Mass. LEO fatally shoots K-9 partner after dog attacks him

The officer was seriously injured in the attack. "It was a horrific situation and we'll be there for him," said Chief Michael Botieri

By Rich Harbert
Wicked Local Northwest, Concord, Mass.

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — A local police officer shot and killed his K-9 partner after the dog attacked him as they prepared for a call near downtown Plymouth Tuesday morning.

Officer Keith Larson, a 17-year veteran of the police force, was seriously injured in the attack with bites to both arms and both hands. His dog, Nico, a 2-year-old purebred German shepherd, died at the scene.

Officer Keith Larson poses with K-9 Nico.
Officer Keith Larson poses with K-9 Nico. (Plymouth (Mass.) Police Department)

"It latched onto his hand and he was unable to disengage it and it just got worse from there," Chief Michael Botieri said. "He must have gone through 30 seconds or more of hell."

The incident occurred in the parking lot of Benny's Plaza on Court Street shortly before 10 a.m., when Larson stopped to prepare Nico to go on a call for a suspect who fled a disturbance in The Pinehills. K-9 handlers will typically stop to prepare a dog for different tasks before they arrive on scene.

Larson and Nico had been partners since April 2019, when Nico, a long-haired shepherd born in Holland, joined the force.

They completed K9 Academy training in August 2019, with Nico certified as a patrol dog specializing in tracking, criminal apprehension, evidence recovery and missing persons.

Botieri said the dog apparently became confused. But it is not the first time the dog has bitten its handler. Nico bit Larson in the hand while on a call last April, prompting the team to return to the K9 Academy for more training. Nico was recertified for service in July.

Larson was taken to South Shore Hospital for treatment after the incident. Police said the injuries were serious, but not life threatening. He was still in the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

Larson has been a dog handler for the department since March 2017. He lost his previous K-9 partner, Felix, to cancer.

"I can't imagine what he's going through. We feel for him. It was a horrific situation and we'll be there for him," Botieri said.

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(c)2020 Wicked Local Northwest, Concord, Mass.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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