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Published September 14 2012

Fired Clay deputy’s son bitten by retired police dog

MOORHEAD – The 4-year-old son of a Clay County sheriff’s deputy who was fired in July is recovering from wounds suffered Sunday when a retired police dog owned by the former deputy attacked the boy.

Canine handler Ryan Carey was fired July 25 for reasons Sheriff Bill Bergquist says he can’t discuss publicly. Carey is appealing his termination.

Carey took ownership of the German shepherd named Cuda on the same day as his firing, according to documents obtained from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

On Sunday evening, Carey brought his son to the emergency room at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo after Cuda bit the boy.

According to a sheriff’s office report, Carey and his wife told a deputy that the boy had been throwing a plastic-bottle toy for Cuda at their rural Hawley residence and everything appeared to be fine. When the boy stopped throwing the bottle and went to hug Cuda, the dog attacked him.

“Ryan indicated Cuda is very protective of his toys,” the report states.

The boy suffered a puncture wound to his left temple area, and a large piece of his scalp was missing on the left side of his head. His right nostril also was injured, the report states.

Carey indicated the boy’s injuries weren’t critical but were more cosmetic, and that he was going to be transported to a children’s hospital in the Twin Cities on Monday for surgery, the report states.

A message left on Carey’s cellphone Friday morning was not returned.

In a letter dated Thursday, Clay County Chief Deputy Matt Siiro informed Carey that because of the bite incident, Cuda had been declared a dangerous dog under state law and Carey must register him as such with the sheriff’s office.

Carey must post a clearly visible sign warning there is a dangerous dog on his property, provide proof of $300,000 in liability insurance and implant a microchip in the dog for identification, the letter states.

If Carey fails to provide proof within 30 days that he’s met all of the requirements, the sheriff’s office will seek a court order to have the dog impounded, Siiro’s letter stated.

According to a supplemental sheriff’s report, Carey said he was against euthanizing Cuda and was trying to find a law enforcement agency to take the dog.

Bergquist said he can’t discuss the dog bite incident because of Carey’s ongoing appeal.

Prior to his firing, Carey has been a deputy with Clay County since June 11, 2001.

Carey, along with two other deputies, received the Combat Cross in 2009 for their actions during the search for and shootout with Vincent Degidio Jr., who was later sentenced to 29 years for kidnapping and firearms charges.

In 2010, Carey and Cuda competed in the U.S.P.C.A. Region 18 Police Canine Regional Trials in Rochester, Minn. They won the Kojak Memorial Award for first place in criminal apprehension, second place overall out of 82 participating K-9 partners, and first place in the four dog combined team score with Moorhead Police Officer Justin Vogel and his K-9 partner, Duke.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528