Orange County sheriff’s dog attacked county employee in his office, biting arm for “around a minute”

by in News

A Sheriff’s Department dog attacked a county employee in his office last week, severely biting the man’s arm during a training exercise gone awry.

The victim suffered deep puncture wounds and lacerations to his right arm during the attack, which lasted nearly a minute, according to public documents and interviews with county officials.

The attack occurred after work hours on Wednesday, Aug. 29, when the department’s patrol K9 team used the Public Works building in Santa Ana for a simulated building search. As one employee – a supervising fleet technician who has not been publicly identified – prepared to leave for the day, a sheriff’s dog suddenly attacked him in his office for “around a minute until he was stopped by his trainer,” according to a county incident report.

The employee was treated for injuries and transported to Global Medical Hospital in Tustin. He was released a few hours later.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. confirmed the episode, saying the dog “inadvertently bit” the employee and that the incident had been referred to the department’s internal affairs for review.

County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who saw the injured employee over the weekend, said the man suffered “multiple lacerations and puncture wounds” that might require plastic surgery. Spitzer said the man, who is on injury leave, had been warned by doctors to avoid potentially dangerous bacterial infections that can result from animal bites.

“He was in a lot of pain,” Spitzer said. “He told me he was sitting at his desk and, suddenly, he got viciously attacked… He said there was blood all over his office.”

“I’m simply appalled, as a former police officer who has worked alongside canines for over a decade, that the handlers didn’t clear the building to check for innocent civilians before they released the dogs,” Spitzer said. “The dog is trained to bite. That’s what it does.”

A sheriff’s spokeswoman said that following the incident, the department’s K9 teams “immediately suspended all training at county buildings that are not solely occupied by Sheriff’s Department personnel.” She added that the dog is expected to remain part of the K9 unit.