Hammond Police Determine K-9 Officer Didn't Abuse Dog

YouTube video surfaced earlier this month of the officer allegedly abusing the dog

A Hammond Police Department review of the K-9 officer shown in a YouTube video allegedly abusing his police dog found the dog "was not abused or harmed in any way."

In a statement released Monday, Chief John Doughty said the officer acted in accordance to training during a high-risk traffic stop in which the dog successfully sniffed out illegal contraband inside the vehicle. A separate review of the incident by Vohne Liche Kennels found the same thing.

The officer, who was placed on administrative leave after the video went public, will receive additional training to make sure the incident isn't repeated, Doughty said.

The video posted online shows the officer using a leash to lift the dog to its hind legs, then striking the dog's middle section with what appears to be another leash. He then lifts the dog into the air by the leash, and the dog is seen swinging around once.

"We do not feel in this case that the dog was abused in any way," Vohne Liche Kennels said in a statement. "The handler's technique was not the way he was taught but was not abuse." 

Doughty said the dog was given a ball as a reward after his successful find during the traffic stop. The officer needed to get the dog back to the car as soon as possible, though, so he could help another officer arrest the suspect and had to quickly retrieve the ball for safety reasons.

The dog, Doughty said, wanted to play a little longer.

"All of our dogs have high drives that make them good at what they do," Doughty said. "This particular K-9 is reluctant to give up the ball quickly as he savors the reward, and in training this is play time he loves to extend."

Doughty said the officer was trained to use upward pressure on the leash and give the command "out" until the ball is released. The dog was being especially resistant, Doughty said, and the officer chose to lightly slap at the dog's shoulders to quickly get him to release the ball.

The technique isn't typical of the officer's normal routine, Doughty said, and Vohne Liche Kennels noted a handler should never slap his K-9 with his leash.

Still the police department determined it was not abuse.

"The short clip that went public clearly shows the dog wagging his tail and is ready to go back to work after releasing the ball," Doughty said.

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