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Retired NCSO K-9 brutally attacked by pit bulls

A brutal attack on a retired Nye County Sheriff’s K-9 by two neighborhood pit bulls has left the service dog in severe pain and in need of multiple surgeries.

The former K-9 officer’s family is now turning to the local community, asking for help covering the dog’s medical costs, which will likely exceed $4,000. The dog was attacked last week on the western end of town.

Hoss, a 12-year-old German Shepherd, was let out of his home to use the restroom on March 23 when his family says two pit bulls jumped the fence to their yard and attacked the veteran police dog in an empty lot near their property. The pit bulls reportedly dragged him across the desert, causing significant damage to his right ear and the top of his head.

During the attack, both Hoss’ family and several neighbors came to his rescue, spraying the pit bulls with a hose and pushing them back with other objects until they finally left the other dog alone.

“The pit bulls jumped that fence and I guess just came straight for him and attacked him. They knocked him out and started dragging him through the desert. My wife went running over and then the neighbor there tried to help. He was limp and they were just dragging him through the desert,” said Hoss’ owner, NCSO Sgt. Dan Thomassian. “Finally they stopped, but it was too late, so we had to rush him to the vet last Saturday. It wasn’t clear at first if he was going to make it, but he’s doing better now.”

Hoss has already had several surgeries over the last week to repair the damage done in the attack, and is scheduled to undergo yet another surgery next week to try and save his ear.

“He has to have surgery again on Monday and the vet said he could possibly lose his entire right ear,” Thomassian explained.

Although Hoss is reportedly making efforts to stand and walk during his recovery, his family said he is clearly still in a lot of pain.

According to Nye County Animal Control, the incident is still under investigation and no citations have been issued in connection to the case as of Tuesday morning.

Although the family said they are happy to see the dog’s condition improve, the medical costs for Hoss’ lifesaving treatment are making an already devastating situation much harder.

As of Monday morning Hoss had already gone through $2,000 worth of surgery at the Homestead Animal Hospital. With the third surgery scheduled for next week, the bill was expected to go up to $3,000 and by the time he is finished being treated, his family said in all the bill will likely exceed $4,000.

Hoss was adopted by the Thomassian family as a puppy. The sergeant said he trained the dog himself before donating him to the sheriff’s office to be trained for use as a narcotics dog. Hoss began work with the law enforcement agency in 2006 and retired four years later in 2010.

During his four-year tenure, Hoss was credited with helping police make a number of drug-related arrests, including one in Beatty where he was able to help officers discover approximately $20,000 in cash related to a drug operation; it was stashed inside a secret compartment of a vehicle.

While he was still working for the sheriff’s office, Hoss’ medical expenses were covered.

Now that he is retired, however, his medical expenses are no longer covered by the county.

A PayPal account has been set up to accept donations at Hoss.help4k9@yahoo.com. Just go to PayPal and click the send tab to enter the email address and send a donation to the family.

Those wishing to donate locally can also go to the Homestead Animal Hospital, located at 2740 S. Homestead Road to drop off a donation there as well.

Although the last week has been hard on Hoss’s family, Thomassian said it has inspired them to start a nonprofit organization to help pay for medical costs of other retired police K-9s in the future.

“When they retire, the county doesn’t take care of them anymore, and they usually have two, three, four years left to live and there’s no one to take care of them, so the medical expenses are coming out of someone else’s pocket. And we want to be able to keep these K-9s happy the last few years of their lives after all of the work they’ve done and the service they’ve provided,” Thomassian said.

Although the family’s main focus right now is helping Hoss recover from his injuries, the sergeant said they have taken the initial steps into starting the nonprofit, and any money left over from donations to Hoss’ medical care will go toward the new organization.

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