05/12/2007

Police dog bites officer's 2-year-old

Animal, girl had been running after soccer ball, chief says

By TIARA M. ELLIS
The Dallas Morning News

WYLIE, Tex. — A Wylie police officer's canine partner bit his 2-year-old daughter Wednesday night, police officials said.

Rexy, a German shepherd being trained to join the police force, was running after a soccer ball. So was Officer Matt Miller's daughter.

The dog bit the girl on the back of the head, near her neck, and had to be pulled away. The girl was rushed to Medical Center of Plano, where she received stitches. Her parents expected her to be released from the hospital Friday, Wylie Police Chief Jeff Butters said.

"I think what happened was Mom was holding the daughter at the back door and got a phone call. She sets her down for just a minute, probably not thinking she'd wander off," Chief Butters said.

"The girl immediately ran for the ball that [Rexy] had been playing with. I assume he thought, 'That's my ball' and bites her."

Rexy will be returned to the distributor that pre-trained him for police work. He had been living with the Millers for two or three weeks while completing the 13-week training process, Chief Butters said.

Rexy was the second dog recently purchased by Wylie police. The first was too aggressive for Wylie's needs.

"Ironically, we picked this dog because we thought he was a social and friendly dog," Chief Butters said. "We don't want a dog that bites someone unless told to."

Officer Miller, who has been with the Wylie department since 1998, has not told his boss whether he plans to accept another dog to train as his partner.

Copyright 2007 The Dallas Morning News

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