The police dog who recently attacked a girl unprovoked at church is Officer David Bisard’s former K-9 partner.
The dog had recently been placed with a new officer who lives next door to Kingdom Hall on Five Points Road where the attack happened. The new officer’s previous K-9 partner had recently died after the two had been together for 7 years. This dog had no prior record of behavioral problems prior to this attack.
Melissa Shyan-Norwalt, Ph.D. is an animal behaviorist with Companion Animal Problem Solvers, Inc. She says, “It's actually very unusual. A dog that's too reactive won't make it through the police program because they need the dogs to respond instantly to any commands.”
Shyan-Norwalt says animal behavioral issues are usually triggered by a reason, “When you get a sudden change in behavior, you look for a medical reason: hip pain, back pain, something going on medically, an undiagnosed disease.”
She says having a new handler may have added stress for the dog, but definitely didn’t cause the attack, “The new handler situation just increased its reactivity slightly.”
IMPD will likely keep the K-9 on duty. Shyan-Norwalt says they will want to watch for reactive behavior to make sure the dog doesn’t continue to display this behavior.
Police dogs cost about $8,000 each.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times