Trainer says HP should keep K9 unit

May 3, 2008 6:52:04 AM PDT
A K-9 behavior specialist tells Eyewitness News the Highway Patrol does not need to scrap its K-9 unit. The dog's can be effectively trained in a more humane way. The local trainer and former K-9 officer says the tactics demonstrated by a state trooper in the now infamous video and other rough techniques are likely still being used by a number of police agencies across the country. But he says the good news is they can all change.

K-9 trainer, Gary Shaw works every day with his Belgian Melinoise, Mayhem. Mayhem is the same breed as Ricoh, the dog that has been seen in a YouTube video, hung and kicked by former state trooper partner Charles Jones.

As hundreds of thousands of people across America have expressed outrage at the video, Shaw, an expert K9 trainer and former K9 officer, feels different than most about the firing of Charles Jones.

"That's a bit much. I think, personally, I think he did what he was trained to do," Shaw explained. "I think they weren't given the tools that they needed to do it right."

At the hearing to determine whether Jones should get his job back, other K9 troopers say they also use rough tactics on their dogs. Shaw says the techniques, once common, are outdated.

Shaw says he has trained Mayhem without the use of any force. He knows some especially stubborn dogs like Ricoh may require more force ad as a last resort, he recommends electric collars.

Jones testified he bought and electric collar for Ricoh, but the Highway Patrol banned its use.

Shaw said, "It may sound and feel good to say, 'Okay we're not going to use the electric collar.' But then what do you leave your handlers with these hard, tough dogs that know nothing else? Now you've got to get physical with them."

When getting physical ended with a dog ended up on camera, it caused outrage. Shaw says the outrage is a good thing.

"I hope that other departments around the country start to learn and listen to the fact that people aren't going to tolerate this anymore. It doesn't have to be done. And there is some excellent help available." Shaw says he was touched by Charles Jones' testimony about his love for his partner Ricoh.

Although most who have seen the video may not agree, Shaw says he hopes Jones get his job back and gets another chance at being a K9 trooper.


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