SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Over a dozen members with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) held a protest Friday for what it calls unacceptable behavior of a Salisbury Police officer towards police K-9 officer Zuul.
“People are outraged about this, said Rachel Bellis with PETA.” “This is not just here in this area, this is National, people want to see justice happen. They need to investigate. At the minimum, this officer needs to be reassigned to another division where he will have no officer with canines or other animals and he should be prosecuted for cruelty.”
The video was released to WBTV and other media outlets this week. In the video, an unidentified officer appears to pull the dog off the ground by his leash, slam the dog into the side of an SUV, and punch the dog.
The video has caused outrage among many, and prompted PETA to write a letter to Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes.
“There is no scenario in which this handler’s behavior could be considered acceptable by any standard, and we believe this is far more than an internal disciplinary matter. It is criminal conduct,” wrote Allison Fandl, CID Manager, Cruelty Investigations Department with PETA. “Furthermore, witnesses who took no action and in fact engaged in a cover-up of this incident must also be investigated for collusion, aiding, and abetting. They also bear some responsibility for this dog’s suffering.”
PETA supporters held up signs proclaiming, “Justice for Zuul!” and “Salisbury PD: prosecute cruelty to dogs” demanding that the officer be prosecuted for cruelty to animals and barred from any future contact with animals.
“People inside the police car who recorded the video can be heard saying, “We’re good—no witnesses” and “Can you go flip my cameras off?”—making them, in PETA’s eyes, accessories who took no action to stop the abuse,” a press release from PETA reads.
PETA is calling for a criminal investigation and prosecution of the abuser depicted in the video by an independent, outside agency.
“Slamming a dog into a car, choking him, and punching him are not only a violation of a dog’s trust but also, PETA believes, a violation of state law,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “If the Salisbury Police Department defends such indefensible violence to an animal, the department’s K-9 unit should be disbanded.”