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Man Bites Police Dog, Held on $1.25M Bail

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on June 20, 2012 9:45 AM

A North Carolina K-9 officer took a bite out of crime, but the alleged criminal bit back. Now the man who bit Maxx the police dog is being held on $1.25 million bail.

The dueling attacks took place in Wilmington, N.C., where Travis Glaspie, 22, was wanted on outstanding warrants for illegal firearms possession and firing into an occupied vehicle. When police spotted Glaspie, he allegedly took off running, Wilmington's WWAY-TV reports.

That's when K-9 Officer Maxx leapt into action.

Maxx had only been on the beat since February, and had only been used to apprehend three suspects, police told WWAY. But Maxx easily caught up with Travis Glaspie, who says he instinctively fought back.

Maxx bit Glaspie’s leg, and then his stomach, which made him fear for his life, Glaspie told Wilmington’s WECT-TV in a jailhouse interview. “I fell, and he was clamping down on me,” Glaspie said. “They say I bit his ear off. I don’t think I did that.”

But Maxx’s handler says that’s pretty much what happened. The man bit the dog’s ear with such ferocity, the K-9 officer’s ear was split in two, requiring more than 15 stitches, police said.

Glaspie was treated for bite wounds to his thigh. He’s now facing charges of drug possession, property damage, resisting arrest, assault on a (human) law enforcement officer, and assault on a law enforcement animal — a Class I, or low-level, felony in North Carolina. (Even taunting or harassing a law enforcement animal is a crime in North Carolina, albeit a misdemeanor.)

If convicted of assaulting the police dog, Glaspie could be sentenced to prison — and ordered to pay for the dog’s veterinary bills, along with any wages or income lost by the dog’s handler.

Travis Glaspie, the man who bit the police dog, could bite back again by possibly suing over the K-9 officer’s attack. While police generally get immunity for police-dog injuries, bitten suspects often try to argue excessive force.

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