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'Jester' K-9 handler also saves dog bitten by rattlesnake by paying for treatment

ECPD K-9 Unit donated $1,300 to save a dog bitten by a rattlesnake.

SAN DIEGO — CBS 8 received new video of Jester, the K-9 police dog, as he is recovering from a stab wound after catching a suspect in El Cajon.

It all started last week on Wednesday when El Cajon Police responded to Roanoke Road after reports of a man slashing car tires with a butcher’s knife near Cajon Valley Middle School.

When they arrived on scene, he had already punctured 25 tires and wouldn’t drop the knife, and then he took off running. Afraid he’d run to the middle school nearby and endanger children there, his handler released Jester. During the struggle, the man stabbed Jester in the head, right behind his ear.

After suspect Rani Alrais was arrested, they rushed Jester to the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center in La Mesa where his injury could be treated.

“Jester had lost a lot of blood and the vets were working on him when we came in,” said K-9 Sergeant Michael Murphy. “It seemed very serious at the time. The vets were working on him, and he was still awake.”

Fortunately, the stab wound was treated without complication.

“Vets do what vets do and the emergency hospital gave him the best treatment,” said Sgt. Murphy. “They were able to see that he didn’t get any vital organs hit and they were able to stop the bleeding.”

While Sergeant Murphy and the other officers were happy Jester was going to be ok, they noticed a pair of 2 ½ year old German Shepherds being treated for rattlesnake bites, and one of them was in pretty bad shape.

“The male had gotten hit in his tongue by the rattlesnake, so he was in pretty grave condition,” said Sgt. Murphy.

Knowing how expensive blood work and vials of anti-venom can be, Sgt. Murphy, who is president of the El Cajon Canine Officers Association, decided to help this family out with a $1,300 donation from the nonprofit to pay for Sampson’s treatment.

“He was getting the one treatment of anti-venom so we said we would cover any additional anti-venom that the dog needed and the blood work to help that family out,” said Sgt. Murphy.

Sampson’s owner, Margaret Hodges, expressed gratitude for the generous deed in this Facebook post:

“Thank You El Cajon Police Department K-9 Unit!

Wednesday morning two of my dogs were bitten by a 5 ft rattle snake. Sampson was bitten severely while protecting his litter mate, Vala. Her bite was less severe. I rushed them to Pet Emergency Center in La Mesa. Both were given anti-venom injections and were left there for observation noting that the Emergency Team was really concerned about Sampson and the extra treatment he would need.

As it happened Sgt. Michael Murphy of the El Cajon PD K-9 Unit and other El Cajon PD Officers were at the Pet Emergency Center with K9 Officer Jester. Jester had just been stabbed. While Jester was being treated, the El Cajon PD Officers saw Sampson and wanted to help.

Around 6 p.m., I received a call from the Emergency Center. Vala was going to be fine. Sampson would require another anti-venom injection and further monitoring. The vet said don’t worry about the cost for this, it’s been taken care of! I could not believe it, what a kindness and blessing from the El Cajon Police Department K-9 Unit for contributing to helping Sampson get well. The El Cajon Police Department K-9 Unit truly shows it is committed not only their animal’s welfare but to the public’s animals as well! This kindness is such a positive reflection on the El Cajon Police Department. Sgt. Murphy even called me the next day to check up on Samson! Both dogs are home. Vala is doing extremely well. Sampson is slowly improving but has a long way to go.”

Jester is at home with his handler, Officer Randall Gray, and he is expected to make a full recovery.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” said Sgt. Murphy. “We don’t know but unfortunately we were there for a bad reason with Jester getting hurt but knowing that Jester was going to be alright, I wanted to make sure that family knew that both their dogs were going to make it and have that same feeling that we did.”

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