Police Dog Stabbed Six Times While Helping Arrest Expected to Recover

A California police dog is expected to recover after being stabbed six times while helping to apprehend a suspect on Saturday morning.

The Fresno Police Department dog, named Argo, sustained multiple lacerations to its back and left eye after being allegedly attacked with a knife by Carlos Castanos, aged 30, who fled from the back of a residence shortly before midday.

Police said they received a report that Castanos was holding a woman against her will at the property, and discovered there were warrants out for his arrest.

When officers approached the front of the residence, the suspect ran out the back door and jumped a fence, where he was met by the K9 and handler, officer Sturgeon. As the dog ran towards the suspect, Castanos lashed out with the weapon, police said.

At the same time, a pit bull attacked both the K9 and the handler, which resulted in an officer shooting the pit bull at least one time, KFSN reported.

Police said Castanos stabbed the K9 until another officer rushed to help and used a stun gun on the suspect. Castanos then dropped the knife and was arrested.

In the wake of the incident, Fresno Police Lt. Tim Tietjen told the Associated Press (AP) news agency: "The K9 saved the officer's life. If the K9 wasn't present, that guy would've been able to move towards the officer and [stab him.]"

According to KFSN, the suspect was taken to the Community Regional Medical Center and law enforcement confirmed the woman was believed to now be safe. Argo had to undergo surgery to treat his multiple wounds but is expected to survive.

Fresno Police Department chief Paco Balderrama tweeted on Sunday: "Very grateful that Argo and his partner are okay. K9 Argo is expected to make a full recovery."

In a statement posted to Facebook on Sunday alongside images of the K9, Sgt. Stacie Szatmari said: "Through the entire incident K9 Argo stayed engaged and did his job to the best of his K9's ability, protecting his handler and other officers."

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Szatmari said the dog received care at a local vet's emergency room and praised the staff as "absolutely amazing with his care." The K9 is now resting.

"Officer Sturgeon reacted immediately and was able to get K9 Argo the medical care he needed all while under a strenuous situation! They both are to be commended. I want to personally thank each and everyone of you that has been keeping them as well as our unit in your thoughts and prayers! It is so truly appreciated!" Szatmari said.

K-9 dog
A K-9 is pictured on October 17, 2007 in Miami, Florida. A California police K9 (not pictured) is expected to recover after being stabbed six times while helping to apprehend a suspect on Saturday morning. Joe Raedle/Getty Images