The small Florida town of Wildwood just added their first K9 officer named Doki – Belgian Malinois – a year ago, to pursue the War on Drugs.
Now 7-year-old Florida Girl Julienne Goodridge is recovering from a gruesome mauling by the police dog.
You can listen to the dramatic 911 call by Julienne’s mother describing the grievous injuries her daughter sustained here:
The police K9 trainer is defending a dog he trained after it hopped a fence and mauled a Florida girl who’s only 7-year-old living next door.
“When they are at home, they are typically more relaxed and aren’t as aggressive, but all it takes is a false move,” said K9 Trainer Bill Heiser to the Orlando Sentinel. “You have to remember that these dogs are tools used for policing, so it’s always best to be cautious.”
Instead of taking responsibility for the poor training of a dog which cost Wildwood’s Police Department between $12,000 and $14,000 just one year ago, the trainer blames the victim- who happens to be a small child living in nearby Fruitland Park.
The town’s location at the intersection of the northern terminus of Florida’s Turnpike at Interstate Highway 75 provided ample reason for their police to seek the enhanced revenue a drug dog might generate. The recent Supreme Court ruling Rodriguez vs. US and major limitations of the Fed’s equitable sharing program will likely turn both K9 and officer quickly into liabilities – especially if the family retains counsel and sues.
The out-of-control animal has been said to help with several drug busts since being purchased one year ago.
Jamie Goodridge’s 7-year-old daughter was outside playing on Sunday when she saw a dog behind the brush covered fence dividing the backyard she was playing in and the backyard of Wildwood Officer Douglas Pelton.
The child, Julianne Goodridge, walked up to the fence and reached out to pet the animal. When the dog snapped in an attempt to bite her, she backed away from the fence, but the police dog was undeterred.
The dog jumped over the fence, through the shrubbery, and viciously attacked. Pelton ran outside and pulled the K9 officer off of the child, but not before she was bleeding profusely from her neck, face, and body.
“A dog jumped over a fence and bit her in the neck!” Jamie Goodridge cried on the phone with 9-1-1. “Oh, my God! … please, I need somebody to help! … There’s a huge hole in her neck!”
The child was rushed to a nearby fire station to be stabilized, and then transported to a children’s hospital in Orlando where it was determined that her wounds were not life threatening.
“Although they are aggressive, they’re trained to be able to hit a switch and know when to attack and when to not. … But you have to remember they are always on guard and are always protecting their handler,” Heiser, the trainer, said. “They’ll be loyal to their handler until their last breath.”
Heiser went on to explain that it is not a good idea to approach K9 officers.
The dog, Doki, has been suspended while the mauling of a child is investigated.