NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An NYPD K-9 Unit dog was attacked by a woman as an officer arrested her on a subway platform Tuesday.
“Bear,” a member of the Transit Bureau K-9 Unit, suffered four broken teeth and lacerations to his tongue. His handler, Officer Vincent Tieniber, was also injured in the incident, suffering a sprained wrist.
It all started around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, when four women got into a fight on the No. 4 line subway platform at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, police said. A 19-year-old woman was being choked by another woman of the same age.
Officer Rafael Diaz came to break up the fight, but the other two women – ages 22 and 31 – pushed Diaz as he tried to stop the choking.
Diaz called for backup, and Officer Tieniber and Bear came to the scene. He was handcuffing the 22-year-old woman – Ravenia Matos-Davis of Queens – when she attacked Bear, police said.
Matos-Davis kicked the German shepherd twice in the mouth, cracking two teeth and chipping two others. She cut the dog’s tongue and left scuff marks on his snout, police said.
But even though he was injured, Bear fought back.
“Bear kept the woman’s foot in his mouth, and held on until I could handcuff her,” Tieniber said in a news release.
But Bear’s damaged teeth did not penetrate the woman’s shoes.
Bear was taken to the Animal Medical Center on East 62nd Street, where he was treated and released. He was expected to return to the job Wednesday, with two canine teeth capped and the others shaved where they are currently chipped.
Tieniber was treated and released from Beth Israel Medical Center for his sprained wrist, and will be evaluated to see when he can return to duty.
Bear and his handler have been credited with numerous brave arrests.
In 2011, Tieniber saw three men wanted for a robbery – one of them with a pair of scissors in hand – at the Broadway Junction A train stop in Brooklyn. He lined the suspects against the wall and handcuffed them as Bear intently stood guard.
The same year, Tieniber came upon an assault in progress by a suspect armed with a razor at the Atlantic-Pacific N, Q and R line stop, also in Brooklyn. The suspect froze when Bear barked, and the man was arrested without incident, police said.
Bear, 6, has been on the job for five years. Tieniber has been on the force for 11 years.
Matos-Davis was charged with injuring a police animal, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration. Attacking or killing a police animal is currently only a Class A misdemeanor, but legislation is pending to make it a Class E felony, police said.
Another of the women in the fight – Alexandria James, 19, of the Bronx – was charged with strangulation and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Tabricia Moore, 31, also of the Bronx, was charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, police said.
The woman James allegedly attacked suffered bruises, scratches and neck pain, but refused medical attention, police said.
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