A Rock Hill man has been charged with domestic violence against his wife involving a new type of weapon in York County — the man's pit bull.
John Louis Walch, 59, is accused of opening a cage that held his pit bull in late June and urging it to attack his wife, according to police and court records. Walch's wife was found under attack by the dog by responding officers, police said. Officers had to shoot the dog to stop the attack, police said.
The use of a dog of any kind as a weapon in domestic violence is a first in York County, said Jenny Desch, the 16th Circuit Assistant Solicitor prosecuting the case against Walch. Desch primarily prosecutes domestic violence cases.
The victim had injuries from the dog bites to her chest, legs and hand, police said, and she was transported to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill for treatment. Prosecutors met with the victim Monday and are evaluating her injuries to determine if more charges are warranted.
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"The case is under review by the solicitor's office to determine if any other charges would be appropriate based on her injuries," Desch said.
Degrees of domestic violence charges are based on the injury to the victim, Desch said. The more severe the injuries, the more severe the charge is, Desch said.
The charge Walch faces now is a misdemeanor, but carries as much as three years in prison if convicted, according to state law.
The dog had to be shot and killed by responding police officers who saw the attack and could not get Walch to call the dog off, according to police reports and arrest warrants.
Police "heard screaming from the victim" as she was being attacked before going into the home on Princeton Street, an arrest warrant states. Officers "observed the dog attacking the victim," the warrant states.
Walch told the dog to go after the wife and then refused to stop the carnage even as police entered the home and commanded Walch to call the dog off, said Capt. Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.
As the attack continued, there was no option for officers but to "dispatch the threat" — meaning kill the dog — Bollinger said.
"Officers had to shoot the dog for the safety of the victim," Bollinger said.
Walch was released on $10,000 bond after his arrest, court records show..