Bay City K-9 unit sent back to Louisiana after 2 biting incidents
BAY CITY, Texas – The Bay City Police Department has returned its brand new K-9 after the dog attacked two innocent people in its two weeks on the job. One of the victims was injured so badly she remains at Memorial Hermann hospital in the Texas Medical Center.
The department bought Rico to replace a K-9 named Kim who was hit by a car on New Year's Eve.
The dog underwent three weeks of training at US K9 Unlimited in Louisiana and started work in Bay City on March 1.
That same day Rico bit a city worker.
"There was a worker walking by she noticed Rico and took off running the dog saw her, jumped over the handler and he chased her and bit her in the arm," said Bay City police Lt. Irene Kjergaard.
The department immediately put the 2-year-old Belgian Malinois through a week of remedial training.
"The handler and Rico did a demonstration for the administration, police chief and sheriff -- and Rico did a great job. He obeyed all commands he did as he was supposed to do," Kjergaard said.
On Monday, Rico and his officer handler stopped at a Bay City gas station as they headed back to Louisiana for a previously scheduled training.
Surveillance video shows two doors of the officer's patrol vehicle open. Rico darts out of the SUV and runs around the gas station.
"The dog was wearing a shock collar, the handler hit the collar and the dog still would not obey," Kjergaard said.
At some point, Rico encountered Jocelyn Antower. She had stopped the convenience store to pick up coffee before work.
"This dog came out of nowhere, tore her to the ground shook her back and forth," said Jocelyn's husband Marcus Antower.
She was so badly hurt she was transferred from a Bay City hospital to Memorial Hermann in Houston.
She's undergone two surgeries on her arm and will need skin grafts.
"Why such a dangerous weapon should be so carelessly handled is our biggest concern," Antower said.
Bay City PD says they don't believe there was any negligence on the part of the officer handler.
They plan to review their policies and procedures and have postponed getting another K-9.
"We never intended for anything like this to happen. We never expected it, it was a shock," Kjergaard said.
The department returned Rico to US K-9 Unlimited in Louisiana on Tuesday.
Roger Abshire, who owns that company, said he couldn't explain the dog's behavior, that Rico was "temperament-tested and passed with flying colors."
But Abshire added he would not return Rico to service after the incidents.
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