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SALISBURY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – PETA responded Wednesday to a video showing the questionable actions taken against a police K-9 by a Salisbury Police officer, calling the action “criminal behavior.”
“There is no scenario in which this handler’s behavior could be considered acceptable by any standard, and we believe this is far more than an internal disciplinary matter,” a statement from the People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals said.
PETA added that the witnesses in the video also bear some responsibility.
The video shows the officer clip the dog’s leash onto its collar and swing the dog over his shoulder before he slammed the animal into the car. He then appears to hit the dog. Other officers are heard saying there are no witnesses.
Salisbury Police Chief Stokes said that it is important that a K-9 handler have complete control of the animal at all times. When it is not compliant, it is up to the handler to correct the dog.
“Salisbury Police Department is aware of a video that has been provided to media depicting a Salisbury officer during a K-9 training but we cannot comment on the details because it’s an ongoing personnel matter,” Stokes said.
While Chief Stokes said the officer’s actions may have been part of training tactics, he would not comment if those tactics were appropriate.
WATCH SALISBURY POLICE ADDRESS QUESTIONABLE VIDEO:
“SPD can confirm that as a matter of course, the officer has been administratively separated from the K-9 while SPD conducts its review,” Stokes said.
An outside agency is leading an inquiry into the incident and will incorporate expert K-9 handlers and officers from other departments.
Stokes said the department is reviewing its K-9 policy and guidelines. K-9 Zuul was on hand at Tuesday’s news conference.
“The K-9 was not harmed and is healthy and is being well cared for,” Stokes said.
Roy Taylor, a veteran K-9 handler, told FOX 46 that the actions in the video were not appropriate.
“By slinging the dog over his shoulder, carrying him back, he’s cutting off that blood supply and air for several seconds, and then by throwing him in the vehicle the way he did, he risked causing some cervical spine or cerebral spine injuries to the dog,” Taylor said.
PETA said it is calling on the K-9’s handler to be permanently reassigned to another division and barred from interacting. They also said the officer should be prosecuted for cruelty to animals.