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San Diego police dog Earp, slashed by homicide suspect, retires

June 25, 2009 | 10:29 am

Earp2 

Earp, the San Diego police dog nearly fatally slashed by a homicide suspect, is officially retired, police department officials said today.

The 8-year-old German shepherd was assisting March 21 in the arrest of a man who said he had just killed his estranged wife. The suspect slashed Earp with a butcher knife as Earp and officers closed in.

The dog's K-9 unit partner, Sgt. Jess Havin, rushed Earp to the department's veterinarian, where emergency surgery prevented him from bleeding to death. A few minutes longer and the dog would have died, the veterinarian said.

Earp will be acknowledged at today's luncheon of the San Diego Police Foundation, a private group that raises money for the K-9 unit, which has 34 dogs. 

Earp was named for  the legendary Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp, who operated saloons and gambling halls in downtown San Diego in the 1880s. In retirement, the dog, now fully recovered, will live at Havin's home.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Earp hours after emergency surgery. Credit: San Diego Union-Tribune

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