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California Police Dept. Under Fire For Defending Cop Who Was Caught On Video Punching K-9 Dog

Roberto Palomino/Facebook

A video of a California police officer punching a K-9 dog in the head has stirred widespread outrage.

The official Facebook page for the police, however, defended the officer’s actions as a routine training exercise. But their explanation is leaving very few people satisfied.

The incident was filmed by a bystander in Vacaville, California.

WARNING: video contains violence against an animal

Robert Palomino, a floor installer who filmed the video, witnessed the incident near his warehouse in Vacaville.

He told local news outlet KTVU he witnessed the officer punching the dog at least 10 times before he began filming.

“I was wondering myself, what the dog could have done to deserve that kind of punishment?”

Palomino reported the officer involved frequently looked around the premises, seemingly checking for anyone who might be witnessing the incident.

He eventually stopped punching the dog when he spotted Palomino. Palomino did not intervene at the time because he was afraid of how the officer might retaliate against him, but felt he had to speak out after the fact to prevent future incidents.

But Vacaville police Captain Matt Lydon had a different take on the video.

While he acknowledged the video could be “alarming to a lay person” not familiar with the process of training police dogs, he described the incident as a routine exercise resulting from a moment of aggression the dog showed toward the officer.

As Lydon told KTVU:

“It’s important in K-9 training that the handler take swift action to correct the dog’s behavior.”

But Palomino was not at all convinced.

He felt what he witnessed didn’t accord with a simple dog-training exercise.

“I feel very sorry for the dog, I’m not going to lie to you… I don’t think nobody can be trained, even if it was that, like that. That was way too much abuse.”

And as the story has unfolded, Captain Lydon seems to have reached a similar conclusion as well.

A previous Vacaville Police Department Facebook post on the matter was updated to report the dog had been removed to a third party outside the department and an investigation into the incident had been launched.

Vacaville Police Department/Facebook

People on Twitter were outraged by the incident and the Vacaville Police Department’s response.

While the dog has been removed from the police department pending an investigation, Captain Lydon has not spoken about whether there will be any reassignment or repercussions for the officer in the video.

John Sundholm

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, video producer and performer originally from Michigan, and is one of those people who says he "lived in London for a while" even though it was only six weeks for study abroad. He made Ellen DeGeneres laugh once so you should probably follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Medium, where he does a lot of yelling under the name @JohntheCraptist.