Tahlequah Attorney BlogK9s: What You Need to Know About Dog Bites

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Video Transcribed: Police K9s, Part Three. My name is Ryan Cannonie, I am the Oklahoma dog bite attorney for the Wirth Law Office in Tahlequah. I’ve already done two videos before this. If you haven’t watched them, go check them out. One is kind of a general overview of police K9s. The second one is about drug-sniffing and sniffing dogs. This one though is going to be about bite dogs. If you’ve watched the other two, you’re in the right place.

Tahlequah Animal Attack and Dog Bite AttorneyBite dogs or attack dogs or something we has kind of a collective notion of. You saw German shepherds, photos of them from back in the sixties during the civil rights protests. Dogs being turned on people. But then you don’t really see anything, if you think about it, you don’t really think about them until the eighties. You have some K9, Turner, and Hooch. You have some dog movies that come out.

Then not really much on them until more modern days when they’re making the news again, because of people being scarred or maimed by these dogs. I’ll be honest. When I was a prosecutor, these dogs were interesting on cases, because if they were used, usually it was more of a higher profile case, but they always kind of gave me a little bit of, like a chill. You couldn’t walk by a vehicle without them barking at you.

Most of the time they were in a kennel in the offices and they would just kind of growl at you as you walked by. They’re very, very dedicated to their owner. If they’re well-trained, they are supposed to be able to be regular dogs, except when they’re in their use. One thing about the attacker bite dogs. They are trained specifically for immobilizing people. They’re supposed to go for limbs, different things like that. These dogs are not particularly supposed to go for like a neck or face or anything. They’re supposed to be trained that whenever they hear their release command, they release automatically.

angry dogThey’re not supposed to continue to hold on. You see a lot of videos about officers with their hands in the jaw, trying to pull them off, or trying to pull dogs off of people. I actually had a chance, one time to speak to a very well-known dog trainer who did sniff dogs. I believe he had done some attack dogs. He wasn’t doing them at that time though. We were watching a video on the news about it, and he was pointing out all the improper training that was going on.

How the handler was messing up. What the dog was doing wrong. It was very eye-opening to me about these dogs and how much of an escalation sometimes they can bring to a situation. These dogs are used like I said to immobilize, so they’re faster than people. If you’ve got someone fleeing, law enforcement sends them out after them. If you have someone hiding in a house, they could go in and try to find them.

Even though they’re trained to immobilize and attack people, they’re still dogs. They still have a really good olfactory there so they can search people out. These dogs are also trained to protect their handlers. I know that there are some…There’s equipment. There’s a whole industry built around these dogs. Whether it’s the cages in the back of the car for them, or in this case, like a quick-release button. You have on a tactical vest, if an officer’s in trouble, they can hit this button. It opens the door to their vehicle and the dog can get out and attack whoever’s attacking the officer.

police K9The training and vests. It’s a huge money industry. But these dogs are, like I said, making the news because there’s a lot of them that are not either properly trained. Their pieces of training maybe not maintained or possibly either handler is not knowing what they’re doing.

So you’re seeing a lot of civil judgments come out where these dogs are maiming people and the police couldn’t get them under control. Things like that. There’s kind of becoming more of a public knowledge about this, but it’s something that’s been known in the legal community for a while. Some of these dogs, become overly aggressive. It’s not uncommon. In fact, I’ve heard of both these dogs attacking spouses while the officer was out.

Basically stalking a child in the home. They had to always watch the dog and make sure it wasn’t ever alone with the kid. Things like that, that caused you to kind of the second guess some of these dogs. A good question and a question that came up in a conversation I had recently was, well, if a dog is looking like it might attack someone in the home, why would they keep them around?

Well, these dogs are incredibly expensive. They’re very financially draining police resources, but they’re good publicity. If you’ve got someone fleeing from you, you’ve got a dog that can chase down any human. That’s something that keeps them around. Even on those chases though, sometimes you have mistakes. Whereof one time a guy was fleeing from several officers, one of the officers let his dog out after him. Well, they had other officers between the K9 handler and the suspect. There were other officers there, the dog got confused and attacked one of the other officers. They had to get the dog off of him while they were still trying to chase this other guy. There’s a lot about bite dogs, which is somewhat becoming as I said in the news, but there’s a lot still that’s not really known about them.

police canineHere in Oklahoma, one thing that most people don’t realize is that, if there is an incident with a police dog and you’re involved in it. If you strike the dog using the non-poisonous substance, i.e., like mace or something on it, or just interfering and that’s it, the word is interfering, with the police dog and its conduction of business. That is a criminal offense.

If you do this while you yourself are in the commission of a felony or even a misdemeanor, any misdemeanor, then that’s a felony charge on you. If you are, let’s say it’s a shoplifting offense and for some reason, they turn the dog on you, and it sinks its fangs into your leg and you turn around and start trying to hit it and get it off of you. You just went from stealing merchandise from a retailer, a minor misdemeanor, to a felony assaulting a police dog.

These are things to kind of keep in mind when you have these cases, or if you are involved with a police dog, or if you had questions about them. If you have a case that involves a police K9 and you want to talk to an attorney, maybe check, how do I know it was properly trained, things like that. Then please give us a call, go to tahlequahattorney.com. Shoot us a web form. We can see if we can help you. If you think, “Well, they’re always trained.”

These are good dogs because they wouldn’t put them out there if they’re not trained. A story that has been passed down to me from other attorneys that were there, actually not just they heard it, they were actually participants in this, is something that happened in Southeast Oklahoma. Now, this wasn’t an attack dog. This was supposedly a drug-sniffing dog an officer got. It was a German shepherd.

The officer had commanded for it. Got into cars. Did all these searches. Well, eventually an attorney came in and asked for the training logs. They didn’t seem to have them. They asked for the training certifications and all the documents like that. They didn’t seem to have those either. It turns out this wasn’t a drug-sniffing dog. This was a dog that had been trained that when you tapped on the car it new to alert. Just because you think everything’s above board, doesn’t mean it is. Get an attorney, have them look over your case. Hopefully, it’s when you get an attorney. It’s us that you give a call. Thank you.

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