Video of Vacaville Officer Punching K-9 Sparks Questions, Concerns

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A video showing a Vacaville police officer pinning down and punching a K-9 is raising questions and receiving a lot of attention on social media.

The man who shot the video said what was recorded wasn't even the worst of it, but the police department said there may be more to the story.

Roberto Palamino was just rolling up to a work warehouse next to a Vacaville fire station when he heard a dog yelping loudly.

"The dog was crying. The dog was crying like somebody was running him over or something like that," Palamino said. "It was bad crying."

Palamino couldn't believe what he saw — a man, later identified as a Vacaville police officer, repeatedly punching the dog.

"Before the video, I saw him giving at least 10 punches to the dog," Palamino said.

In the video, the officer has the dog pinned and appears to strike the animal in the head.

Vacaville police Capt. Matt Lydon told NBC Bay Area the incident is being investigated. He believes it's too soon to call what happened animal abuse.

"There is times during K-9 training, as I understand, that the dog can be struck," he said.

He also said the department has reached out to a third party that is uses for K-9 training to determine if the actions were appropriate discipline.

As far as sitting on the dog goes, Lydon said the officer had to gain control of the animal after it lunged at him and tried to bite him at a K-9 training pen.

"This required immediate action in the training of the canine and to create that and establish the dominance over that dog to let the dog know that the handler is in charge," Lydon said.

Meanwhile, Palamino said it looked and sounded like abuse to him.

"I think he should have a better life, that's all," he said. "I was concerned about the dog."

Lydon said the police department would like to talk to Palamino about what he witnessed.

If the department's investigation determines there was abuse, the officer could be forced to forfeit the dog.

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