Exclusive: Police K-9 injured just weeks before retirement - Fox 2 News Headlines

Exclusive: Police K-9 injured just weeks before retirement

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

A Tempe Police K-9 is set to retire soon after a long career with the department, but just before the dog was set to leave the department he was hurt on a call. We caught up with the dog and his handler.

This dog and his handler have been together for about 8 years. They’re together every day. But two weeks ago the dog was injured during call where police opened fire on a suspect.

This is Jaeger in his prime. He's chased down more than 40 suspects over his career. Here's what he did to one fleeing suspect.

“I don't know the exact damage but I know he got like 15 staples or so and about 55 or 65 stitches.”

Jaeger means hunter in German and this German Shepherd lives up to his name.

“Every handler is biased about their own dog but in my opinion he is one of the best.”

Officer Reed Ribotta has been Jaeger's handler since the dog came to the department 8 years ago.

“I am with him more than I am with my family, so you develop an incredible bond with the animal for sure,” says Ribotta.

Jaeger now walks with a limp, and sometimes you can clearly see that he is in pain.

Two weeks ago, his handler and other officers responded to a call near 7th Street and Hardy. The suspect was throwing bottles and breaking glass. He even threw a bottle at an officer.

Jaeger stepped on a piece of broken glass at the scene.

“And I went back to my truck to get something and when I opened up the truck door I noticed there was blood all over the back of my truck and that is when I first discovered that he had actually been injured.”

The piece of glass nicked an artery and damaged a tendon on one of his hind legs. Jaeger's retirement was approaching anyway, but now with this injury, there no way he'll be going back to work.

“I definitely have mixed emotion. He has been a great partner for the last 8 years.”

But it’s not the end for the officer and his k-9. Officer Ribotta is adopting Jaeger after the dog officially retires.

Jaeger is also trained to sniff out drugs and during his time with Tempe Police he was involved in about 800 drug searchers which resulted in 365 arrests.

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