Stryker, the Oceanside, Ca., police department dog, died in the line of duty – and he wasn’t the first, says the San Diego Union-Tribune. Police dogs have been shot, knifed, and clubbed. Attacks on them appear to be rising nationwide, said the president of a national police-dog organization. Not only do they face angry criminals, the dogs also die from heat-related stress. Stryker was sent after a drunken-driving suspect who had stopped his truck on a bridge on New Year’s Eve. Stryker bit and dragged down the suspect, Cory Byron, 27, who got up, allegedly grabbed the 6½-year-old Belgian Malinois and jumped. It was 200 feet down. Byron survived; Stryker didn’t.
“There’s been an increase in violence against dogs of late,” said Ben Bennett, president of the North American Police Work Dog Association. “It used to be, attacks on police dogs rarely happened,” he said. “Now we’re seeing more (people) fighting back and trying to injure the dogs.” Bennett thinks society has become more violent in general. Drugs also fuel such attacks, he believes, adding, “people obviously don’t want to get arrested.” In Byron’s case, his attorney said, “It’s a stressful event for the person who has the dog set against him. It’s a very intense experience.””