WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It's a real life story of man bites dog, and it has a valued member of the Wilmington Police Department at home with his paws up recovering.
Two-year-old Maxx is more than just a dog. He's an officer with the Wilmington Police Department worth about $15,000. And this weekend he was injured in the line of duty.
"When he was biting the dog, it was something we haven't seen," Cpl. David Pellegrino said of the attack Sunday of his K-9 partner Maxx. "Yes, our dogs do get assaulted, but no one has ever tried to cannibalize one of our animals before."
Maxx's accused attacker is Travis Glaspie. Police wanted the 22-year-old on outstanding warrants for possession of a firearm by a felon and firing into an occupied vehicle. Officers tracked him down Sunday afternoon after multiple run-ins just this month. Glaspie ran, and officers let Maxx take over.
During their struggle, Glaspie bit Maxx's ear so badly, the dog had to be rushed to the vet. Cpl. Pellegrino saw Maxx's ear severed in two. The injury required more than 15 stitches.
"We are going to have to put him back into some scenario training once we get back to work just to make sure we are not going to have any future problems from the situation that did occur, from the assault," Cpl. Pellegrino said.
Maxx has been on the streets since February, and has only been used to catch a suspect three times.
Pellegrino says dogs are used to protect officers. They are not trained to kill. Instead their job is to catch criminals who try to run, just as Maxx did Sunday.
Glaspie is still in jail under more than $1 million bond. He was treated and released at the hospital for bite wounds to his thigh. Cpl. Pellegrino said doctors told him Glaspie is fine, and the bite wounds he left on Maxx are much worse than anything Maxx did to him.