PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — The Paulding County sheriff said a deputy was following his training when he killed a police dog after it bit the deputy instead of the man deputies were chasing.
"The deputy pulled his service weapon and discharged it, striking and killing K-9 Verro," Sgt. Ashley Henson told WGCL.
K-9 Verro had been a member of the Paulding County Sheriff's Department for over 7 years. On July 19, he was shot and killed in the line of duty. The strange and unfortunate thing is, it was by one of his fellow deputies.
K-9 Verro and his partner Cpl. Kilgore were responding to a male suspect who had fled on foot. Kilgore spotted the man jumping fences and left his car to pursue the suspect, leaving K-9 Verro behind.
Dog and handler form a special bond, and through the intense situation of sirens and radio, K-9 Verro was hyped up and he was able to fit through a partially opened section of his onboard kennel to the front cabin and out through a partially opened window.
None of the responding officers knew the dog was out.
K-9 Verro's training kicked into gear and he attacked a fellow Paulding County deputy also involved in the foot pursuit.
"He actually bit the deputy in the back of the leg, and as these dogs are trained, they're trained to bite and hold. And the deputy, not knowing the dog had been released, pulled his service weapon and discharged it, striking and killing K-9 Verro," said Henson. "This has been heart-wrenching on our agency because we are very family-oriented, tight-knit agency."
The officer received puncture wounds and scratches to his leg. The unfortunate incident has left everyone devastated.
The sheriff's department said during the hot summer months K-9 officers will only wear bulletproof vests that would identify them in dangerous situations, so the officer involved would have had no idea the dog attacking him was part of his team.