Montana Police Dog Attacks Man Working Late At Restaurant . . . Police Chief Declines To Apologize And Says Dog “Did What He Was Supposed To Do”

Darren RaneySome jurisdictions have curtailed or even eliminated K-9 teams due to liability — reducing the majority of dogs to drug and bomb sniffing units. That is clearly not the case in Livingston, Montana. Mark Demaline, who cooks at the Park Place Tavern, was attacked late at night in his workplace when police found a door unlocked after hours and sent in a police dog named Bobi. What is most astonishing is not just the lack of an apology by police but the insistence of Chief of Police Darren Raney (left) that the dog “did what he was supposed to do.”

After the restaurant closed, Demaline did what he often did after work. He went next door to the Livingston Bar and Grille for a drink and then returned around 2 am to retrieve his laptop to go home. He made himself a quick salad for a late night snack and was heading to the door when he ran into Bobi. At first, he said “Hey, puppy” and tried to greet it. He says the dog attacked and lunged for his thigh. When he tried to grab Bobi’s collar, the dog went for his wrists. The dog bit him deeply in the thigh and brought him to the floor as the officer yelled for him to put his hands above his head — a difficult proposition with a dog clamped on your thigh.

The police forced Demaline to his feet painfully and pushed him out the restaurant in handcuffs. Then left him in handcuffs as they called the owner to confirm that he worked there. He was then taken to the hospital for the deep bites and a laceration on his back from when he fell.

In the aftermath of the attack, Raney did not appear to see a need for an apology and stated “It’s acceptable for the dog to confront anybody in the business at that hour, . . . When the dog finds somebody in the building, he’s going to secure him, and that’s what happened . . .He did what he was supposed to do.” The Chief could not be stating a better case for a lawsuit. It is hardly unheard of for a person to be working late at a bar or restaurant, particularly with a bar just closing next door. While the police say that they called into the business, sending in a dog off leash is an extreme measure. While these dogs are trained to immobilize a person, there have been many lawsuits showing that many trained animals suddenly attack.

In the absence of an apology, perhaps Demaline will find some solace in a damage award. It is clear that this is a police department badly in need of some legal corrective action. It is hard to believe that this tiny town has such a crime wave as to need this type of extreme enforcement measure. However, the town may now have to face the costs of excessive police action if Demaline sues, as he should, for this severe injury. To paraphrase the Chief, it is necessary for Demaline’s lawyer “to do what he is supposed to do.”

In another recent case out of Utah, a woman says that officers allowed a dog to attack her as she was asleep in front of a high school. She had previously had an encounter with a taxi driver who had refused to take her bike. She was awakened by the dog biting her leg. To make matters worse, the dispatcher praised the K-9 team saying “‘you two rock,’ ‘Wish we had instant photos in here!,’ ‘Severe trauma to the leg?,’ ‘Awesome extra treat for Vortex and you deserve a Slurpee!'”

Source: Livingston Enterprise

Kudos: Michael Blott

37 thoughts on “Montana Police Dog Attacks Man Working Late At Restaurant . . . Police Chief Declines To Apologize And Says Dog “Did What He Was Supposed To Do””

  1. It’s really too bad he didn’t shoot the dog, then file suit claiming entry without breaking and assault with a dangerous weapon. The department itself may also be at fault for keeping such a dangerous and untrained person on it’s staff.
    Did the police damage or remove any security cameras during this fiasco?

  2. The dog did what is was trained to do, alright – attack without provocation, become a tool of intimidation. And yet if Demaline had been holding a knife at the time of the assault – which it was, an assault – and killed the dog in self-defense, you can bet he would have been beaten and tortured by the pi…”cops” and possibly suicided. Or charged with murder if he survived.

    That dog should be put down immediately, and so should its “handler”.

  3. Nick:

    “Sometimes, the stupid white burglars thought they could hide or outrun the dogs. Stupid crackers!”

    Most of your comments are worth reading, but your most recent comment is pretty racist. Don’t know what you are trying to prove with the racial comments, but they diminish you.

