New London police to stop training K-9s at cemetery

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New London — Amid significant backlash from the community, police on Monday said they no longer will use Cedar Grove Cemetery to train their K-9s.

Capt. Brian Wright said police, with permission from the caretakers, have trained K-9s at the 638 Broad St. site for years.

But after a training that involved three officers and two dogs last Thursday, an anonymous caller complained the dogs had defecated or urinated on or near graves.

Officers dispute the caller’s account, which, along with similar posts on Facebook, prompted an outcry from dozens of community members. Even some who didn’t believe the dogs had urinated or defecated on graves questioned whether the cemetery is an appropriate training site.

In a Facebook post, police apologized “for any distress and sadness caused by our recent K9 training at the cemetery” and said they hadn't intended to disrespect the deceased or their families.

“The tension caused by the event is in direct conflict with our goal of promoting and strengthening relations with the community we serve,” police said. “While the main objective of our K9 training is to provide the police department and our community with a superior asset, we acknowledge that the choice of training venue was insensitive.”

Police did not specify where future trainings will be held.

Wright said concerned residents may call him at (860) 447-5287.

l.boyle@theday.com

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