Manatee Co. K-9 injured during pursuit of suspect

- At the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, bonds run deep. None seem to be deeper than the bond between a deputy and his K-9 partner.

Sergeant Stephen Chenard knows first-hand.

"It's really difficult to put into words until you actually experience it and live it," he said.

At a moment's notice, the team must be prepared to face anything. Tuesday night, Deputy Charles Wolfinger and his K-9 Loki were dispatched to Bay Drive where a man was breaking out lights and windows at a home.

"The guy ran through a sliding glass window door, continued to flee on foot. He was able to make it through a wooden fence, where K-9 Loki was still far enough behind him and he was able to close the door. That is where Loki was injured because he continued to run through the wood door," said Sgt. Chenard.

The door slammed shut on Loki's right front leg, but the injury didn't stop him. Neither did being punched by the suspect, Simon Williamson.

Williamson was arrested. Loki is doing well. He only had a small laceration on his leg and didn't need veterinarian attention.

"K-9 Loki wasn't injured very seriously. It was a very superficial scratch," said Sgt. Chenard.

Loki ended his shift on a high note. The 2 1/2-year-old K-9 brought in the unit's 199th arrest.

"Here in Manatee County, we don't operate under the assumption that we are going to force our dogs to do anything. We want our dogs to do what they are asking because they care for us, they love us and the bond is a huge part of that," he said.

It is a bond, forged over time, through training and working together, and it's rarely broken.

"When we first get them, sure, we are a little nervous, tensions are a little tight, but as we go through different experiences and training we build that relationship where we really couldn't imagine life without them," said Sgt. Chenard.

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