WESTMINSTER, Colo. – A Westminster police officer had to use a tourniquet to staunch the loss of blood from an animal management officer who was seriously injured in a dog attack.
Kelli Jelen responded to a call about two dogs chasing a UPS driver on the 3700 block of West 97th Place on March 27.
Jelen said that when she arrived on scene, one of the dogs retreated to its back yard. The other challenged her.
“He came up and bit me on my wrist,” she said. “The injury was pretty bad. I could see my tendon’s. I knew they were intact, so that was good.”
But Jelen said the attack was so vicious, it knocked her to the ground and nicked a vein and artery in the process.
“I just kind of tried to get up, keep my focus on where everybody was, where the people were, where the dogs went, and to prepare myself to get to safety,” she said.
“The adrenalin was still pumping,” she said. “Then I started feeling sick and couldn’t stand.”
Jelen said she managed to get back to her van and radio for help.
Police officer M. Gosselin was one of several officers who responded to the scene of the attack.
He told Denver7 that he noticed a great deal of blood on the pavement near Jelen’s van, so he grabbed a tourniquet, placed it on her arm a few inches above the wound and tightened it.
“We started getting training in tourniquets late last year,” he said, demonstrating how it is used.
“It’s a simple set-up. You just place it a few inches from the wound, and pull (the strap) and we can clamp it down to any size.”
Gosselin said he used a small twist apparatus to tighten the tourniquet enough to stop the flow of blood.
“We can’t say definitely what would have happened if the tourniquet was not applied in this situation,” said Investigator Kate Kazell, police department spokeswoman, “but we do know that she lost a significant amount of blood.”
Today, Jelen said she still has full movement and full use of her hand, wrist and fingers. “I’m lucky,” she added.
The dog’s owner, Maria Arguello, was cited for two violations -- dog at-large and vicious animal. She is due in court on Monday.
The dog, a Pitbull mix, is being held at a local animal shelter pending adjudication of the case.
When asked what residents should do if they’re attacked by a vicious dog, Jelen replied, “Try to get away. Try to get to safety.”
She suggested getting on top of a car or going to someone’s house.
“Put something between you and the dog,” she said. “If you have a jacket, take it off and put it between you and the dog. Use your hands and feet. Hit him or kick him, anything that’s going to save you.”