MENOMONEE FALLS — Tyson, the only K-9 the Menomonee Falls Police Department has in its service, sent a Cedarburg woman to the hospital at the end of June after she was bitten by the dog.
The incident began when Tyson somehow escaped from his enclosure near Spring Street and Spring Court in Cedarburg where Tyson's handler, police officer Chris Harding, lives.
Assistant Police Chief Mark Waters said he cannot go into details about how Tyson managed to get loose because the information would compromise how police dogs are stored.
"The dog inadvertently got loose, got away, and then the woman subsequently located the dog and had an encounter with it," Waters said. "The dog nipped at her hand.”
The Cedarburg woman found what she believed to be a stray dog because Tyson was found without identification tags.
Waters said it is uncommon Tyson was found not wearing any form of a tag identifying him as a police dog.
The woman was holding the German shepherd until police came to get the dog, at which point, Tyson tried to get loose from her grasp and bit her. The woman received five stitches in her hand.
“I know it resulted in five stitches, but as you can probably imagine, police K-9 dogs can do some serious damage if it were a true bite," Waters said. "Five stitches is really like a nip or something like that. I don’t want to diminish the injury to the woman, but we were very fortunate it was only five stitches.”
The extent of her injuries were far less severe because, according to Waters, when a K-9 dog is not on duty, they behave like a typical dog would.
"The lady here in this incident did nothing wrong, whatsoever," Waters said. "She has been in contact with us; we’ve been talking to her and she’s very cooperative and understands the entire situation and is just trying to be helpful. She has no ill will toward the department.”
The Menomonee Falls Police Department is reviewing the incident.
Following the incident, Tyson was quarantined for 10 days and examined by a veterinarian.
"Unless something comes up as a result of the veterinarian visit, he will return to duty," Waters said.
The Menomonee Falls Police Department has no imminent plans to bring more K-9 dogs in service.