Animal advocates have responded to a disturbing video posted on social media Tuesday evening showing an officer in Vacaville, California punching a K9 in the face more than ten times.
According to the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation, the officer seen in the video claimed he had been “correcting” the dog after he lunged at the officer. In the video, the officer sat over the dog punching the animal multiple times in the face.
The officer’s name has not been released, however reports indicate that the officer observed in the viral video has been in training to become a K9 officer handler and therefore not expected to receive any disciplinary action concerning the incident.
The Vacaville Police Department has responded with the following statement:
“Yesterday evening a video surfaced of an interaction between one of our officers and his canine partner during training. We understand how disturbing the video appears to many who view it and the range of emotions it creates. What the video doesn’t show is the moments prior, when the canine became aggressive towards his handler. We want to assure the public this incident is being evaluated in its entirety and will be investigated appropriately.”
In addition the statement also added:
“Our canine program is, and always has been an incredibly vital and important part of our policing. Entrusted with a difficult job, we rely on them to respond with precise skill leaving very little room for misjudgments. When we stray from this expectation, we are left vulnerable to an animal making decisions that could impact our communities safety. This underscored the importance of training and the value of a police dog responding appropriately to his handler in a given situation.”
An explanation of the training the K9 officers receive:
“Although our canines appear to be pets, just like the ones we all have at home; they are quite different in many ways. If left unguided by a handler, the decisions they make could lead to the injury of the dog, an officer or an innocent community member. All training programs are not alike and need to be tailored to the needs of the specific dog and handler. This is generally achieved by a careful balance of physical discipline and reward based training. As with any training program, we are constantly evaluating our policies and procedures for needed improvement. We are still collecting all the information as it pertains to this incident for the purposes of that evaluation.”
The K9 officers are very important:
“We want to assure our community that our canine program is one of the most loved in our department. Our four legged partners are far more than just a tool, they are a member of our PD family. For the many thousands of people we have met at demonstrations, school functions, church gatherings and other events; you have witnessed this love and devotion, and the incredible bond our canine teams share.We appreciate your patience, understanding and grace as we navigate this incident.”
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