Target: Chief Douglas Baker of the Fort Myers Police Department
Goal: Remove police dog from care of officer accused of punching him
K-9 units have become an increasingly important part of police forces around the country. The dogs that aid in police investigations do important work and are worthy of respectful, humane treatment–so why does the Fort Myers Police Department continue to allow one of its dogs, Euro, to be cared for by an owner whose treatment violates department guidelines? Sign the petition and request that the Fort Myers Police Department assign Euro a new human partner.
During a recent training exercise, Euro’s human partner, Officer George Sanford, repeatedly punched the dog in the face between the eyes. Euro, scared and in pain, “yelped, winced, and urinated on the floor.” Sanford acknowledged that he violated the department’s guidelines for the treatment of its police dogs, but claimed that he hit Euro because “the dog tried to bite him.” Witnesses did not appear to have the same story; the official report of the incident claimed that Officer Sanford hit Euro after the dog tried to pull a towel out of Sanford’s hand during a game of tug-of-war.
A vet gave Euro a clean bill of health and the dog was released into Officer Sanford’s care after Sanford completed a K-9 re-training session. However, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) points out that Officer Sanford has been a K-9 handler for nine years and asks, “[W]hat additional training should he need to understand that he shouldn’t punch his partner?”
Request that the Fort Myers Police Department ensure the safety of its K-9 unit–sign the petition urging the department to find Euro a new partner.
Dear Chief Baker,
Both the dogs and the officers who make up K-9 units do incredibly important work. As a result, both should be of the highest caliber in terms of both skill and integrity. However, a recent incident involving Officer George Sanford and his partner Euro has cast doubts onto the department’s treatment of its police dogs.
According to witnesses, Officer Sanford punched Euro in the face during a recent training session. Although Sanford claims that Euro tried to bite him, the witnesses say that Euro simply tried to pull a towel out of Sanford’s hand during a game of tug-of-war.
If the internal investigation found no aggressive behavior on Euro’s part, the responsibility for this unfortunate incident must reside with Euro’s partner, Officer Sanford. Punching a police dog, especially one that did not pose a safety threat, is an incredibly inappropriate action, especially for a nine-year veteran of the K-9 program. However, Euro has been released back into Officer Sanford’s care.
I urge you to protect the interests of the police dogs you employ. Please find Euro a new partner and reconsider Officer Sanford’s position as a K-9 handler.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: S. Rossi via fotopedia