Polk K-9 recovering after being stabbed repeatedly in the head by burglary suspect

(Polk County Sheriff's Office)

A Polk sheriff's K-9 is recovering after deputies said a burglary suspect stabbed the dog repeatedly and caused significant injuries.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said 31-year-old Carl McHargh Jr. started banging on the door of a Lakeland home, frantically yelling, "Let me in!" and "They're after me!"

The residents of the house didn't see anyone else outside and refused to let the man in. That's when they said he broke the glass on the door with a tire lug wrench and forced his way inside.

The victims ran outside and called 911. When deputies arrived on the scene, McHargh was inside the master bathroom closet and refused to come out.

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Deputy Scott Cronin and his K-9 partner, Vise, were brought in to apprehend McHargh. As deputies pried open the closet door, Vise ran into the closet.

When Cronin saw McHargh punching the dog around his head and neck, he grabbed the suspect's hand -- and realized McHargh was actually stabbing Vise with a kitchen knife.

Cronin was cut while trying to get the knife away from the suspect.

Three deputies pulled McHargh away from Vise and put him in handcuffs. Cronin then rushed the K-9 to an emergency animal hospital, where Vise underwent surgery for nine stab wounds and arterial bleed.

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The dog needed numerous stitches and was admitted to the hospital overnight, but Vise is expected to make a full recovery.

Cronin was treated and released from Lakeland Regional Hospital for the laceration on his hand.

"After McHargh was taken into custody, he suffered a significant medical event suspected to be excited delirium from his cocaine-induced state, and he was treated at the scene by EMS, including the administration of Narcan and CPR," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "They revived him and transported him to a local hospital, where he tested positive for cocaine, and was intubated. He remains in the ICU in extremely critical condition."

If McHargh survives, he will face multiple charges including offense against a police dog with great bodily harm, three counts of resisting arrest with violence, three counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, and armed occupied burglary.

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The sheriff's office said McHargh has an extensive criminal history including 15 felonies, 11 misdemeanors and one trip to state prison for attempted armed robbery. He was previously arrested 36 times in Polk and Hillsborough counties.

“These deputies and the canine risked their lives to get an armed and dangerous, drug-induced suspect out of the victims' house," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. "We are grateful that Vise will make a full recovery and that Deputy Cronin and the other two deputies weren't more seriously injured in this violent attack. This felon was clearly in some sort of drug-induced rage, and preliminarily it appears he was suffering from excited delirium.”