MANSFIELD, Ohio – Mayor Tim Theaker was back in his office on Monday, working through the pain of five broken ribs after he was taken down by a police K9 during a demonstration.
Theaker volunteered to wear a training sleeve and take a hit from a police dog named Mekel during a ceremony to show off new facilities at the city’s K9 training center.
It wasn’t his first time, but the mayor says he realized as soon as he saw Mekel coming towards him that the dog meant business.
“This dog had a lot of traction, and he was coming towards me, and I thought, ‘oh my gosh what did I agree to do this time,’ and when he hit me it was all over,” said Theaker.
The mayor says as soon as he was pulled to the ground, he knew something wasn’t right.
“It was panic. It was panic because he hit me, I mean he hit me like a mack truck and just knocked me back and knocked me down and as soon as that happened I felt the ribs or something give and it was I was panicking to get back up,” he added.
City Safety Service Director Lori Cope says the dog did what it was trained to do.
“They are trained to do just that and they stop at nothing. Luckily the trainer was there, the handler, and of course, stopped immediately when the mayor went down, but in a normal situation on the street that doesn’t happen,” said Cope.
The mayor says he immediately released the training sleeve.
Video taken by officers at the scene shows Mekel’s handler and others hurrying to Theaker’s side.
“When I fell I couldn’t get my breath I was trying hard to breathe, and I just couldn’t breathe and I thought I felt something give,” he said.
Theaker says he drove himself back to his office where he realized the pain was not going away on its own and was convinced by his office staff to go to an emergency room where they discovered the broken ribs.
The painful injury will take about eight weeks to heal, but Theaker says he has no ill will toward the dog or its handler.
“The dog and the trainer and they did an excellent job they did what they are supposed to do and they hit me pretty hard,” he said adding, “when I see that and when I saw the video, I sure do pity the criminals that these dogs go after because I’ll tell you, these dogs are trained to take down a lot larger individual than me.”