when an officer kills an unarmed citizen, or when they stop a motorist
for a traffic violation and get out of the patrol car with an arrogant
attitude with their hand on their gun so as to intimidate citizens who
don’t know if that is their normal attitude or a clear sign that the
officer might be trigger-happy, that someone is yours truly.
Unfortunately, the majority of these arrogant police officers are
women vs. men. They are more “macho” than the men themselves.
But we also need to be fair in our judgments; that is why I want to
dedicate a little of my personal thoughts and feelings to the Metro
Police K-9 Unit.
I don’t know any of the officers working that unit, but I have seen
them around on certain occasions and could feel the strong bond
between the two officers (man and dog).
We need to be very grateful for the service these officers give us,
not only for protecting our lives in times of need, but also for the
care and dedication they profess for and give to their canine
I believe there have been several dogs that lost their lives in the
line of duty, but never because of negligence from its partner. If my
memory doesn’t fail me there was the case in 2012 of a two-year-old
Belgian Malinois, named Marco; in pursuit of a man with a knife, Marco
jumped a fence and confused another officer with the suspect, biting
him on the arm. In the moment of exiting and the confusion, Marco
didn’t hear — or misinterpreted — the commands of its partner and
didn’t let go of the officer’s arm. Another officer shot Marco in the
The dog was immediately transported to a veterinary clinic, underwent
surgery, but unfortunately he was left without any movement in its
legs. Marco’s partner had to make the most difficult decision and
agreed that the dog didn’t deserve to suffer in such a condition.
Marco was put to sleep.
The whole unit suffered the passing of one of their own.
A couple of months ago, a police officer in Woodstock, Georgia left
his three-year-old Belgian Malinois, named Spartacus, in his patrol
car overnight, upon getting home from work to attend to his children.
He found the lifeless dog in his patrol car parked at his house.
A necropsy requested by the Woodstock Police Department determined
that the dog’s cause of death was heat stroke. The dog was in good
health at his annual checkup.
The officer was suspended without pay for 10 days and fined $325 for
leaving the dog in the car and for violating the county’s cruelty to
In the State of Nevada, this type of negligence is a felony.
What this officer has in his head in place of brains is difficult to
comprehend. It did not matter how many children he needed to attend to
— even if he had a whole tribe of children — he needed to realize that
his partner, the one that protects his life during working hours, was
not with him or around him.
In Bennettsville, South Carolina, the Police Department held funeral
services for another K-9 officer.
Officer Tank, a four-year-old Black Labrador Retriever, was put
to rest a few weeks ago when his partner “accidentally” left him in
the car outside the Police Department. The engine was off and the
windows were rolled up.
According to news reports, the officer stopped by the department to do
some work and didn’t think he was going to be there very long, so he
left Tank inside the locked car.
How stupid can this man be by leaving the dog in the car? Even if he
was going to be just five minutes in the department, how big a problem
would it be to bring the dog into the place where he also worked?
The officer won’t be allowed to be part of the K-9 unit again, but the
department has received a lot of criticism over Tank’s death.
These actions are the same as when someone leaves a child or pet in a
car to go grocery shopping, or intends to just run in and out of a
convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes.
If I am not mistaken, the Metro canine officers never leave the
premises of the department; and when they go into retirement, they
remain with their handlers and their families (for a modest fee) for
the rest of their lives. That’s what I call love between a man and his
In Nevada such negligence is a felony punishable by jail time and a
fine. And knowing how people in Nevada would react to a situation like
this, just to go against Metro, if any of our officers assigned to the
K-9 unit commit such stupidity, we are going to hear complaints and
protests from here to Carson City.
In my most humble and personal opinion, the Las Vegas Metropolitan
Police Department K-9 Unit is doing a fabulous job of caring for,
attending to, and loving the partner that shares their lives on a
Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She
writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky,
email her at pviasmensky@lasvegas tribune.com.