Raiders Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong Reportedly Under Criminal Investigation For Taunting Police Dog

Unknown-1Raiders 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?

56 thoughts on “Raiders Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong Reportedly Under Criminal Investigation For Taunting Police Dog”

  1. I think a good deal of teasing, and perhaps even taunting a dog would be interpreted by them as play. It is humans who often misinterpret the nature of this behavior with an animal. While doing this with a trained police dog may be another matter, I am not sure it is fair to put a felony responsibility on someone who likes interacting with canines, to have the detailed knowledge that what is play with a family dog, is so different with a canine officer. I can see how if warned by the handler, the responsibly could escalate, but without such interdiction, it is not a fair statute.

    1. Taser_This: Fair post, and I pretty much agree. I think this is more akin to misdemeanor disturbing the peace, but, as Paul related, how can this be construed as a crime (even disturbing the peace) in a stadium tunnel preparing to be a gladiator in what is along with hockey probably the most violent team sport on earth?

      Additionally, a dog that’s reacting to taunts is being controlled poorly by its handler, and no matter how much the handle may whine it was her fault for permitting the dog to focus on the player rather than her. The dog has to be under control at all times in public. If she can’t handle it, she needs a new job.

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