March 6, 1996 in City

Spike Nips, Nabs Suspect In Burglaries Controversial Police Dog Had Just Returned To Duty

Gita Sitaramiah Staff writer

Spike, Spokane’s controversial police dog, bit a teenager suspected of car prowling last month, authorities confirmed this week.

The incident occurred about two weeks after Spike was returned to duty following an unprovoked attack on two pedestrians.

Police said Spike bit a 13-year-old boy after the boy kicked the dog on Feb. 24. Officers used the dog, which was on a leash, to track the boy and two other suspects for several blocks.

The boy suffered puncture wounds and minor skin tears on his left arm.

Spike was removed from duty for about a month after attacking Greg Smith and Jeff Kendall as they walked down a downtown street about 2 a.m. on Jan. 12.

The dog also mauled Jerry Hurtt outside Playfair Race Track on May 4. Police think Hurtt may have provoked the attack.

In the latest incident, police arrested three youths, including the 13-year-old boy, on suspicion of breaking into cars during hockey games at the Spokane Arena.

The three had more than $1,600 in compact discs and stereo equipment when plainclothes officers assisted by Spike cornered them.

Two of the youths were found hiding under a pickup truck in the back yard of a house in the 700 block of West Augusta.

In an interview, the 13-year-old denied kicking Spike.

The boy’s adult sister, Patricia Ford, said she thought officers could have made the arrest without using a dog.

“I just can’t believe they let the dog on him,” she said.

Spike has been “deployed” more than 500 times since February 1994, police said. As of January 1996, the dog participated in 38 arrests, 12 of which involved physical contact.

, DataTimes

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