City at odds with St. Paul woman suing over police dog attack


A St. Paul woman attacked by a dog with the police department's K9 unit is suing the city.

Karen Shafer contends she was in her backyard with friends in the summer of 2013 when the driver of a stolen car being chased by police crashed and the suspect fled on foot, KARE 11 reports.

According to the lawsuit, the K9 ran to Shafer's yard, bit her as she ran toward her house, and did not release her when ordered to do so by his handler, the station says.

Shafer tells the Pioneer Press the dog, Rebel, ignored three commands from Officer Matthew Yunker to let go of her before Yunker "finally put his thumbs in the dog’s mouth and lifted the dog and my arm off the ground and got him to release.”

Shafer told the newspaper she needed 17 stitches after being bitten on the hand, leg, and arm and the injuries left significant scars. Her lawsuit seeks payment for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional harm, the Pioneer Press says.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune reports a response from the City Attorney's office filed last year confirms Shafer was bitten and injured by Rebel but claims she was at fault.

Their report says the case is scheduled for mediation this week.

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