Norfolk officer placed on administrative duty after off-duty K-9 bites three men

Posted at 4:45 PM, Sep 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-02 17:24:13-04

Norfolk, Va. - A Norfolk officer who is also a K-9 handler with the city's police department has been placed on administrative duty after a K-9 bit three men on Tuesday morning.

This happened  near the intersection of Somme Avenue and  Willow Wood Drive at about 11 a.m.

Three men were bitten, but not seriously hurt.

"I heard somebody yelling, 'Help! Help! Help!" said Emily Brookens, who says she saw the group of men swinging an ax at the dog, trying to fight it off. "I honestly thought somebody was trying to hurt someone else until I saw the dog coming around the shed."

Police say the K-9 handler left the dog unsupervised in his fenced in backyard and the dog jumped over the fence and attacked the three citizens.

This happened about two blocks from the home where the dog was originally located.

The men refused medical treatment and the K-9 was treated at a local vet for cuts sustained during the incident.

The K-9 handler has been with the department for 6 years and the dog has been with them for three.

The K-9 is now under a 10-day quarantine, which is a city standard procedure.

Neighbors of the officer tell NewsChannel 3 the dog normally is friendly and not aggressive.

"I think animals are very unpredictable and it doesn`t matter if it`s a trained dog or a random dog," says Emily Brookens, a neighbor.

Norfolk police sent NewsChannel 3 its K-9 unit’s standard operating procedures manual outlining how to prevent police dog attacks just like this.

First, it says the K-9 must be secured in a kennel supplied by the city when the dog is at the officer's home and unattended.

And that it's the handlers responsibility to control their K-9 when it's not in its kennel. The manual also says it's the officer's responsibility to keep both the dog and all other people -- including kids and neighbors safe.

But in this case, police believe the dog was out of its kennel and alone unsupervised in the back yard when it got out.

Officials are now conducting an internal investigation to see if the officer failed to keep his neighbors safe.