In letter, PETA criticizes Salisbury Police for K-9 video

Published 7:50 pm Wednesday, March 3, 2021

SALISBURY — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights organization, sent a critical letter to Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes in response to a controversial video of a police dog training video leaked this week.

The video shows a police officer lifting a K-9 named Zuul off the ground by his leash, slamming the dog into the side of a police vehicle while attempting to get the dog back into the car and then striking the dog.

Men inside or near another police vehicle can be heard in the video asking if cameras are on.

The letter, signed by PETA Cruelty Investigations Department Manager Allison Fandl, decries statements made to the media by Stokes during a news conference on Tuesday and says the office “is being flooded with calls from people in North Carolina and beyond who are understandably outraged.”

The letter describes the contents of the video criticizes Stokes’ statement that training tactics can be alarming “out of context.”

“Respectfully, the ‘out of context’ argument does not hold water here,” the letter states. “There is no scenario in which this handler’s behavior could be considered acceptable by any standard, and we believe this is far more than an internal disciplinary matter.”

The letter describes the handler’s behavior as criminal.

“We trust that you will do the right thing and take strong department-wide action, sending the message that the type of violence shown in this viral video will not be tolerated,” it states.

The letter says the organization works with police departments “often collaborating to investigate, charge and prosecute animal abusers.”

Stokes did not answer questions after the news conference other than to give Zuul’s name. The dog was brought to the new conference. Stokes said he was healthy.