Man stabs police dog until knife breaks, but K9 refuses to let go, Las Vegas cops say

When a Las Vegas police officer shot a knife-wielding man with a rubber bullet, K9 Hunter’s handler thought he had dropped his knife and released his partner, KVVU reported.

But police say 27-year-old Joseph Arquilla still had the knife, and began stabbing Hunter — 13 times in all — until his knife broke, KSNV reported. In fact, Arquilla kept trying to stab the K9 with the broken blade, police say.

Hunter never let go, according to the station. Officers shot Arquilla with another rubber bullet and SWAT officers swarmed him to end the early morning Oct. 26 incident.

Now Hunter is recovering well at home after emergency surgery for stab wounds to his neck, Las Vegas police wrote on Instagram.

“He’s a tough pup but not too tough to nuzzle up to dad,” police wrote on the post, which includes a photo of a bandaged Hunter.

Hunter, who has been a Las Vegas police K9 for seven years, is expected to be back on the job in a few weeks, KTNV reported.

“He’s in good spirits and excited to get back to work,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department K9 Section wrote in a separate Instagram post. “Aside from some slight swelling, he’s doing great and the doctor thinks he should be back to work within the next week or so.”

Arquilla faces charges including resisting a public officer and mistreating a police dog, The Las Vegas Sun reported.

The harrowing incident began at 12:30 a.m. Oct. 26 when someone reported a man with a knife, according to the publication. Police say they found Arquilla on the roof of a convenience store.

After several hours, negotiators talked Arquilla into descending a ladder placed against the store, but police say he refused to drop the knife when he reached the ground, KVVU reported.

That’s when officers shot him with a rubber bullet and Hunter’s partner mistakenly released the K9, KTNV reported.

But Hunter kept his hold on Arquilla’s wrist despite his wounds until officers took the man into custody, The Las Vegas Sun reported.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.