A Valdosta man faces multiple charges following a foot chase that began Tuesday when he was bitten by a police dog after allegedly shoving the K-9's handler during a drug investigation.
At 1:21 p.m. Tuesday, Valdosta Police Department narcotics detectives investigated a tip they received about an individual with narcotics in the 600 block of Old Hudson Street.
Detectives made contact with a Valdosta resident. During a pat-down, authorities discovered possible narcotics. Trying to cuff him, the suspect struggled, knocking over a police officer in charge of a K-9 partner, said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress.
The dog is trained to protect his human partner. Seeing the officer fall, the K-9 responded.
“That’s the absolute worst thing you can do with a K-9 officer,” Childress said. “The dog is trained to defend the handler ... Any aggressive act against the handler is interpreted as an attack on the officer, and the dog bit him.”
The dog is trained to bite down on a suspect's hand or arm and hold. As officers tried cuffing the suspect, he continued struggling. The handler called off the dog. The suspect wrestled free and fled.
The K-9 bit the suspect’s right forearm, causing a visible injury.
The suspect fled on foot after the bite and he was found hiding under a residence on McDougal Street. A taser was deployed in an attempt to subdue the man while he resisted arrest, but the device did not make contact and was ineffective, said Childress.
Several pieces of crack cocaine were recovered by detectives during the investigation.
Willie Hunter, 42, faces charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, felony obstruction, misdemeanor obstruction and tampering with evidence, according to the Valdosta Police Department.
Hunter received medical care at the scene and was transported to South Georgia Medical Center for treatment of his injuries and will be taken to the Lowndes County Jail when he is released.
Dean Poling contributed to this story.