What’s in the water the North Carolina State Trooper K9 handlers are drinking? Whatever it is, someone needs to cut them off. One handler is already in trouble for horrible abuse of a dog in his care. Now we find out that the more of the folks in the same department may also be dog abusers, all in the name of training.
News flash, NC canine cops, abuse is abuse no matter who does it or what the excuse. If you can’t train a dog without abusing her, you DEFINITELY are in the wrong line of work!
If you want to let the appropriate NC authorities hear your views on this situation, their contact information is at the end of this post.
Thanks to Lynn H. for bringing this terrible case to my attention.
First we find out that a 12-year veteran of the NC Highway Patrol has been videoed repeatedly kicking a roped trainee dog. Then it turns out that the rest of the Canine Unit is also tainted.
Please be aware that this article contains EXTREMELY upsetting information and video. I was sick to my stomach as I put together this post.
This article comes from The News & Observer.
Video of trooper kicking dog released
Jones was fired after 14 years with the patrol.
Dan Kane, Staff Writer
Dog handlers for the State Highway Patrol have stunned dogs with Tasers, swung them by their leashes until they became airborne, and hit them with plastic bottles full of pebbles.
None of that was an issue until a trooper used his cell phone to record a video of a sergeant kicking his police dog repeatedly while it was leashed to a loading dock, its hind legs just touching the ground. The video was made public for the first time Monday, and it shows Sgt. Charles L. Jones kicking Ricoh, 7, a Belgian Malinois, five times, causing the dog to swing as much as two feet under the loading dock.
Jones, a 14-year patrol member, was fired last September after the incident became public. Now he is trying to win back his job at a hearing before a state administrative judge.
Police dogs can be lethal weapons, and Jones contends that training them to obey commands can be a rough business. He argues that once his tactics were recorded on video, there was no way public officials from the governor on down would acknowledge that they were accepted practice.
“You cannot cite any training, any policy, any protocol that Sgt. Jones has violated — because there isn’t any,” Jack O’Hale, Jones’ attorney, said as he questioned the man who upheld Jones’ dismissal, N.C. Crime Control and Public Safety Secretary Bryan Beatty.
Beatty said Jones had acted inhumanely to the dog by kicking him and leaving him suspended from the dock rail even after the dog had complied with Jones’ order. There may not be a policy specifically addressing Jones’ behavior, but Beatty said it was clearly abuse to him.
“I think if you saw it, you would recognize it,” Beatty testified.
The state presented its case against Jones on Monday, recounting the events leading up to his dismissal. The incident Aug. 8 at the patrol’s training facility in Raleigh began with Ricoh’s unwillingness to let go of a piece of fire hose, which to him was a toy.
‘Helicoptering’ the dog
Trooper Raymond Herndon testified that Jones had first swung Ricoh off the ground by his leash. It’s a tactic police dog trainers know as “helicoptering.” Ricoh still would not release the toy.
That’s when Jones took the dog to the loading dock and tied the leash to the rail. Herndon said he began recording Jones with the cell phone because he was concerned about what Jones was doing to the dog. The cell phone could record only 15 seconds at a time, so Herndon made two recordings.
The first video shows Jones, in a white T-shirt and black pants, tying the leash to the rail. Ricoh is up on his hind legs, his back to the camera. Jones then jumps off the dock and kicks the dog at least five times. Jones can be heard yelling “los, los, los,” a command for the dog to release the toy.
The second video shows the dog still tied to the rail as Jones walks around him, picks up the toy and then walks out of the camera frame.
Herndon testified that Jones went to his patrol car to put the toy inside. Jones then released the dog.
Herndon said he did not think Jones intended to hurt Ricoh, who was not seriously injured. An examination three weeks later showed no injuries.
“I questioned the method, not his intent — ever,” Herndon testified.
Herndon also said that Jones had provided some of the best training that Herndon had received.
