FAIRFIELD — The untrained police dog that bit an officer’s infant daughter at home should not have been living near the family, and specific instructions to that effect were given to the officer, according to the company that provided the dog.

Matt Betts, owner of the Rhode Island-based International Canine Exchange, said that the dog’s handler, Officer Jordan Brooks, was advised not to try to integrate the dog, a nearly 2-year-old male Belgian Malinois named Rex, into his household. Instead, the dog should have been staying elsewhere, such as at a kennel, Betts said.

“Unfortunately, the handler didn’t really follow instructions at all,” Betts said.

Fairfield Police Chief Tom Gould said Thursday that the department was investigating.

The town bought the dog in January from International Canine Exchange for $7,500.

Rex was originally from Croatia and was returned to the company after the biting incident, which ended the department’s short-lived canine program.

On Feb. 24, the dog bit Brooks’ infant daughter around 10 p.m. in their Winslow home. The dog, which was not fully trained, was taken to the Humane Society Waterville Area and put into quarantine while the town decided what to do. The infant suffered puncture wounds and bruised ribs, police said.

Typically, Betts said, police dogs stay in a kennel at the police department. He said the dog is a police tool and is trained as such.

Deborah Palman, owner of Maine K-9 Services, which specializes in working dog training and certification for search and rescue and law enforcement, said it’s not unusual for a police dog to be kept by an officer, though the dog might not necessarily live with the family.

“Often when these dogs are bought, you as a buyer might not know if they’ve been socialized with kids or brought up around kids or what the situation is,” said Palman, a certified police dog trainer at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy who retired in 2008.

Betts said the dog is not mean or aggressive, and that it would be sold to another agency. He said this had never happened in the past with their dogs.

He said it was perplexing that the officer – especially a first-time handler – would not follow the instructions given by the company. “We give these instructions to keep these problems from happening,” Betts said.

Colin Ellis can be contated at 861-9253 or at:

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