Raiders Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong is reportedly under criminal investigation for taunting of a police K-9 as he ran out on to the field for the game against the Steelers at Heinz Field. It is a crime in Pennsylvania to taunt a K-9. As many of you know, I am pretty over-the-top dog lover but I seriously question the need to criminalize such an encounter in the super charged atmosphere of a football game. Once again, I fail to see why such matters cannot be handled with a simple reprimand and an apology rather than criminalize thoughtless or obnoxious behavior.
This is not the first time that we have discussed this curious crime. Indeed, this appears to be a crime that is irresistible for football players. In 2013, Florida Gater Linebacker Antonio Morrison has been suspended from the team after he was arrested for barking at a police dog.
The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus has announced that they have investigated the crime and “notified the District Attorney’s Office . . . to make a final determination relating to charges.” Sources say Armstrong lifted up his shirt, beat his chest, and started barking and yelling at the K-9 before the start of the game. The dog had to be restrained.
Sheriff’s deputy Maria Watts says her dog Bandit was taunted by Armstrong.
Here is a picture of the victim in happier times:
Here is the law at issue:
§ 5511.2. Police animals.
(a) Illegal to taunt police animals.–It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree.
What is astonishing that even a “tease” or a “taunt” is a felony. I understand that Bandit may be traumatized by this encounter but it was a football game and a stupid unguarded moment. I actually believe that officers are faced with a tough problem of having to restrain dogs in such circumstances. Such stupid acts can create a real danger of an attack and in a crowded football area, that is a serious risk. So I do not blame the officer or the police for being miffed. The solution however is not to open a criminal investigation but to get the NFL and the Steelers to put Armstrong in the dog house. How about a $10,000 fine that goes to the K-9 unit with a juicy bone for Bandit?
What do you think?