Man charged with taunting police dog


Transit Police report one man's apparent idea of a joke left one of their canines with an injury - and the man under arrest.

Police say Antonio Brown, 25, of Cambridge, walked up to a K-9 patrol car at the Mass. Ave. Orange Line stop around 7:50 p.m. yesterday and "began to hiss, grunt and bark" at Viktor the police dog:

These actions caused "Viktor" to become excited and agitated and jump and spin about. "Viktor" suffered a small laceration next to his left eye which required treatment from his handler.

The officer immediately exited from his cruiser but Brown quickly fled laughing as he was running away. Brown entered a vehicle and drove away. The officer was able to catch up to Brown and initiate a stop of his motor vehicle.

Brown was charged with willfully tormenting a police dog. He's scheduled for arraignment today in Boston Municipal Court, and faces potential penalties of up to 2 1/2 years in jail and a $500 fine.

Innocent, etc.

Photo of Viktor by Transit Police.



Free tagging: 


Natural selection?

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If you think it's a genius idea to tease a police dog in a patrol car with a cop inside it, chances are excellent that you're going to end up paying for such brilliant decisions sooner or later.

Does seem a stretch

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"Torment" means:

verb (used with object)
1. to afflict with great bodily or mental suffering; pain: to be tormented with violent headaches.
2. to worry or annoy excessively: to torment one with questions.
3. to throw into commotion; stir up; disturb.

Given the context of the statute, I think the Legislature was more thinking of the first definition than the third.

Really? So you are ok with

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Really? So you are ok with him tauntung an animal? What if he did the same thing to your kids while you were sitting in the car? Oh, that's right you would go beserk and not be so quick to say he should win a motion to dismiss.

No they aren't, they're

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No they aren't, they're better than us. Don't forget that dog puts his/her life on the line every day (without the proper protection as people like you would complain they wouldn't want their tax money to go to them being properly vested) for that cop as well as people like you that feel they aren't worth as much as humans. Remember that the next time that a canine unit may come to your rescue or someone you love.

Any attorney who enters a

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motion to dismiss should be automatically disbarred. And any judge who agrees with such a motion should be removed from the bench.

If growling and barking at a police dog

Is the extent of this guy's career of "animal abuse" I'm not ready to declare him a serial killer quite yet. Especially if the dog was barking at him first, as some dogs are wont to do without any provocation whatsoever.

With all due respect

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it is just plain wrong to do what he did, and incredibly stupid and brazen to do it while a police officer is present. It shows a serious lack of impulse control. What else is Antonio capable of? What other societal norm will he flaunt? I guarantee you Antonio is not someon you want to encounter on a dark empty street or parking garage.

Clear case of thoughtcrime

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You are probably right, but we don't get to punish him for the crimes he has not yet committed.

I am conflicted here: from the way the statute is written, I don't think it applies (note: no legal experience). But the idea that they might stretch the interpretation to punish the guy doesn't outrage me as much as it probably should.

The guy definitely deserves a punishment

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But shouldn't a police dog be better trained than that? Law enforcement dogs are brought into all sorts of chaotic situations, and are expected to remain under control and ignore all provocations, only responding to commands from their handler.

If this dog freaks out to the point of injuring himself because a guy barked at him through a closed window, I can't imagine what he'd do at a post-World Series celebration or the St. Patrick's Day parade, surrounded by people pushing, shoving, yelling, and blowing horns all around him.

Dogs are dogs......

And have limitations. And they really aren't used for crowds, maybe dogs are used like that for soviet prison riot control, but not for urban Boston. These dogs are trained to smell for drugs, and find people who are lost or running away.

Barking mad

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I wonder if part of the dog's reaction was owing to the presence of his handler in the cruiser.

I read this New Yorker article about police dogs and thought it was fascinating. Summary here

The rest is behind a paywall.

Had not realized that most US police German Shepherds are descended from dogs used by Eastern European security forces. Apparently inbreeding of the American-bred canines had made them stupid, so they had to be imported.

The handler was in the car.

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The handler was in the car. The dog was reacting appropriately police training or otherwise given that the person acted as if he was attacking the car. The dog will a) protect the handler, and b) have heightened sensitivity to stimuli while leashed and/or in a car. Im guessing you dont have a dog or you'd know that?

I love the lenghts we'll go to to defend someone who is clearly a menace to society, and the lack of lengths we'll go to to defend an animal that provides a public service.

Just a stunning misappropriation of public outrage.

2 sides to every story, dog

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If this guy taunted the dog, and it's proven, throw the book at him

However, I've seen way too much to take a cop's (or crook's) statement at face value.

My friends and I parked next to a cop car on our way into DoughBoy Deli back in the day mid-80's). Cruiser's weren't marked like crazy then so when we got out and dog went nuts we were all taken off guard. 2 of us walked towards deli. Last kid was a dog lover, lot of good it did him. He tried to talk to dog and calm it down a bit. Psycho T cop comes out accusing him of not only taunting but spitting on his dog. Real psycho power trip shit.
We walked back and all three explained, while under threat of arrest and bodily harm (being shot wasn't out of question), that we had just startled dog.

If all three of us weren't there and good kids, not crooks I truly believe my friend would have gotten a serious arrest beef, and maybe up to and including physical harm to the extent of being shot.

Pro tip

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(You make a valid point, that could always be the case...I simply take issue with a dog being victim blamed here which is equal parts hilarious and sad)

Moreover you make me want to remind everyone wo might be reading--If you accidentally provoke or startle any dog who appears to be agressive toward or frightened of you, do not make additional eye contact with or speak to the animal, that will increase it's agitation and the smartest dogs only recognize a couple dozen or so words. Walk, do not run, calmly away from the dog. The road to dog bites is paved with good intentions! No eye contact, no speaking, no running.

He mistreated the dog.

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The statute includes the word mistreat. Teasing a dog and getting it riled up is mistreatment. Dogs should never be teased. Not unless the goal is to turn the dog into a permanently hostile pup who assumes that everyone is a danger. There is a also the aspect of causing damage to police property.

Barring a pervious record the guy will probably be fined and given probation.

Does this qualify the guy for running in the year's Darwin Awards?

If I were the cop, I just

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If I were the cop, I just would've opened the back door, let the dog out, then let him 'tease' the guys nuts off.

Some of you animal lovers are just too humane for words

Did anyone ask the dog if he wanted to be a police officer, I wonder?
I've never been cruel to an animal in my life (well, there was that thing with the snails in 1980, a never repeated "experiment") but I swear it seems like some of you folks care more about certain animals (particularly dogs, for some reason) than people.

I care about both equally.

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I care about both equally. Humans have a tendecny to loose their empathy when it comes to a being that isn't walking upright. And yes, I havea huge problem with that.