City Government

Police K-9 Has Bad Taste

A convicted druggie at the Idaho Pen is looking for $1 million from the Boise PD just because a police dog chomped his cajones while he had his hands cuffed behind his back. He would probably have ENJOYED a Taser in retrospect.

No doubt the new U.S. Attorney General would have no problem if your family jewels were gone over by a vicious dog. After all, the victim was a druggie and got convicted.

This all happened May 10 during a traffic stop. The guy was standing outside a cop car waiting to go to jail when “Blek” the police dog jumped out the open door of another car and chomped down on the area most dogs just sniff.

Police reviewed the dog’s training–and get this–determined the bite was UNINTENTIONAL! Can’t you see old Blek with his ears laid back, head on his paws saying, “I didn’t mean to bite. I was just gonna sniff and I got carried away.”

The convict has filed a tort claim with Boise City which is a precursor of a civil suit. If they are smart the City will settle quickly for a couple of grand.

Boise PD has a long history of rogue police dog encounters–usually because the human cop screwed up. Many years ago a dog went after a young “cruiser” in the downtown area in an unprovoked attack, causing the department to simply get out of the dog business for many years.

The GUARDIAN is aware of a series of police dog bite incidents similar to the groin grabbing pooch. A deputy city attorney was attacked at city hall while sitting in her wheel chair working late one evening. A sheriff dispatcher was bitten when she tried to rescue her little foo-foo dog when a Boise PD dog was allowed to run lose outside the station just to name a couple.

There is a place for canines in law enforcement–especially in the drug sniffing, tracking, and bomb detection area. The problems arise when officers become so accustomed to their “canine partners” they are lax and canine instincts overcome training.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. FYI, from today’s Statesman:

    EDITOR NOTE–Kevin, we lifted the story from the Daily Paper. Our version is fun to read.

  2. Mike Murphy, Bull Moose Tenor
    Nov 14, 2007, 12:41 pm

    One Word… Accreditation.

    I defy anyone to give one good reason why our community wouldn’t benefit from an accredited police department.

    For more information, please visit

    EDITOR NOTE–Mike, the accreditation thing is not all it is cracked up to be. Standards are met and paying a group to pass out a certificate is just an added expense. If you want to push for a state or national LEGAL standard I can buy it. Besides, even accredited pooches could go for more than a sniff of the gonades.

  3. Yep, the human cop is supposed to know better than to let his canine partner make the decisions about when to get out of the car, when to bite, when to just hold on, etc.

    Those dogs are pretty smart, but they still can’t make it through POST Academy!

    Actually, the best use I’ve seen for them is when a guy the cops were chasing ran into a big warehouse. Human cops could have spent hours trying to find him in that huge building with lots of stuff stacked all over the place — and they might have got themselves shot in the process. So they sent the dog in. It took only a few moments for the four-legged officer to find the guy, grab him by the arm and explain in dog language (“Grrrr!”) that he’d better go peacefully. They guy didn’t argue.

    Also, I one time watched a cop make a traffic stop, where the driver jumped out and ran. The cop chased him, but wasn’t gaining on him until the fleeing driver ran into the back yard of my neighbor’s house, where he met a very large dog that also used that same language to expain to the man that he shouldn’t be in that yard. The guy slammed on the brakes, put his hands up and waited for the human officer to “rescue” him from the threat. And that wasn’t even a police dog, just a well-trained retriever.

    Yep, the dogs have their place, and, while the biter must make one wonder about his training, the two-legged partner who didn’t keep an eye on him seems to have been even more lacking in proper training.

  4. Looks like property taxes will be goin’ up again, huh?

  5. Mike Murphy, Bull Moose Tenor
    Nov 14, 2007, 2:19 pm

    Editor- I respect your opinion, but increased (Any? The Ombudsman’s Empire Building notwithstanding.) civilian review / oversight ALONE makes it a worthwhile proposition for everyone I’VE discussed it with.

    Though recent interactions with 2 BPD Officers (Officers Hancuff & Rock) have caused me to rethink my calls for the disbanding of the BPD, I fail to believe for a second that increased civilian oversight of the police (any police), especially in this day-and-age, is anything but a good thing.

  6. bert farber
    Nov 14, 2007, 2:56 pm

    Cajones? Is that some word the Guardian picked up in Old Mexico?

  7. Is it possible that this guy had drugs stuffed down his pants and that’s what Blek sniffed out and sunk his teeth into?

    I mean after all the guy’s in the pen for drug doings as a result of this incident.

    EDITOR NOTE–Blek must have really needed a fix!

  8. Sorry I don’t like bad dogs or their owner. Shoot the damn thing.

  9. Rod in SE Boise
    Nov 14, 2007, 7:03 pm

    The citizens of Boise deserve a police force that is under civilian control, and not one that at times operates like Blackwater wannabes.

    What’s next, tactical nuclear weapons?

  10. From what I understand, the drug dealer was handcuffed and in custody. If a police dog wigs out and bites someone who is complying with orders and offering no resistance, that dog should immediately be removed from service and possibly euthanized. I have no sympathy for the drug dealer, but the life or safety of a compliant person should never be at the whim of an animal. What is to stop the animal from lunging at a law-abiding citizen through a car window during a traffic stop?

    I hope he gets his million dollars and an apology and the police department learns a hard lesson about its use of animals.