O’Hale asked Herndon to notice Ricoh more closely in the second video. Ricoh appeared to be wagging his tail, and his head followed Jones.
“I think he wanted to go with [Jones],” Herndon testified.
Video sent to governor
Herndon showed the video to other troopers, and eventually Capt. Ken Castelloe, then the internal affairs director, learned of the incident. He initially recommended no more than a three-day suspension without pay.
But then the case became public. Beatty testified that he learned about the incident after Lt. Everett Clendenin, the patrol’s public information officer, told him he had fielded media inquiries. The governor’s office quickly asked to see the video. They were “shocked,” Castelloe said.
Beatty testified that Gov. Mike Easley’s staff made him aware that Easley wanted Jones dismissed for abusing the dog. Beatty also requested a criminal investigation into possible animal abuse after conferring with Reuben Young, a member of Easley’s legal staff. That investigation is ongoing.
Castelloe took a second look at the incident. This time, he said, he reviewed both videos. He said the second video was more troubling because it showed Jones leaving the dog tied up after he had obeyed the order and dropped the toy. Castelloe then recommended that Jones be fired.
Lt. Col. C.E. Lockley accepted Castelloe’s recommendation and fired Jones. But in a statement released earlier this month, Lockley said he did so only because of pressure from the governor’s office.
At the time, former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick admitted to being involved in an illegal dog fighting ring, and the patrol was reeling from two high-profile cases of trooper misconduct.
Now its hit the news that this kind of abuse seems to be rampant in the NC Highway Patrol Canine division. Thanks to The News & Observer for the following article.
Trooper dogs off duty indefinitely
Submitted by ryanteaguebeckwith on April 30, 2008
The N.C. Highway Patrol has pulled its 10 police dogs off duty indefinitely after several troopers testified in a personnel hearing this week to several rough training methods that involved shocking, kicking and suspending the dogs.
Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said that Bryan Beatty, the N.C. Crime Control and Public Safety secretary who oversees the patrol, ordered the suspension so that a review can be conducted of training techniques, Dan Kane reports.
“We can’t run the risk of one of our dogs being injured or somebody in the public being injured because of the training,” Clendenin said. “We’re not sure what’s taking place, so that’s what we are going to do.”
Over the course of three days of hearings into the firing of Sgt. Charles Jones, who is trying to win his job back, troopers in the canine program have said that dogs have been shocked with a stun gun, kicked, and suspended until they are nearly unconscious.
They also have acknowledged throwing plastic bottles filled with stones at the dogs and twirling them around in a technique known as “helicoptering,” sometimes releasing them in midair.
Clendenin said that Beatty and other patrol leaders were unaware of many of the techniques. He said patrol officials are adamant that no trooper has done what Jones admitted to kicking his police dog Ricoh several times while he was suspended from a loading dock railing nor have troopers been trained to do it.
The Jones case has exposed a murky area of police training. Troopers have testified that there is very little in writing as far as training procedures, in part because of feared outrage if they ever became public. They said Jones’ actions were not abusive, though some said characterized the discipline as “excessive” in written statements.
They said the rough training techniques are necessary because the dogs need to learn to obey orders to protect the officers and the public. The dogs are considered lethal weapons.
The only known written directive regarding dog training, according to testimony at the hearing, was the banning of special shock collars three years ago.
A memo delivered to patrol Commander Fletcher Clay as part of the Jones case acknowledged several rough techniques but also added that striking or kicking dogs should be a last resort because of the risk of injury to the dog.
Clendenin said that patrol Major Jamie Hatcher, director of special operations, will conduct the review. It is the second called for after the patrol ordered a review last fall in the wake of Jones’ firing.
Clendenin did not know how long the dogs would remain out of service. He said they are mostly used to sniff out drugs at traffic stops, and the patrol would use other techniques to ferret out such activity. He said the 10 canine handlers will assume other duties while the review is underway.
Here’s more information from WRAL.com.
