SEATTLE – A new federal lawsuit says Tukwila, Washington, police were so concerned about a police dog’s propensity to bite suspects and officers themselves that they had the animal’s teeth filed down.
Nevertheless, just weeks later the K-9 tore a fist-sized chunk out of a teenage suspect’s calf.
The Seattle Times reported that the lawsuit was filed this month by Luis Yellowowl-Burdeau, who was a 19-year-old domestic-violence suspect hiding under a bush in his back yard when the dog, named Officer Gino, bit him in 2012. The complaint alleges that he suffered a permanent injury and had medical bills totaling $81,000.
Tukwila police ordered Officer Gino’s teeth filed down after he bit a King County sheriff’s deputy. But experts question that decision. The head of the 2,800-member U.S. Police Canine Association, says he’d never heard of that technique being used to minimize bite damage.
Police Chief Mike Villa retired the dog six days after the encounter with Yellowowl-Burdeau.
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