PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A Greenville County Sheriff’s Office K-9 was shot after biting a deputy on Sunday evening.
According to the sheriff’s office, an off-duty deputy, also an experienced K-9 handler, was conducting a non-training activity and was unexpectedly bit by the 2 1/2-year-old Belgium Malinois named Peytie.
“Most dog bites we see are fear-based bites,” said Crystal Myers, a dog trainer with Complete K-9 Training Services. “They are most likely going to be nips but the dog is communicating that hey I don’t like the situation, I don’t like where I am, I feel boxed in. They are trying to get an out and most of what you see are going to be fear related bites.”
“K-9 training for police starts at a very young age,” Myers said. “It depends who you go through with that, but by the time they are two the idea is that they are ready to be on the force serving the community with their handler.”
The dog failed to release despite repeated verbal commands and multiple attempts by witnesses to pull the dog off.
A family member of the deputy, who lives nearby, rushed out and discharged their own firearm to save the deputy.
The K-9 passed away from its wounds.
The primary handler was away for training. The injured handler was caring for the K-9 as standard practice.
Myers says while it may be difficult for K-9’s to sometimes decipher when to be done they should all be trained with what she calls an ‘off switch’.
“It is good for dogs to have that off switch or else they will just keep going and they will keep pushing you,” Myers said. “Especially if you have had any kind of working dog you know they are going to be right there nuzzling your hand, pushing on you. They are very pushy dogs. So having that off switch and having you set that boundary and say were done time for you to go settle down or physically removing them from the situation and letting them settle down and calm down in their own way is something that needs to be done.”
The deputy was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Greenville County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards was notified and is reviewing the incident.