By Sarah Crandall and Nadine Maeser
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – When officers with the Wilmington Police Department tracked down a suspect with outstanding warrants on Sunday afternoon, he ran, and that's when that's when Maxx, a K-9 police dog took over.
The dog and the suspect, 22-year-old Travis Glaspie, struggled, and WPD spokesperson Lucy Crockett said Glaspie bit the dog's ear so badly that the animal needed several stitches.
Now, Glaspie, who was bitten during the confrontation, is speaking out.
"I just, I didn't know what it was," said Glaspie. "They say I bit his ear off. I don't think I did that."
The nature of the attack was a first for many.
"As far as someone trying to cannibalize a dog…I've never seen that before," said Wilmington Police Cpl. David Pellegrino, Maxx's leader and companion.
Maxx and Glaspie both walked away with battle wounds, but with different stories after officers attempted to apprehend the 22-year-old.
Glaspie, who has quite a rap sheet, admits he started running when he saw police.
But when Maxx caught up, grabbing Glaspie's leg, then stomach, Glaspie says he feared for his life.
Glaspie then took his own bite out of crime – literally. With his own teeth, his bite split Maxx's ear in two, landing him behind bars where many hope he will stay.
"[Glaspie] was actually poking at [Maxx's] eyes," said Pellegrino. "So, at that time, Maxx came off and went to reengage and that's' when he bit his ear."
"I didn't even know the dog was behind me until I fell, and he was clamping down on me," said Glaspie. "So my first instinct was that I was terrified. I didn't know dogs could bite you like that."
Pellegrino says Maxx was simply doing his job.
"He dictated the situation of why he got apprehended by the dog," said Pellegrino. "He could have given up, but he didn't."
Glaspie claims he's being targeted by police, and that they rough-housed him more than they should have during the arrest.
Wilmington Police deny those allegations.
As for Maxx, officers say the dog is doing well and is happy and healthy for now.
Glaspie is still in jail under a $1.25 million bond and faces a number of charges, including his assault on Maxx.