Police Dogs Benefit From Double Standards, Too

Monday, November 28th, 2011

We know what can happen if your dog so much as growls at a cop. But what happens when a police dog attacks a kid? Well, we get to hear about the dog’s exemplary service record.

Police say the Friday attack of the department’s police dog, Storm, on an 8-year-old boy was an unfortunate accident, but Storm has done much more good than bad during his time with the department.

The boy, Patrick Assion, was visiting his grandmother’s house in Campbell and playing hide-and-seek with his cousin in the backyard when Storm took hold of Patrick’s arm and dragged him to the ground.

The incident left the boy three physical reminders of the attack: a red mark on his arm, a T-shirt full of holes and a torn-up sweat shirt.

An off-duty Campbell police officer was walking Storm and allowed the dog to go to the bathroom in a fenced-in area. But the dog saw the boy and ran after him, apparently mistaking a running boy for a suspect . . .

“He has caught three armed robbers. He has located numerous amounts of drugs. He has tracked down suspects. He’s been a vital, vital part of our police department,” Rusnak said of the dog’s history.

And if someone had come to the kid’s defense and shot the dog, as on- and off-duty cops routinely do, that person would be in custody right now. Of course, the problem isn’t the dog, it’s the handler. And when cops kill the family pet, the problem also usually isn’t with the dog.

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42 Responses to “Police Dogs Benefit From Double Standards, Too”

  1. #1 |  Rob McMillin | 

    They should make sure to pull an Ollie North and put it in uniform, too.

  2. #2 |  Maria | 

    “Campbell Police Sgt. John Rusnak said a police dog can’t differentiate between a playing boy and a crime suspect.”

    I think dude is talking about himself. Dogs, especially well trained dogs, are a hell of a lot smarter then that.

  3. #3 |  primus | 

    If you hit a police dog, you are charged with assaulting an ‘officer’. The logic is, the handler and the dog are a unit. If the dog is an officer in one case, so it must be in the other. If you are assaulted by an officer, you have recourse. Sue the department for assault by an officer.

  4. #4 |  CTD | 

    And if someone had come to the kid’s defense and shot the dog, as on- and off-duty cops routinely do, that person would be in custody dead right now.

  5. #5 |  frijoles_jr | 

    See also Fundamental attribution error.

    I think it’s a particularly easy perceptual trap to fall into for people whose job involves making or enforcing rules, which is one of the reasons why I think those sorts of positions should be assigned by random draw, as in jury selection.

    Professional law enforcement combined with human nature just not a healthy combination

  6. #6 |  Seitz | 

    The more I hear of this defense, the more I like it. I call it the Herman Cain defense. For every 8 year old boy that this dog attacked, there are literally THOUSANDS of 8 year old boys that the dog DIDN’T attack.

  7. #7 |  Bill | 

    Imagine if that had been Penn State’s response when the Sandusky thing hit: “Yes, some young boys were buggered, but look at the team’s record when he was on the coaching staff! On balance, we think he’s been an asset to the Penn State community.”

  8. #8 |  Dante | 

    “He has caught three armed robbers. He has located numerous amounts of drugs. He has tracked down suspects. He’s been a vital, vital part of our police department,”…
    and he almost ripped apart a harmless, unarmed, defenseless child. Won’t SOMEBODY think of the children? Don’t our children’s lives’ count for more than a dog?

    Seriously! When our children are endangered by police procedures and the police declare the procedures safe and valid (by policy, they don’t actually check), the police have become something other than the police. They are Kinder-murderers. Terrorists. Bad Guys. The Enemy.


    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

  9. #9 |  marco73 | 

    #4 CTD, you got that right. I’ll bet that if a bystander had intervened in any way, the bystander would have been shot to protect the valuable police dog.
    An eight year old, outside, with no parents directly supervising their play? Wait until child services gets done with this family.

  10. #10 |  Picachu | 

    So we’ve evolved as a society to the point that Police DOGS are more valuable than non-police HUMANS.

  11. #11 |  John C. Randolph | 

    The dog should be taken out of service, and the handler should be facing massive personal liability for reckless endangerment.

  12. #12 |  croaker | 

    I’d love to see the kid’s family file a petition to have the dog destroyed. Might send a message the the bad pigs that they’re next.

  13. #13 |  SJE | 

    Any other dog that attacked a child would be immediately put into the animal shelter and almost certainly euthanized, and the owners liable.

