Sheriff’s office: Suspect punched K9 during arrest in Winter Haven

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A suspect in Polk County punched a K9 while being taken into custody, according to the sheriff’s office.

On Thursday, deputies say they tried pulling over 36-year-old Carmelo Fernandez, who had five active warrants in the county including grand theft and meth possession. Instead of stopping, deputies say Fernandez continued to flee on his motorcycle. The bike was later found abandoned in the woods.

On Friday, deputies found him on Spirit Lake Road in Winter Haven hiding in a shed. The sheriff’s office says a responding deputy told him to surrender several times, and then released his K9, Winton.

Deputies say Fernandez punched Winton several times, but the K9 did not let up.

Fernandez was treated at the hospital for bite wounds, and then taken to the Polk County Jail. He is now facing 17 charges including battery on a law enforcement K9.

The sheriff’s office says Winton was not hurt by the punches, and he will be okay.

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