Police dog punched in head ’10 times’ by handler for not giving back toy

Disturbing footage shows a police dog being punched in the head by its handler because it wouldn't let go of a toy used for training.

In the clip, filmed by witness Roberto Palomino in Vacaville, California, a police officer straddling a Belgian Malinois which is lying on its back.

He stares at the dog and then punches it once in the face area.

Roberto said he heard the dog's whimpers and yelps before he saw anything, then became concerned and started to film on his phone.

He told news outlet KGO: "It was like 'oh!' the dog was crying like someone was running him over or something. It was bad.

"Before the video, I saw him give at least 10 punches to the dog. At least."

Roberto shared the video on Facebook on December 28, where it sparked outrage among dog lovers.

In a statement shortly after the incident, Vacaville Police Captain Matt Lydon said the officer punching the dog was trying to "create that dominance and teach that dog who's in charge".

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  • According to the police, the dog was behaving aggressively moments before the video was recorded and wouldn't give back a toy used as a reward.

    In a statement on December 29, Vacaville Police Department said the police dog had been examined by a vet, found to be uninjured, and moved into "the care of a third party" while the incident is investigated.

    The statement 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 community's safety.

    "This underscored the importance of training and the value of a police dog responding appropriately to his handler in a given situation."

    It added: "As with any training program, we are constantly evaluating our policies and procedures for needed improvement."

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