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Pound-bound dog doing fine after totaling Crocker police car Wednesday
CROCKER, Mo. (July 31, 2009) — An Alaskan malamute being taken by Crocker police to the Dixon dog pound is doing fine after a Wednesday evening car crash, but the police car has been totaled and the policeman driving the car spent time in an area hospital.

After a series of dog attacks about two years ago and ongoing complaints about stray animals, Crocker aldermen voted to adopt dog control ordinances and contracted with an animal shelter in Dixon to house stray dogs from Crocker until they’re adopted out or euthanized. Police Chief Robert Ishmael said one of his officers, Rex L. Churchill, 31, had been on his way to the Dixon pound when a dog he was carrying decided it didn’t want to remain in the passenger seat of the 1997 Ford Explorer patrol car.

“Basically the canine got free, it came over the console of the truck, got between him and the steering wheel and he lost control of the vehicle,” Ishmael said.

After the officer lost control of his patrol car, it went off the road and over an embankment, Ishmael said.

According to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports, Churchill had been headed toward Dixon on Highway 133 about five miles away from Dixon when he lost control at 6:40 p.m., ran off the right side of the road, returned to the roadway, overcorrected, and went off the right side of the roadway again before overturning.

Churchill, who had been wearing his seat belt, was able to call for help and was subsequently transported by Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel to Phelps County Regional Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

Dixon city officials said the dog was not injured and was later claimed by its owners. The patrol car was totaled and has been taken to Gene’s Towing in Crocker for storage, Ishmael said.

The 1997 Ford Explorer had been in Crocker’s police fleet for about 10 years, Ishmael said, and was the only car in the fleet with a dog cage. However, Crocker police now have their own police dog and don’t use the cage for strays to avoid spreading diseases between stray dogs and the police dog.

Ishmael said he plans to review police procedures for animal control to avoid having another dog get loose while being transported, but he doesn’t plan to recommend that the city end its program of transporting strays to the Dixon dog pound.

What the new procedures will be hasn’t yet been discussed, however.

“Honestly, we haven’t gotten that far,” Ishmael said. “I just got the officer out of the hospital and he’s doing fine, just some bumps and bruises, thank goodness.”

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