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Off-duty police dog bites neighbor

A Hendersonville police dog got away from its handler, ran into a neighbor's yard and bit a 68-year-old resident on Sunday afternoon, the city said in a news release.


The officer, Sgt. Robert Cantwell, was off duty when the canine ran to a neighbor’s property in the Majestic Trace neighborhood in Crab Creek. The canine, a German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix named Sunny, bit and injured a 68-year-old victim.

“We deeply regret this happened and we take full responsibility for the incident,” Hendersonville Police Chief Herbert Blake said. “We are cooperating with the victim and the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office who is investigating the incident. Because of this incident, we will reevaluate our K9 program and policies to try and make sure an event like this never happens again.”

The handler secured Sunny and immediately rendered first aid to the victim prior to first responders’ arrival. The victim was transported to Advent Health for his injuries. The dog is currently being held at the Henderson County Animal Shelter for a 10-day quarantine, the standard protocol following such an event, Allison Justus, communications manager for the City of Hendersonville, said.

“The canine has been removed from police duties and will not return to work at the Hendersonville Police Department,” Blake said.

Sunny was purchased in November 2017 when he was approximately 1.5 years old, Justus said. After completing his initial training, he began to work with HPD in April 2018.