‘Please send positive thoughts’: Police dog Dax injured while apprehending fleeing suspect

Dax, a veteran Lake County Sheriff's Office police dog and among the top in the nation, remains under the care of a veterinarian after being injured Sunday during the apprehension of a fleeing felon.

Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, police were pursuing a vehicle about 11:55 p.m. Sunday when the driver, a 16-year-old male from Zion, struck a department squad car, according to Lake County sheriff's police.

The driver continued and crashed the stolen car in the 41000 block of North Green Bay Road in unincorporated Zion and then fled on foot, police said.

Sheriff’s K9 Dax and his handler, Deputy John Forlenza, were called to track the fleeing driver believed to be hiding in a wooded area, according to Lake County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Chris Covelli.

After arriving at the scene, Forlenza warned the offender to surrender and Dax began barking to further warn the driver, Covelli said. The 16 year old refused to surrender or make himself known but was found by Dax after a brief track, he added.

The teen surrendered after being bit by Dax in the torso area, according to Covelli, and was treated for the bite at a hospital. Charges are pending in Illinois and Wisconsin, Covelli said.

During the apprehension, Dax sustained an injury that did not allow him to bear weight on his hind legs. He is resting, allowing some swelling in his spine to go down and doctors will be able to reassess, Covelli said.

“We are extremely hopeful Dax’s injury is not serious,” Lake County Sheriff John D. Idleburg said in a news release. “Please send positive thoughts to Dax and Deputy Forlenza as the extent of the injury is determined.”

Dax has been with the Lake County Sheriff's Office for nine years and is one of its longest serving canines. He has won dozens of national and regional awards, including the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Award.

Dax has located hundreds of missing endangered people and fleeing felons since beginning his tenure and is known as being one of the premier police canines in the nation, Covelli said.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.