by Garret Ean
July 11 2011
Friday’s Monitor featured a front-page story about a police K-9 attack which occurred July 18, 2009 in Loudon. A quick google search brought up no previous coverage of this incident, so it is likely that the July 8, 2011 article is the first coverage this story has seen. An abbreviated version of the Monitor story was also run by WMUR, the Connecticut Post, and the Boston Globe.
If the facts as reported are indeed correct, then state police dog handler Sgt. Gregory Ferry is guilty of some incredibly reckless conduct. If the police were using the dog for tracking as they claim, then why was the dog ever let off of the leash? Unleashing the dog shows that the police were not using the dog for tracking, but for attacking. Just as the use of a taser would make necessary a justification for such a use of force, so should the use of an attack dog. There are countless stories from around the nation of tasers being used not in one’s defense, but as pain-compliance devices. It is shocking and sad that police dogs are also being used as toys of torture.
The article cites the amount of training police dogs undergo, training which inevitably harnesses the primal beast within the domesticated animal. While noting how trained the animals may be, there are some important points to consider about the effectiveness of such a process. Every simulated attack during the training process is against an individual who is not intended to be harmed by the animal. Nobody would be intentionally bitten by an attack dog without protective padding. Thus, the first time the dog is used on a subject in the field is its first time tasting blood. No level of training can simulate this reality.
Protecting the youth from themselves, with attack dogs…
If a young person runs into the woods when police appear on the scene of a house party, it is likely because the young person is trying to avoid ‘being protected from himself’ by the police, who respond to youth alcohol consumption by caging and legally threatening said youths. Underage drinking laws do nothing to address the problems associated with underage drinking, but as the state is a one-trick pony, it ‘solves’ these problems the only way it knows how, with threats of fines and cages. I know too many people who have stories of nights in which they took their lives into their hands, running drunkenly through New Hampshire forests, desperate to avoid being caught by police after a party is shut down. Ms. Dennis is yet another innocent victim in the arbitrary alcohol war. Had she been born a few years earlier, she would have been considered a victim of the dog attack. But instead, the state took the position that she was a criminal being taken into custody.
To the officers involved in this incident: Consider how comfortable you would be with someone sicking an attack dog on your young adult son or daughter. Statistically speaking, your child is most likely going to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis before the age of 21. Violent solutions to non-violent problems are a greater issue than the disease they are intended to cure. There is no reason why an attack dog should be used to capture a young person accused of nonviolent, victimless ‘crimes’. Hopefully this case will help bring some of these systemic flaws to light.
Update: Thanks to a reader for directing us to this related article from July 2010. A 13 year old girl was bitten by a state police drug detector dog on Warren Street. The incident began when the police’s German Shepherd attacked the girl’s dog, and she tried to protect him.