An Illinois State Police dog was hit by a pickup truck during a traffic stop Monday night in Washington Park.
Hunter, a 1-year-old Belgian Malinois, remains hospitalized at the Animal Emergency Center in Collinsville with non-life-threatening injuries, said Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye.
The driver that hit the dog was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. It was not immediately known whether charges were issued against the driver.
Hunter and his handler were called to 57th Street and Forrest Avenue in Washington Park at 11:10 p.m. to sniff a car for drugs, Dye said.
The dog completed the sniff and the handler placed him in the kennel in the back of the squad car. The handler a short time later released the dog so he could reward him when a pickup struck the dog just after he came out of the car.
After Hunter was hit, Dye said he ran into a wooded area with the handler chasing after him.
“He was so frightened after being hit, he just took off,” Dye said.
The handler managed to chase down Hunter, load him back in the squad car and take him to the 24-hour veterinary clinic in Collinsville where he was treated for a swollen hip.
“We are glad Hunter will make a full recovery. This could have been a disaster. These K9 officers train so often for hours with these dogs” Dye said. “I know it sounds cliche, but these handlers truly love their dogs, they go home with them every night, and they are always training with them in all sorts of weather.”