Darlington County authorities discuss history of K-9 that bit woman

Darlington County authorities discuss history of K-9 that bit woman

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Rose Parham, attorney for Patrinola "Pat" Butler, the 53-year-old woman bit by a Darlington County Sheriff's Office K-9 named Sky last weekend, said there are discrepancies when it comes to the DCSO's incident report and what her client has told her.

The incident happened Saturday night while the dog was being used to help sheriff's deputies search for a burglary suspect. Butler was bitten in the arm while trying to see what was going on and then was taken to a local hospital.

According to Parham, Butler remains in the hospital with severe wounds.

In the attorney's press release sent Thursday, Parham stated, "we received confirmation yesterday from the sheriff's office that Sky had previously bitten at least two other individuals."

DCSO Lt. Robert Kilgo said while Sky has apprehended two people before, they were suspects and not bystanders.

According to Kilgo, Sky is an apprehension dog trained to catch suspects who are not compliant or may put deputies' lives in harms way.

Richard McDonald, Sky's trainer, has worked with the dog since March. He said what happened Saturday night is not the dog's normal behavior and that Sky has never had an uncontrollable bite.

While he didn't witness the incident, McDonald said there are a few things unusual about the situation.

"It was just a perfect storm of several things happening at one time that normally doesn't go on," he said.

Kilgo said Sky was able get out of the deputy's car because there was a problem with the hatch. The K-9 came through the front seat of the vehicle and ran in Butler's direction, which is something McDonald said isn't normal for K-9s to do.

Another thing unusual was Sky's disobedience. In the DCSO incident report, the deputy called for Sky to come back to the car several times. He didn't listen.

"Now, (he) should have stopped when the officer told him, yes he should have, but again that's not normal for him," McDonald said.

McDonald trains Sky four hours a week. He said during his sessions, he tries to create real-world scenarios.

As for the incident, McDonald said Sky may have just been too excited.

"We try to create excitement and everything in our training, but sometimes you can't get to the level as what's in the real world," he said.

Whether it was excitement or unusual behavior, Kilgo said the department is taking necessary steps to prevent this from happening again.

"We've had all of our vehicles that are utilized for the K-9s inspected," he said. "We are also going to work with an outside independent agency to evaluate this K-9 and the handler, and to give us feedback on their opinion and what we need to do moving forward."

Sky has temporarily been removed from duty until the K-9 can be evaluated. The situation is still under investigation.

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