Oakland County Sheriff's K9 handler attacked by own dog; dog killed

K9 handler injured when his 5-year-old German Shepherd bites him at veterinarian's; dog killed

Published On: Jun 07 2012 04:57:42 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 07 2012 11:06:10 PM EDT
PONTIAC, Mich. -

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said Thursday a K9 handler was bit by his 5-year-old German Shepherd.

The 23-year veteran K9 handler was attacked by the dog, Gunner, when he took him to a veterinarian's for care. The dog had been exhibiting serious aggression and was at the veterinarian's for treatment to curb the aggression, the Sheriff's Office said.

When the handler and vet were attempting to leash Gunner, he lunged toward the handler and bit his arm. The handler tried to command the dog to stop biting, but the dog would not let go of his arm.

"He attacked the handler, went right for the face," said Sheriff Michael Bouchard. "The handler put up his arm and the dog latched on and started biting and wouldn't release. They couldn't get the dog off the handler and (the dog) started biting his way up toward his face and more critical areas."

The handler had to shoot the dog, killing it. The handler then was taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries.

"These dogs are more than a police asset, they are beloved members of the department and the handler’s family," said Bouchard. "This is an extremely sad situation on every front."

The K9 was taken to Michigan State University for a necropsy.

"It's sad on every front," said the Sheriff. "The loss of a member of the family and we have a deputy in the hospital tonight that's injured."

Veterinarians at Michigan State will try to uncover clues on what went wrong.