Sometimes I wonder if I decided to start training and breeding German Shepherd Dogs because of watching police dogs. Police dogs are absolutely fascinating to watch. Perfectly trained animals usually are. But there is something more about watching German Shepherds work with the police. Perhaps it is the way they look at their owners – they just can’t wait to please.
A year or so ago, I got to do a ride-a-long with a friend of mine who is a police officer in Anchorage, Alaska, where I live. We headed over to a park in search of a woman in diabetic shock who had run in to the woods. A police dog was there named MP. MP was a Belgian Malinois and was incredible.
The woman had come back and while the officer I was with helped get her in to the ambulance, I asked a few questions about MP. His handler gave me a baseball style trading card of MP. It was like I was 7 years old again - I was so pumped.
His handler told me that MP lived at home with him and his family. He told me that the dog is literally a part of the family. I can relate to this as every dog I have ever owned has literally been a part of my family. I put the baseball card in my pocket and put it on the fridge when I got home.
Fitted with a canine bulletproof vest and a camera to show the FBI what was inside, an FBI Canine named Ape was sent in first. Ape was shot and killed. Shortly thereafter, so was Kurt Meyers. An FBI medic tried to save Ape’s life, but couldn’t and the FBI described Ape’s actions as nothing short of “heroic.”
A memorial service was held for Ape and his name was etched in to the wall at FBI Headquarters in Quantico, VA.
Then something was realized. In the state of New York, it was only a misdemeanor to kill this heroic canine. He went in before anyone else because it was what he was trained to do, much like firemen run in to burning buildings and police officers go towards the sound of gunfire.
The New York State Legislature acted quickly and made killing or injuring a police dog a felony. I think this is a great honor to the work Ape did. Ape was a part of his handler’s family. Just like any other law enforcement officer, he had his days off at home where he recreated and had his days where he went to work. When Ape went to work, he was protecting our safety.
In Alaska, where I live, it is already a Class C Felony to kill a police dog. However, in the state of Oklahoma it is only a misdemeanor. Littering and forgetting to renew your license plates for extended periods of time are misdemeanors. Killing a police dog is the same as killing a human police officer. It should be a felony.
By my count, it is only a felony to kill police dogs in 22 states. This lack of respect for the sacrifice these amazing creatures do has to change. It should be a felony in every state to kill or injure a police dog. This will never change if the knowledge of this issue doesn’t get out. I hope you will share this with a few of your friends and Follow this link to contact your legislators and tell them that this must happen!
Josh Brown is a dog lover, trainer and breeder in Anchorage, AK. He owns Far North Kennel and breeds German Shepherd Puppies. Josh writes a Dog Blog with training and behavioral tips for owners of all breeds that you are invited to check out here.