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Injured police dogs

(36 Posts)
Rhinestone Wed 10-Aug-11 02:46:41

My blood is boiling at the reports that 5 police dogs have been injured in the riots. I think anyone convicted of injuring a police dog should face a mandatory 10 year jail sentence.

Can we start an MN 'doghouse' campaign?

Cheria Wed 10-Aug-11 08:45:50

Good idea. I saw them in some of the images throwing stuff at the police horses too. It's despicable. Those horses and dogs are not there by choice (though they may very well enjoy it in general) and can't, or are not allowed to, fight back.

People attacking animals makes me feel ill.

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 10:50:14


My campaign would be to stop using dogs and horses for Police and security purposes altogether.

YOU know the dangers attached to the job, PC Plod, you had it all explained to you and accepedt that when you sign the contract. When you can show me the contract which the dog or horse has signed, THEN and only then will I back down.

In the absence of any such humanity then yes, a mandatory LONG sentence (I'd happily call for life, as you might imagine) should be imposed upon a person found guilty of injuring a police dog or horse.

Cheria Wed 10-Aug-11 11:14:05

I agree to a point, DBF , but that would therefore imply stopping animals from being bred for work in general. Can dogs not be bred for hunting, or shepherding, and horses for riding schools (though not for racing I would happily have that banned).

We originally bred animals for work, not for domestic needs, so it would be tough to know where to draw the line.

From my work with former police horses they have always, without exception, been well trained, very healthy, friendly and good with people, and the vast majority used for crowd control and rarely injured on the job. And they really do help keep people under control (which is what policing boils down to).

However I may be wrong and may have been lucky to only ever have seen the exceptions.

Fully agree with long sentences for anyone hurting a police dog or horse (or, come to that, any animal at all, working or not).

Marne Wed 10-Aug-11 11:23:19

The dogs are used to save police officers lifes, help in situations that could put humans at risk (chasing armed thugs), the same as dogs that are trained to sniff out bombs and boddies in unsafe buildings. If dogs were not used more humans (police) may have been injured or killed.

I know its sad and it makes me angry that these dogs have been injured but it could have been a lot worse and more officers could have been killed (if they had not used dogs and horses).

minimu11 Wed 10-Aug-11 11:43:01

<puts on hard hat and waits for it all to kick off!>

Ephiny Wed 10-Aug-11 11:57:57

I did see some footage of the police German Shepherds in action on Sky News, and it looked like they were doing an absolutely fantastic job, big brave beautiful things that they are.

I agree though it's not fair on the dogs, they didn't ask to be involved in any of this. Though a lot of dogs do seem to have a strong instinct to protect their humans and indeed some will willingly intervene in violent situations, so maybe a fair few would sign up if they could! That's just speculation though, they aren't given the choice in reality.

And I'd definitely be in favour of harsh sentences for anyone hurting a dog. Almost unbelievable to me that anyone would harm an innocent animal, though I know of course it happens all too often, we don't need people like that walking the streets.

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 12:07:22

I totally disagree with your line of thinking, Marne. In fact, I find the viewpoint that animals should be used as shields or cannon fodder for humans utterly abhorrent. As I said, the PC 'buys into' the risks, the dog or horse does not.

Cheria, there have been several well documented cases where the police's own treatment of the dogs they train has been unlawful and exceptionally abusive.

See this case where one of the dogs - Acer - died after being kicked by his so-called police handler while hanging from his lead.

It was stated in court that "routine physical abuse of Essex police dogs had been going on since at least the late 1970s."

From time to time evidence comes into our hands which indicates that across the country such abuse is still taking place.... and that's before the poor creatures are used to take the brunt of the lawbreakers' violence and aggression.

Marne Wed 10-Aug-11 12:11:24

I'm no saying its right, the police should have other means of deffending themselves but sadly in this country all they get is a few dogs sad.

And i agree that the police don't always treat the dogs well, there was a case a while ago where an officer left his dog shut in a car on a hot day and the poor dog died sad.

And i agree that anyone that hurts a police dog should be sent down.

Cheria Wed 10-Aug-11 12:18:25

I agree that there have been cases of police dog abuse - unfortunately that is far too often the case with any owners or handlers of any dog (you don't need me to tell you that). If I remember correctly there was one a few weeks ago left in the car by accident. Unacceptable.

My experience with former police animals is with the horses, and I , personally, have not seen any signs of abuse of the horses (which is what I mentioned above, but this being The Doghouse maybe not the best place). What's more the animals are kept in pristine stables during their working lives, with excellent care. (I seem to remember someone using the same argument in favour of horseracing a few weeks ago which, and I may be hypocritical here, to me is a totally different ball game).

As for dogs and security - we need to protect some buildings and places from thieves and vandals. A man or two men with dogs will be far more effective than men alone. Unless these men are armed, which would be going down the 'gun debate' route.

I agree in principle that breeding animals to do dangerous jobs isn't ideal, but it is hard to find a place to draw the line.

Ormirian Wed 10-Aug-11 12:20:07

It always worries me when I see dogs and horses being deployed.

