Ramsey County deputy accused of assaulting police dog

Published 4:21 pm Saturday, June 27, 2015

ST. PAUL — A Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy is on leave after he was accused of picking up his police dog by the collar, throwing the animal to the ground and repeatedly hitting it.

Brett Berry, 48, of Arden Hills, was charged Friday in Carlton County with animal cruelty and assaulting a public safety dog, both misdemeanors. A court hearing is set for July 23.

The incident allegedly happened June 15, while Berry was staying at the Black Bear Casino and Resort with other sheriff’s deputies for K-9 certification trials, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

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Casino security called the local sheriff’s office for assistance at 3 a.m. after security video footage showed Berry beating the dog.

According to the criminal complaint, casino security asked Berry to leave the resort lounge earlier that evening after customers reported “unwanted advances.”

On video, security observed Berry return to his hotel room and then walk to the casino parking lot with his K-9. The video shows Berry becoming upset with the dog and yelling at it before slamming it to the ground.

The dog appeared afraid of Berry and would not come when called, the complaint said. The dog ran from Berry and got stuck between two doors in a lobby vestibule, where Berry began beating the dog on the shoulders and ribs, the complaint said.

Berry was sent home and placed on paid administrative leave. His K-9 was taken from him. No injuries were found during an exam by a veterinarian.

“We hold our staff to the highest standards, and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office is troubled by these allegations,” sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. John Eastham said in a statement

Berry was hired by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office in 1996. The St. Paul Police Department trains K-9 officers from other agencies, and Berry graduated from its 12-week basic canine handlers course in 2011.

Messages left Saturday for the general counsel of Law Enforcement Labor Services of Minnesota, the police union, were not immediately returned.