I. “Stringing Up”


Ventura PD K9 “Ben”


Most of us have seen and heard the rosy promotional stories about police/sheriffs and military K9s and their handlers. We've been shown videos and photos of the dogs going after padded sleeves and wagging their tails while being petted. We are told about the strong bond and loving partnership between the handlers and their K9 "partners."

One might ponder, though, in how many other types of partnerships, one partner is lynched almost to death and kicked in the gut by the other. This is what often goes on behind the scenes in K9 training.

In my nearly 18 years of employment at the Ventura Police Department in Ventura, California, I saved a lot of documentation and attempted numerous ways and means of reporting this abomination. My efforts to obtain help for the dogs went unrewarded.

In 1981 I witnessed a K9 named Armin being hanged, and throughout the following years witnessed various other brutal abuses of the Ventura PDs K9s. Since then I have discovered that police, sheriffs and military agencies across the USA and around the world are hanging their dogs to unconsciousness with steel, sharp-pronged choke collars (euphemistically called "pinch" collars by the handlers) or nylon slip collars, allegedly for the purpose of training.

This "technique," as the handlers refer to it, is called "choke out" or "stringing up." If a handler is tall enough, his "partner" is hanged just by being lifted up off the ground and held there until he becomes unconscious. This is what Lieutenant David Inglis did to Armin in my presence, in order, he said, 'To teach him not to whine..." (while being hanged), "...To take his correction like a man." Armin had been lying quietly on the floor, perfectly behaved, when Inglis suddenly hoisted him up and choked him out. Armin's pleading, choking cries were heartrending, but Inglis and the other officers present showed no normal human reactions; no pity, no compassion, no remorse.

K9s are also strung up from tree branches, just like any other lynching victim; also from fences or anything else their leashes can be thrown over.  The only difference between the K9s and other victims of lynching is that after going through the torture of being slowly hanged (often with the pronged choker, which stabs while it strangles), the dogs are not allowed the relief of death. Once they become unconscious or nearly unconscious the hanging stops and the dogs revive, gasping for air, and then go through the nightmare of being lynched many times throughout their careers.

Other violent abuses include helicoptering, which means swinging the dogs around at the end of their leashes like a helicopter blade as fast as possible, then slamming them to the ground. This is often followed by a kick in the stomach or the ribs. Dogs are raised up on their hind legs and dragged across an entire field while being choked with their "pinch" collars.