For weeks, in a wake of attention promoted by law enforcement, residents of Washington state followed the story of a sheriff's department K-9 that the media reported had been shot by a suspect during a high-speed chase. A GoFundMe page set up by the Thurston County Deputy Sheriff's Foundation collected more than $73,000 to pay for Arlo's surgery. Police sold merchandise with his photo, the Intercept reports. Well-wishers could follow the dog's recovery through social media posts by Arlo's handler. In fact, the K-9 became a social media star with 2.5 million TikTok followers, and his recovery and return home were covered by local and national news outlets. But the feel-good story hit a roadblock: an investigation by another sheriff's department found the suspect's gun had had no bullets, and no shell casings from that gun were found. Arlo had been shot by sheriff's deputies.
Police have taken no blame for the misunderstanding. "We did not make any statements that the dog was shot by the suspect or was shot by the officers until we were very comfortable," an investigator said. Arlo's handler wrote on Instagram that the suspect had shot the dog, a posting that's since been removed. Other reports referred to an exchange of gunfire in which Arlo was wounded. The GoFundMe page didn't say who shot him, per the Olympian. As for the suspect, he was shot three times and is now in the Thurston County jail. A nurse told him word was that he had shot Arlo; he said then his gun had no bullets and later confided that he was considering suicide. Police raised no money for his medical bills, notes the Intercept. Arlo retired in March after being honored for his courage by the American Kennel Club. (Read more K-9 stories.)