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Chief: Police Dog Not in Danger of Death Sentence

Chief: Police Dog Not in Danger of Death Sentence

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LAYTON, Utah (AP) -- Rex, the Layton police dog under investigation after two attacks on women, is not in any danger of being ordered put to death, Police Chief Terry Keefe said.

In fact, should Rex be removed from police service, he likely would go home with his handler as a family pet.

"The handlers have always taken the dog. They are literally one of their kids. They work as a team for years and years and years," Keefe said.

Keefe said that since the latest attack, the department has received phone calls from a woman wanting to adopt the dog and from a professional fund-raiser wanting to donate her time to create a "Save Rex" legal fund.

"We're so premature on that. We're not asking residents to do that," Keefe said.

Rex was taken out of police service after he bit Lindsey McKee, 20, as she was jogging on the Layton High School track on Sept. 18.

At the time of the incident, Rex was not leashed, and may have gone after the jogger after his handler, who also had been jogging on the track, went over to check on an area that the dog had been drawn to.

Rex also is accused of biting Sherri Tatton, owner of Costume Castle & Crafts, on Oct. 7, 2001, while she was working late in her store doing inventory. Tatton said she had propped open her back door to make it easier to get to the trash bin. Police discovered the open door and sent in the German shepherd, which bit her hand when she attempted to go up stairs. She said it took three officers to get the dog off her.

Attorney Kristopher K. Greenwood of South Ogden has filed a complaint in behalf of Tatton against the city. Tatton and Greenwood, who also has been retained by McKee, have requested the dog be taken out of service permanently.

Before the department gives up the $5,000 to $6,000 investment it has made in buying and training Rex, the dog will receive an independent evaluation from dog trainers at the state Peace Officers Standard Training, Keefe said.

City Attorney Gary Crane said the investigation of Rex is expected to take one to two weeks.

The department has one other police dog.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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