An unidentified police officer from Hammond, Indiana, has been placed on administrative leave after a video was uploaded onto YouTube showing the officer hitting the dog with a leash, and hanging the dog in mid-air.
In a statement, Hammond police department said: “The Department has observed behavior by the K-9 handler that appears to be inconsistent with acceptable training guidelines.”
It is not yet clear if the officer is being paid while on administrative leave.
Hammond Mayor, Tom McDermott Jr. said the abuse footage left him cold:
“Anybody who loves dogs as much as I do is always saddened and shocked anytime you hear of a dog’s abuse. When you find out it happened with an employee of yours, it makes it that much more shocking and disturbing. Please know that the Hammond PD does not condone that type of behavior of any of its officers, nor is it tolerated in this administration.”
Bob Anderson, a trainer with K-9 International LLC in West Palm Beach, Florida, cautioned that what looks like abuse to the general public isn’t necessarily so when it comes to K-9 officers and their dogs.
“It’s all about positive and negative reinforcement with these animals, and you have to train them with physical praise or discipline. Some dogs are thick-headed and can take harder correction, while others respond immediately…”
“Discipline is measured around the sensitivity of the dog, but if they don’t feel it and hear it, they don’t get it… The dogs we get from Europe are very high-drive dogs, and verbal correction only has some effect. You have to be able to teach them right from wrong.”
Pat McInerney, owner of Macs K-9 in Crete, told Chicago Sun-Times said the cop’s actions were not necessarily abusive: “If that dog was trying to bite, biting is a ‘hanging offense,’ and we will choke them out to get them to come to their senses because that shows the animal who’s in control. We don’t have enough of the video, though, to see why the dog was being disciplined.”
Kristina Montgomery of the Calumet Area Humane Society says “It’s certainly not any training I would condone or urge anyone to follow. Lifting a dog like that off the ground can do damage to the training itself, but also to the dog’s physical health.”