Thursday, February 14, 2013

Police dog bites officer in the crotch

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A youth services officer is back on the job Tuesday after a Palm Bay police dog suddenly bit him in the groin.

Police were conducting a search for a burglary suspect in a wooded area when the officer was bitten.

Channel 9's Christopher Heath spoke with doghandlers, who say these types of bites can do considerable damage in just seconds.

The dogs are trained for a single powerful bite, according to the handlers.

The Palm Bay Police Department said that while unfortunate, bites like the youth services officer suffered are extremely rare.

Every year, K-9s and their handlers come to places like Southern Coast K9 to perfect their skills.

"One of the reasons we select them is (because) they are so intense," said Jan Scolfield of South Coast K9.

Scofield said he has trained just about every K-9 in Brevard and Volusia counties, including the dogs at the Palm Bay Police Department.

He said when the dogs are actively working a scene that their focus is on an objective and any distraction can become a target for the dog.

"The way we train them is one full-mouth bite and hold until the dog is told to release," said Scofield.

"It takes just seconds for the dogs to bite and when they do, they come at you with a power of 1,100 pounds per square inch.

According to Palm Bay police, that is what happened on Saturday when a police K-9 suddenly bit a youth services officer in the groin during a burglary investigation.

The officer was taken to the hospital but was soon released.

"It's hard to tell what is exactly going through the dog's mind," said Scofield.

Experts said a bite of this nature is not so much a mark of aggression as much as it is a sign of the dog's natural intensity in an active search.

Palm Bay police declined to comment on the bite other than to say the dog and the officer who was bitten are both back on the job.

Florida requires continuous training for both the handler and the dog.


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