01/19/2006

Ga. police dog leaps fence and bites Girl Scout

CHARLES YOO

Copyright 2006 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

As she bounced on a trampoline, the 9-year-old Girl Scout could see the police dog jumping the fence and approaching her.

That's when Courtney Imoukhuede of Lawrenceville ran for the door.

But she didn't make it.

On Jan. 9, the female Belgian Malinois, a bomb-sniffing dog for the DeKalb County police, attacked the girl at her neighbor's house, where she was attending a Girl Scout meeting.

Courtney received five bite marks on her lower back and several more on her arm from the 2-year-old dog, according to Gwinnett County police.

DeKalb police Officer John Hansen, the dog's handler, kept the animal at his house in the Knollwood Lakes subdivision.

He was cited with two misdemeanors: failure to restrain his animal and public nuisance/attacks without provocation, police said.

The dog has been impounded in DeKalb County.

"The girl was in the backyard, minding her own business," said Darren Moloney, a spokesman for the Gwinnett police.

Bomb dogs are kept by the officers assigned to them, not at police stations. DeKalb police are looking into why the dog attacked the girl.

"Bomb dogs are not trained to be aggressive and to bite. They are trained to sniff and alert," said Corey Hughes, spokesman for the DeKalb police. "Why did the dog jump a 6-foot fence? Why did the dog bite somebody?"

Courtney's mother, Gail Imoukhuede, said the dog had been barking a lot for the past three weeks.

"The dog was very excitable and agitated," she said. "I'm very disappointed with DeKalb County that they would house such an expensive dog in a neighborhood with children.

"We are talking about a big, scary, trained dog."

Staff writer John Girardini contributed to this article. 
 
January 18, 2006
 

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