Recovery expected for police dog in scrap with alleged burglar

Richard Stieb

K9 Officer Oldo, and his handler, Ofc. Geraldine Earthman.

A Grand Junction police trained German Shepherd, “Oldo,” is expected to make a full recovery after authorities allege a burglary suspect tried to drown the dog in a confrontation Wednesday night.

Richard Stieb, 38, was booked into the Mesa County Jail on suspicion of first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, menacing, possession of a weapon by a prior offender, aggravated cruelty to animals, prohibited use of a firearm and reckless endangerment. Stieb had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear and absconding parole.

Oldo, one of three dogs trained and currently used for various purposes by the Grand Junction Police Department, was allegedly grabbed by Stieb and pulled into a canal, before officers intervened and rescued the dog, according to a release from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. Stieb had been tracked by the dog roughly a quarter mile northwest from a reported burglary at a home in 1700 block of L 1/2 Road around 11 p.m.

The homeowner initially told authorities the suspect was in his garage before firing a shot from handgun into the air after being discovered and running away. Fruita police and sheriff’s deputies responded and eventually called for the assistance of a Grand Junction police dog. Once located, Stieb allegedly refused to comply with orders and the dog was ordered to attack.

Stieb was treated for injuries to his side and face. An arrest affidavit said Stieb had scratch marks on his back and neck, complaining of shoulder and back pain, and possible broken wrists.

“Stieb said he had been ‘beat up’ by law enforcement for no reason,” reads the affidavit. Stieb declined further statements without a lawyer.

Oldo, meanwhile, suffered bruises to his ears, face, neck and had water and small rocks in his stomach. The dog was treated and is home resting, expected to return to duty Saturday, the release said.

The release said alcohol and drugs are suspected factors in the incident.


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