- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Police supervisors in Orlando are reviewing the circumstances of a June 4 arrest after a 12-year-old burglary suspect was mauled by a police dog.

The Orlando Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1MRAuEg ) reported on Saturday that the boy spent three days in the hospital after the dog repeatedly bit his arm.

According to police, the boy had pried open a door at an elementary school campus late on the night of June 4.

The department said dogs are usually not used in the arrests of children under the age of 12 but that police might not have been able to determine the child’s age because it was dark when the incident happened.

If it is dark out or if police do not have a clear line of vision, it can be difficult to determine a suspect’s age, Deputy Chief Eric Smith, who oversees the K-9 unit, told the newspaper.

“We give them a total warning,” Smith said, explaining how an apprehension may unfold. “We tell them there’s a dog there and that they may get bit before we release the dog. And usually their reaction determines the outcome from there. If you turn and run then the dog will be released. If you turn around and surrender then the dog will not be released.”

He said supervisors are reviewing the June 4 dog bite.

An attorney for the boy’s family says the boy will need extensive rehab and could need surgery to repair never damage in his arm.

Laurent said a property crime, especially one involving a child, did not merit such a use of force. He said the family will sue the department if the issue is not resolved.

Smith said a handler must make quick decisions about whether to release a dog. He said Orlando Police Department’s 14 dogs are highly trained.

“The K-9 is a tool,” he said. “It’s a tool to help officers, it’s a tool to help save lives and to protect officers’ lives. The dogs provide a great service for us.”


Information from: Orlando Sentinel, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/

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