A Himatangi dog trainer is challenging the police to publicly prove their dogs can be called off the chase at any point.
Yes... I'd like to see this too!
This comes after convicted criminal Tristan Abraham was hospitalised after he was bitten by a police dog last week. Abraham was found hiding on a Russell Street, Palmerston North, property in breach of his 24-hour curfew and carrying a weapon.
This is what I was getting at... with this incident. One dog handler said that I was naive (the comment section), but I'm happy to see that I've vindicated :))
Last November, a police dog display at Wellington's stadium prompted a letter to the editor of a Wellington newspaper from a concerned member of the public.
The woman said the police dog display was a "disturbing section". Yes, I totally agree. If that was a demonstration and she was disturbed, what about when people on the streets see police dog handlers mistreat their dogs? I suppose I should have written a complain letter.. yet another one :(
"The dogs were very quick at catching the "criminals", but not so keen to release them.
"The police-dog section does a wonderful job, often in dangerous situations. But if a dog won't obey the command to let go from it's handler, it shouldn't be working. It should be back in training," the woman wrote. YES!
Last year, 27 complaints were made to the Police Complaints Authority about police dogs.
However, 23 of those were not upheld and four are still being investigated, a spokesman said this week.
Dog trainer Paul Hutton said one complaint to the authority was "one too many" and has renewed calls, after he wrote a letter in response to the woman's concerns, that police should prove their dogs are safe.
Mr Hutton would like to see a public demonstration in Palmerston North to prove dogs, in full chase, can be called off instantly and if the dog's chasing the wrong person that handlers can call their dogs off the hold instantly.
Dogs can be a lethal weapon when wound up, he said.
"The police are a professional body who should be accountable. If my dog bites someone and they're hospitalised I'd be charged."
While Mr Hutton won't discuss particular complaints, he would like to see the public reassured police dogs are safe.
"If the police dog unit doesn't believe a problem exists, it will have no qualms about responding to my challenge."
Mr Hutton trains some Department of Conservation hunting dogs for deer and goat eradication work.
These dogs are trained not to touch the animals, DOC programme manager for biodiversity and threats Andy Mercer said.
The dogs are taught to "indicate" where prey is, or to bale the animals into a position to be cornered and shot.
The dogs are 1m to 5m from the hunter at all times.
The public backlash over fox hunting in Britain prompted the changes and meant DOC is "paranoid" about dog control, Mr Mercer said.
"We can't have dogs mauling animals that are left walking around with their entrails hanging out," Mr Mercer said.
"We can't afford to lose this tool. It's 10 times more effective than using just a hunter."