The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office says it has reached out to its 25 K-9 officers and begun an internal review meant to ensure a biting incident that injured a man this week won’t happen again.
Around 2 a.m. Monday, an officer carried out a traffic stop on a vehicle on 2nd Street at B Street in Hayward, Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
While the vehicle’s driver was detained and handcuffed and seated during the stop, another officer arrived to keep watch while the original officer searched the vehicle.
As the K-9 officer bent over, a “door pop” key fob on his tactical vest was accidentally pressed, releasing his K-9, which got out of the car and went over to the suspect, biting him on the leg.
“The door pop is similar to a key fob or garage-door opener. It doesn’t take much to press the button and activate the remote-control release. The dog did what the dog is trained to do, it came to the the officer’s aid,” Kelly said.
“In this case, this was not supposed to happen.”
Depending on their jobs, some deputies often carry between 25 and 40 pounds of equipment, and even with access to belts and clips, “they do not have a lot of real estate on their vests, they have a lot to cram into a small surface space.”
The officer managed to restrain the dog, but not before the man sustained several puncture wounds and a laceration. The man was taken to a hospital for treatment, and cited and released later on suspicion of driving under the influence.
“We did let him know it was an accident, and apologized that it occurred, and at that time he said he understood,” Kelly said. “We obviously want to make things right with him and cover his medical costs.
“Unfortunately, dogs and people are not perfect and mistakes do happen. It’s been something we’re going to learn from, and something we’re going to work to prevent.”
The man, identified by KTVU as Richmond resident Joshua Phillips, said Tuesday he plans to sue.
Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.