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Sheriff's K-9 Dog Shot, Killed After Attacking Handler at Vet's Office

The 5-year-old German Shepherd named Gunner had been exhibiting aggressive behavior, sheriff's office said.

An Oakland County Sheriff's officer was forced to shoot and kill his K-9 dog Thursday when the dog, who was being treated for aggression, attacked him during an appointment with a veterinarian.

In a statement, Sheriff Michael Bouchard called the dog's death an "extremely sad situation on every front."

"These dogs are more than a police asset, they are beloved members of the department and the handler’s family," Bouchard stated.

The 5-year-old purebred German Shepherd named Gunner had been a member of the department since 2007. Gunner's handler, a 23-year veteran of the department, took the dog to the veterinarian to see about treating his aggressive behavior, which had just begun.

"While the handler and the veterinarian were attempting to leash the dog, he jumped up in a biting lunge toward the handler’s face, but the handler was able to block the bite with his forearm," a news release stated. "The dog refused commands to let go of his handler’s forearm and continued to aggressively bite the handler.

"The handler was forced to use his department-issued weapon to protect himself from additional injury."

The dog was killed and the injured K-9 officer was admitted to an area hospital.

According to the Oakland County Sheriff's website, there are 15 dogs in the department's canine unit. The dogs have assisted in finding lost children, robbery suspects and burglars. They have also assisted in narcotic searches during drug raids for several police agencies, including the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team.

They are also often called to local middle and high schools for narcotics searches.

Patricia June 08, 2012 at 12:47 PM
These dogs are highly trained and very much loved by the families and handlers. Very sad situation. My sympathy to the Officer, I know this had to be terribley hard for him. It is a loss for him personally, his family and his department.
righta2 June 08, 2012 at 05:47 PM
very sad, I have a German Shepherd and can imagine the loss the officer and his family are feeling. My guess is that the dog would have been to be found with a tumor, stroke or serious illness that would have proven the reason for such a change in his behavior. All dogs go to heaven!
Alan Stamm June 08, 2012 at 10:19 PM
The Sheriff's Department is asking MSU veterinary pathologists "to see if there is anything that will help us explain the behavior of the dog," Maj. Robert Smith told MLive Media Group today. He also wonders if a brain tumor or another behavior-influencing condition is behind the attack. "We're making plans to ship the remains to Michigan State University" for an autopsy, the major says here: http://bit.ly/KmXKbg
Alan Stamm June 08, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Sensitive thoughts, Patricia. The affected deputy cared for Gunner at home when they were off-duty, MLive Media Group reports this afternoon. "The handler's emotional state is 'as you would expect' after having lost 'a member of the family,' " reporter Gus Burns quotes Maj. Robert Smith as saying.
Garry G Brigolin June 09, 2012 at 02:07 AM
The officer did a heroic thing in killing what was probably his best "work friend". How sad------ I have an immense amount of respect for the police, and this officer had to perform a very sad and heroic act.

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