ALEXANDRIA — A woman, thrown from a motorcycle after her clothing became caught in its wheel, was attacked by a police dog when a Madison County sheriff’s deputy stopped to render aid.
Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said the accident occurred at approximately 8 p.m. Friday near county roads 100 West and 1000 North.
Mellinger said the deputy left the vehicle to tend to the injured woman when the dog exited the vehicle and bit the woman.
He said it appeared the dog had manipulated a sliding partition between the K9 unit compartment and the passenger area and then jumped through the driver’s side window.
“It was determined after the fact that the partition needed repair,” Mellinger said. “The K9 thought his deputy partner was in distress and the K9 bit a female who had been injured in the original crash. The K9 was restrained by the deputy.”
Jon Meeks said there is “no way the dog thought the officer was in distress.”
Meeks said his fiancée, Samantha Batler, was pulled off the back of his motorcycle after her clothing became tangled in the rear wheel.
He said the deputy was walking toward the couple when the dog jumped out of the window and began to “maul” Batler.
“Sam was laying on the ground not moving, her head was in my hands when the attack started,” Meeks said.
He said Batler suffered multiple lacerations and bites from the dog and the dog dragged her about 15 feet from the accident scene “all the while disobeying the officer’s commands.” Batler was transported to an Anderson hospital for treatment of her injuries.
Mellinger said the incident is under investigation.
“We are investigating this incident and we have placed the K9 on an off-duty status at this point until we can determine if the K9 behaved appropriately as trained, if the deputy took standard precautions when leaving the vehicle, or if there was a mechanical malfunction which allowed the K9 to leave the vehicle,” he said in a press release.
“Obviously we would never intend for an innocent bystander to suffer any type of injury while performing our duties.”