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updated: 5/2/2014 4:49 PM

Cop on leave after police dog video surfaces

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Associated Press

HAMMOND, Ind. -- A northwestern Indiana police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a video posted online shows him hitting a police dog and lifting it up by its collar.

The video of the Hammond officer and the dog was posted Wednesday on YouTube and quickly spread on social media, The Times of Munster reported. The footage shows the officer lifting the police dog off the ground by its collar and hitting it with a leash during a traffic stop.

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Hammond police Lt. Richard Hoyda said Thursday the officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Police haven't released the officer's name.

Hoyda said the officer's behavior in the video "appears to be inconsistent with acceptable training guidelines."

He said the incident happened about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday after the force's K-9 unit was called to assist at a traffic stop. No one was arrested in that case, but the car was towed following the stop.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said the city does not condone the officer's behavior.

"Anybody who loves dogs as much as I do is saddened and shocked when you hear or see a dog being abused. When you find out that it happens with an employee of yours, it makes it that much more shocking and disturbing," he said.

McDermott said there will likely be more to the story following the investigation because the video shows only a minute of a police stop that lasted longer than 10 minutes. He said the officer involved has had a good police record.

Bob Fleming, a police dog trainer and owner of Landheim Training and Boarding Center in Dyer, reviewed the video. He said police dogs have a higher drive than regular pets and different training techniques need to be used to ensure safety.

"Their drive is so high, control techniques for an average pet wouldn't necessarily work," Fleming said.

But he said that striking the dog and lifting it off the ground is not a training technique, and Fleming believes those actions were unnecessary.

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