Hyde, the Lakeland Police K-9 who suffered stab wounds while chasing a suspect Saturday, is now on light duty.
The two-and-half-year-old German Shepherd received stab wounds to the leg and back, but the knife missed all major organs, according to investigators.
“I didn’t know he was injured until after the suspect was taken into custody,” said Officer Jeremy Williams, who works with Hyde.
“My primary focus was to get him loaded up and get him to the vet to get medical treatment,” he said.
Hyde was chasing after Reuben Smith, who police say just choked a woman in a hotel room with a dog leash.
The dog tracked him to a wooded area near I-4 and went after him. At some point, investigators said Smith got out a knife and stabbed the K9 officer twice.
“I’d say stronger than ever,” Williams said of the bond he has with Hyde.
Williams said other than a cut on his paw once, this is the first time Hyde has been injured on duty.
While initially he was in a lot of pain, the dog is now recovering nicely and should return to the streets within a few weeks.
In the meantime, he’s proving to the community the value of four-legged police officers.
“I don’t think law enforcement could do as effective as a job without K-9s,” Williams said, acknowledging that he could have easily been the one stabbed.