N.C. Officer Seemingly Assaults K-9 During Training Before Being ‘Administratively Separated' from Dog
A North Carolina police officer is under investigation after appearing to assault a K-9 during training.
The Salisbury Police Department officer, who has not been identified, was taped slinging the dog over his shoulder by the leash, slamming the canine into an SUV and slapping the K-9's head after getting the dog into the car in a video obtained by Fox 46.
One person heard in the background said, "We're good, no witnesses."
Another person asked, "Is your camera on?"
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Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes delivered a statement that was also posted on the police department's website on Tuesday about the incident involving the dog, identified as Zuul.
"The health, safety and well-being of Salisbury Police officers, human and canine, is our top priority," the statement began.
"In accordance with policy, SPD's review of and response to this matter is and will continue to be thorough and fair so as to provide due process to everyone involved," the statement continued. "SPD can confirm that, as a matter of course, the officer has been administratively separated from the canine while SPD conducts its review."
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"The canine was not harmed and is healthy and being well-cared-for," according to the statement.
The police department added, "The canine involved in this matter is safe, has suffered no effects from this incident, and the officer in this matter will be treated fairly in accordance with SPD policy."
The police department is also hiring an outside agency to investigate the matter.
"This agency is interviewing and reviewing the matter with identified experts in handling canines, including former handlers with other police departments, an owner of a police canine training firm, and internal K9 supervisory staff," their statement continued. "Canine training tactics and corrective measures can sometimes be alarming out of context."
"SPD cannot and will not comment about whether the training tactics used in the video were appropriate, because that is still being reviewed," the statement said.
Salisbury Communications Director Linda McElroy responded to PEOPLE Magazine's request for comment, writing, "As soon as we have additional information to share, we will provide it to the media."
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