  11. That handcuffed druggie should be glad it was a BPD police dog biting his privates. It could have been a Idaho Congressman instead. I hate to think what might have happened in that case.
    If he sues he should demand health benefits for the rest of his life. To heck with a million bucks. Cash is becomming worthless thanks to borrow and start wars Republicans.
    Oh, in case you didn’t know, the dogs are trained to bite “bad guys” in the crotch at police doggy school.

  12. I used to like dogs until my daughter had her face nearly bitten off by a friend’s dog and in another incident I was knocked off my feet in my driveway by a neighbor’s speeding dog. Thanks to a good plastic surgeon and my physical therapist we are OK. If a homeowner has a dog who has caused injury to someone, he will probably lose any insurance coverage he may have regarding dogs.

    I explained to my neighbor that if their dog should knock down some little frail person, and that person sustains a hip fracture, they can expect to pay a lot of money, especially if that person should die.

    The police department is not acting responsibly by not training or restraining their dogs and the city attorney should probably review their insurance coverage for dog injuries. It is hard to believe the dog is still in employment.

  13. 1- We have no information as to the “BITE”. It could have been a sniff, it could have been keying off of drugs in the mans pants, it could have been anything. Any report of an EMS response or ED Visit? Is this a ploy by the offender to get his sentence dropped or get back at the PD?

    I have had first hand experience with Police style dogs (Many many variants out there and I don’t proclaim to be an expert…but I know people who are)

    These animals are indeed an invaluable resource to the PD and the public. They go places officers cant, or shouldn’t anyway, they have capabilities officers don’t, and most importantly IMHO, they have an intimidation factor on bad guys that no human being can have, gun or not.

    There is something primal in most of us, that even the influence of drugs often cant subdue, that promotes a fear of the dog in its aggressive stance. And that leads to compliance in a situation where otherwise a subject would need to be be shot, or a taser would be ineffective or unpractical.

    They fill a role and a capability no other tool does.

    But at the end of the day, these “tools” are animals. And that means a bit unpredictable. I would say more predictable than their human counterparts, but there is an element of randomness.

    Sad to say it, occasionally S**t happens.

    Doesnt imply negligence, just bad luck. Thats reality.

    We must hold our PD to high standards, certainly higher than the public. But they must be realistic.

  14. Nemo,
    I read the story in the Statesman and it said the man was taken to the emergency room before going to jail. Your defense of the cops and the dog frankly scares the heck out of me.

    That dog is a weapon just like a shotgun. The cops themselves said the dog got out of the open door of a police car. I hope they are not as careless with their guns. You, Nemo sound like you think “S—” happened at that prison in Iraq too.

    How can you in any way defend a dog even being near someone who is handcuffed and leaning against a car as ordered? You make me sick!

  15. MOM,

    A shotgun, unlike a dog, has a safety. If it is engaged, it wont discharge. Period.
    A simple rule: If you dont have it loaded, it wont go off. Period.

    A dog has no 100% safety. A dog is always LOADED.

    Not disparaging the PD. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, dogs (except for maybe the blond mace carrying kind from Hawaii) are an invaluable tool. They save lives of the public and of the officers them selves.
    But just like humans have human nature, animals have an animal nature.
    My point is simply we must be realistic that this stuff will happen eventually. Therefore the calls to fire the officer, disband the PD, and dismantle the Police K9 program are unrealistic, and unwarranted. Come up with some solid, realistic changes, then that would be worth reading.

    The calls that this was blantent negligence is unwarranted with the current published facts (that may change as time goes on)

    So many here think everything is a conspiracy, everything is brutality, and anyone who is in office, or wears a badge, or a uniform… MUST be corrupt and abusive. Simply not true.

    Mainly people who wont, cant, or simply dont have the desire to do the job of those who serve the public….. but feel free to criticize that which they know next to nothing about, or worse than nothing (by watching TV).
    Abuses do occur, trust is violated, but generally speaking not at any greater rate than the general population (often less IMHO).

    So before we shoot the dog, before we tar and feather the officer, before we put the CRIMINAL on a pedestal and call him a martyr, why dont we do something useful, like try to identify if there was a problem (specificaly), then fix the problem, instead of tearing down the PD like a bunch of petulant children.

    Just calling for a bit of objectivity.

    But hey, if playing arm chair quarterback makes you feel better about yourself, go for it. But while you are doing so, I am sure there are tons of internet resources about proper police use of K9s you could research and form an informed opinion before you lash out. Maybe you could reference them for us. Or , even better yet, after educating yourself, you could call the ombudsman and offer to be a civilian rider with the K9 unit, see for yourself as an educated outsider what they do and how they do it, and then you would have good opinions , maybe even some constructive ones that might improve things. I bet the ombudsman would even listen to you about them. I myself would be interested…..

    But that would require you to get out of your armchair.

  16. Mike Murphy, Bull Moose Tenor
    Nov 17, 2007, 11:05 am

    Nemo, et al,

    REGARDLESS of the crime the gentleman was ACCUSED and / or SUSPECTED of committing at the time, remember… “Innocent until PROVEN Guilty in a Court of Law”.

    Or do we want “Judge Dread” on patrol?

    Let’s hope YOU didn’t happen to have, say, a Ham Sandwich or a Cat on your lap preceding your interaction (or merely passing by) with a K9 Dog.

    But hey… These things happen! Right?

  17. chessplayer
    Nov 18, 2007, 9:14 am

    Gotta love it that the dog’s name is BLEK!

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