By Marc Salazar
Most animals are incapable of submitting job applications as far as I’m aware.
Consider this the next time you hear of incidents involving a police dog being killed in the line of duty. Consider this further when a police dog is sent to maul a crime suspect who runs from or even surrenders to officers.
The latter was the case in a recent incident involving Ohio’s Circleville Police Department in which an unarmed man was bitten by a K-9 while surrendering to police.
The man, Jadarrius Rose, initially failed to yield during a traffic stop and led the department on a pursuit which ended with Rose exiting his truck with his hands above his head.
State troopers and officers, including former officer Ryan Speakman, gave Rose conflicting commands to either get on the ground or approach the police units. Rose, confused, remained where he stood with his hands up.
A state trooper gave repeated orders to K-9 handler Speakman to not release his dog, however Speakman did so anyway. Rose was on his knees when the dog attack occurred as can be seen in a department released video. Speakman was later fired for his misconduct in the incident.
One might assume it’s common sense that sending a weaponized animal to disfigure and sometimes kill is cruel except in the most extreme cases. The fact that K-9 units still exist is proof that one would be wrong in this assumption. There are too many stories of suspects who commit nonviolent crimes being attacked by a K-9 simply for running from police.
Even detection dogs have been used to impose subjugation and fear on citizens. Dogs who sniff for drugs and weapons are notoriously inaccurate. Their false alert rates are far too high for their use to be considered necessary especially when it comes to the potential loss of someone’s freedom.
Also consider cases of officers planting evidence which could be supported by the use of dogs who seemingly find such evidence.
Even if the argument that good officers outnumber the bad is true, there is no logic behind providing more tools for the bad ones to abuse. Whether the reasoning is to justify participation in an endless war on drugs or to instill fear as a deterrent to crime, neither seems to be effective.
Those in favor of dogs in police work might cite the countless incidents in which bite-dogs are used to successfully capture violent suspects. Tell those same people about the times dogs are hurt or killed by suspects or die during their training.
They likely would not have an answer or at least not one that shows compassion for the animal. No bite-dog handler can call themselves an animal lover as it’s hard to think of any good companion who pushes another to the forefront of a potentially deadly situation.
There is also no reason for cities to fund overtime pay for K-9 handlers to feed and house dogs when animal shelters are significantly overcrowded and understaffed. Animals desperate for homes are then neglected and often euthanized while funds that could expand shelter facilities are used on the tools of a police state.
Dogs are emotional beings who live to please us. It is exploitative to force them into situations which might cause them harm or result in injustice. They will never have a say in the matter and will instead work for our approval unconditionally.
No matter how strongly some might view these dogs as heroes doing noble work, a dog surely doesn’t know the difference. Even if they did, they’d likely find it just as heroic to simply go for a walk as long as they see their owner is happy.