Police dog injured in line of duty

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A Lake Charles man remains jailed tonight charged with injuring a police dog. According Lake Charles Police Deputy Chief Mark Kraus officers were assisting McNeese State Police on a traffic stop after a suspect fled on foot. K-9 Officer Marco caught up with the suspect, Jeff Thomas, 33, and managed to hold him until officers were able to catch up and make the arrest.

"The dog did its job and was able to get the suspect. Our officers arrived and were able to arrest Thomas after a brief struggle," said Kraus.

Thomas was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center on the following charges:

- Driving on a divided highway
- Driving under suspension
- Resisting an officer
- Battery of a police officer
- Possession of a controlled substance

He bonded out on $8,000 bail.

However, officers later discovered Marco the dog was injured. Kraus said two teeth were broken and his right front leg suffered injuries allegedly inflicted by Thomas.

"We had to take the dog to the vet. And we end up getting another warrant and serving Thomas with the new charges. He's now back in jail," said Kraus. "We take this crime very seriously. These dogs are trained and assist our officers on a daily basis. It's a felony crime to injure or cause harm to a police dog."

At last check Thomas remains jailed on $104,000. He's charged with injuring a police dog.

The dog's handler Cpl. Dustin Fontenot said he's doing better after treatment in Baton Rouge.

"Marco is starting to act normal. He's eating right and should be back to 100% in no time. He's doing all of his duties at work," said Fontenot. "He's a great dog. He assists officers every day. His sense of smell is so much greater than humans. He can actually alert us to where the subject is going to be before he knows we are there. Very smart dog."

Kraus said they also are requesting the District Attorney include that Thomas be required to pay restitution for the $1,500 that it cost for Marco's medical expenses.

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