A K-9 officer is recovering in Utah after receiving life-saving care in Las Vegas Wednesday.
The police dog was shot in the line of duty near St. George after taking down a carjacking suspect. The dog needed surgery and was flown to Las Vegas to be treated by veterinarians.
Metro had to think fast and put together a plan to land a chopper — carrying the wounded K-9 — close to the specialty vet clinic at Tropicana Avenue and Durango Drive.
She is now in stable condition with her handler by her side.
An emergency helicopter made it’s way to Las Vegas from St. George, Utah, more than 120 miles away. Inside, an injured K-9 officer, shot in the line of duty.
Metro momentarily shut down traffic on Tropicana Avenue, just west of Durango Drive to make way for the chopper.
Seven-year-old Tess was carried out by her handler and immediately escorted inside the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center.
Metro Police Sergeant Zach Baughman was there to greet them.
“It’s something that has to happen quickly, obviously because that dog’s life depends on it,” said Sgt. Baughman. “So, when we set up, it’s just immediately making a phone call to K-9 and come here to help the handler and that dog. Getting a hold of our traffic officers.”
Several Metro K-9 units were on hand ready to help.
For many of them, hearing of an injured four-legged partner is personal.
“I think that’s why you get a lot of the extra support. You get guys that will leave from home, from the personal day to day life to come here and support,” Sgt. Baughman said.
Last year, Metro lost K-9 Nicky in a shootout with a suspect. Nicky had already survived a machete attack in a separate incident.
“They know exactly that heartache so it’s good to come together to heal through that.”
Metro police shared this photo of the recovering Belgian Malinois who took a shot to the jaw attempting to take down a carjacking suspect.
It happened Tuesday night in the small town of Santa Clara, just north of St. George. She was treated for her injuries there, but was in need of specialty care available in Las Vegas.
For the medical staff to actually put something together, to get that plan together so quickly to render aid to that dog, it’s very, it’s impressive,” Sgt. Baughman said.
K-9 Tess has been an invaluable part of the Washington County Sheriff’s office for four years. In fact, she found 56 pounds of marijuana in a car in 2015.
“They’re absolutely family and for us our blue family. We treat them as though they’re officers.”
K-9 Tess is expected to make a full recovery and return to full duty in around six weeks. According to the Washington County Sheriff’s office, “The vet reported she was likely shot twice … Tess has always had a great personality and strong work drive, which may have contributed to her optimistic prognosis.”