K-9 cop fatally shot by partner during attack - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

K-9 cop fatally shot by partner during attack

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Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard talks about the death of a police K-9.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard talks about the death of a police K-9. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) -

The Oakland County Sheriff's Department is mourning the loss of one of their own.  A K-9 cop has been killed.  The dog's human partner pulled the trigger.

"Our dogs are not just a police asset, they're part of the family.  They're part of the department.  They're part of the family for the handler. They go home every night.  They're really, really very dear to everybody," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Five-year-old Gunner was a K-9 officer, a member of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. His duties as a police dog were pivotal, and his partner, his handler, a 23 year veteran with the department, loved and respected him more than you would ever know.

However, recently, Gunner's behavior started to change.  This well-trained and disciplined dog was different.

"It had been exhibiting some very serious aggressive issues, and so they had some remedial training going with it," Bouchard explained.

So Thursday, Gunner's handler took him to a vet in Davidson for some follow-up treatment hoping to right what was wrong.

"During that, the dog refused to come out of the car.  When it did come out of the car, the only way it would come out was under a bite sleeve, and when it got out, they got him calmed down a little bit and they went to put the leash on to go into the veterinarian's office," Bouchard said.

No one could have predicted what happened next.

"It lunged an attack at the face of the handler, and the handler put his arm up to block the attack and the dog bit and engaged the handler and wouldn't release for any of the commands."

He had every reason to think Gunner was not going to let go.

"He was actually doing a bite up the arm working his way back towards the head, and the deputy was in great fear of what that consequence would be if he got to the head or got any further up the arm and discharged his firearm once to release the dog.  The dog then readied to attack a second time."

Gunner died from his gunshot wounds and his handler was rushed to the hospital. Why did the dog attack?  Why did Gunner literally bite the hand that feeds him?  We asked the owner of the K-9 Academy in Wayne.  Terry Foley was a police K-9 handler for 25 years and trains metro Detroit officers and their canine companions every day.

"This dog was obviously in a state of mind that he felt was what I call the life-threatening mode, which means if I do not defend myself to the death, I am going to die," said Foley.  "I'm believing the dog had some sort of medical issue that came up within the last month, from what I understand, and because of this medical issue, it has put the dog over the edge."

"The dog will be taken to Michigan State University where it has the canine equivalent of an autopsy to see if there's any anomaly that can be perspective of this or maybe give an answer to what happened," said Bouchard.

"I'm sure this officer attempted everything and, from what I understand, a vet was there attempting to do everything. This dog was in that mode and was not going to release, so there was absolutely nothing else that this officer could do. That was the only way to end it," Foley explained.

Gunner's handler was bitten pretty bad.  He was still in the hospital Thursday night. Doctors want to make sure infection does not set in.

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