Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong is accused of lifting up his shirt, beating his chest and barking at the animal, according to Penn Live.
The 24-year-old was leaving the changing rooms to take part in the pre-match warm-up ahead of the Raiders’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pennsylvania on Sunday when the incident reportedly took place.
Pittsburgh police confirmed on Tuesday that Armstrong was being investigated over an incident prior to the National Football League (NFL) clash at Heinz Field.
And Armstrong could face seven years in prison and fines of nearly £10,000 ($15,000) if charged with taunting a police animal.
American law states that it is ‘unlawful for any person to wilfully or maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal.
Allegheny County Sheriff’s Deputy Maria Watts, claimed that Armstrong was ‘barking really loudly and screaming ‘hey dog, hey dog’” as he left the changing rooms.
Watts said that the dog, a four-year-old German Shepherd named Banditt, became ‘very agitated’, and that a number of other players began barking and clapping as well.
Watts added: “[Banditt] obviously wants me to let him go because he’s being agitated. I imagine with his training and experience he would have gone to his target who was taunting him.”
Watts said she ‘didn’t even want to go there’ when asked what the dog could have done, but added that all the Pittsburgh Steelers players were ‘gentleman’ and that in nearly ten years working at Steelers games had never been faced with a similar incident.
Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus told the BBC that the ‘dog was going crazy’, adding: “The deputy was trying to control the dog the best she could. We were immediately notified about the incident, and initiated a criminal investigation into the matter.”
Kraus confirmed that he had discussed the possibility of charging Armstrong with the District Attorney, with the Sheriff’s Office set to study camera footage, eyewitness accounts and a statement from Watts.
The Oakland Raiders lost the game 38-35.