Gracie saves the day!

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Running from the police is never a good idea, especially when you don't know where you're going or what you're going to run into.
Quantrell Duan Mallett, 22, of Niles, found out the hard way.
After fleeing from police Tuesday afternoon, Mallett encountered something bigger than he expected.
Officers from the Niles Police Department attempted to stop the vehicle Mallett was driving in the area of 12th and Cass streets when he fled on foot.
Mallett was known by officers to have a suspended driver's license. After chasing him on and off for more that 30 minutes, Mallett jumped one too many fences, crossed one too many yards, police said, and ended up in the backyard of Elaine Gartland, where a nice surprise awaited him.
But Gartland wasn't in the yard to stop the chase. Instead, Gracie, the family's 110-pound Napoleon Mastiff, was.
"My son and I were actually in the backyard before this happened. We went inside for a minute and we heard Gracie start barking like mad. When I went to the door, we saw a bunch of police officers by the fence and could hear them saying 'You can either get attacked by the dog or come with us,'" Gartland explained.
As police were closing in on Mallett, he fled from his hiding place in the bushes and started running across Gartland's fenced in yard. Gracie saw what was going on and immediately started chasing him. After hearing something come up behind him, growling in a low tone, Mallett turned to see who it was. When he saw Gracie, officers observed Mallett with a terrified look on his face. Officers yelled at Mallett to not run because Gracie was closing the gap fast. With no where else to turn, Mallett was instructed to walk very slowly towards officers as Gracie watched and followed him the whole time.
Gartland and her son watched as police pulled Mallett over the fence, choosing to turn himself over rather than be attacked.
"She's just an awesome dog. She did what she was supposed to do," Gartland said. She also stated this isn't the first time someone on the run has ended up in her backyard, as it's happened a few other times. "I definitely feel better now that she's back there."
The family purchased Gracie from the Muskegon Animal Shelter in May.
"We have always wanted a Mastiff and my daughter, Erika, is handicapped. As soon as Gracie came out she went straight over to Erika and put her head on her lap. We knew right then that she was the one," Gartland explained.
She continued, saying Mastiff's are known as "gentle giants," but they are protectors and will watch over their owners and their surroundings
"I knew something wasn't right because her bark was different. I'm just thankful we weren't outside because you never know what would have happened," Gartland added. "She will definitely be getting a lot of rawhides after this. It's her favorite."
The Gartlands have been praising Gracie for a job well done. As for Mallett, he was charged with driving while license suspended and obstructing justice.