LAWRENCE, Mass — The police dog that fired a handgun with his paw while searching for the weapon discarded by a criminal suspect in a snowbank is enjoying celebrity status.
Ivan, a 90-pound German Shepherd, had his tale go viral on the Internet, get mentioned on CNN, NBC and other networks and featured in USA Today a day after it was first reported in the Sunday Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Mass.
Called to action at 2 a.m. Saturday to find a weapon hidden in a snowbank by one of three suspects in a car stopped by police, Ivan sniffed the area for a few minutes, then began digging furiously. He found the gun but also struck the trigger with his paw, discharging a bullet that harmlessly hit a nearby home.
Police Chief John Romero said the unusal story gained widespread attention because of the public's love for dogs.
"People have a tremendous respect for animals," said Romero. "What happened is improbable. The dog wasn't hurt and no one else was hurt."
Police arrested the three suspects on charges of illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition and other charges.