III. Not Just The Police & Military
It seems that Schutzhund (utilized by police and military) is synonymous with hanging, helicoptering, slamming and kicking, but it is not only members of the police and military who do these things.
An obedience trainer bragged to me about stringing up dogs back in the days when dog lynchers felt more free to brag.
In the early 1990's a couple of friends and I visited the old rescue kennel for Save The Animals Fund in Glendale. Across the street there was a dog training academy. The woman who ran the rescue kennel told us about dogs being hanged from fences at the academy..
A young woman named Renee Premaza, who has a radio show in New Jersey titled "Wednesdays in the Dog House," reported that she had entered her dog, Jack, in a sheep herding class to have some fun and exercise, as he is a herding breed. It turned ugly for her when the trainer suggested hanging Jack because he was not cooperating during a trial and resisted being grabbed by his collar, and so she removed him from the class.
A September 1998 issue of Prevention Magazine contains an article titled: "Seven Signs of a Safe Trainer," by Amy Marder, clinical assistant professor at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and animal behavior consultant to the Massachusetts SPCA and Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston. She relates how a dog trainer hanged a dog named Saber, cutting off his airway so the dog could not breathe. Saber lost control of his bladder and bowels and then was helicoptered and slammed to the ground. The article states that this is not an isolated incident, but is typical of methods still used today.
I received a news item through e-mail which states the following: "Cloud 9 Pet Resorts Animal Protection license has been revoked by the Department of Agriculture as of August 24,1999 and an investigation is ongoing at this time. Fox 5 TV aired a video tape demonstrating cruel training techniques—The owner of Cloud 9, Clay Horbin, had promised to change his training techniques. Mr. Horbin failed to follow through with that commitment... Henry County Bureau of Police Services and the Attorney General's office are conducting their own independent investigations. There will be a hearing for Cloud 9 on September 1, 1999 at 10:00 AM in Room 201 of the Agriculture Building in Atlanta, Georgia, across the street from the Capitol. Security guards will be posted."
I wrote to Fox 5 and asked for a copy of the videotape. I told them I was willing to pay for it. I did not receive a reply, so I don't know what is on it. However, whatever is on it is described as cruel.
I am aware that some dog groomers use these "techniques" to make dogs compliant, and I also recently received information from a show dog breeder that there are trainers for the show ring who hang dogs, too.
I have a copy of the Inglis Police Dog Academy brochure, and it states that they also "train" for AKC, obedience and breed ring, search and rescue, private, group and in-house dog training.
I've printed out web information showing that "stringing up" is still commonly used and discussed. It is NOT "all done (and finished) 20 years ago," as many handlers have told me.
On one site, "Dealing With The Dominant Dog," Ed Frawley, "Professional Dog Trainer and K9 Handler" writes:
'The problem is not a lot of people know how to deal with this. It involves a nylon slip choker and hanging the dog until he comes close to passing out... It's about a tough dog understanding that you are tougher, and you can kill him if you want.”
And, yes, the dogs do believe they are being killed. Having the breath choked out of you is one of the most painful and terrifying things that can happen, and the perpetrators know it.
Bakersfield K9 “Nitro” with his “partner” and decoy. Photo Courtesy: Bakersfield Californian