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K-9 Officer Todd Maas and Blek pose for a photograph in the Government Center in Superior. (Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Man bites dog? Superior, Wis., police say yes

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Man bites dog? Superior, Wis., police say yes
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

A 21-year-old man accused of punching and biting a police dog with the Superior Police Department faces charges in Wisconsin.

Police say Brandon DeMario Shaw, 21, punched the left ear of the K-9, Blek, then grabbed both ears, raised the dog's head and appeared to bite the dog on the head during a pursuit on July 26. That was after Shaw emerged from a stolen car and tried to flee Superior Police Officer Todd Maas, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.

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Shaw was taken into custody later that day by a K-9 unit in Duluth, and transported to the St. Louis County Jail pending charges in Minnesota. On Wednesday, an arrest warrant was issued for Shaw in Douglas County Circuit Court for charges he faces in Wisconsin. He faces felony counts of operating a motor vehicle without owner's consent and harassment of police and fire animals causing injury, and one misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer.

Police were pursuing a suspect in a Duluth car theft early on July 26 when the stolen car ran out of gas in an alley behind the 2100 block of Tower Avenue.

According to the complaint, Maas saw the driver, later identified as Shaw, exit the vehicle. Maas ordered the suspect to get on the ground, warning him that he could be bitten by Blek.

Shaw jumped a 4-foot fence and attempted to flee on foot, police said. He lost his footing and went to his knees. As Blek was about to apprehend him, Shaw allegedly attacked the dog. He also struck the dog on the muzzle before running away, the complaint said.

Blek located Shaw again and Shaw ran across Tower Avenue, leaving a shoe in the road, and jumped a 6½-foot fence, according to the complaint. Maas observed that Blek appeared injured and requested that a Duluth K-9 respond.

A veterinarian from Superior Animal Hospital said it was likely the dog was bruised and sore from the assault.

Superior Deputy Chief Nicholas Alexander said Blek, who joined the department in 2006, is improving and recovering from the injuries sustained in the incident.

"Assaultive behavior such as this can obviously result in increased risks of injury for ... the person being detained, the handler and the dog," Alexander said.

Injuring a police dog is a Class I felony, the same level as the stolen vehicle charge. Both are punishable by up to three years and six months in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

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