Statement from Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze regarding removal of K-9 ‘Bady’
On May 25, 2018 I made the difficult decision to remove K-9 “Bady” from his handler. It appears that some individuals want to make this a political issue. It is not. As the Sheriff, I have a duty to keep all members of the Department and all members of the public safe, even if my decisions or acts are unpopular.
Because there is an effort to taint my decision, I want to ensure the public and members of the Department that the decision to remove K-9 “Bady” was based on my concern about potential liability and misuse issues and only after consultation with the County’s outside legal counsel.
I acknowledge that the information that came to my attention was the video that has been posted and discussed in public forums. The video clearly shows an on-duty Deputy, in uniform, allowing K-9 “Bady” to bite a civilian in the backyard of someone’s home. The civilian is wearing a bite-sleeve.
K-9 “Bady” is an asset to the Department to be dispatched under specific law enforcement circumstances.
The activity depicted on the video was not a Department-sanctioned training exercise and therefore creates legal exposure to the County, just as there is liability for any unauthorized demonstration of any other asset used by the Department to fulfill our law enforcement duties.
I recognize that a K-9 and his handler (and members of their family) have a special bond; however, the K-9’s primary function is to assist in law enforcement. He belongs to the Department and he can be removed if there is concern for liability and potential misuse. Upon my receipt of the video on May 25, I felt it was incumbent to act immediately and I did so after receipt of advice from legal counsel.
I have directed that further investigation be conducted into the activities shown in the video. Due to personnel confidentiality requirements, I cannot share any further information at this time.
(Editor’s note: The handler for ‘Bady’ is Deputy Bradley.)