. Jerome is mostly healed now, Bensley said.

"It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen from time to time," he said. "Fortunately, in this case, the dog that was not up to date on its vaccinations didn't have rabies, and Deputy Jerome wasn't seriously injured."

Robuck could not be reached for comment.