Monday, March 11, 2013

Police dogs that don't know whose side they're on

Everyone's impressed by highly trained working dogs. But here's something we never seem to think about: some people are better at their jobs than others.  And of course the same is true of dogs.

A police officer in Florida found this out last month when he was participating in a search for a suspect in the woods and a police dog bit him in the groin.

The officer was treated at a hospital and released (no word on the precise nature of any injuries). As for the dog, everyone made excuses for it. For instance:
Experts said a bite of this nature is not so much a mark of aggression as much as it is a sign of the dog's natural intensity in an active
"One of the reasons we select them is (because) they are so intense," said Jan Scolfield of South Coast K9.
And in another article, the head of a police dog certification organization speculated that the dog may have thought his handler was being threatened, despite admitting that he wasn't aware of the specifics of the case.

Apparently it's just his job to make excuses for police dogs gone bad, which seems to be the routine response to incidents like this. In an earlier case in Las Vegas, a dog bit an officer during a chase after a suspect. They were forced to shoot the dog to get it to let go, after Tasering it failed to have any effect.

The dog was transported to an animal hospital where it underwent surgery, and his bosses planned no reprimand, because apparently this is just how it goes:
If Marco recovers, Cassell said there's no policy preventing him from returning to his K-9 duties.
"As long as the dog has no long-lasting side effects from the incident, I don't see anything that would prevent him coming back," he said. "Every police department in the U.S. has had K-9s at some point bite somebody that it shouldn't bite."

Important warning photographed by Flickr user bartmaguire.

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