A Michigan State Police K-9 stabbed while pursuing a suspect is recovering after surgery performed at the Michigan State University Veterinary Medical Center earlier this week.
Bolt, a 7-year-old German shepherd, was injured Sunday morning while pursuing a suspect sought in connection to a drive-by shooting in Howard City, according to his handler, Michigan State Police Trooper David Cardenas.
Bolt and Cardenas were called in to assist in tracking two people wanted in connection with the shooting. The pair of suspects led police on a chase in Montcalm County before abandoning their vehicle on the edge of a wooded area. Once on scene, Bolt quickly located one of the suspect’s hats and tracked the pair for more than a mile through the woods.
Police located the suspects in the woods near a home. The female suspect raised her hands and cooperated with instructions. The male subject kept his hands behind his back and took off again, with Bolt in pursuit, Cardenas said.
Bolt was tripping up the subject as he crossed a roadway when Cardenas heard him yelp loudly. He got within six feet of the suspect and deployed his Taser to bring the suspect to the ground.
Once the suspect was in custody, Cardenas and his fellow officers noticed a fair amount of blood on the ground. Officers couldn’t find anyone injured. Once Bolt located a knife the fleeing suspect threw shortly before being detained, it clicked, he said.
“He stabbed Bolt,” Cardenas concluded.
Cardenas then located what appeared to be a minor knife wound on the dog’s neck. Once he got Bolt home, he realized the injury was more serious than he’d thought and rushed his partner to an emergency clinic in Plainfield. Staff there cleaned the wound but said Bolt needed surgery.
Cardenas drove Bolt to MSU, where State Police K-9s are treated.
“The surgery went well,” Cardenas said. “It was deeper than we originally thought and he had some dead tissue in there already.”
MSU staff stitched up the stab wound and installed a drain to remove any excess fluid. Bolt needed additional tissue removed Monday and on Tuesday Cardenas took him home. Bolt is headed back to MSU Thursday for follow-up and is expected to get his stitches out in about a week, Cardenas said.
“He seems to be in pretty good spirits,” Cardenas added. "He’s jumping around and I’m trying to keep him calm. He doesn’t show a whole lot of pain.”
Cardenas got Bolt about six years ago. Bolt, his third K-9 partner, lives at home with Cardenas and the pair is on call 24/7 if police need help tracking suspects. The pair are based out of the Lansing area, and Cardenas is a trainer with the training kennel operated by Michigan State Police.