Sheriff: Suspect in custody after punching Polk County K9

- The Polk County Sheriff’s office arrested 36-year-old Carmelo Fernandez after they say he punched a K9 deputy.

It all started on Thursday when deputies attempted to pull over Fernandez on his motorcycle, he decided to flee instead of stopping. Deputies say Fernandez had 5 warrants in Polk County, including fleeing to elude, grand theft and possession of meth.

On Friday, Master Deputy Mike Ard and his K9 partner Winton found Fernandez on Spirit Lake Road in Winter Haven hiding inside a shed in a backyard. According to deputies, Ard gave several commands for Fernandez to surrender, telling him he would release the K9 if he did not obey. Fernandez refused, ,and deputies released Winton.

“Carmelo then thought it would be a good idea to punch Winton several times during the apprehension,” according to a sheriff’s office spokesperson. “Winton was undeterred, and Carmelo received puncture wounds to both of his arms, courtesy of Winton. Ouch.”

After receiving medical attention for his bite wounds, Fernandez was taken to Polk County jail where he faces a total of 17 charges for last week’s incidents.

Deputies say despite the punches, Winton was not hurt.

“He’s going to be just fine. And yes, Carmelo’s being charged with battery on a law enforcement K9.”

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