When we last wrote about K-9 Arlo, this very good boy had just left the hospital after being critically injured in a high-speed car chase. The dog’s handler, Dep. Tyler Turpin, escaped the encounter unharmed, but K-9 Arlo was shot twice by the suspect while the officer and his dog gave chase.
“A TCSO K-9 was struck by gunfire and has serious but survivable injuries,” the Thurston County-Sheriff (TCSO) announced in a press release at the time. “The suspect, a 25-year-old man was also struck by gunfire and was transported to the hospital in serious condition.”
Fortunately, this brave dog was operated on by a top-notch team of veterinary surgeons at Oregon State University. When Arlo was finally discharged following 8 hours of surgery, his fellow officers were so relieved they organized a police escort to escort K-9 Arlo back home.
But now new reporting sheds some additional (and for the police, unwelcome) light on K-9 Arlo’s close call. According to The Intercept, a subsequent police investigation found K-9 Arlo’s injuries actually stemmed from friendly fire.
Here is a video of Arlo leaving OSU. Thank you OSU and Newaukum Valley Veterinary for taking such great care of K-9 Arlo!
Posted by Thurston County-Sheriff on Monday, January 18, 2021
This detail reportedly came to light when an independent police investigation found the 25-year-old suspect – who has been roundly blamed for shooting K-9 Arlo twice — was actually carrying an unloaded gun. Nor were bullet fragments from any weapons other than the officer’s gun found at the scene.
Even so, this development – although quietly acknowledged by some local press – has been conveniently omitted from many police accounts, including a GoFundMe page that raised more than $73,000 for Arlo’s medical bills.
Correcting the record doesn’t diminish Arlo’s brave actions, because this heroic dog–-as both a loyal dog and a trained K-9–certainly did whatever he could to help his human partner.
But The Intercept is just the latest outlet to question the safety of working K-9s, especially those paired with officers who display overly aggressive tactics. If The Intercept’s reporting is correct, Arlo’s partner repeatedly shot at a suspect who wasn’t returning fire — putting that man and his own K-9 partner in the hospital.
“It’s a miracle that Arlo’s still alive,” Dr. Jen Warnock, one of the veterinary surgeons involved in Arlo’s surgery, explained on Oregon State University’s website. “The C6 vertebra was shattered; the bullet missed an artery that would’ve killed him by a millimeter; it could’ve destroyed his carotid artery.”
We’re so glad K-9 Arlo escaped this close call and now gets to retire. He certainly deserves it! Hopefully, this close call will inspire a larger conversation about safely policing with K-9s.
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