Details have emerged about the incident involving a sheriff’s deputy in Utah accused of mistreating his K-9.
Cp. Timothy Robinson of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office was arrested last week for allegedly punching his K-9 dog multiple times after the dog urinated inside a conference room, according to a charging document.
Sgt. Art Lopez, K-9 Supervisor at POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training), highlighted the importance of the relationship between handlers and their K-9 partners.
“They’re our partners, they will lay down their lives for us,” Lopez said.
According to the charging document, the incident occurred on Aug. 15 during a county-wide K-9 training in Kaysville.
Multiple witnesses allege that after Robinson’s police K-9, Rolf, urinated in the conference room, Robinson punched him between five to 10 times, pulled him out of the room by the leash, and dragged him down the stairs, with Rolf appearing to cower.
Lopez, who oversees basic training and certifications for K-9s in Utah, advocates for positive reinforcement in training.
Our service animals are our partners; you want to treat them just as well as you would treat a human partner, and if not better,” he said.
He added that a dog must be willing to work for its handler, emphasizing the importance of a positive handler-dog relationship.
In Utah, abuse against a service police dog is classified as a misdemeanor, which differs from the felony charge typical for animal abuse.
Cpt. Christian Newlin, Deputy Director of POST, said the agency will conduct its investigation following the completion of the criminal and internal investigations.
Newlin outlined that POST’s disciplinary actions, if any are deemed warranted, could vary from a cautionary letter to permanent decertification.
In a news release sent last week, a Davis County Sheriff spokesperson said Rolf was immediately sent to Davis County Animal Care for evaluation and has since been reassigned to another handler.
“Immediately following the accusations, our priority was to ensure that Rolf was safe,” Davis County Sheriff Kelly V. Sparks said. “We hold our law enforcement officers to a higher standard, and news of this alleged incident has caused much distress to our office and our K-9 program. Our priority right now is to ensure that Rolf is given an opportunity to thrive with a new handler and continue his valued service to Davis County.”
Article Originally Posted Here.