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The Papal Visit : Papal Digest : Overzealous Police Dog Leaves Agent in Stitches

September 17, 1987| Compiled by NIKKI FINKE from staff reports

One Secret Service agent is taking home a nasty souvenir of the papal visit to Los Angeles. According to eyewitnesses and Secret Service spokesman Robert Snow, the incident happened shortly before Pope John Paul II arrived at Immaculate Conception School on Wednesday afternoon as the agent and two colleagues were setting up tables in the schoolyard.

When the agent bent over, he was attacked by a bomb-sniffing dog belonging to the Air Force's Explosive Ordnance Division. Though the dog--a German shepherd--was tied up, the animal knocked the agent to the ground and bit him on the leg. It withdrew only when its handler ordered it to stop.

The agent, whom the Secret Service declined to identify, was taken to a hospital, where he received 25 stitches in his leg.

Authorities were at a loss to explain the attack, but speculated that the dog might have responded to the smell of gunpowder in the bullets that the gun-toting agent was carrying at the time.

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