Handler of K-9 recovering after pursuit injury: 'He's my best friend'

Alpharetta K-9 survives 30-foot fall

A local police K-9 is recovering and listed as stable after emergency surgery and a dangerous chase-related fall.

On Saturday, Alpharetta Police Officer Mark Tappan and K-9 officer Mattis pulled over a vehicle and was running its tags when two suspects inside pulled off. Tappan followed the vehicle before it crashed around North Pointe Parkway.

Mattis chased after the suspects, unaware of the sudden 30-foot drop on the other side of the guardrail. 

"I started to jump over the guardrail and then I stopped myself," Tappan told 11Alive's Matt Pearl. "Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw my fearless partner in full flight." 

Mattis landed on the first suspect then continued on to chase down the second one. Both were arrested, and after, police found a backpack full of cell phones credit cards and IDs.

The Alpharetta Department of Public Safety announced on their Facebook page that Mattis was rushed to have emergency surgery for a lacerated liver and heavy internal bleeding. He remained there for hours to treat the serious injuries, and faces a month-long recovery.

On Facebook, a spokesperson for the department thanked the community and said that Mattis is expected to make a full recovery.

"He has a long road ahead but he will be fine," the post said.

The post reached thousands of people who wrote their will wishes for two. Tappan said they're both getting used to the new-found spotlight. But the most important thing for Tappan is that Mattis is alive and will recover.

"He lives with me, he goes home with me, he plays with my kids, annoys my wife," said Mattis' handler Officer Mark Tappan. "The time I spend with him, it's more than any other person on this earth...He's my best friend." 

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(© 2016 WXIA)


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