German shepherds are often used as police dogs. Stock photo by Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images
A popular training facility for police dogs, which has a name for the former hiding place of Adolf Hitler, has no plans for a rebranding despite renewed criticism.
Eagle’s Nest International in Riverside, California, is one of the largest K-9 training facilities in the country, supplying dogs to more than 300 law enforcement agencies.
Christy Lopez, a law professor who investigated law enforcement agencies as a former assistant chief of the civil justice department of the US Department of Justice, said the Eagle’s Nest name was “somewhere between creepy and scary and utter abomination.”
“If you want to name your K-9 police company the same name as Hitler’s bunker complex, you should be held accountable,” said Lopez.
Adlerhorst, which means “eagle’s nest” in German, was a bunker complex from World War II that was built to hide Hitler in the Bavarian Alps. It served as the command post of the Nazi leader during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945 and was later bombed by Allied forces.
Adlerhorst International founder and pioneering K-9 police trainer, David Reaver, has been sued dozens of times for injuries caused by dogs leaving his facility. The name’s Nazi association has been brought to court at least back in time 1990s. In a 2016 police brutality case in which Reaver was tapped as an expert witness, documents The defendants specifically asked the judge “to exclude any testimony or evidence with analogies, comparisons, or references to Hitler, Nazis, World War II bunker complexes in relation to Adlerhorst International, Inc. or defense expert David Reaver.”
Reaver has refused Racism allegations in the past, the name comes from a German kennel where he bought a dog in the 1960s and that he knew nothing about the Hitler connection at the time. In 1976 he founded Adlerhorst.
His son Michael Reaver, who took over the business last year, turned down a request from VICE World News on Wednesday.
The company buys sport dogs from Europe, and police stations can either train in Eagle’s Nest or buy the dogs and train them themselves.
Police dogs are widely used in the United States as a tool of black oppression, to hunt down slaves and attack civil rights activists. Recently Investigations Show Black men are still disproportionately bitten by police K-9s.
During World War II, dogs were used by both sides. The Nazis used watch dogs in concentration camps and death camps, which mangled and killed some prisoners.
Los Angeles civil rights attorney DeWitt Lacy who has represented more than a dozen people bitten by police K-9ssaid the name Adlerhorst and its acceptance by clients gives an insight into the psyche of the law enforcement authorities.
“When you have a bit of world history, you understand the Nazi connection in it. And of course that’s worrying – especially for a civil rights attorney, a black man. It should be worrying for any American, ”Lacy said.
“Can we just ignore the blatant and blunt symbols we see at Adlerhorst? Whether or not they train their dogs to be Nazis – I don’t know if you can – the fact that you chose that name speaks volumes. “
Follow Kevin Maimann on twitter.
Correction: An earlier headline on this story incorrectly stated that Adlerhorst was named after Hitler’s bunker, when the founder actually said it was named after a German kennel that he bought a dog from.