Franklin police review policy after 3-year-old bitten by K-9

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – Franklin police’s policy on their K-9s won’t change in the aftermath of a child being bitten several months ago.

According to an internal report obtained by News 2, the police dog that attacked was staying with another Franklin K-9 officer’s family while its handler was away.

The report indicates the officer’s three-year-old girl was bouncing on a trampoline when Franklin police K-9 Duke jumped on the trampoline and attacked the toddler.

The child’s mother called 911 and told the dispatcher they were watching the K-9 for another officer.

“My husband’s a K-9 officer and the K-9 dog attacked my daughter. She has blood all over her head and her hair is pretty covered,” she explained. “Our K-9 would never do that. It’s the other one we were watching. We didn’t know she got outside.”

The little girl, according to the internal report, suffered a small skull fracture that required four stitches and 33 staples.

“My wife said she then ran outside and saw my daughter on the edge of the trampoline and Duke was on his hind legs biting her head. My wife ran over to Duke and grabbed my daughter, he then let go and she ran into the house,” the officer said in the report.

The report revealed the officer didn’t adhere to policies and has since been reprimanded.

On January 12, the K-9 officer whose child was bitten was verbally counseled by the Franklin Police Department. His supervisors said the K-9 should have been under the officer’s direct supervision.

When asked about the attack, Franklin police spokesman Charles Warner said, “This never should have happened and we were very troubled that this child, through no fault of her own, was injured.”

When asked by News 2 if the policy regarding K-9s being watched by other handlers had changed, Warner said, “There have been no changes to policy. The investigation determined that the officer, who is also the father of the injured child, was in violation of policy. He was disciplined and later resigned.”

News 2 also asked if Duke should have been retired after the attack. The department said no, adding just this month he won several awards as one of the top K-9s at the United States Police Canine Association’s Regions-13 Field Trials.

“The K-9 involved went back in service after undergoing a series of competency and obedience assessments in accordance with national standards. Our trainer has advised us that this dog will continue to perform the way that it was trained to perform under the proper supervision of a handler,” Warner said.

The officer who resigned after his daughter was attacked was a top K-9 handler with the department.

Franklin police confirmed the city is paying for the child’s medical bills and there has been no mention of a lawsuit.