Clay County Sheriff's Department's K-9 Officer Forrest appears to be on the road to recovery after being injured while attempting to subdue a suspect during an arrest early Monday morning.
Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times the bruising and swelling around Forrest's head and muzzle was going down and it appears he has not suffered sensory damage at this time.
"Forrest will remain under observation for the next few days, but he's back to work on a limited basis," Deputy/K-9 Handler Josh Clarke said Wednesday evening. "If we need him, Forrest will be there."
Clarke said the tight-quarters of the terrain and the narrow drainage ditch in which the five-minute struggle took place kept Forrest from being able to properly perform the restraining hold necessary to subdue the suspect.
"Forrest is trained to aggressively hold a suspect without inflicting major injuries," Clarke said. "He is supposed to assist law enforcement officers with their duties, not harm a suspect. Our initial search Monday night was to find an injured driver who left a vehicle involved in an accident, not end up in a struggle."
The struggle was potentially a deadly situation for Forrest.
The suspect, who allegedly admitted to several officers that he intended to hurt Forrest, appeared in Clay Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon.
Brandon Riggle, 27, Clay City, was formally charged with operating a vehicle with an ACE of .15 or more, operating a vehicle while intoxicated -- endangering a person, resisting law enforcement, interfering with a law enforcement animal and failure to stop after an accident resulting in non-vehicle damage.
According to new details provided by the sheriff's department, shortly before 12 a.m., Monday, deputies responded to an initial hit-and-run accident report about a truck hitting a home and leaving the scene. A second report notified authorities a truck was located in a ditch on a farm road with the driver inside laying on the horn.
When the deputies arrived, blood and firearms were found inside the vehicle, but not the driver. Clarke and Forrest discovered Riggle hiding in a brush pile in a narrow ditch, but the struggle started when he refused several orders to come out and Forrest was sent to get him out.
Jail officials confirmed Riggle, who is an employee at the Clay County Highway Department, remains incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center on a $7,000 cash bond as of 6 p.m., Wednesday evening.