Wounded Austell K-9 has leg amputated

Police K-9 Officer Jerry Lee (right) shortly after being shot in the line of duty. His leg ultimately had to be amputated.
Police K-9 Officer Jerry Lee (right) shortly after being shot in the line of duty. His leg ultimately had to be amputated.

Credit: Austell Police Department

Partner: ‘He still wants to play and be an old dog’

An Austell K9 police dog that was shot in the leg while tracking a suspect last month had to undergo surgery Friday to have his wounded leg amputated.

K-9 officer Jerry Lee’s left front leg was removed little over three weeks after he was shot, but a new prosthetic leg could be fitted once he heals. Dequan Cortez Glenn, 24, shot the police dog while trying to evade an April 18 police checkpoint near I-20 in Douglasville.

Jerry Lee’s handler, Austell police officer Edward Reeves, dragged his wounded partner over 100 yards to safety. Glenn later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“I can’t be any more grateful for everyone’s support from family, friends, the community and my department,” Reeves told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during a Friday morning phone call. “That’s really what’s kept me pieced together.”

The Atlanta man’s bullet struck Jerry Lee, a 5-year-old German shepherd, in his left elbow and shattered the bone before exiting the leg. Jerry Lee spent two days after the shooting at the Blue Pearl Animal Hospital in Sandy Springs where he underwent an initial surgery to place his wounded leg into a casted arm sling.

Doctors hoped the splint would fuse the dog’s bones together, but his leg wasn’t healing properly. During a recent visit, veterinarians determined amputation would preserve the best quality of life for Jerry Lee, Austell Police Department announced on Facebook.

“His little leg couldn’t be saved, but we want him to have a good life and not be in pain,” Austell Deputy Police Chief Natalie Poulk said. “He’s been struggling a little bit with that cast on. And we just want him to be happy and have a good retirement.”

The gunshot wound cut Jerry Lee’s career as a K-9 officer short. Reeves explained that when the original recovery plan failed, doctors opted for amputation in part because and there was nowhere to reattach a torn tricep. He plans to get the dog a prosthetic leg after he heals.

Jerry Lee joined the force June 28 and has lived with Reeves and his family since. The pooch will live his retirement out with the family.

“I’m letting it affect me more than him. He still wants to play and be an old dog,” Reeves said. “He was always ready to go to work, he’s always happy … I mean, you just couldn’t ask for a better partner.”