Hendersonville, NC (WLOS) — Hendersonville police say they are reviewing and revising how they handle their K-9 officers after one of their dogs attacked a man over the weekend.
The victim’s attorney says it wasn’t just a dog bite, but an all-out head-to-toe attack that left his client badly injured on Majestic Trace Drive over the weekend.
“The doctors in the emergency room said they thought he was attacked by a bear or a wolf,” says attorney John McCabe. “They said it was the worst dog bite attack they have ever seen.”
McCabe describes his new client, 68-year-old Kevin O’Neill as “a tough guy, a retired army officer, who fought off this police K-9, Sunny, after Sunny charged O’Neill in his own front doorway.” “Unfortunately when the handler went to service his animal, service the K-9, the dog ran off,” says Hendersonville Police Chief Herbert Blake. Chief Blake says Sunny, a member of the force for more than four years, kept by officer Robert Cantwell, had never gotten loose before. “We take full responsibility,” says Chief Blake. “We’re working with the victims to make sure their needs are met.”Chief Blake says he is also working with his own department to make changes on how their three K-9s are handled.
“I want to talk to the people within the department, get their feedback, then come up with some changes we think will be beneficial to the department as well as the community,” says the police chief.
McCabe says his client has a long, painful road to recovery.
“He’s got eye injuries,” he says. “He’s seeing a wound care doctor. He has injuries to his cornea, injuries to his retina, He has injuries to his private parts.”But, the lawyer adds, O’Neill is grateful the dog attacked him instead of his wife, kids or grandkids. McCabe says he is encouraged with the way the Hendersonville Police Department has responded. For now, Chief Blake says Sunny remains in quarantine.
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