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Nassau police dog honored in drug suspect's arrest

If ever there was a Nassau County police dog who fought the good fight above and beyond the call of duty, it was Maverick, county officials said Tuesday.

Maverick was honored Tuesday for his action last week during an investigation where a suspected heroin dealer in Hempstead fled the scene.

The 80-pound German shepherd fought and chased off another dog that outweighed him by more than 30 pounds. The other dog came out of nowhere and attacked him as he detained the suspect at Peninsula Boulevard and Whitson Street.

Wounded from a bite to his right flank, Maverick returned and helped K-9 Police Officer Michael LaSala, in the arrest.

"He went against his natural instincts [to continue the fight and the chase] and returned to assist in the arrest," said LaSala, a 16-year veteran with the Nassau force.

LaSala added that he turned Maverick loose only after several times warning the fleeing suspect he would if he did not stop.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano introduced Maverick as a "hero," and awarded a huge bone to the six-year veteran with 24 apprehensions.

The award, which Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey later said cost $8 at a pet store, quieted 8-year-old Maverick, who was a bit nervous and barking during the ceremony in the Nassau County Executive and Legislature Building in Mineola.

Maverick was treated by a veterinarian and released. He is healthy and back on the job. The other dog, an Akita named Tiger, was taken into custody by the Town of Hempstead's animal control unit and treated for bites to the head and neck.

The suspect, Dwayne Turner, 32, of Roosevelt, was treated for a bite on the thigh and is in jail on drug sale charges.

Tiger's owner, Americo Frezza, a general contractor from New Hyde Park, could get a maximum of 15 days in jail for a violation against a Hempstead Village law against having a dog run loose. But he can regain Tiger when he licenses him and gets him rabies and distemper shots.

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