Demonstrations by K-9 police officers and their partners have stopped at the Minnesota State Fair at the direction of St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.
The decision was taken late on Monday by Mayor Carter, but the request he made of St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell wasn’t reported until Wednesday.Â
The Saint Paul Police K-9 Foundation held nightly demonstrations involving K-9 officers, starting at 7 p.m. on the first few days of the fair.
The reasons to cancel the demonstrations were twofold, firstly because it followed an incident that evening in which a child was bitten by a show dog at the fair.
Secondly, the St. Paul Police Department’s K-9 unit is currently undergoing an audit following three high-profile incidents in which police dogs have bitten innocent city residents.
The dog involved in the State Fair biting wasn’t a K-9 officer or linked in any way to the police department, but Carter felt it would be best to discontinue the K-9 demonstrations in light of recent events.
Carter’s press secretary Liz Xiong told BMTN: “On Monday evening, the Mayor called Chief Axtell after he was briefed about the child who bitten by a show dog at the Fair.
“In that conversation the Mayor asked Chief Axtell to temporarily discontinue the use of Saint Paul Police K-9s in demonstrations for the remainder of this yearâs State Fair.
“The Mayor looks forward to resuming this tradition next year, once the K-9 audit has been completed.”
She added: “The child being bitten at the Fair was certainly a factor for the decision to temporarily discontinue Saint Paul canines being part of the demonstrations there.”