Obviously it's dreadful that anyone has to be attacked in the course of their duties but at least human can consent to it. Very sad.

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 12:29:47

The police dogs in hot car incident you speak of, sadly not the first such police dog incident, were the second and third dogs killed in that way by the same officer. He'd already killed a police puppy in the same way. This was not admitted to the public at the time.

The killer was merely disciplined in house and was given reign to kill again, which of course he did. Following the death of the first puppy he was promoted.

It doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence that the police are fit to have dogs much less to treat them as unknowing, trusting walking fucking targets. angry

Cheria Wed 10-Aug-11 12:33:13

shock what an irresponsible git! Can't believe the police would let him get away with that again and again.

Has he been fired now? Can't he be given a lifelong ban on handling animals? Can't the RSPCA or whoever handles that kind of thing over there prosecute or do they only deal with private cases?

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 12:53:41

Oddly I've heard of no updates to the story. The crime can carry a sentence of up to 6 months imprisonment. The police dog killer before this guy got a 6 month suspended sentence largely on the grounds that the poor sensitive flower was "depressed" following the dogs being killed I believe.

This fucker, Ian Craven, who is described as the head of the Met's dog training establishment, is I fear likely to claim the same. Call me a cynic, but...

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 13:00:09

Apologies, I'm getting my legal terms mixed up! The first guy got a 6 month conditional discharge not a suspended sentence.

As for the RSPCA, they have no powers in law, none whatsoever. They can only do what any of us can do, which is bring a private prosecution.

Ephiny Wed 10-Aug-11 13:05:31

Does anyone know what happens to police dogs if they're injured and either temporarily or permanently unable to work? I know sometime when the dogs 'retire' the handlers keep them as family dogs while taking on a new dog for work purposes, but don't know if this always happens or is expected?

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 13:18:48

It varies, Ephiny, as far as I can make out. This was a very well publicised case - Saxon got to live in the end, albeit not with his handler and family but had they and AR supporters not fought so very hard he would have without question been killed.

Howdoesjuliancope Wed 10-Aug-11 13:33:53

I am (obviously) not excusing the behaviour, but Ian Craven did attempt to commit suicide once he discovered the two dogs in his car - slashed his wrist and jumped from a moving car, as far as I remember.

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 14:20:19

That was what was put out at the time, HDJC. It was later discovered that he had hand injuries, NOT that he'd tried to slash his wrists. Again, call me a cynic but...

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 14:29:12

One of London's "luckier" victims.

Ephiny Wed 10-Aug-11 14:54:53

People threw bottles and bricks at the dogs apparently, several have cuts to their paws and faces from the glass and one has a severe head injury sad. Just can not imagine what kind of people could do such a thing, I am as shocked and furious about this as anything else that's happened over the last few days, it's just unbelievable angry.

Good to hear poor Saxon had a (relatively) happy ending DFB. I can only imagine how many there are who aren't so lucky though. Seems a bit absurd that the police take dogs and train them in aggression, then want to have them killed for being too aggressive when they're no longer useful angry.

Cheria Wed 10-Aug-11 16:23:53

Ephiny I might be wrong but police dogs aren't trained to be aggressive. AFAIK they are trained to be obedient above all other things, and traiing in endurance. Some may attack (but not really attack, just can't think of a better word - basically corner a criminal and pin it down) on command, in order to apprehend a subject, but they are not trained to be aggressive.

I have never worked with them myself but other than in airports, or seeing them at a distance in cities, the only time I have been in contact with them was at local fairs where they did displays and then got hugged by local children (though the rules re that might have changed now).

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 16:51:41


Officially they aren't trained to be aggressive. However we know of some of the tricks used to make them more so.

Joolyjoolyjoo Wed 10-Aug-11 17:01:00

I hate the idea of the dogs getting injured, but I feel proud of dogs when I see them working, and am grateful and humble that they can be such an asset/ adjunct to the human race.

I used to work with some of the MOD dogs (although I think they now have their own vets) and most of them were treated well, many "retired" into their handler's family. They are a valued resource, and are usually treated as such. The investment in their training, both in terms of time and money, make them an asset to be looked after. In fact, I recently learned that the amount spent on food per dog per day by the MOD is more than the amount spent on RN personnel, per head, per day!!

I don't think the police can afford not to have dogs and horses working for them, as the fulfill roles that no human could. But I agree that idiots causing them injury should be dealt with in same way as they would be if they injured a human member of the force.

DogsBestFriend Wed 10-Aug-11 17:14:45

"MOST of them were treated well... ", "MANY retired into their handler's family... ", "are a valued resource and are USUALLY treated as such..."

And those who aren't... ? sad

"I don't think the police can afford not to have dogs and horses working for them, as the fulfill roles that no human could."

I'm sure that I could come up with roles that children could fulfill which no adult could but we don't advocate exploiting them do we?

Sorry, I feel very strongly about this and will NEVER agree that it is anything but grossly arrogant and cruel of man to use the dog or horse as his whipping boy and sitting target.

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