TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — A Tarpon Springs woman set her aggressive full-grown pit bull loose on several police officers Sunday in an effort to thwart her arrest, according to police.

  • Brittany Mapel, 21, got away from officers long enough to let dog loose from mobile home
  • Dog bit several officers
  • Mapel facing numerous charges, including cruelty to animals
  • More Pinellas County stories

“They allege that you were twisting and turning and ran into your house in which you let the dog out," said Judge Paul Levine during Brittany Mapel's first appearance in court on Monday. “You allegedly let your pit bull out and (it) bit a police officer intentionally.”

Tarpon Springs Police Officer Larry Bird was bitten on his right ring finger, and the dog tried biting several other officers, according to the report.

Police said moments prior, Officer Bird was on the ground with Mapel, 21, trying to place handcuffs on her when she resisted, ran back to her trailer and let the dog loose.

Mapel dead-bolted the door and moved furniture to barricade herself. Police forced entry and arrested Mapel for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, cruelty to animals and domestic battery.

How it started

According to the report, the incident began when Mapel discovered a mixed breed dog named Precious had urinated on her bed. Police said the woman choked the dog and repeatedly kicked it.

Mapel's 11-year-old brother tried to intervene, was also kicked and called 911.

The brother took Precious to his mother's mobile home in the same park, located at 40110 US Highway 19 N, in Tarpon Springs. Police said Mapel entered her mother's mobile home, grabbed the dog by the collar and began abusing it again.

According to the report, Mapel told police she was trying to discipline her dog.

Mapel's mother, Sherri Mapel, showed up in court and told the judge that her daughter suffers from a mental health disorder that's exacerbated by alcohol.

"She’s bipolar and when she does go off her meds and she mixes it with alcohol, she does have violent outbursts,” said Sherri. “My daughter cares more about animals, sometimes, than she does people."

Sherri said she would watch after Precious and Mapel's roommates would look after the pit bull, named Blue.

“I’m surprised it wasn’t confiscated because it bit somebody," he said. "Usually, they confiscate the animal until they run tests on it."

Pinellas Animal Services said they have opened an investigation into the biting incident. Mapel is being held in the Pinellas Jail on a $21,000 bond.