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PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

SALISBURY — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plan to protest in front of the Salisbury Police Department at noon Friday.

The animal rights organization said it will demand an officer be prosecuted and barred from future contact with animals after he was pictured in a video that has provoked nationwide backlash. In the video, an officer police haven’t yet named pulled a police K-9 named Zuul up by a leash, slammed the dog against a car and struck the dog with his hand.

PETA said in a letter sent to Police Chief Jerry Stokes that his comments after the incident was made public suggested that “the abusive treatment of police dogs is nothing out of the ordinary” in the department. Stokes said earlier this week the incident would be investigated by an outside agency, K-9 handling experts, former handlers from other departments, an owner of a K-9 training firm and Salisbury Police Department staff. PETA said it wants a criminal investigation and prosecution of the officer depicted in the video by “an independent, outside agency.”

“Slamming a dog into a car, choking him, and punching him are not only a violation of a dog’s trust but also, PETA believes, a violation of state law,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “If the Salisbury Police Department defends such indefensible violence to an animal, the department’s K-9 unit should be disbanded.”

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