  14. #14 |  Thom | 

    #11 – not only would this result in the destruction of what is probably an innocent animal, but it would also most likely result in a “funeral”, with hundreds of cops solemnly parading through shut-down streets, lights flashing, to mourn their fallen dog brother at taxpayer expense.

    We don’t need either of those things.

  15. #15 |  Fritz Muffknuckle | 

    The following quote is from this article where the police defend the attack. http://www.vindy.com/news/2011/nov/27/police-defend-k–in-attack-on–year-old/


    Campbell Police Sgt. John Rusnak said a police dog can’t differentiate between a playing boy and a crime suspect.

    “Anything running, they’re trained … could be a potential threat. And all he’s doing is reacting and doing what he was trained to do,” Rusnak told WFMJ.


    Police dogs are trained to respond to verbal commands. Either the officer failed to issue a command to stop the attack, or the dog is improperly trained. There is absolutely no excuse for this attack. Sgt. John Rusnak’s attempt to justify it by claiming a dog is trained to attack running children is spine tingling in it’s scariness.

  16. #16 |  Sean L. | 

    “We know what can happen if your dog so much as growls at a cop.”

    If by ‘growls at’ you mean ‘is in the line of sight’ then, yeah, you’re spot on.

  17. #17 |  Steve Verdon | 

    The ways the cops failed their dog here are numerous:

    1. The dog was not on-leash. I’m sure if somebody checked the law requires a dog to be on leash when not on its own property.
    2. Trespassing; the article clearly states the officer was walking the dog and let him go to the bathroom in a fenced in area–i.e. not the officer’s property.
    3. Poor training; the dog should not spontaneously go after anything that is running.
    4. Making excuses; a bad dog owner excuses their dog’s bad behavior and fails to take corrective steps to ensure that such behavior is not repeated.

    The proper course of action is to take the dog from the police department, reprimand (if not fire the handler) and add additional training for how to deal with working dogs.

    Even setting aside the issue of how cops deal the dogs amongst the general public (i.e. shooting them wantonly) this story is a fantastic example of people who should not own a dog.

  18. #18 |  Whim | 

    How would this work as a possible solution:

    Rat Poison (Cyanide)-laced sausage balls left in the normal walking area of Storm? There are also some herbicides that will kill a dog in a few short minutes.

    The police dog handler was after all walking his dog in his own neighborhood.

    You can be sure that there is also a police take-home car at his home, that the police dog handler must have because of a requirement of a special cage for the dog.

    With some minor planning, Storm won’t be attacking any more children….It would be more than easy to stop and tie your shoe near the police car, and roll a few sausage balls for an unexpected doggie treat.

    Hypothetically speaking, of course.

  19. #19 |  John P. | 

    Reason number 612,811 to no longer trust nor respect the police…

    The double standard is strong with these idiots, its really the only way they know how to “do” their job these days…

  20. #20 |  Christ on a Cracker | 

    Steve V got is right. This is a good example of probably less than 5% of the “K-9 Dogs” in service should not be allowed out of the kennel. The problem simply is training, both the handler and the dog. Most are out of control animals that should not be close to the public. The dogs are extensions of the dick. Over half of the top sport handlers are women. I have never even heard of a female cop with a dog.

    BTW, “call off from attack” is a basic obediance command.

  21. #21 |  Christ on a Cracker | 

    err… Obedience

  22. #22 |  Ariel | 

    Geez, guys, the dog is an officer. If it runs, attack it. Like a dog does.
    Jogging is clear indication that you’re a felon…

  23. #23 |  John P. | 

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

  24. #24 |  Marty | 

    I love the pics of cops attacking black civil rights marchers in Alabama and Nazis using dogs on people and dogs patrolling our schools and immigration agents using dogs and… police dogs make me all warm and fuzzy.

    #5 | frijoles_jr- I really missed the thumbs up button when I read your post.

  25. #25 |  FloO | 

    How much do you want to bet the off-duty officer didn’t have a little baggie for the dook? Who’s going to complain?

  26. #26 |  Matt | 

    Cripes. Michael Vick spent time in prison for training dogs to attack *other* *dogs.* “Storm’s” owners are practically stroking his red rocket for successfully attacking that *human* kid, just as they trained that dog to do.

    Like cops are somehow magically better than anyone else at reverting dogs to a feral state and then keeping them from mauling other living things.

    Double standard double plus good.

  27. #27 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Thom, I said “taken out of service”, not “euthanized.” I agree that it’s the handler’s fault, for failing to control a vicious animal.

  28. #28 |  bruce strong | 

    when you give excuses you are admitting that you know it was WRONG.

