Police departments across the country often proudly announce when they acquire a new canine officer. Though much time and money is spent training these animals, they can prove to be a liability, especially when they break training. There have been several incidents in the Minneapolis area involving innocent victims suffering serious wounds from dog bites inflicted by canine officers.
The majority of canine officers are a valuable resource for police departments in tracking down and preventing persons of interest from evading officials. Unfortunately, even the most thoroughly trained dog is capable of breaking its training. Handlers may also facilitate bad habits by not keeping their partners under control or correcting troublesome behavior. Some professionals in canine behavior claim that these dogs pose an inherent risk to public safety based on the nature of the dogs that are selected for use as law enforcement canines.
There are several cases nationwide involving reports of these animals inflicting excessive force when attempting to control those considered suspects. One man alleged that he had already surrendered to officers when a canine was permitted access to him and inflicted serious wounds to an arm and his torso. Another individual suffered serious scalp wounds when a canine was released to keep her under control.
These dogs are trained to bite and hold a person suspected of committing a crime, and they are also trained that their job is to bite a target they are sent to locate. They are not always capable of distinguishing the difference between an alleged suspect and an innocent bystander. While police dogs do provide a valuable service, under certain circumstances, they can pose a danger to the safety of the general public. Minneapolis residents or visitors who have suffered serious physical and psychological harm due to injuries inflicted by dog bites from any canine are entitled to seek recovery of their monetary losses through the civil justice system.