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K9 taken from California police officer after video shows him punching dog

Police car lights. (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)

A police dog has been removed from an officer’s home after a video emerged that appears to show the officer punching the dog as it’s pinned to the ground.

The incident involving the officer is under investigation, sfgate.com reports. The city’s police chief says the dog had become aggressive when it refused to return a toy, attempting to bite the officer, KGO Channel 7 reports. That prompted the response from the officer, police say.

WGO reports that protesters care calling for the officer to be fired. The San Francisco chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also is condemning the officer’s actions, Fox 2 reports.

Reports say the officer is still working.

Police officials say the incident occurred during training of the dog. KGO reports the dog was not injured. The city says a third party who also is a trainer will review the incident.

“It’s a misguided belief that dogs need to be dominated to be trained,” Jeannine Berger of the SPCA tells Fox 2. “The idea that a person must assume the ‘alpha’ position pervades our society and has significantly damaged the welfare of our canine companions and put many handlers at risk for serious injuries.”