State suspends Highway Patrol K-9 operations
Raleigh, N.C. State officials suspended all K-9 operations in the Highway Patrol Wednesday afternoon, following testimony in an administrative hearing regarding controversial training techniques.
Bryan Beatty, secretary of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, suspended the operations as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, saying he was disturbed by evidence that some troopers thought kicking a dog was acceptable training.
“I don’t know if any of them have done anything inappropriate,” Beatty said. “We’re going to make sure they haven’t and make it clear that, if we’re going to have a program, we’re going to run it properly.
“I’m not accusing anyone. I’m simply saying, based on the information that we received in testimony (Tuesday), it at least raises serious questions about what’s going on.”
Beatty said testimony about “abusing dogs to get compliance” was inconsistent with an independent review of the K-9 program done last September.
Maj. Jamie Hatcher of the patrol’s Special Operations Division would handle the review, Beatty said, noting that the 10 troopers who work with dogs will remain on duty, but the dogs themselves won’t be on active duty until further notice. He said all options, including doing away with the program, would be considered after the review.
Former Sgt. Charles Jones, a 12-year veteran in charge of K-9 training for the Highway Patrol, was fired in September after another trooper turned over two 15-second video clips of Jones suspending his K-9 partner, Ricoh, from a railing and kicking the dog repeatedly to force it to release a chew toy.
(Caution: Contents of the video may disturb some viewers.)
Jones has sued to regain his job, saying he was fired only because staff in Gov. Mike Easley’s office pressured the Highway Patrol to get rid of him.
Evidence presented at the hearing showed the patrol had planned to punish Jones with a maximum three-day suspension. One of Jones’ superiors testified Tuesday that he was told to fire Jones by “an outside entity.”
Beatty had said previously that Jones’ firing came after a careful review of the case, but attorneys for the state conceded Wednesday that Easley intervened in the case.
“On or about Aug. 31, 2007, Governor Easley decided that Charles Jones … should be dismissed from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol,” read a stipulation of fact that Assistant Attorney General Ashby Ray gave Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison.
Easley told members of his communications staff about his opinion, and they relayed that information to Beatty and Lt. Everett Clendenin, the spokesman for the Highway Patrol, the stipulation said.
Jones was fired on Sept. 8.
“It appeared to me that they were pushing a man out the door,” said Capt. Stephen Briggs, of the Highway Patrol. “I’ve never seen an investigation turned this quickly.”
Several other troopers had been accused of various offenses at the time, prompting Easley to order an outside review of the agency.
The consultant’s report from that probe was issued Wednesday morning. It calls for more front-line supervision of troopers.
Jones took the stand in his defense Wednesday morning to explain what is depicted in the videos.
“I spent more time with Ricoh than I did with my own wife,” he said, choking back tears.
He said he kicked the dog with the side of his foot, and the dog was never struggling or gasping. Getting K-9s to obey is critical, or they become a liability to the public, he said.
“That’s what I needed to do at that moment of that day to get Ricoh to release,” he said. “If it’s wrong, then you need to tell the Highway Patrol it’s wrong because the Highway Patrol is the ones saying we can do this stuff.”
The Highway Patrol’s canine-training manual doesn’t ban or condone specific training methods.
Beatty said Jones’ treatment of the dog was excessive and unacceptable. Some troopers said Tuesday that such treatment is widely used to train aggressive dogs, while others said they had never seen such training techniques.
“No one said they’d ever done that. No one said they’d ever seen that. No one said they’d ever been trained to do that,” Ray said.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that kind of behavior can’t be tolerated,” Beatty said Wednesday after the conclusion of the three-day hearing.
A veterinarian examined Ricoh shortly after the training exercise and found the dog wasn’t injured. The Highway Patrol removed Ricoh from Jones’ care, and the dog has been retired from active duty.
Morrison’s ruling in the case is expected within 45 days.
Contact information for North Carolina authorities :
Call NC Highway Patrol Public Affiars Office
Everett Clendenin (919) 733-5027 (233)