A Massachusetts police officer was left with no choice but to fatally shoot his K-9 partner when the dog attacked him at a crime scene.

Keith Larson, who has been with the Plymouth Police Department for seventeen years, and his police dog, a German shepherd named Nico, were called to a parking lot where a suspect had fled early Tuesday morning. Police Chief Michael Botieri said in a statement that Nico bit Larson while the cop was preparing the dog for the call. This was the second time this year that the dog had attacked Larson in this way.

Larson tried to get Nico off of him, but the dog would not stop the attack, so he finally had to use his service weapon to shoot the animal. Botieri said that Larson was rushed to the hospital with injuries to his hands after the incident.

“It happened in less than 30-45 seconds, which is a long time that he had to go through that,” Botieri told reporters, according to WFXT. “I’m sure you realize it is difficult for as K-9 officer to dispatch their own dog like that.”

Larson, who is said to have an “exemplary” service record over his nearly two decades on the force, had also been bit by Nico back in April. Botieri told reporters that the two of them were reassigned to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Academy before being recertified for service in July.

“The report we got from the sheriff’s department is that they were working together as a team and [had] no issues,” Botieri added.

Lori Medeiros is a witness who was nearby at the time of the incident.

“I think it was about three gunshots fired. I looked out and I saw the police officer on the ground,” the woman recounted. “I didn’t hear any yelling or screaming. I just saw the officer down on the ground and I know he was obviously in distress.”

Botieri said that he and Larson’s fellow officers are hoping that he makes a quick recovery.

“It’s always difficult to see any of your officers injured,” Botieri said. “We feel bad about that.”

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