Fayetteville Cop’s Beating of K-9 Prompts PETA to Call For Dog’s Removal and Police Department Overhaul

For Immediate Release:
June 26, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Fayetteville, N.C.

In response to a viral video showing a local police officer repeatedly punching a K-9 and yanking the dog by the collar, PETA is calling for the K-9 to immediately be removed from the abusive handler and for the officer to be reassigned to duties that don’t involve interaction with animals. In a letter fired off to Fayetteville Chief of Police Kemberle Braden, Assistant Chief Kellie Berg, and Maj. Charles Hunt, the group also urges the agency to review its policies with an eye toward instating only humane training methods for K-9s.

The video, first posted on Facebook, was reportedly recorded in the parking lot of Walgreens on Skibo Road on Saturday.

“K-9s—through no choice of their own—risk their lives in the line of duty, just as human officers do, and deserve to be treated with respect and consideration,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Police officers should be held to a higher standard of conduct, and PETA is urging the Fayetteville Police Department to reassign this abusive officer and reassess using K-9s altogether.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Braden, Berg, and Hunt follows.

June 24, 2024

Kemberle Braden, Chief

Assistant Chief Kellie Berg, Specialized Services Bureau Commander

Major Charles Hunt, Specialized Services Bureau Major

Fayetteville Police Department

Dear Chief Braden, Assistant Chief Berg, and Major Hunt:

PETA has received video footage recorded by a bystander, reportedly outside the Walgreens store at 1600 Skibo Rd. on the afternoon of June 22, showing what appears to be a Fayetteville Police Department officer abusing a police K-9 during what we are told was a traffic stop. In the footage, the handler is seen holding the dog by the collar so that the animal’s front legs are off the ground while the officer punches him in the face at least three times with a closed fist. The handler then drags the dog by the collar toward a police car, with the dog’s front legs still off the ground. The K-9 turns his head and nips at the handler but doesn’t appear to make contact. The handler stops walking and grabs the dog by the muzzle, forcing his mouth shut, then swings him around by the collar so that the canine’s rear legs leave the ground while still holding his mouth closed. Since this video is going viral on social media, we wanted to contact you right away so that this incident can be investigated swiftly and properly addressed.

We respectfully request that the K-9 be removed immediately from this handler’s custody and that the officer be reassigned to duties that do not involve having contact with animals. Based on our experience with similar cases across the nation—including in Salisbury, North Carolina, where a similar incident sparked national and international outrage and an external investigation led to a recommendation to fire the abusive handler—we strongly recommend a thorough review of policies and training for K-9 handlers to ensure that only nonviolent, humane methods are being used. Not only is such violence cruel, it’s also ineffective. Experts agree that dogs learn and maintain desirable behavior best when trained with a reward-based system and that frightening or traumatic treatment induces fear and anxiety.

PETA works with and supports police departments across the country, often collaborating to investigate, charge, and prosecute animal abusers. We know that many—if not most—handlers respect and value their K-9s, whom they trust with their lives in dangerous situations. Incidents in which officers commit acts of cruelty against animals—in this case, a K-9 partner—are deeply upsetting for the communities that look to law-enforcement officers not only to uphold the law but also to act as role models. Studies have shown that those who are violent toward animals tend to be violent toward humans as well.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Most respectfully,

Allison Fandl

Manager of Special Projects

Cruelty Investigations Department | PETA

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