Police shooting and killing dogs... Where do you stand?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Rocky *CGC*- With the- angels.

Gone but never,- ever forgotten- xxx
Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 2:13pm PST 
I was just watching something on TV where a girl in Las Vegas had been pepper sprayed and arrested. This was all very normal, no big deal... But she started screaming and crying at officers in the prison because her dog had been shot by the police officer ...

I did feel sorry for her due to the state she was in because her dog had been killed. I would be the same.

I guess my main issue is that, when the officer was interviewed, he said he went into the yard to arrest a man, a Pit Bull ran towards him and he shot it... No questions asked and no hesitation... He didn't seem bothered at all and shrugged his shoulders when they asked him if the dog actually tried to bite him.

I just can't help but feel that officers should have a bit more training... I mean, if a strange man entered my yard, my Border Collie would probably charge and growl at him... Does that mean he would shoot Dexter?

Most of us on here know that our dogs may show aggression in certain, stressful situations that in no way reflects the true personalities and characters of our canine companions.

It just resonated with me in a strange way... Not that I expect any police officers in my yard anytime soon... In fact, ever... But I wanted to know what you guys thought?

Would your dog fall victim to being misunderstood and mistaken as aggressive in a situation like that? I know I would probably be two dogs down if it happened to me but what about you guys?

And do you think the police should have more respect for peole's pets and take the time out to learn a bit about dog behaviour?

Don't get me wrong, if a dog is an actual danger and is really attacking the officers, then I understand the quick decissions they have to make in order for their safety to come first, but in this situation it just seemed like the officer thought 'Pit Bull... Dangerous... Shoot it, no questions asked'.

My dogs are awesome around strangers and super friendly but if I had been that girl, I think my two would have been shot, which is upsetting :o(

The Monster
Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 2:37pm PST 
I would like to see police get more training for how to read and handle loose dogs. However if there's a barking and growling dog between the police and a possible assault with a deadly weapon two houses over, or a dog threatening an officer's partner, or a dog as an impediment during a high risk take down... the dog is going to not be given much thought and may be dispatched. And quite honestly, rightly so. An officer's first obligation is to the safety of him/herself, then to his/her partner, then the public. Dogs can't be a priority of theirs when people's lives are on the line.

Edited by author Wed Aug 15, '12 10:34am PST

Approved by forums moderator
Star BN RN- RA

Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 4:42pm PST 
Officers need more training when it comes to dogs and how to handle them. If you look up how many dogs have been shot by police lately it is scary. Some were probably justified but others were just ridiculous. There was recently a dog and owner both shot while walking down the street in NY...the man was walking his 2 dog on leash and the cop who were chasing a suspect went running by, the dogs reacted by jumping and barking (witnesses said the dogs were under control) but the officers shot the innocent man and one of his dogs, this is one of the ridiculous ones.
A K9 cop was also shot by other officers recently, after a shot out the man handling the K9 was shot, when the other officers went to help the K9 did his job and was protecting its fallen handler...instead of the other officers giving it the command to stop, they shot it....This shows how more training is needed for cops, they do not even know how to handle dogs trained by the police department, how are they suppose to handle a strange dog.

What I find even more disturbing is the amount of K9's being left in the car and dying. in one case the officer changed cars and forgot to take the K9 with him...how do you "forget" that you have a dog in the car???

Dylan aka- Dilly,my- angel

frisbee- s rule
Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 4:48pm PST 
I remember hearing about a dog getting shot in his own driveway, standing next to its owner, barking, but wagging his tail. the cop shot it dead, not 2 feet from the guy. then found out he was at the wrong house, wrong man. I think cops may be getting a little trigger happy.and maybe need more traning to assess the situation better.

not sure, but my border collie, or my standard collie may both be mis understood under the wrong circumstance.

Work? What's- that?
Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 4:49pm PST 
If there was better training, incidents like what the OP wrote about would be reduced to almost zilch.

There's no reason officers shouldn't be required to attend a one or two day seminar on dog behavior. It's an element they encounter quite often in their job and they to be trained to appropriately deal with it.

I question too how "safe" a community is with an officer whose first instinct in dealing with a dog is to shoot it.
Thor CGC

God of Thunder
Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 5:50pm PST 
This terrifies me. I know my dog runs up and barks at people who come on the property, what dog doesn't? He will sniff them and then be his friendly normal self. It sounds like a police officer won't give that chance to the dog though.

I can understand if the dog actually tries to bite them, but barking is so normal. I have seen so many news stories recently of dogs being shot.

The one that bothered me the most was when a Newfy got out of her yard and was hit by a car. When the police tried to move the injured dog she growled, and they shot her. Most dogs will growl if you try to move them when they are severely injured!!

Gah. I think there should be mandatory dog behavior classes that police should go through. My county has one and it seems like a great thing.

Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 6:57pm PST 
Well... remember how many thousands of police officers there are across the country. And most of them have to deal with dogs on a regular basis, and most of the time they don't just shoot them! You only hear about the times they shoot the dog. So yeah, cops make mistakes. But people love to spread it around when a cop makes mistakes, they don't spread it around when cops handle situations really well because it's their job. It's expected.

My brother is a state trooper. He got bit by a pitbull. It didn't full on attack him though and the situation was not threatening to life or limb so my brother told the owners to get their dog under control. He did not shoot the dog.

No one hears those stories though...

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 7:12pm PST 
I unfortunately side with the officers...of course it's a case by case basis. If officers come for say a domestic violence call and just randomly shoot the first dog in their way that is wrong and they should be disciplined severely for it. But if it's a crime scene, especially with the tension of possible shots from a perp being fired...you can't blame them for stepping over the edge if a dog joins in the chaos

Love me.
Barked: Mon Aug 13, '12 7:57pm PST 
I dare say being charged by a strange dog without anything between you to stop said dog would be a rather imposing and scary sight. In that case, I can not blame the officer, especially when they are already on alert.

That said, yes, better/more training on how to deal with animals/dogs would be a very good idea...esp in the cases as mentioned before where the dog was by the owner's side.

However, Skarlet is absolutely correct in saying it seems you only hear the bad things...the media seems to prefer the stories where there is something negative to report, you rarely hear of all the good things that are done. Including police rescuing animals that were strays or abused by some low-life, and even adopting them.

Edited by author Mon Aug 13, '12 8:01pm PST

Rocky *CGC*- With the- angels.

Gone but never,- ever forgotten- xxx
Barked: Tue Aug 14, '12 1:42am PST 
Guys, don't misunderstand me. I think the olive do an amazing job, everyday... I am very much on their side in most cases.

But should innocent dog owners have to live in fear of the police? I know they do a lot for the community, I get that. But shooting and killing a dog without a second thought when it has not actually made contact with you and only showing signs of fear or being territorial, doesn't sit right with me...

I just wish they knew a bit more about the signs and behaviours dogs can show that may not be a threat.

But again, I agree that if a dog is a direct danger to them and the public, they have no other choice... I get that.
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