Update 3: On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Police Dog (Doggone and Dog Gone!)

There’s good news from nearby Edgerton, Wisconsin, as members of the city council in that small town declined to reconsider a sensible decision to retire a biting police dog from service. See, Council Rebuffs Request to Reactivate Police Dog. The original council vote was unanimous to send back a dog that twice bit people (once a police officer, once a city office worker) without provocation. Astonishingly, one member of the Edgerton City Council introduced a motion to reconsider that earlier decision, and bring the biting dog back.

I’ve written about this situation before. It speaks a great deal about the stubborn foolishness and poor priorities of a few Edgerton officials. See, On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Police Dog, Update: On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Police Dog (Goodbye to the Biter), and Update 2: On Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Police Dog (Return to Service?).

Last night, common sense prevailed, as no one else on the Edgerton council voted to second the motion for reconsideration. The dog’s not likely to return to service in Edgerton, if anywhere. That’s good for both people and for the dog.

Superficially, the motion for reconsideration was the product of one Edgerton alderman’s misplaced priorities. One can see more in a situation like this, though. The dog twice bit people without provocation. Whether through the fault of the dog or his handler (the police chief!), it should be plain that the city’s force was not prepared to own and properly use a police dog. That a small town’s police chief even proposed bringing the dog back (apparently persuading the alderman to propose formally a reconsideration) is truly astonishing.

The way the dog was reviewed by an outside party, when the city administrator (whose city already faces two claims for injuries from or the dog) in published remarks ‘disapproved’ that review, is a sign of disregard for authority and procedure.

These dogs are neither pets nor ornaments for an official’s pride; they’re working animals, and they’re most comfortable and effective around those who see them that way.

The injuries are the principal story in all this, but underlying it all there’s a second lesson: that some officials have such poor judgment that they can’t learn a lesson the first, or second time. No one supporting a safer community should have been arguing for the ineffective and (twice!) injurious match of dog and handler in this matter.

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