For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2021
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Salisbury, N.C. – Following the leak of video footage showing a handler with the Salisbury Police Department lifting a K-9 named Zuul off the ground by the leash and collar around his neck, suspending him in a “choke hold,” and body-slamming and punching him, local PETA members will join other concerned area residents for a virtual Salisbury City Council meeting tomorrow to demand answers from elected officials. The group will also call for the abusive officer to be prosecuted for cruelty to animals.
When: Tuesday, March 16, 6 p.m.
Where: Virtual City Council Meeting (https://salisburync.gov/Government/City-Council)
“In 2021, a police department that covers up for one of its own instead of charging him with a violation of state law for inflicting physical abuse on a trusting dog who serves this community should not operate a K-9 unit,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “The community deserves action and answers, including regarding why some elected officials have apparently known about the video for several months but have yet to take action.”
During the attack on Zuul, people inside the police car from which the video was recorded can be heard saying, “We’re good; no witnesses” and “Can you go flip my cameras off?”—making them, in PETA’s eyes, accessories to the cruelty. Chief of Police Jerry Stokes excused the abuse as taken “out of context.” In a letter to Stokes, PETA noted that there is no context in which such violence would be acceptable and that his remarks suggest that abusive treatment of police dogs is nothing out of the ordinary in the department. The group is calling for a criminal investigation and for prosecution of the abuser depicted in the video by an independent, outside agency.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—has also protested outside the Salisbury Police Department with signs proclaiming, “Justice for Zuul!”