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Duluth man sentenced for punching police dog, stealing car

DULUTH, Minn. - A Duluth man will spend six months in jail for punching a police dog and stealing a car.

Brandon DeMario Shaw, 21, pleaded guilty in Douglas County Circuit Court on Monday to one felony count of operating a motor vehicle without the owner's consent and one misdemeanor count of harassment of a police animal with injury. One count of obstructing an officer was dismissed.

Shaw was sentenced to six months jail and ordered to pay $594 in fines and court costs. He also is required to provide a DNA sample.

According to the complaint:

In the early morning of July 26, Superior Police Officer Todd Maas noticed and followed a vehicle that had been reported stolen in Duluth. The vehicle ran out of gas and stopped in the alley near the 2100 block of Tower Avenue.

When the driver, later identified as Shaw, exited the vehicle, Maas ordered him to get on the ground or he could be bitten by his K-9 partner, Blek.

Shaw jumped a 4-foot fence and attempted to flee on foot. He lost his footing and went to his knees. As Blek was about to apprehend him, Shaw punched the dog's left ear, then grabbed both the dog's ears, raised its head and appeared to bite the dog on the head.

He also struck the dog on the muzzle before running away. Blek located Shaw again and he fled across Tower Avenue, leaving a shoe behind in the road; he jumped a 6½ foot fence.

A veterinarian from Superior Animal Hospital said it was likely the dog was bruised and sore from the assault.

Blek, who joined the Superior Police Department in 2006, remains on active duty with the force.

Injuring a police animal is a felony. The count was amended to a misdemeanor Monday as part of a plea bargain.