RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A retired police dog wandering a neighborhood attacked and dragged a man in Southern California after he gave the animal a bowl of water because he thought it looked thirsty, authorities said Tuesday.
The man’s family members were forced to stab the German shepherd with steak knives when the dog wouldn’t release the victim and dragged him from a front lawn into a street Sunday, John Welsh, spokesman for the Riverside County Animal Services Department, told The Associated Press.
The 20-year-old man was hospitalized with bites to his bicep, leg and ankle. The dog, which served with a Los Angeles County law enforcement agency, was euthanized due to the severity of its injuries.
The dog lapped up the water and then placed its two front paws on the man’s chest, according to Welsh. Then the animal suddenly lunged and latched its jaws on the man’s upper arm.
While the man screamed for help, family members kicked and punched the dog and then ran inside to grab knives when the animal did not relinquish its grip. The dog was stabbed several times.
Welsh said the wounded dog immediately obeyed a responding animal control officer, possibly reacting to his uniform. The dog calmly allowed Officer Will Luna to put a control loop around its neck.
“I walked him to my truck and, with one command, the dog, despite its injuries, leaped into one of my truck compartments,” Luna said in a news release.
A microchip confirmed the dog’s police service but officials declined to say what department it worked for. The dog’s owner was interviewed by animal control officers and a decision on whether to cite the owner was pending, Welsh said.
Retired police dogs generally live with law enforcement officers, often their former handlers, he said.