A Ramsey County Sheriff’s deputy has been placed on administrative leave and his K-9 partner placed under the care of others after the officer was charged with assaulting the dog during certification trials near Duluth.
Deputy Brett A. Berry, a 15-year veteran of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, was charged in Carlton County with two misdemeanors — assaulting a public safety dog and animal cruelty. Berry and his K-9 partner were attending the trials in Carlton County earlier this month when Berry was caught on surveillance cameras allegedly mistreating the dog.
According to the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to the Black Bear Casino just south of Duluth around 3 a.m. June 15 by security officers, who said they had video evidence of animal cruelty by a hotel guest.
Earlier in the evening, security officers said, they had been called to the Cobalt Lounge to ask an individual, later identified as Berry, to leave the premises. According to a description of events provided by Carlton County Sheriff Chief Deputy Brian Belich, Berry was followed from the lounge and back to his hotel room by security officers taking video.
After about five minutes, Berry came out of his room with a dog — his K-9 partner.
Berry walked the dog out of the hotel to the casino parking lot, where he was observed scolding the dog and becoming upset.
Video “then shows the individual pick up his dog by the collar and throw it to the ground,” according to the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office. That’s when the dog bolted from Berry and tried to run back into the casino. The dog made it only past the first set of doors, however, and became trapped in the vestibule.
Berry allegedly caught up to the dog and struck it several times.
Berry was not arrested. He was charged with two misdemeanors after the security video was turned over to the Carlton County Attorney’s Office, Belich said.
In a statement Friday, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office said that when it learned of the incident, it “took quick, decisive action.” Berry was sent home from the trials and placed on administrative leave. His K-9 partner was evaluated by a veterinarian and no injuries were found. The dog, which lives with Berry, is being cared for by others.
“The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office takes our responsibilities, and professionalism very seriously,” the statement read. “Carlton County is investigating the incident and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office is cooperating fully with the investigation. We hold our staff to the highest standards and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office is troubled by these allegations.”
Belich said a court date has not yet been set in Carlton County.