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Las Vegas police dog attacked by suspect back on the job

Bear will be 6 years old this month. His partner, @LVMPD Officer Malia says he loves to work. He just won "Top Dog" in the country at the K9 trials. He's a malinois/shepherd mix and loves his ball. (Heather Mills | KSNV)

A Metro Patrol K9 was viciously attacked by a man during a standoff on Jan. 6, 2018 while that man was trying to burglarize a building near 8th and Charleston. He then set a fire inside while K9 Bear went-in to find him.

The man, Wesley Sivak, was taken into custody and charged with 1st Degree Arson, Burglary, and Mistreatment of a Police Animal.

Despite the attack, Bear’s handler, Officer Shane Malia said Bear loves to work and he’s ok now. In fact, he’s back in the field.

"I like to tell him he's my little warrior,” Officer Malia said. "He wants to either have that ball or in the truck with the sirens going looking for bad guys," he told us.

When Bear was called-in to help Saturday night, Sivak grabbed a metal pole and a knife.

“He tried wrapping it around Bear's neck. Tried to strangle him. Tried to kill him." He said, "I could really see the bulge in his right and left eye."

Bear was able to stay focused during the attack and ultimately Officer Malia said he saved lives.

"At the end of the day the suspect sustained a dog bite, but it saved his life as well because he had a criminal history, he committed criminal acts and there’s a possibility he was mentally ill or on some kind of controlled substance,” said Sergeant Justin Duncan, also a K9 handler. "This deployment of Bear inside this building absolutely prevented an officer-involved shooting,” he added.

Metro’s K9’s train every day with exact precision. "Our commands are a combination of German and English commands,” said Sgt Duncan.

Metro is the third largest K9 agency in the country. There are 19 working dogs on patrol. "They take the risks so the officer doesn't have to,” Sgt. Duncan said.

But, they’re also partners.

"He's my partner, I spend more time with him than my family or friends," said Officer Malia.

These dogs work hard and the job is difficult. Sgt Duncan said it’s hard on their bodies, their elbows, their teeth and when they retire, they get to go home with their handler. But they need care. That’s what the non-profit, Friends for Las Vegas Police K9’s does. They help provide care for retired police dogs. If you can help, visit: http://friends4lvk9.com.

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