Retired police dog attacks two Coolidge kids

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

COOLIDGE, Ariz. -- A retired Coolidge police dog is locked up after attacking two children.

“At first it was like nice then it started to go crazy in the alley and on the road," said 6-year-old Gaston Whatley, who was attacked.  
Whatley and his friends were outside playing tag Monday when he was attacked by the retired police dog.
“The dog just jumped on him, he said it scratched his face first then he took off running and the dog came up behind him and started chewing on him,” said Michael Whatley, Gaston’s dad.
Ten-year-old Steven Henson heard all the commotion and immediately jumped in to help.
“I choked it [the dog] and threw it to the ground, some are calling me the street hero, some call me the street fighter," said Henson.
Thankfully Steven wasn't injured.
One other boy got a bloody nose, but given the extent of Gaston's injuries and the deep puncture wounds to his back, under arm, and buttocks, it is safe to say he was lucky.
“If it wasn't for the other kid there is no telling what could have happened and this street has a lot of kids so if it was any kid smaller that kid might not be here today,” said Whatley.
Coolidge police said the dog, Sammie, was certified for narcotics detection and after two years of service she retired a year ago and has since been living with her handler.
We went by the officer's home but no one answered.
Coolidge police have since turned the report over to animal care and control who in turn forwarded the case to Pinal County.
“I think the dog should definitely be put down without a doubt,” said Whatley.  “I think there should definitely be some consequences, it's his responsibility to keep the dog caged up not let it lose.”
It turns out the dog was not up to date on its shots and is on a mandatory 10 day quarantine with Pinal County.
We're told the officer is being very cooperative and has signed over the dog.
Its fate will be decided at the end of the 10 days and the case will be forwarded to the county attorney who will decide what if any citation should be issued.
Statement from Coolidge Police Department:

April 4, 2013

The dog bite case that occurred on 4-1-2013 in the 1200 block of Mesquite Ln. is still under investigation therefore we can not discuss any specifics about the case. It did involve a retired police canine, (Sammie) that was removed from police service in April of 2012 when her handler decided to step down from his handler responsibilities. The handler requested and was allowed to keep the canine as a family pet at that time.
This is a common practice for public safety departments, to retire their police canines to the handler in the best interests of the dog, the handler and the department.

While in service Sammie served our community very well for approximately 2 years. According to the handlers records she was certified with our department as a narcotics detection canine only and was never certified with this department for officer protection.

Commander Roger Stinson
Support Services Division
Coolidge Police Department
Joseph R. Brugman
Chief of Police
City of Coolidge
Police Department
911 S. Arizona Boulevard
Coolidge, Arizona 85128-5428