when the weather in Warren, Oregon, reached 99 degrees, On July 25, 2022, Portland Police Officer Christopher Verbout brought his drug dog, Stitch, inside to help keep the animal cool.
Stitch was usually kept in a fenced-in cage at Verbout’s home in Columbia County, 20 miles north of Portland. This was how the Portland Police Bureau’s canine unit usually did things. On that day, Verbout decided to do something different.
Verbout later told the Portland Police Bureau in a written statement that when his wife came in, Stitch was “pushed by my wife through the open front door and ran out of the house.”
Stitch is a Belgian Malinois, which is a breed of smart, loyal working dog that is often used by the military and police. Verbout told the police that he was chasing Stitch when she jumped a 6-foot-high fence, went onto the land of his neighbor Yvonne Pea, and chased her 14-year-old llama, Oreo.
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Stitch followed Oreo over another two fences. Witnesses say that the dog bit Oreo’s legs and clamped her jaws around his neck when she got a hold of him.
This February, Warren again had very cold weather. This time, temps dropped to the low teens. Oreo di*d from being too cold. Pea said that after the attack last summer, they had to trim Oreo when it wasn’t his usual time so they could see how badly he was hurt.
So, his hair didn’t grow back in time for winter. Pea said that his death from hypothermia was caused by his thin coat and his fast weight loss in the weeks after the attack.
Oreo, a llama who was attacked by a Portland Police dog in July 2022, is sitting in his warm shelter with Miss Piggy. Sue, an Oregon pig, lived in Warren. Oreo’s owner said that he had to be shaved after the attack to see if he was hurt, and that his thin wool coat caused him to d!e of hypothermia in February.
“I blame you 100 percent for what happened last July,” Pea wrote in an email to Verbout a few days after Oreo di*d.
At least two years have passed since the last time a Portland police dog got out of its handler’s house and attacked a person or another animal. The two attacks happen at a time when the use of police dogs across the country is getting more attention, and a growing number of accidental bites make people wonder how much control officers have over their dogs.
In 2018, a Clackamas County Sheriff Deputy’s dog bit a Portland Police officer who was helping catch a man who had stolen a car and run away. It took the deputy about 30 seconds to get his dog to let go of the officer’s leg, which was badly hurt in the process.
An investigation by NPR also found that police dogs are often used on people who don’t pose a threat and that the dogs are more violent and cause more serious injuries than their human partners. NPR also found that police dog handlers often worry about getting their dogs to let go when they tell them to. In 2016, 190 police officers in California said that their dogs had hurt them.
Source- Oregon public broadcasting Department