Stephen Ellison

Man Attacked by Sheriff's K-9 Disputes It Was Accidental, Wants Dog Euthanized

An East Bay man bitten by a sheriff’s K-9-is accusing deputies of commanding the dog to do it and is demanding the dog be euthanized.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said entire incident involving Joshua Phillips was captured on video and it was an honest mistake.

Phillips was pulled over in Castro Valley for suspicion of drunk driving, and he ended up in a hospital being treated for dog bites.

In the video, Phillips is seen being handcuffed by a K-9 deputy on suspicion of DUI. Phillips is in front of a the deputy’s vehicle when suddenly the door opens, and the dog jumps out, runs towards his handler and then to Phillips, attacking him for about 20 seconds before the handler can get the dog off of him.

"I was shocked, I was scared, I was screaming," Phillips said.

Phillips said he suffered multiple injuries, including deep cuts that required stitches near his knee. He said he's having trouble bending his knee.

The sheriff’s office said it was an equipment malfunction; a button worn on the deputy’s vest that controls the door of the K-9 vehicle was accidentally pressed when the handler leaned over and pushed it against the magazine below it.

"The dog is going to do what dogs are trained to do, and that is come to the assistance of the officer," sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Phillips said he doesn’t care why the vehicle door opened. He believes the deputy commanded the dog to attack him using the beam of his flashlight.

"The dog walks out, and he shines a light on me, and the dog attacks me when you shine the light on me," Phillips said. "That’s how the dogs are trained."

Kelly disagreed and said the dog was drawn to the agitated suspect.

"This was an accident," he said. "We had no reason to bite this gentleman. We would not want to do that."

Phillips added, "I feel like it was intentionally done, and I don’t have any remorse for what happens to the Officer or the dog."

The sheriffs office said it will pay Phillips' medical bills and any living expenses he incurs as a result.

Phillips said he plans to file a lawsuit, and he wants the dog euthanized.

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