LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) – Two deep gashes surrounded by thick, black fur are the only physical markers of the painful ordeal Lakeland Police K9 Officer Hyde survived this weekend.
“I was concerned for him, I just wanted to get him to the vet. It was so dark, I wasn’t sure how injured he was,” said Officer Jeremy Williams, who has been Hyde’s partner for about a year.
Early Saturday morning, Lakeland Police were tracking 42-year-old Reuben Smith, suspected of choking a woman at a hotel.
On the run from the authorities, Smith rammed a fence near the I-4 overpass on Swindell Road, crashed into a ditch and began running into the woods.
That’s when K9 Officer Hyde was sent to track him down.
“His most important thing is his nose. His nose is so strong…he can smell pretty much where a suspect goes,” said Officer Williams.
In the darkness, Officer Williams lost sight of Hyde and when he found him, the 2-and-a-half -year-old German Shepard had two stab wounds.
Canines are not only a part of the police force but a part of the family for Officer Williams.
“We go through approximately 880 hours of training, he’s with me every day. Every shift, he goes home with us, we are pretty close,” said Officer Williams.
Hyde received several staples to help heal his stab wounds, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
Smith was arrested at the scene early Saturday morning. At last check, Smith was still behind bars at the Polk County Jail.