YORBA LINDA, Calif. - Santa Ana police K-9 Puskas was released from the animal hospital Tuesday after requiring surgery when he lost six teeth taking down a chase and carjacking suspect the day before.
The 7-year-old Dutch shepherd left the Yorba Linda Regional Animal Hospital fresh from the hourslong surgery.
"We removed teeth that were broken down deep in the bone and removed those and fixed a laceration," Dr. Steven Dunbar said.
Puskas brought down the suspect Monday night after a dangerous pursuit. Police were chasing wanted parolee Antonio Padilla after he tried to run an officer over last week.
During the chase, he carjacked a woman in Irvine. Not long after, he crashed the vehicle and fled from it - that's when Puskas jumped in.
"That moment dropped them both back, and he was near the curb and when he fell back I think that's when he hit the red curb and injured himself," handler Officer Luis Galeana said.
Still the K-9 held on until officers made the arrest. While he needs recovery time, the doctor said Puskas will be able to return to work.
"It's really the canine teeth, the longer teeth, that really grab and probably provide most of the protection that they use in their line of work," Dunbar said.
Galeana said the support he's received has been overwhelming. He is relieved to see his partner of two-and-a-half years is on the mend.
"He's still kind of loopy, but he was able to get up on his four legs and lick my face a little bit," he said.
Puskas is a fighter who has come back from a broken jaw and rattlesnake bite in his career.