An Anaheim police dog that was wounded in a fatal officer-involved shooting was released from an animal hospital today to much fanfare from his handler and other city officials.
Bruno, a German shepherd, had been recuperating at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital, where he had surgery to repair his jaw and a collapsed long after he was shot March 20.
Officer R.J. Young, Bruno's handler, said he heard from supporters around the globe.
"It's because of all the support and the thoughts and the prayers -- it's because of all that we are here so fast," Young said. "There's no doubt in my mind, that's what got Bruno through this."
Young said he is excited to get Bruno home.
"Having my partner by my side again is going to be an absolutely amazing thing," Young said.
Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said it was a "bittersweet" moment.
"It's one of those bittersweets," the chief told City News Service. "You're excited that Bruno is recovered, he's going home, but at the same time, what that means is he's longer going to be working with us."
Bruno's retirement will become official May 13 at a City Council meeting. The council has to approve a formal transfer of ownership to the dog's handler, Quezada said.
"On May 22 we will recognize him at our annual awards banquet," Quezada said.
The chief does not know if Young will take on another dog, but the department wants to replace Bruno. The department is down to five K-9 units and want to be back up to six again, the chief said.
As for whether Young will take on the next service dog, it's up to him, Quezada said.
"And then we have to make sure they're compatible," Quezada said. "Not every handler is compatible to a dog, so we have to go through that process as well."
The chief praised Young as a committed K-9 officer. Quezada recalled how Young would act as a decoy for dog training purposes.
Bruno was shot in the jaw as police closed in on a gun-wielding suspect. Moments later, officers fatally shot the suspect, Robert Moreno Jr., 21. The shooting happened as Orange County probation officers were trying to find a probationer, and Moreno ran from a group he was associating with at the time.
--City News Service