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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A family dog is recovering after it was attacked by a Richland County K-9 officer this week

The attack happened in the backyard of the family's home. The dog that attacked it is owned by the Richland County Sheriff's Department, which is taking full responsibility, but the family is upset and wanted to share what happened.

"The situation that happened is a tragic situation, horrible, it's a situation that should have never happened," said Richland County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sergeant Curtis Wilson.

The Pomeranian that was attacked is owned by Lisa Gidderon and Licole Dotson-Gidderon.

"I turned around, and said something to Licole, turned back around, and noticed that's when a dog was in our yard with my dog in it's mouth," Lisa Gidderon said.

The pair has two small dogs, Zion, the Pomeranian, and Alvin, a Pug, that they said were playing in the back yard of their home Wednesday evening.

"I heard Zion (scream) and Alvin was barking, running around in circles around him trying to help him out," Gidderon said,

Their neighbor is a sheriff's deputy, and he takes his K-9 partner home after shifts. The Richland Sheriff's Department confirms that dog jumped a fence dividing his yard with their own and attacked Zion. Richland County's animal control was called to the scene and took a report that states the next day, a citation was issued to the deputy for letting the dog out of his yard.

However, the report says the deputy refused the citation, telling animal control the K-9 officer was protecting him because it saw the Pomeranian and Pug as a threats.

"He has never aggressively went toward anyone," Dotson-Gidderon said, referring to the Pomeranian. "I don't feel safe with that dog around me."

Wilson said the sheriff's department is still investigating the case.

"We are gathering all the information, assessing what took place, and, of course, looking at the facts, he said.‚Äč

After suffering two broken legs in the attack, the Pomeranian has undergone two surgeries to recover, Gidderon said It is expected to make a full recovery.

In a statement released late this Friday afternoon, the Richland Sheriff's Department said they will accept any citation that is issued. They also said it will pay for the medical bills, which amounted to about $3,000, Dotson-Gidderon said.

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