A police dog attacked a 7-year-old girl in Florida after it allegedly jumped the fence of a police officer’s home.
Wildwood police officer Douglas Pelton reportedly released his K-9 companion and Belgian Malinois, Doki, into the backyard of his home on Sunday evening, WESH News reports. Pelton’s 7-year-old neighbor, Julianne Goodridge, had been playing in the yard of the vacant house next to his home. When she reached out to pet the dog through the fence, the dog reportedly attempted to bite her, according to the incident report. As she withdrew her hand, the K-9 jumped over the fence and began to attack her.
“A dog jumped over a fence and bit her in the neck!” said Jamie Goodridge, Julianne’s mother, in a frantic 911 call. “Oh my God! … please, I need somebody to help! … There’s a huge hole in her neck!”
According to Jamie, the girl was bleeding from her neck. When Officer Pelton realized what was occurring, he jumped the fence as well and got the animal off of the young girl. According to him, the attack happened within seconds, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The young girl was taken to a fire station in the neighborhood where she was treated for her injuries. She was then taken to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando.
According to Sheriff’s office spokesman Fred Jones, she had injuries to her face, mouth and body. However, none of the injuries were life-threatening.
The Belgian Malinois has since been suspended as the investigation continues. He will remain in an animal facility while the sheriff's office investigates the incident.
“Right now our goal is to do anything and everything we can for this girl and her family," said Lt. Gerard Olbek of the Wildwood Police Department.
Doki is the Wildwood Police Department’s first K-9 unit, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He has been a part of the department for about a year and has assisted officers with several drug busts.
"The goal is for the dog to listen to the officer's commands," Olbek said. "And that's normally the way things work because they are trained extensively."
According to animal trainer Bill Heisner of Southern Coast K-9 where Doki was trained, the animals are constantly vigilant.
"When they are at home, they are typically more relaxed and aren't as aggressive, but all it takes is a false move," Heisner told the Orlando Sentinel. "You have to remember that these dogs are tools used for policing, so it's always best to be cautious."
He continued: "Although they are aggressive, they're trained to be able to hit a switch and know when to attack and when to not. … But you have to remember they are always on guard and are always protecting their handler.
"They'll be loyal to their handler until their last breath."
According to Heiser, people should never approach a police dog, especially children.
Photo Credit: Orlando Sentinel Screenshot