Most people in New Jersey may assume that incidents involving dog bites are merely accidents resulting from actions unforeseen by both victims and the dogs’ owners. Indeed, predicting an animal’s behavior can be difficult, even for those familiar with them. Yet what about incidents where an owner or handler encourages an animal’s aggression?
Such certainly is the case when referring to dogs used in law enforcement. The intent is for these animals to help incapacitate suspected perpetrators. Yet the expectation is that the officers that control these dogs understand how to control their aggression, and will only unleash it when absolutely necessary. One might reasonably see a failure to do so as negligence.
Lawsuit filed following police dog attack
A police department in Washington currently faces accusations that its officers have repeatedly demonstrated such negligence. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the department settled five past lawsuits stemming from the inappropriate use of its K-9 officers during apprehensions. It now faces further legal action following an arrest in which the detainee claims a handler officer ordered his K-9 partner to attack him even after he was in handcuffs, resulting in bite injuries to his neck, torso, stomach, arms and legs.
Accountability for unlawful police action
Few may argue about the difficulty of the job assigned to law enforcement officers. Yet such officers still must exercise care and caution when executing their duties. This includes taking the same amount of care a pet owner would for those interacting with their animals (in fact, one might argue that the aggressive tendencies of K-9 officers makes it even more important to ensure they remain under control). Those who suffer from their attacks may want to seek out reliable legal assistance when attempting to hold their handlers accountable.