PYRO UPDATE: K-9 making "great improvements" after being stabbed by suspect

Photo: Green Bay Police Department

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Green Bay K-9 Pyro is making "great improvements" as he recovers from last Sunday's stabbing, according to the Green Bay Police Department.

Officers released new photos and an update on Pyro's condition Thursday.

Police say Pyro is "becoming more active and is more engaging with his handler and staff at the hospital. Officer [Scott] Salzmann and his family have been taking Pyro out for more walks and helping him continue strides to survive this tragic incident."

Pyro remains under the care of veterinarians at the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center in Appleton.

"The Animal Referral Center staff and the many thoughts and prayers have greatly helped with his recovery and we cannot thank everyone enough for their love and support in his recovery," police say.

A fundraiser for Pyro will be held Thursday evening at Bark & Brew, 2310 Lineville Rd, Suamico. The Team Pyro Fundraiser is hosted by the non-profit Bark N Blue Foundation. Hours are 5-7 p.m. There's a suggested $5 donation at the door. CLICK HERE for full details on the fundraiser.

Pyro was stabbed several times Sunday in the 1300 block of Western Avenue. Police were called to the area after a man identified as Sai Vang made threats to shoot a family member.

CLICK HERE for full coverage of the criminal complaint filed against Sai Vang.

According to the complaint, Pyro was deployed when Sai refused orders to comply with officers for arrest. It appeared Pyro bit Sai on the upper left arm or shoulder. An officer said he saw Sai spin counterclockwise. Sai removed a black-handled weapon from his waistband. It was a "large boning-style knife."

"I watched as Sai started violently swing the knife upward, in a stabbing motion, at K-9 Pyro," reads one officer's story detailed in the criminal complaint.

This officer decided to use his Taser. He said he believed it was the only way to save Pyro's life in this situation.

When the Taser hit Sai, he was incapacitated. Pyro let go and ran to the south. Sai fell to the ground and the knife fell out of his hand.

Officers moved in and took Sai into custody.

They found Pyro "lying on the grass between the sidewalk and the road. K-9 Pyro looked dazed, and was panting. He was also bleeding from his mouth," reads the complaint.

At first, officers thought it was Sai's blood. As they looked closer, they saw Pyro was bleeding from the neck. The dog was coughing up blood.

One officer described the blade on Sai's knife to be about five inches long. There was blood at the three-inch mark.

Sai was taken to a hospital for medical attention and then to a crisis center. Sai told an officer that he was sorry and "that he was trying to get help for his neck." He also told officers that he wanted his doctor arrested.

Sai explained that he stabbed Pyro on instinct "because he is scared of dogs."

Sai provided this written statement to police:

"On 4/7/10 I was freaking out about my back, I called the police to come get me so they could fix my neck." He didn't wish to add anything to the statement.

Sai is being held on a $10,000 cash bond. He was under state supervision for a prior theft.

Pyro required emergency surgery Sunday night to repair "multiple soft tissue injuries to his neck and his esophagus."

Pyro received blood and plasma transfusions and a temporary tracheostomy due to a blood clot that was preventing him from breathing. Doctors make a hole in the windpipe and insert a tube to allow the animal to breathe.

Pyro was in recovery Monday morning when he suffered complications of a twisted stomach and was taken for a second surgery.

On Tuesday, Officer Salzmann and his family were taking Pyro out for "short duration walks" to help him build up his strength, according to the department.

Pyro has been standing, sitting and walking under his own power.

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith says Pyro's actions likely prevented an officer-involved shooting.

On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Schmitt presented Pyro with a Key to the City.

Green Bay Police are warning people to beware of phone calls soliciting donations for K-9 Pyro. The department IS NOT asking for donations over the phone. "This is a prime example of a scammer using a sad incident or disaster for their benefit. You also see this often after natural disasters. Do not give money or any personal information to anyone over the phone, no matter who they claim to be," reads a statement from Green Bay Police.


PHOTO: Green Bay Police Department
PHOTO: Green Bay Police Department