ORLANDO — After scaling an 8-foot barbed-wire fence, then sprinting through thick brush and black muck to chase down a burglary suspect, Seabee, an Orlando police dog, had a brush with death, police said.
Seabee, a two-year-old German shepherd, cornered Landon Barnes in a swampy area near the Audubon Park neighborhood after the suspected burglar fled a home on Chelsea Street on Thursday, according to an Orlando police spokesman.
When the 18-year-old suspect ran into water that was so dark that police could not see below the surface, Seabee followed.
That's when police say Barnes attacked the dog, dunking Seabee's head into the water at least three times, forcing thick, mucky water into the dog's lungs.
Barnes "held the dog's head there attempting to drown and kill the K-9 dog," spokesman Sgt. Jim Young said Friday.
Although Seabee was able to get away, when he emerged from the swampy area, he "began to convulse, displayed an unknown illness and was taken to receive treatment," Barnes' arrest report said.
Seabee, who has been with OPD for about 18 months, spent the night recovering in an animal hospital. He was released Friday with a high fever, Young said, and will be monitored to ensure he was not exposed to infection.
Seabee and his handler, Officer Tim Stanley — who also scaled the high fence in order to stay with his K-9 partner and ultimately apprehend Barnes — will be off duty for three days, Young said.
In an interview with police after his arrest, Barnes said he was drinking water from a resident's hose, but never admitted going inside her home.
Homeowner Barbara Sills, however, had a different story.
She has been a victim of burglary in the past, Sills said, and when she came home to check her mail at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, she heard a back door slam and saw Barnes running away.
She chased Barnes until he jumped a fence, Sills told the Orlando Sentinel. At one point, she said, she was almost close enough to grab him by the shirt.
"I'm glad (Seabee) polished off what I started," she said.
Barnes was bitten at least once in the struggle, Young said.
After a brief stay at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Barnes was booked into the Orange County Jail on charges of burglary, resisting an officer with violence and injuring a police dog. He is being held on $5,300 bail.