The Morton County sheriff's office said that dog handlers working as security guards for the Dakota Access Pipeline "were not properly licensed to do security work in the state of North Dakota."
The handlers, employed by the Ohio-based company Frost Kennels, could face criminal misdemeanor charges, reports The Guardian.
Footage from a Democracy Now! report (below) shows the handlers pulling their dogs toward groups of protesters, attempting to drive them back (3:55). A protester claims that a dog bit him on the arm, and shows reporter Amy Goodman his wound (3:07). One of the dogs is seen with blood on its nose and tongue (3:18).
Bob Frost, the owner of Frost Kennels, said that he was being "beyond cooperative," according to The Guardian. The Morton County police department disagreed.
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"Although lists of security employees have been provided," Captain Jay Gruebele said in a statement, "there is no way of confirming whether the list is accurate or if names have been purposely withheld."
Frost says he wasn't looking for trouble. "I pulled my guys out the next day because we weren't there to go to war with these protesters."
"It started out peaceful," he told Cleveland Scene, "but as soon as you tear a fence down, come in charging and screaming and throwing stuff, that's not peaceful. Throwing water bottles at our faces? That's not gonna kill us, but our dogs are gonna bark when people run at them. That's what they're trained to do."
Frost said that he accepted the job to get exposure for his company by taking on a high-profile client. He offered his company's services at a discount in order to win the bid. "If people knew what we charged for this, they'd say we were crazy for doing it that cheap."
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Frost said that his handlers were licensed through a private security firm acting as a contractor for the pipeline.
According to DeSmogBlog, one of these security firms is the U.K.-based G4S. In order to work out of their North Dakota offices, G4S requires security personnel to have experience related to military police, elite military forces, or "any support role in a combat zone."
In 2008, G4S acquired ArmourGroup, formerly Defense Systems Limited, which had been marred by numerous scandals, including one involving alleged human trafficking in Afghanistan, and another related to psychological warfare techniques they used to defend BP's Ocensa Pipeline in Colombia.