Drug-sniffer dog shot by cop lives to fight another day
She was gravely wounded when she was fired at in an incident that raises more questions than answers
Police sniffer dog Megan – shot through the chest in a bizarre case of friendly fire in Pretoria last week – is on the mend, with her veterinarians confident the crime fighter will be back on the beat in no time.
The Belgian Malinois, trained to detect the presence of drugs, was shot by an officer at the Soshanguve K9 Unit last week.
It is understood that an officer had brought his young child to work and when the boisterous Megan bounded toward the child, the officer shot her thinking she was about to attack.
Drug-sniffing dogs are not trained to be aggressive and are in most cases very friendly.
The bullet passed through her chest, a part of her spine and her right lung, before ripping through one of her legs, but the plucky pooch is expected to make a full recovery.
Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital’s Prof Marthinus Hartman said the dog was lucky to have survived the single gunshot.
“This dog was extremely lucky in one sense and unlucky in another. If the bullet had been placed a couple of centimetres higher it would have missed her entirely. Had it been lower she would be dead,” he said.
The bullet had caused part of Megan’s right lung to collapse but missed her vital organs as it traced through her body.
“When she arrived with us last week she was in shock and in a large amount of pain. We made the call not to go to theatre because there was no life-threatening bleeding or a complete collapse of the lung, and that was lucky for us. We could stabilise her first and we managed to control her pain,” he said.
But after a couple of days in recovery, Hartman said Megan would go under the knife on Tuesday.
“We have been struggling to keep the chest bandage on because she keeps pulling it off. We’re going to have to open the wound and we’ll examine the injured lung. The risk is that if we suture the wound closed and the lung is still leaking air we’ll have further complications.”
The worst-case scenario would entail removing a portion of the lung.
“She’s such a happy dog and was out of her cage this morning and able to climb in and out by herself, so that is promising.” And while she enjoys some time off from active duty, police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said the shooting was under investigation.
“A criminal case of malicious damage to state property has been opened. There will also be an internal investigation to determine the member's conduct as well as to establish how the dog got out of its cage,” she said.
“The dog is still alive and it has been taken to vet hospital for treatment. The member's child was also taken for medical examination but has since been discharged.”