HOUSTON – An officer shot a police K-9 Wednesday while both were chasing a suspect connected to an armed robbery of an automobile.

Houston executive assistant Chief George Buenik said officers spotted a vehicle that was reported stolen during an aggravated robbery. He said that while the officers were watching the car, a juvenile male and juvenile female got inside. He said that when the officers moved in, the driver of the stolen vehicle backed into a patrol vehicle and then fled, reported Click2Houston.

Consequently, officers briefly chased the vehicle, which stopped in a field near Gears Road and Greens Parkway, and both the male and female fled, Buenik said.

The female, who was armed, was quickly arrested, said Buenik. Afterward, an officer and a K-9 began chasing the male into some nearby brush.

During the chase, the K-9 attacked the officer, biting his thigh, Buenik said. As a result, the officer fired twice to stop the attack. The location of the handler in relation to the incident was not provided.

Buenik said it is possible that the officer might have mistaken the K-9 for a stray dog.

“At this time, we don’t know if the officer thought it was a stray dog or that he knew that it was a police dog. The incident took place in a very wooded brushy area,” Buenik said.

The 9-year-old dog, “Jake,” was initially taken to Aldine Animal Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. He was later moved to a 24-hour veterinary hospital.

Fortunately, he was expected to be all right.

Officer L. Castillo was taken to North Houston Medical Center for treatment of bite wounds. He has been with the Houston Police Department for eight years.