PLYMOUTH (CBS) – A Plymouth Police officer shot and killed his K-9 partner after the dog bit his hands while they prepared to search for a suspect.
Around 9:20 a.m., police were called to help search for a suspect who had fled the scene of an incident. Officer Keith Larson and his dog Nico pulled into a shopping plaza parking lot on Court Street.
While they prepared for a search, Nico bit Larson and a struggle ensued. Larson then used his service weapon on the animal. Nico, a German Shepherd, died at the scene. Larson was taken by ambulance to South Shore Hospital for injuries to his hands.
Mike Guimares watched as the officer struggled with his K-9 partner on the ground of the shopping plaza. “I could see the officer on the ground with his dog, clearly struggling,” Guimares said. “His hands were bloody.”
Then, Guimares says he watched as Larson pulled out his gun and shot Nico. “He was giving it commands. The dog wouldn’t stop. It was still pulling at him,” Guimares said. “And then I noticed he had to make the tough decision to put him down.”
Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri said Larson is a 17-year veteran of the department. He has been working with Nico since August 2019.
Larson was bitten in the hand while deploying Nico in April 2020. Larson and Nico were reassigned to the Sheriff’s Department K-9 Academy following that incident, and recertified for service in July.
Botieri called this an “isolated incident” but said he is still confident in the K-9 program.
The police chief also said it was a last resort for Larson to use his weapon on the dog.
“As I’m sure you realize, it’s extremely difficult for a K-9 officer to dispatch their own dog like that,” Botieri said.