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Video Transcribed: What is a police canine? My name is Ryan Cannonie, I am the Tahlequah criminal defense attorney for the Wirth Law Office in Tahlequah, and recently I was having a conversation with some friends, also attorneys, who, we start talking about police canines, police dogs.
I realized that my time as a prosecutor gave me a little more insight than even some other attorneys have, which is probably more than just the general public has. So, I decided to do a couple of videos, just explaining some of the aspects of the police canine, some things that people probably don’t know about them, and just more information, generally.
So, just real general here, there are a couple of different types of working dogs that police use. Most of the time it’s going to be what’s called a Belgian Malinois. I always have trouble saying that, or German Shepherd.
But they could also be Labradors and even Golden Retrievers. I’ve seen those used. Now, there are several different tasks a dog can be trained in. One of the ones that you see a lot, especially with news coverage when it’s a feel-good piece, is about a therapy dog. Now, therapy dogs are great. I’ve worked with them in the past when I was a prosecutor on cases.
They help people to just … especially children and people who have been victims of a violent offense. It helps them relax and it’ll talk. It’s amazing if the person doesn’t have a fear of dogs, I guess I should say, how a dog can help people calm themselves.
In fact, I generally have my dog here in the office with me. He’s not a therapy dog, but he loves to be petted, and people like to pet him and talk and go through their case with me sometimes. So, these are the real friendly dogs. These are the ones that are well-trained. They have a vest. People say, “Don’t touch them until they’re doing their job,” all that stuff.
The next type of dogs you have are going to be your search dogs. These can be either search and rescue. These can be explosive ordinance dogs. When I was a kid, growing up here in Tahlequah, we had dogs that would come and do bomb-sniffing dogs.
These are dogs that are using their really good noses to try to find something, including drugs. Drugs-sniff dogs, that’s one that a lot of people are familiar with, are the dogs that they run around cars and run through bags and all that. You’ll see a lot of these search dogs at airports when you go in. They’re sniffing for different types of substances or dangerous chemicals.
The last type of dog though, and there are other different variations of some of these, but these are the three main types you’ll see out there, is going to be the bite or attack dogs. Now, you’re not going to see an attack dog that’s a therapy dog as well. That’s just, that’s not going to work out well, but you might see a dog that’s been trained to sniff and find especially, drugs and things like that, also be cross-trained as an attack dog.
Now, the attack dogs are trained to immobilize someone. They’re supposed to go for an arm or go for some type of appendage, to hold a person. They’re not supposed to be used just to inflict pain and injury. It’s more to subdue someone, to go in when it’s too dangerous for cops.
Whenever someone has a gun, they can send a dog in to try to take them down, while cops come in. They’re distracted by the dog. They can go in then too. That’s the point of more of these attack dogs. They are, most of the time, they’re treated as tools in law enforcement’s use.
They can be, they can run faster than a person. They can hold someone. If you’ve got a 100-pound German shepherd with its fangs, sunk into your leg, you’re probably not going to be going too far. Those are the three main types of working dogs you’re going to find, and the big thing about these dogs is they’re very expensive. This is something, people think we’ll just go to the pound and get one.
Well, a lot of places do. They go to the pound, they get a dog, but they have to be trained, and that training is what makes them expensive. When I say expensive, anywhere between, depending on how the training is and what’s going on with it, you’re talking eight to possibly even, upper teens into $20,000 a dog. Most are between eight and 10. For some training, a lot of times you’ll get into 15. I’ve heard of more expensive, like I said, in the 18, 19, 20s range.
But those are, I think are, are different than what you see in most places. In most places, it’s between eight and 15. But eight and 15,000 is a lot to spend on a piece of equipment, for lack of a better term, that is only going to be used for a certain number of years.
These dogs aren’t normally used until they are completely out of it. They’ll do retirements of these dogs. Also, there’s the upkeep. You have to maintain their training. You have to have, a lot of times accessories for them, like their vest and things like that. You have bulletproof-type vests for dogs. You also have the upkeep of the dog.
The handler, the person who has the dog usually takes them home with them. They we’ll try to integrate them into their family, so they have to feed them and vet visits, all that type of stuff. Anything that you would do with a normal pet, you have to do with this dog, except even more so and more documentation.
So, this is just a quick breakdown of some of the general aspects of canines. I’m going to do another video where I’m going to talk about some of the issues with some of the different types of dogs. Specifically, I’m to talk about search dogs and how that can apply to your case. I’m going to talk about bite dogs and some of them, what I see as some of the problems with bite dogs. So, stay tuned and watch those videos.