Cigarette burns leave marks on the nose of Pinellas County Sheriff’s K-9. Axel was burned while trying to apprehend a burglary suspect the morning of Feb. 28.
DUNEDIN – A Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy and K-9 are doing OK after suffering injuries while responding to a burglary in progress Friday morning.
Deputies arrested the man and changed him with battery against a police dog and battery on a law enforcement officer.
According to the sheriff’s report, deputies responded to a burglary in progress call at Countryside Manor, 1275 Belcher Road in Dunedin, about 10:28 a.m. Feb. 28 after it was reported that a male suspect was seen breaking in through a window.
Deputies arrived on scene and ordered the suspect to come outside. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to order the suspect out of the home, deputies and the K-9 unit entered the home through the front door with the assistance of the homeowner.
Once inside the residence, the suspect was located in the bathroom but continued to challenge the deputies. The K-9 deputy again ordered the suspect out of the bathroom to which he refused. As deputies approached the bathroom, the suspect struck Deputy Harry Harris. K-9 deputy Michael Kilian released K-9 Axel. Axel was able to get a firm grip on the suspect, who had a lit cigarette in his right hand and used it to burn Axel twice in the nose in an attempt to free himself.
Deputies were able to gain custody of the suspect, who has been identified as Ryan James Packer, 19, a transient. Packer had been removed from the mobile home park by management on Feb. 25.
Packer also was charged with trespass property other than structure or conveyance and resisting an officer with violence.
Deputy Harris has worked for PCSO since March 1, 1999.