An investigation into a Phoenix police officer is underway after a startling video emerged over the weekend allegedly showing him whipping and kicking a police dog.
A police spokeswoman said that the K-9 is in good condition after an examination by a veterinarian.
The video, which was posted on YouTube on Sunday, appears to show the unnamed Peoria officer whipping the Belgian Malinois with a leash before turning his back to the camera and lifting his foot, apparently to kick him.
A woman can be heard saying off camera: "He's kicking that dog!"
Police said the incident unfolded on Saturday while officers were looking for two robbery suspects, and the three-year-old Belgian Malinois was on hand to help. The officer is seen beside other officers as they surround a house.
"Immediately following this incident, this canine was in good health and showed no signs of injury or distress," according to a statement issued by police.
But after the video emerged online, members of the public slammed the police officer on the department's Facebook page.
"Shame on you Peoria PD!" one comment read, while another added: " I am a BIG fan of our fellow officers, firefighters, etc HOWEVER this is very disturbing."
Other commenters called for the officer to be charged with animal cruelty.
The woman who filmed the video told KPNX: "I have never heard of an officer stomping on a dog or whipping it with a leash. The dog looks like a puppy and looks terrified of him."
Police have not identified the officer but said he has worked for the department for 10 years and has been a K-9 handler for five. He is being investigated but remains on active duty.
Ralph Pendergast, a former president of the Arizona Law Enforcement Canine Association, told The Associated Press that a K-9 isn't a pet and is required to work hard.
"There's a great relationship with every K-9 handler and their partner," Pendergast said. "There has to be. But occasionally, if a dog is not performing how it was trained, there has to be a correction."
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