Final Thoughts on The Issue
WARNING - THE ABOVE VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT WHICH MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL VIEWERS!
All this week we've been discussing the increasing trend of puppycide-by-cop. Today we'll wrap up this discussion with some final, miscellaneous, thoughts.
INNOCENT VICTIMS: THE DOGS
Aside from the question of how many of the known canine victims were actually a threat to physical danger, there is certainly an alarming number of innocent canine victims and a virtually unlimited number of potential human victims.
Check out this article, which lists a number of disturbing cases, particularly those where police raid THE WRONG HOUSE in an attempted drug bust and then shoot the family dog. In one case, officers even let the dog out of the yard and then shot him when he ran out of the fence, later arresting the owner for assault with a deadly weapon! This dog was safely confined in his yard until the officer let him out. The dog paid the price for the officer's mistake, the penalty was a death sentence.
One woman mourning the loss of her Springer-Labrador mixed breed is taking legal action against law enforcement. The article states:
As part of her lawsuit, she requested police reports of every dog killed by Milwaukee police over a nine-year period. The request turned up 434 dead puppy reports, or about one every seven-and-a-half days.
Over a nine-year period, 298 Milwaukee police officers shot 434 dogs. Are we to assume then, since more dogs were shot than police involved, that a number of officers are repeat offenders? The shooting officer in that incident was quoted as saying, "the best weapon for a dog is a shotgun, through my experience." How much experience shooting dogs do you have, officer? How did you conclude a shot gun was best if not through comparison with other less successful techniques for "animal control"?
The Indianapolis Star reported that in a two year period, nearly 3/4 of the shooting incidents in the city involved dogs, resulting in 44 murdered dogs.
While earlier this week we discussed possible measures pet owners could take to protect their dogs, this article states:
Police have recently killed pets while merely questioning neighbors about a crime in the area, cutting across private property while in pursuit of a suspect, and after responding to a false burglar alarm. It doesn't matter if your dog is loose or leashed, or if you've posted "Beware of Dog Warnings.
This article features a video of another victimized dog and is quite possibly one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen. The dog was already restrained and not posing any threat, and Mr. Officer Man cavalierly grabs his pistol and metes out his own barbaric version of "justice" on what seems like a fairly nice dog. According to the article, the officers in the case were cleared of any wrongdoing. The dog's owner, however, was cited and fined. Another article regarding the case basically has the officer stating that the dog was shot for GROWLING. Growling deserves a shot to the head?
INNOCENT VICTIMS: THE HUMANS
This issue is not only of concern to dogs and the people who love them. Even the subset of humanity who doesn't like dogs should care about this issue. Why? Because people are victims too. Many of these incidents take place in crowded areas.
According to the New York Times,
Officers hit their targets roughly 34 percent of the time.
When they fire at dogs, roughly 55 percent of shots hit home.
((Aside from the rest of the article, this is a fascinating statistic - I wonder why this is, since dogs move much more quickly than people, generally.)
The Times states that Los Angeles' law enforcement have an accuracy rating right around 28% over a two year period. That's an awful lot of stray bullets, no?
In 2008, officers killed two pit bulls in a botched raid. If this doesn't raise your hackles, perhaps the fact that a single mother of six, hiding in a bedroom, was killed instantly in the firing. Her infant son was maimed for life after being shot in the shoulder and hand. A jury decided that the officer responsible for the shooting "didn't show a 'substantial lapse of due care' and acquitted him of misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide and negligent assault." How "substantial" must the "lapse of due care" be before justice is demanded in these circumstances?
The Humane Society of the United States, in an article from 2003, lists a number of other examples:
- August 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota: A drug raid escalated into a riot when a bullet fired by an officer at a pit bull ricocheted and wounded an 11-year-old boy. Twenty officers were called to clear the area.
- November 2002, Detroit, Michigan: An officer was shot once in the leg by a fellow officer when they opened fire on three stray pit bulls. The officers were reportedly shooting as they ran from the dogs.
- November 2002, Sacramento, California: A 27-year-old man suffered chest wounds from ricocheting bullets fired at a pit bull by SWAT team officers who were helping serve a narcotics-related search warrant.
Earlier this week, a woman was hospitalized after being injured by a bullet fragment when police shot her dog. In the case of Parrot, another dog recently shot to death by a cop, hundreds of innocent bystanders were within the immediate vicinity. While there were luckily no physical injuries, I'm sure that many in the crowd of animal lovers were traumatized mentally and will never forget the images of Parrot's last breath.
So even if you don't like dogs, if you do like children, grandmas, brothers, sisters, friends, this is an issue you should care about as well.
To conclude, I'd welcome thoughts on this subject from my readers. What can we, as a society, do to address this problem? How can we reduce the number of incidents and make sure that future victims receive the justice they're due?