Arkansas police dog saved after shooting

January 7, 2019

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — A Jonesboro Police Department K-9 officer who was shot during a Dec. 11 standoff at the Gladiola Manor Apartments lost 30 percent of his blood and would have likely died if not for a Jonesboro veterinarian and a 6-year-old St. Bernard.

Gabo, a 7-year-old German shepherd, was shot four times when he entered the apartment of Brenda Thomas, 56, following a five-hour standoff. Police returned fire and fatally shot Thomas.

Gabo lost 30 percent of his blood after a bullet pierced his liver.

Quick response by John Huff, the owner of Jonesboro Animal Medical Center, and his staff saved the dog, Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said.

Huff took blood from his dog Daphne, a 140-pound St. Bernard, and transfused it into Gabo.

“Absolutely no doubt that saved our dog,” Elliott told The Jonesboro Sun .

Police brought Gabo to the apartment complex after they said Thomas shot and injured apartment maintenance worker Dennis Mardis Jr., 41, while he attempted to drill through the lock of Thomas’ door to check on her.

When police brought Gabo to the apartment complex, officers called Huff, who opened his clinic in July 1993 and has provided care and checkups for Jonesboro’s seven police dogs for years.

“We call him whenever we know we’re sending dogs into tactical situations,” Elliott said. “We place him on standby.”

Huff said he was headed to his clinic from his home after receiving the call that evening when he learned Gabo had been shot.

His staff went to work. They drew blood from Daphne, took X-rays of Gabo’s injuries and prepared a surgical area.

Gabo had been shot four times with a .38-caliber handgun, Huff said. One bullet grazed the dog’s abdomen. Another struck his right shoulder. A third hit Gabo, who was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, in the chest. The fourth shot hit him in the side, passed through his liver and exited the other side, leaving a gaping hole.

Elliott said Thomas placed the muzzle of her handgun against Gabo when firing one shot.

“There was significant blood loss,” Huff said.

Huff repaired the damaged liver and bandaged the wounds. Gabo was released from his clinic three days later.

The blood-donating procedure is something Huff is practiced on.

He often takes blood from his St. Bernard and his 6-year-old Newfoundland, Winnipeg, and uses it when treating trauma cases.

Huff said he used blood to help a dog that was struck by a car recently. He’s also treated several hunting dogs that were accidentally shot.

Dogs have at least eight different types of blood and, unlike humans, can receive its first transfusion of any type of blood. When in the womb, human fetus develop antibodies in their blood if the mother has a different type of blood. Dogs, Huff said, don’t create antibodies until after birth so they can receive any type of blood.

Huff and his staff have done enough transfusions that, while the trauma may be chaotic, the procedures used have become choreographed.

“It was emotional,” he said of seeing Gabo injured. “We’ve seen him often and became bonded with him.

“But you have to turn that off when you treat them.”


Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com

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