Dog trainer: Wilton Manors officer’s yanking of K9 was unnecessary

WILTON MANORS, FLA. (WSVN) - A renown dog trainer said a Wilton Manors Police officer who violently yanked his K9 partner’s leash did not need to be so rough with the dog.

“The jerking movement that you see the police dog handler do to the dog is not appropriate,” said dog trainer Victoria Stilwell.

Stilwell is referring to a video posted by a user showing the officer pulling the K9 by the leash during a car search.

The Facebook user who posted the video said the police officer followed him from Sunrise Boulevard to Powerline Road, Saturday. The user claimed the officer stopped him for illegal tints and then searched his car with the canine partner.

The video has since gone viral with over 11,300 shares and over 544,000 views.

Stilwell has been working with dogs for 20 years, with the last six having been spent with police dogs. She has also starred in several TV shows, helping dogs and their owners.

“It looks like the dog was not working and it looks like the handler was irritated that the dog wasn’t working for whatever reason, and that’s why the handler basically ripped on the dog,” she said.

Stilwell said handling a police dog this way is counter-productive, and the best practice is to treat the dog the same way you want to be treated.

“If you do, not only are you going to have a really effective dog, but you’re also going to have a dog that’s emotionally stable,” Stilwell said.

Wilton Manors Police are currently investigating the incident and have released a statement that reads in part, “Currently the canine partner is in the care of a veterinarian where a medical assessment is being conducted. Furthermore, our agency is conducting a full investigation into this matter and the officer has been reassigned from K9 duties pending this review.”

Another dog trainer said that while the action was unnecessary, the dog did not appear to be injured from the pull.

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