HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A Hancock County canine deputy is recovering after being stabbed last week.
Authorities say Loco was stabbed in the abdomen while chasing a suspect through a wooded area. That suspect was taken into custody shortly after and is now charged with assaulting an officer, as well as other charges.
Loco was rushed into emergency surgery but is now on the road to recovery.
“He’s recovering very well," said Loco’s handler, Hancock County deputy Colin Freeman. “Actually, he just got his cone off."
According to Freeman, Loco the Belgian Malinois was back to his normal self about two days after the attack.
“It’s been hard keeping him from bouncing around so much so he doesn’t take the stitches out,” Freeman said.
The vet who performed his surgery says Loco needed 100 to 125 stitches after being stabbed in the abdomen.
“Most of them are internal stitches," said Freeman. “He’s only got about 30 to 40 stitches on the outside.”
In the heat of the moment, Freeman didn’t know what happened to his four-legged partner.
“The first thing I thought when he would not come back to my commands... I thought the worst had happened to him,” Freeman recalls.
And every moment Loco was missing was hard for Freeman.
“It was a long three and a half hours until we found him. It was very stressful and very emotional."
When it was announced that Loco would make a full recovery, everyone at the sheriff’s department were relieved.
Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam says Loco and the other canine deputies are valued as much as the human officers are. But for now, the dog’s workload is on hold while he recovers.
“He’s on desk duty. He’s confined to the kennel,” joked the sheriff.
Loco will have his stitches out within the next two weeks. Until then, he is taking short walks a few times a day and taking it easy until he gets the all-clear from the vet.
Jeremy Mitchell, the man accused of stabbing Loco, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, felony eluding, and a slew of other charges.