Police dogs help catch suspects who allegedly shot pet dog during break-in

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published January 3, 2018

 Harper Woods K-9 officer Stephen Johnson and Kaiser pose for a picture at the Public Safety Department Nov. 6, 2017. The two recently helped apprehend two suspects in a break-in in which the perpetrators shot the victim's dog.

Harper Woods K-9 officer Stephen Johnson and Kaiser pose for a picture at the Public Safety Department Nov. 6, 2017. The two recently helped apprehend two suspects in a break-in in which the perpetrators shot the victim's dog.

File photo by Sean Work

HARPER WOODS — Two home invasion suspects were on the receiving end of some canine comeuppance following the break-in of a Harper Woods home and the shooting of the homeowner’s dog.

The incident occurred at 7:57 p.m. Jan. 2 at a home in the 19700 block of Country Club Drive in Harper Woods.

“The two suspects forced entry through a side door,” said Harper Woods Department of Public Safety Director James Burke. “The homeowner had a friend over, who was standing near the door they gained entry through. When the friend ran, the dog heard the commotion and reacted to the strangers and began barking. It is likely the dog was shot because of the noise or because it ran at the suspects. The homeowner grabbed his phone on the way out of the house and contacted us immediately.”

The victim called 911 and gave a description of the two suspects and the vehicle in which they fled the scene. Officers were immediately dispatched, and two officers arrived in time to observe the suspects fleeing from the scene in the vehicle. The fleeing vehicle came to a stop in Detroit near Merlin Street and King Richard Street, which is in the area of Morang Avenue and Cadieux Road. Both suspects fled the vehicle on foot, police said.

Harper Woods K-9 officer Stephen Johnson was on the scene along with Kaiser, the department’s police dog, as was Duke, the police dog from the Grosse Pointe Farms Police Department. With the dogs’ assistance, the suspects were taken into custody.

“The suspects seemed to know they were about to be caught, so they bailed out of the vehicle and ran on foot,” said Burke. “Officer Johnson released Kaiser from the car, and Kaiser chased down the driver, and officer Johnson made the apprehension nearby. Kaiser and Duke tracked the second suspect to a home about 10 or 12 houses away to where he had fled.”

The victim’s injured dog survived and was taken by his owner to a nearby veterinary center.

“The homeowner took him to the vet, and eventually the dog will be as good as new, which is fortunate,” said Burke. “The homeowner and his friend also weren’t hurt, which is even more fortunate.”

Both suspects as of Jan. 3 were being held without bond at the Public Safety Department on multiple felony charges. Officers have recovered the property belonging to the homeowner that was stolen from his residence.

Burke said he is glad that two people who allegedly would harm an animal are behind bars, and that it was fitting that two trained police dogs were a key part of bringing them to justice.

“It is kind of an ironic situation that these two suspects who would shoot and injure a dog were arrested with instrumental help from K-9 units,” he said. “It’s good they’re off the streets; if they were the kind of people who would shoot a dog, they could very well be the kind of people who would harm a person. Officer Johnson and Kaiser did a great job, and we appreciate the help we received from our mutual-aid partners in the Grosse Pointes and Detroit.”