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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Gainesville Police dog bites elementary school student during search demonstration

An 8-year-old Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Elementary student was bitten by a Gainesville Police dog during a Friday afternoon demonstration on the school’s playground. 

The animal, Roo, and his handler officer, Jeff Kerkau, were performing a search demonstration inside a fenced-in area of the playground when the excited child on the other side opened the gate, according to a press release from GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias. 

Roo ran toward the gate and bit the child on his upper-right thigh. Officer Kerkau ran after Roo and pulled it off the child. After the incident, the child had puncture wounds on his thigh, but it didn’t appear severe enough to require stitches, Tobias said.   

“We regret that this incident occurred and sincerely hope that this child has a speedy recovery from his injuries,” he said. 

Alachua County School Board spokeswoman Jackie Johnson said the county won’t cancel future demonstrations, but will work with GPD to make changes in how they are presented. 

“We’ve had these presentations in schools and never had an incident that I’m aware of,” She said. 

[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 5/13/2014 under the headline "GPD dog bites child during search demo"]

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