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Police K9 Gets Leg Amputated After Protecting Officers From Bullets

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on July 7, 2022

K9 Kai had only been with the Gwinnett County Police Department for less than a year, but he quickly became a valuable member of the team. The 2-year-old Belgian Malinois worked as a dual-purpose K9, so he assisted with narcotics and patrol.

But sadly, Kai’s hard work came to a halt when he was severely wounded on the job. When Kai and his handler, Cpl. Aaron Carlyle responded to a situation where the suspect had a gun; Kai got shot and was sent to an emergency vet. The brave dog refused to stop fighting.

K9 Kai on the water

Suspect Shoots Brave K9

On May 24th, 2022, the Gwinnett County Police Department responded to a domestic incident where a man with a handgun threatened a woman. The armed suspect fled the scene before Kai and police officers arrived. So, K9 officers and the department’s aviation unit tracked down the man.

The department located the suspect in a wooded area. Officers approached the man with Kai by their side. But before police could get too close, the man fired his gun, and Kai jumped in the way. When the suspect’s bullet hit Kai, one of the officers fired at the man in response.

K9 Officer Kai

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The suspect was revealed as a 17-year-old named Levi Bryan, who survived the incident and was sent to the hospital. Kai was rushed to the vet, where he was in stable condition despite having several bullet wounds.

“He’s a hero to me and the officers that were on that track that night because he took rounds that were meant for us,” Cpl. Carlyle said. “And he never faltered from his job.”

Police K9 Survives Bullet Wounds

Kai Doesn’t Give Up

Bryan has received several charges, including one for harming a law enforcement animal. Luckily, Kai survived the traumatic incident, but his road to recovery hasn’t been easy. As police officers rushed him to the vet, they performed as much first aid as they could, which likely bought him some extra time.

Kai had several bullet wounds, he needed a blood and plasma transfusion, and there was a hole in one of his lungs. Later, vets decided that they had to amputate his leg to maintain his quality of life. Kai stayed at the emergency vet for weeks to fully recover, but now, he’s finally heading home with Cpl. Carlyle.

Police K9 Recovering

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“This week Kai underwent surgery that we are happy to report was a success,” the Gwinnett Police Department announced. “He is currently at home being taken care of by his handler, Cpl. Carlyle.”

Kai is now doing physical therapy as he gets used to his missing leg. Cpl. Carlyle said that even though Kai won’t return to work, the pup will still live with him and be spoiled like crazy. Kai’s time as a K9 officer might’ve been brief, but he made such a big impact.

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