A San Diego police dog was rushed into emergency surgery after he was stabbed multiple times during a standoff in Encanto Monday, police confirmed.
"I can't tell you how awful it is to see your partner, your friend, your pal, your best friend stabbed, wounded. It's horrible," SDPD Officer Larry Adair said, recalling how his own police dog was stabbed once in a separate incident.
The 3-year-old Belgian Malinois named Dexter was taken to a Mission Valley veterinary hospital and is expected to survive his injuries. He underwent surgery after suffering a broken rib and lacerated spleen.
Adair told NBC 7 what it was like to have his police dog injured.
"Well, it's not a pet. It's not a partner," Adair said. "It's different. It's a very close relationship."
The SDPD official Twitter account updated the dog's condition while thanking everyone for their support.
Dexter was stabbed at a home on 64th Street just after 8:30 a.m. The incident began when a woman called 9-1-1 saying she was having difficulty controlling her son.
Her 22-year-old son was armed with a butcher's knife, SDPD Lt. Charles Lara said. Officers gave him multiple commands to drop the weapon and fired several bean bag rounds.
When the bean bags failed to convince the man to drop the weapon, a K-9 was deployed. The dog bit the man in the arm and the man stabbed the police dog in the abdomen, Lara said.
“This gentleman gave no indication that he was going to surrender, continued to be belligerent, armed with a knife so he was impacted with less than lethal rounds and a police service dog,” said Lara.
The suspect was taken to Alvarado Hospital where he was being treated for his injuries. He will likely face assault with a deadly weapon on a police dog, Lara said.
“The veterinarian who specifically works on police service dogs came in on his day off to work on the dog," Lara added.
Police said the dog was taken to the Logan Heights VCA but will be transferred to the 24-hour Mission Valley facility.
Dexter is a great little dog who got along well with his handler, Adair said.
"It was pretty clear they really liked each other a lot," Adair recalled. “That would indicate a strong likelihood the dog will come back to work full duty.”
Most of the dogs are retired at eight and a half years due to the physically demanding nature of their work. The dogs do not get a paycheck either, noted Adair.
“It is really important to point out that these dogs do such tremendous work for us," he added. "They put themselves in harm's way as do the handlers right behind them to work toward safety for all.”