Update: Police dispatcher Marleta Locklear, 45, charged with cruelty after shooting police K9 drug dog
NORTH CAROLINA -- Pembroke K9 Officer Payne is recovering after being shot about four times early Saturday morning while on duty with his handler, according to Pembroke Police Chief Grant Florita.
Florita said Payne's handler, Jason Hunt, stopped at around 4:20 a.m. on Union Chapel Road for the dog to exercise and relieve himself.
Hunt lost sight of his K9 partner then heard gunshots minutes later, Florida said. Hunt then saw the dog running toward him in a field.
Hunt realized Payne was wounded and immediately took him to a local veterinarian for medical treatment, according to Florita.
He said a homeowner shot Payne, thinking it was strays dogs attacking the homeowner's dog.
Florita said the homeowner said they had been having problems with stray dogs on their property.
The incident remains under investigation and, in the meantime, Payne remains in good condition at the veterinarian's office.
Florita said he is expected to make a full recovery.
The police department has received calls from people throughout the community and around the country offering to help pay for Payne's medical expenses and to provide bullet proof vests for Payne and the department's other K9 officer.
Florita said is department is just overjoyed Payne is going to be okay.
Payne is a two-year-old Labrador Retriever and has worked with Pembroke police for one year.
(WPDE - November 19, 2016)