ST. GEORGE — One month after Washington County Sheriff’s K-9 Tess was shot in the line of duty, the patrol service dog has reported back to duty.
“K-9 Tess is excited to be back to work alongside Deputy (Mike) Graf,” the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “We are also excited to have both back on the streets. Although Tess is still undergoing treatment and evaluation, she has been cleared to return to work in a light duty capacity.”
Tess, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, had worked for the Sheriff’s Office for a little more than four years when she was shot twice Aug. 29 while attempting to apprehend a suspect during a carjacking incident.
One of the bullets entered through the K-9’s cheek and the other through the roof of her mouth. Both bullets exited out of the back of her neck just below her skull.
The incident culminated with a police shootout in a Santa Clara neighborhood where the carjacking suspect crashed a stolen truck into the carport of a residence near 2298 Santa Clara Drive.
After firing upon the police K-9, the suspect, 55-year-old Alvie Jared Grover, of St. George, was shot by police multiple times in the lower-half of his body. He was subsequently transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George to undergo surgery.
Grover has since been charged with multiple felonies relating to the incident, including aggravated robbery, theft, possession of a firearm by a dangerous person, criminal mischief, causing bodily injury to a police service animal and failing to stop or respond at the command of police.
After receiving treatment at a veterinarian clinic in St. George, K-9 Tess was transported by Life Flight to Las Vegas for emergency care early the next morning. Later that afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office announced that Tess was headed home with her handler where she was predicted to make a full recovery in six weeks’ time.
Although, K-9 Tess is back to work, the police dog won’t immediately be performing the same tasks she was responsible for before the shooting. The Sheriff’s Office is taking it easy with K-9 Tess, and it is unclear whether she’ll go back to apprehending suspects in the future.
“For now, she will be helping clear the drugs from our community,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “We hope she will return to apprehending criminals sooner than later.”
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