Greenville, SC (Greenville News) - A man was injured Tuesday after a Greenville police K-9 escaped from a fenced yard and attacked another dog, according to a release.
The K-9, named Sarge, was at home with his handler, Officer B. Newman, in Simpsonville at the time of the incident, said Greenville police spokesman Donnie Porter.
According to Porter, the officer had let Sarge out in the fenced backyard before going back inside to get ready for his shift shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday. When Newman returned, Sarge was nowhere to be found.
Porter said Sarge was located at the neighborhood clubhouse approximately 15 minutes later when dispatch received a call about an altercation between a German Shepherd and a black Labrador Retriever.
"The engagement between the dogs resulted in the black Labrador Retriever receiving a non-life threatening puncture wound in the neck," Porter said in a release Wednesday.
The Labrador's owner was also injured as he tried to separate the dogs. Porter said the man received a scratch on his forearm and didn't require immediate medical attention.
"The black Labrador was taken to a veterinarian for treatment and is reportedly doing well," Porter said. "At this time, it is unclear why Sarge left the fenced backyard of his handler."
Porter said the dog had never escaped before. The Police Department has since put safeguards in place to make sure it doesn't occur again, Porter said. Measures include no unsupervised backyard releases and the addition of an outdoor kennel.
Porter said the officer and Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller visited the victim and his dog Tuesday night to apologize. The city of Greenville is also paying for any medical or veterinary expenses, according to the release.
Per departmental policy, an internal investigation will be conducted to evaluate the officer's compliance with procedures, Porter said. Greenville County Animal Control will also investigate to determine if any animal control laws were broken.
Newman joined the Police Department in 2010 and has worked as a K-9 handler since January 2017, according to Porter. Sarge, a four-year-old German Shepherd, has worked with the department since 2016.
Porter said the two have participated in approximately 200 deployments together.
All Greenville police K-9s go through a 600-hour training course with their handlers before they're allowed to work the streets, Porter said. After that, the dog and handler must receive a yearly certification through the North American Police Work Dog Association.