  29. #29 |  MassHole | 

    Mr. Dog handler is an asshole for letting his dog dump in someones yard. That’s one of those things that make me want to kill. If I want my daughter to step in dog shit in my yard, I’ll get my own dog. The fact that he’s an asshole explains why this dog was off leash and in a yard he didn’t belong in. He was off duty, so he should be a sitting duck for a lawsuit.

  30. #30 |  Mike T | 

    And if someone had come to the kid’s defense and shot the dog, as on- and off-duty cops routinely do, that person would be in custody right now

    You’re assuming that the cop can actually bring himself to calmly present his badge and ask for compliance, rather than pull out a sidearm and do his best “I may be a cop, or I may just be some armed asshole who is about to kill you for shooting my dangerous dog” routine. If the latter, no one could be criticized for unloading a few rounds into him out of self-defense.

  31. #31 |  Joe in Missouri | 

    The dog participated in the unconstitutional, immoral, and un-Godly war on drugs and this is an endorsement?

    The dog has been used to crush the God given rights of Americans to choose what they put into their bodies and this is a good thing?

    All I can say is WTF?

  32. #32 |  Mario | 

    Whim @ #18

    If the dog were taken from the department and placed in a loving home with experienced, responsible dog handlers, I bet he could be a good dog; so, I can’t get behind your sausage suggestion.

    Make it donuts, however, and I have to admit I’m a bit more sympathetic.

  33. #33 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Whim (#18)

    Please, don’t go full retard.

    The failure was on the part of its owners (the police, and its handler in particular). Punishing the dog for the failure of humans is both stupid and banal. Part of the problem of your “solution” is that it leaves the crappy handler/owner unchanged. They will just get another dog and repeat the very same pattern of behavior and you’ll have another problem dog on your hand.

    So, pull your head from your fourth point of contact before you suffer even more brain damage from lack of oxygen. Thanks.

  34. #34 |  Whim | 

    Steverino #33

    Thanks for the excellent advice.

    I’ll see to it almost immediately upon your so sage advice.

    Best regards, police-dog-poop licker.

  35. #35 |  Mike T | 


    Steve is right. The dog is just an animal. You blame the cop who handled it. Besides, which would be more satisfying? Seeing a dumb police dog put down for doing what it was trained to do or seeing its even dumber, more dangerous handler getting hauled off to jail (or getting his ass brutally beat by the kid’s father).

  36. #36 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    Unconstitutional titles of nobility.

  37. #37 |  Mike S | 

    Sue the police department, the person “handling” the dog was criminally negligent. Why wasn’t this extremely dangerous animal on a leash??? Why didn’t the “handler” keep the dog under their control at all times??? This person is irresponsible and needs more training, as well as the embarrassment of causing the police dep’t to be sued. Think what would happen to you if your dog bit the “handler’s” kid under similar circumstances. Your dog would be dead, you would be in jail, you would be sued, and you would be castigated in the local papers. Sue them.

  38. #38 |  Far Rider | 

    The police have transitioned from “Peace Officers” to Law Enforcement Officers. Commensurate with that transition has come a seige mentality and an attitude of being above the law and over the mere citizens that they are allegedly supposed to serve and protect. Standards have been lowered to make the small, female, and racial minorities feel good about themselves. Add to this the habit of all police departments to circle the wagons and attempt to protect the most egregious behavior and accountability is not an element of modern policing.

  39. #39 |  Mark Matis | 

    Is it time yet for Santa to deliver cocktails to “Law Enforcement” through their bedroom windows on Christmas eve?

  40. #40 |  Susan Robbins | 

    When I was 7 months pregnant and worked for the local county, I went on my work break to watch a demonstration of the local police canine unit since I am a dog lover. One of the police dogs tried 3 times to attack me and was held back by his handler who accused me of doing something wrong and asked me to leave since it was giving a bad impression to the audience. When you teach a dog to attack people, they are only dogs and will have difficulty distinguishing who to attack.

  41. #41 |  Militant Libertarian » Police Dogs Benefit From Double Standards, Too | 

    […] Posted: December 4th, 2011 by Militant Libertarian The Agitator […]

  42. #42 |  dave | 

    And if someone had come to the kid’s defense and shot the dog, as on- and off-duty cops routinely do, that person would be in custody right now. Of course, the problem isn’t the dog, it’s the handler. And when cops kill the family pet, the problem also usually isn’t with the dog.

    1- shoot the dog

    2- shoot the idiot for making one shoot the dog