by: Tom Regan Updated:
JONESBORO, Ga. - The Fayette County Sheriff's office is now installing new remote unlocking systems in the agency's K-9 units to prevent patrol dogs from escaping when a deputy handler is not present.
"What we don't want to happen is the door to open unexpectedly on a patrol vehicle and a full service dog released unless the handler is in close proximity," said Fayette County Sheriff's Office Maj. Bryan Woodie.
Last month, a patrol dog jumped out of a K-9 unit while the deputy was inside a Fayetteville Walmart using a restroom.
The dog attacked Walmart employee Mang Dieke who was sitting outside during a coffee break.
The day of the attack, Dieke spoke with Channel 2's Tom Regan and showed the bite wounds to his arm, stomach and chest.
"He got right in my face. He got me on the arm, and I had to drag him inside the store to get help," Dieke said.
An internal investigation could not determine what caused the dog's "bail out door" to pop open.
The deputy carries a remote opener but sheriff's officials do not believe the deputy
There is speculation that another remote door opener on the same frequency activated the locking system.
The malfunction may have also been caused by water corrosion of integral parts in the locks.
The new system will use a higher frequency for transmission to reduce the possibility of interference from other, consumer variety remotes.
In addition, there will be a device that a handler can easily activate that would prevent the door from opening
"When handler go to the
Woodie said installation of the system on six patrol units will be completed this week at a cost of $26,000.
The Walmart employee has hired an attorney and said he intends to file a negligence lawsuit against Fayette County government.