Salem officers accuse man of choking police dog - KPTV - FOX 12

Salem officers accuse man of choking police dog

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Mugshot: Justin Lazo Mugshot: Justin Lazo
SALEM, OR (AP) -

A man who Salem Police said nearly choked a police dog to death was arrested Saturday on an outstanding warrant.

Officer Bruce Fineran said he was dispatched to a home in the 1000 block of 15th Street NE at about 12:45 pm Saturday after a call for a suspicious man who was harassing and threatening neighbors.

Shortly after Fineran and his K-9 partner, Duke, arrived, Fineran said the suspect, later identified as 24-year-old Justin Lazo, ran from officers who tried to take him into custody.  After a warning, Fineran said he dispatched Duke.

“Duke bit him and took him to the ground. And almost instantly, the suspect grabbed both sides of Duke’s pinch collars, the collar around his neck with both hands,” said Fineran.

Fineran said he and other officers struggled to subdue Lazo and separate him from Duke, but Lazo continued to hold and twist the dog’s collar, even after officers used their tazers.

“Meantime, the dog was more and more losing his ability to breathe,” said Fineran.  Eventually, he became unconscious, and at one point was lying upside down on top of the suspect with his eyes shut, no longer moving.”

Fineran said Lazo finally released his grip after the tension from the collar partially amputated his finger.  Duke then caught his breath and jumped to his feet.

Lazo was taken to a nearby hospital, where the rest of his finger was amputated.

Fineran said Duke, surprisingly, suffered no discernible injuries, and his now back on duty.

Lazo was arrested on an outstanding warrant for possession of heroin, and will face additional charges of resisting arrest.

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