(CBS) – A Hammond, Ind. police officer has been cleared of abuse allegations following a viral video that showed him lifting a police dog in the air by the animal’s collar.
The officer was put on paid administrative leave on April 30 after cell-phone video surfaced showing him treating his K-9 in a manner that some viewers considered abusive. In addition to holding the dog in the air by the collar, the officer slaps at the dog’s shoulders with a leash.
The incident, which occurred after a traffic stop, prompted angry calls to Hammond’s city hall.
Hammond police say they reviewed the circumstances and determined the officer was trying to quickly dislodge a ball from the dog that had been given the animal as a reward. Time was of the essence because the K-9 handler needed to help another officer who was detaining a suspect, Police Chief John Doughty said in a statement.
“The handlers at our department love and care for their K9 partners; they nor the department would ever inflict or allow abuse within the unit,” he said.
The officer, however, used the leash in a manner that was “outside the handler’s normal routine and training.” He will receive additional training, the chief said.
The officer returned to work Monday and is paired with the same K-9.