SALINAS, Calif. -

Salinas police say one of its officers, who was bitten by his K-9 Thursday evening, is doing fine and was released from the hospital and is expected to be okay.

A commander said the dog bit the officer on the hand after it got startled when the officer was driving near Rossi and Stockton Streets. The dog apparently bit the officer after the seat partition had fallen.

Once the officer had pulled over to try and calm the dog down, the officer's face was accidentally scratched by the dogs tooth.

The officer, apparently new to the K-9 unit, was given stitches in the arm and face.

The dog is doing okay and is at a local shelter. The commander said Thursday night that trainers and internal experts will be working with the dog to figure out what happened.

The incident is a first for the department.

In August, Central Coast News learned the Salinas K-9 program planned to add a total of six dogs within the next year, but the plan was stifled by a $1.1 million cut to the department.

It announced December 18th that it had acquired two patrol K-9 because of the community's support and donations. "Gimmo" and "Charro" completed their training in the fall and were put on the streets.

The training costs tens of thousands of dollars.

We do know handlers pay for the dogs themselves. The city pays for vet bills and training for the dog's careers.

The Department's K-9 Unit was created to supplement patrols officers and their daily tasks, according to the unit's Facebook page.