  4. nick,

    Depends on the business and the circumstance. As Tony stated, just because the dining room isn’t open for business doesn’t mean a restaurant is not open for business and as he notes at odd hours. When I was a kid, one of the businesses my dad owned was a restaurant. Open from 5:00AM-9:00PM. People where there working from 3:00AM-11:00PM every day. Radio Shack unlocked at 3:00AM? That’s probable cause to inspect, not release the hounds. A restaurant? Not so much.

  5. Send the dog down here to Florida to our marina and we will interview him on the Dogalogue Machine and get his deposition for the trial. No more hearsay of the dog. I bet that the guy deserved a bite or two. Probably had his fingers in the til.

  6. Lawsuits! Until our towns go broke paying for them nothing is going to change with this police state called America. Disgusting. It all started when we started sending our city police chiefs to Israel for training in the 1980’s & 90’s. Google the articles. Shoot 1st ask questions later.

  7. I got to be friends w/ a K-9 unit in KC. It as OS described. And, they told me the drill sgt. command “Show yourself or we will release the dog” almost always resulted in immediate surrender, particularly in black neighborhoods. Sometimes, the stupid white burglars thought they could hide or outrun the dogs. Stupid crackers!

  8. Just finished reading “Rise of The Warrior Cop” by Radley Balko about the militarization of America’s police forces. The incident in Montana is now more typical rather than atypical.

  9. “An unlocked door is not an invitation for police to secure whoever is inside.”

    No. It’s not. By that shall we say highly questionable rationale, leaving your house unlocked is an invitation for the police to come in and secure everyone there without probable cause.

  10. An unlocked door is not an invitation for police to secure whoever is inside. Whatever happened to the Fourth Amendment? Perhaps a door broken down might be probable cause to investigate, but an unlocked door is not an invitation for police to take any action, much less this action that caused harm to Mark Demaline. The police owe Demaline damages big time, and there needs to be some kind of punitive action against the police and their procedures.

  11. When a dog has your thigh in its jaw…. that is the grip of life….and you do what comes natural…. This dog was trained to do exactly what it did…. I’d love to see the department policy on this as well as the training given the dog by the trainer….

    If I was the county/city I’d open the check book and say this is what we have to settle this matter… The guys going to need rehab therapy on his legs…. More than likely…

  12. Livingston, Montana, has a population of just over 7000. Is it really necessary for a little town of that size to have a police dog? Is that cost-effective, even before the certain lawsuit?

  13. Tony – great point. I’m not certain if the frequency of this type of violation, not to mention the beloved swat intrusions, are on the rise or just that more of them are now being reported…but this is why people have a deepening distrust of the police and government (for one, me included, recalling all the “untruth” bombs dropped by Justices’ “Fast and Furious” or NAS in the name of national security, not to mention drones, traffic cameras, etc.). One might be inclined to think we are on the precipice of a police state. At what point does reality displace paranoia?

  14. I have been with our local K9 officer when she responded to a silent alarm at a drugstore and attached businesses. She called into the store several time in a command voice that a Marine DI would be proud of. She yelled, several times, “Show yourself. If you do not show yourself I will turn the dog loose. Show yourself.” She called out three or four times, pausing each time long enough for whoever set the alarm off to make an appearance. The same was repeated for the adjacent businesses. In that case, the burglar(s) had come in through the dropped ceiling, and apparently made their getaway out the back as the first patrol car was turning into the driveway out front.

    That is the way it is supposed to be done.

  15. TonyC nails the problem. The dog did what it was trained to do. It is an animal who obeys commands. There is a distinction with a difference between doing what it was supposed to do, and what it was trained to do.

  16. Sue, sue, sue. And what Darrel said. That case in Utah is awful, a 3mil suit sounds about right, I’d go for it if I was on the jury.

  17. The police state must justify all its actions, regardless of the validity or necessity of those actions.

  18. Jail time, all the way up the chain of command.

  19. The dog did NOT do what he was supposed to do, dogs do what they are trained to do; and it was the police officer that did not do what he was supposed to do, like use common sense and understand that in a restaurant there are often people working at any hour of the morning, prepping for the next day. I grew up working in restaurants and bars, 50 loaves and ten cakes do not bake themselves; and it was not unusual for me to be cleaning a kitchen at 3:30 AM.

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