by Ivan Foley
A newly-acquired dog belonging to the Platte County Sheriff’s Department bit a young girl in the face at a department picnic in September.
The bite required stitches to the girl’s face, Major Erik Holland of the Platte County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.
The victim is the child of a sheriff’s department employee, Holland said. He wasn’t sure of the exact age of the girl but said she is in the second grade.
“We’re not quite sure what caused the dog to do that but obviously we are not going to keep a dog that does not behave properly,” Holland said.
He added the incident occurred as the girl “came up to pet the dog.”
The dog, after days in isolation following the incident, has been returned to the trainer/kennel from where it was acquired.
Prior to the incident, the dog had all of its shots and was properly vaccinated, according to Holland.
The department picnic was held on the farm of a private citizen outside of Weston on Sunday, Sept. 17.
“We had the dog isolated immediately and were on the phone with the trainer that night. It was back en route to the training kennel that same week, in just a matter of days,” Holland remarked.
The canine involved was a search dog, used for very specific searches in specific criminal cases. It was not trained to be aggressive.
“It was not a bite-trained dog. It had no training for aggression, it was a search dog,” Holland said.
He indicated the dog had previously been with kids and older folks at community events with no prior incidents.
The sheriff’s department handler of the canine had worked with the dog for about three weeks, Holland said. The handler had spent time away for training with the dog, and had been back in Platte County with the canine for a little over a week when the incident occurred.
A federal grant program had been used to acquire the canine.
“They (the federal grant providers) are aware and there will be a replacement dog coming at some point,” Holland said.
The department also has a drug canine, but that dog was not at the picnic, he added.