Ex-Texas Ranger Matt Cawthon insisted on discipline of officers in the case of “Ace” the drug detection K9 mistreated in training
Waco – The Ranger couldn’t abide it. He quit his job because of the abuse of an animal by the men in charge of its training.
When he learned the McLennan Commissioners’ Court intends to compensate the ex-wife and son of the K9 Officer in charge of the dog who disfigured his son’s face, he heaved a sigh of relief.
“This is an affirmation to me,” said ex-Chief Deputy Matt Cawthon. “I was not going to stand by and let an animal be abused.”
As he received word that a Lieutenant in charge of training and the K9 handler in charge of drug detection dog “Ace” had abused the dog with a cap pistol and by calling on him to make leaps onto small surfaces after harassing him, he requested that Sheriff Parnell McNamara take action.
“When I tried to get the Sheriff to discipline these officers, he refused,” said Cawthon.
Instead, the Sheriff allowed the Lieutenant, Chris Eubank, to resign his position, then rehired him as a patrol deputy, though an investigation showed he had participated in abusing the dog.
K9 handler Joseph Ballew accepted a transfer to the Patrol Division as a Corporal. Both men worked nights for a period of years before Eubank was again promoted to Lieutenant.
Ace has since been returned to his original training academy, Kaplan of Louisiana.
He became overly aggressive, according to trainers there and other officers from area law enforcement agencies. In one case, he bit an officer at the McLennan Sheriff’s Office when his handler, Joseph Ballew, required him to attempt to jump atop a filing cabinet. He missed and came down on the desk where an officer sat typing a report, became agitated and nipped his elbow. When his new handler attempted to complete a certification course in Louisiana, Ace made attempts to bite officers and trainers there.
After retraining and recertification, he was at his handler’s house when his ex-wife and son visited. The dog snapped at the child and opened a gash on his forehead. His mother filed suit, and the County’s insurance carrier elected to settle for $30,000 in damages.
Cawthon acknowledged that this was the main reason he decided to leave his employment as the Chief Deputy, when Sheriff McNamara chose to handle the situation otherwise.
“Ace was never meant to be a bite dog. He was trained as a drug detection dog,” said Cawthon. “He was a valuable asset and he was wasted by his handlers.
“I might add that the mainstream media has chosen to ignore this,” he concluded.