Worcester woman accuses officer of abusing K-9, police claim training technique

WORCESTER, Mass. — Danielle Stevens had just returned home Thursday night when she said she saw a Worcester police officer kick his K-9 in the park across Gates Street.

“That’s when I saw the officer swing his leg up and kick the dog and the dog yelped like it hurt him,” Stevens said.

She said she was so disturbed that she ran inside to grab her cell phone to start recording video of the officer. In her video, you can see the officer yank his K-9 a couple of times by the leash before putting him in the cruiser.

“No dog deserves to get kicked, he can’t speak up for himself, he can’t apologize to you and then the way he held him up – which is pretty clear in the video that that dog was up high – there was no need for that at all,” Stevens said.

The Worcester Police Department sent Boston 25 News the following statement regarding the video:

“After conducting a K-9 nighttime tracking exercise on the evening of August 13th, a WPD K-9 officer with many years’ experience handling K-9s was placing his K-9 in the cruiser when the K-9 became disobedient to the officer. The officer performed an immediate correction to discourage this negative behavior. The K-9 was wearing a flat collar, which minimizes strain on the K-9′s neck. After the K-9 followed the officer’s instructions, the officer kenneled the K-9 and then praised him.”

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“Like that dog is not being treated how he should be treated when he’s assisting these officers in their investigations,” Stevens said. “So it was just really disturbing and sad to see. I love animals, especially dogs, and it broke my heart to see that.”

The Worcester Police Department also said the following:

“Multiple K-9 trainers have viewed the video in question and have said that the officer’s technique is consistent with his training. An immediate investigation was performed at the supervisory level and passed up the chain of command.”

“I mean, I know it’s hard. They have to have good evidence of it to actually charge him with anything,” Stevens said. “But I’m hoping for the best for that dog and I hope that dog doesn’t get put in that situation again because it was horrible to see.”