Michigan State Police dog stabbed in neck by suspect

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Michigan State Police K9 Bolt is recovering after being stabbed while tracking a suspect on August 6. Bolt was released from the hospital two days later (Photo: Courtesy Michigan State Police)

A Michigan State Police dog is recovering after being stabbed in the neck by a suspect wanted in a drive-by shooting north of Grand Rapids.

The 7-year-old German shepherd named Bolt was injured when chasing two suspects Sunday in connection to a drive-by shooting in Reynolds Township, the Greenville Daily News reported. Bolt's canine handler, Trooper David Cardenas, said the suspects were being chased in a wooded area. Bolt caught one suspect, Jose Perez Jr., and was left with a stab wound.

Officers involved in the chase found a pocketknife on the ground, which they say Perez threw after Cardenas shocked him with a Taser.

"There was blood on the tip of the knife," Cardenas said. "Then it just clicked with me: He stabbed Bolt."

Bolt managed to catch another suspect in connection with a different crime that same day before Cardenas took him to an animal hospital. He underwent two surgeries before being released from the Michigan State University animal hospital Tuesday.

"He looks pretty pathetic with the cone and being shaved," Cardenas said. "He's got this really cute little harness on too. They couldn't have given him a black one. ... it's like fluorescent green."

Bolt's recovery is expected to take several weeks, but Cardenas said he shows no sign of being injured while on the job.

"He's got a little too much energy still," he said. "Most of our dogs only know one speed, and it's go. When I picked him up from the hospital, I wanted to lift him up and put him in his kennel in the car, but he jumps in and hits the cone on the side of the kennel and started bleeding. I was like, `Oh my gosh, this is going to be a long few weeks."'

Perez, 33, was charged Monday with several crimes, including weapons possession by felon and causing serious injury to a police animal. The other suspect, Victoria Groth, 29, is charged with two counts of obstructing a police officer. They're scheduled for probable cause hearings Aug. 15.