K9 dog shocked by wires in chase

2017-04-27 11:55
Rocco the Rottweiler with his handler Sergeant Henk van der Westhuizen.

Rocco the Rottweiler with his handler Sergeant Henk van der Westhuizen. (Supplied)

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The career of a Pietermaritzburg police dog is hanging in the balance after it was trapped in live electrical wires while chasing down a robbery suspect on Wednesday.

Rocco, a four-legged officer at the Pietermaritzburg K9 unit, was rushed to a local veterinary clinic on Wednesday afternoon where he is currently under observation for possible internal injuries.

Speaking to The Witness on Wednesday, the Rottweiler’s handler, Sergeant Henk van der Westhuizen, said his unit received information regarding the whereabouts of four alleged robbers who broke into a wholesaler in the Allandale area early yesterday morning. A team of officers mobilised and sped off to the Jesmondene informal settlement near Birmingham Road where the robbers were thought to reside.

Officers believed the stolen goods from the wholesaler were being kept at the robbers’ homes.

“As we entered the informal settlement the suspects began to flee. The team arrested three of the alleged robbers and the pursuit then began for the last man,” Van der Westhuizen said.

It is believed K9 unit officer Sergeant Bianca Cantello and her dog were hot on the heels of the man when she called for back-up.

“I went to assist her and Rocco, who was on a leash about 10 metres ahead of me, got tangled up in two live wires as we began climbing an embankment after crossing a riverbank,” Van der Westhuizen said.

“When the first wire hit him Rocco fell over onto the second wire. His leg was tangled in the wires.

“He went stiff and started frothing at the mouth. It was then that I feared the worst.”

The live wires were the result of illegal electricity connections in the area.

Van Der Westhuizen raced to his partner’s aid using his boots to separate the dog from the wires.

“I got shocked a little but eventually managed to get him off. He woke up but he was shaken and traumatised. He even wanted to run away from me,” Van der Westhuizen said.

“I cut a path through the wires and picked him up and carried him about 80 metres back to my vehicle. We immediately rushed him to the vet.”

Rocco was sedated and was expected to undergo tests for internal injuries on Wednesday afternoon.

It is unclear whether the remaining suspect was eventually apprehended.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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