Even Police Dogs Enjoy A Double Standard

by Wendy McElroy
Dec. 01, 2011

Police are routinely judged by a different standard, a double standard under the law that allows them to pepper spray peaceful by-standers, to beat into unconsciousness unresisting 'suspects' and, generally, to violate every civil liberty protected by the Constitution. The police do so with impunity. They can (and they do) get away with murder while the the average, non-uniformed person is tossed into jail for forgetting to pay a traffic ticket.

A recent news story illustrates how deeply embedded this double standard has become. An "off-duty" and unleashed police dog was enjoying a walk with his partner when he spotted an 8-year-old boy playing hide-and-seek with his cousin. The dog attacked the running child, dragging him to the ground, shredding his sweatshirt, puncturing his T-shirt and leaving marks on the boy's arm.

What is the police response? They praise the dog's record as a crime-buster and drug-sniffer. No mention is made of sanctioning the police officer or taking the dog off the street. Any other dog would be 'put down' for attacking a child without provocation; any other owner would be liable in civil court. But this dog was excused with the explanation that he could not distinguish between a fleeing suspect and a playing child...in short, the dog was just doing his job.

"They're [police dogs] trained that anything running could be a potential threat, and all he's doing is reacting and doing what he was trained to do," explained Sergeant John Rusnak from the Campbell Police Department.

The Agitator makes an interesting observation: "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."

It is my understanding that no police dog attacks without a verbal command. If I am incorrect, then every police dog out there is a standing menace to every child it encounters. Clearly this dog is a vicious loose-cannon and this officer was negligent. There is no mention of any sanctions or repercussions for the officer. Apparently leash laws do not apply to everyone. As Orwell observed in Animal Farm, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Orwell was speaking of the pigs. So am I.

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