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Police Dog Loses Tail; Handler Also Injured by Fleeing Suspect

May 13, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A police dog's tail was torn off Monday night when a suspect in a possible domestic dispute rammed the dog and its handler with his car.

The California Highway Patrol officer, whose name was not released, sustained minor injuries. The dog, a Belgian Malinois named Rusty, was taken to a veterinary hospital and was reported to be in critical but stable condition.

The incident occurred about 7:30 p.m. in an unincorporated area bordered by Garden Grove and Anaheim. The K9 unit attempted to detain a couple in a parked car; they were believed to be involved in a domestic dispute.

The man and woman fled on foot, with the officer and dog in pursuit, said Mike Handfield, a spokesman for the Garden Grove Police Department. The man circled back to the car, he said, backed it into the officer and dog, and escaped.

He is described as white, in his early 30s with short "orangish" hair, possibly spiked and wearing a black jacket. His car is described as a black sedan, possibly a Mercury Cougar, with a sticker in the rear window, possibly a flag.

The woman was detained for questioning, Handfield said, but "we're not sure how involved she is with this guy."

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