Richmond police officer shoots K-9 unit dog after being bitten

RICHMOND, Calif. (KTVU) -- A Richmond police officer shot and injured a K-9 unit dog that attacked him early Tuesday morning at police headquarters, according to authorities.

The incident happened around 6:45 a.m. in a secured parking lot of the Richmond Police Department. Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said the officer was walking into the building to start his shift when the canine attacked and bit his hand.

The officer shot the dog, a Belgian Melinois, in self defense.

"The canine was inside of the secure vehicle when the handler left him there," Abetkov said. "We're trying to figure out what transpired between that time and when the officer was confronted by the canine."

The dog was shot once, although Abetkov did not say where. The canine is recovering at an emergency vet hospital and is in stable condition.

The officer was taken to a hospital and is expected to be okay, but sustained serious injuries to his hand.

"All of it merits an investigation," Abetkov said. "How the incident occurred to begin with merits an investigation. Obviously, the actions of the officer in response to what was happening merits an investigation."

The canine unit the dog was in will also be looked at closely. Abetkov said the canine is kept inside a cage in the car that can only be opened by the handler with the touch of a button. The car will be looked at to determine if there was a malfunction or if the cage was left unlocked.

Abetkov also said they will try to determine if the dog was provoked or spooked before the attack.

"This struck all of us to the core," she added. "We don't want to see one of our officers get injured, neither one of our canines."

The officer who fired his weapon has been on the force for three years. The canine has been on the force for three years. Abetkov said the dog would recover, but likely not return to work and instead be retired from service.