Law Enforcement: "Don't Shoot the Dog!"
Some of my readers may know that my father was brutally murdered earlier this year. When a member of your family falls victim to violent crime, you get a more up-close-and-personal introduction to our legal and penal systems than any citizen would want. As the daughter of a murder victim, you would be hard-pressed to find a person more appreciative of capable law enforcement professionals that do their jobs well; protecting the public and keeping dangerous criminals off our streets.
But as a dog trainer, I have to say I'm alarmed about an increasing trend in law enforcement - shooting dogs.
In an article published earlier this year, we learn that in the relatively small city of Dayton, Ohio:
Officers have shot 13 dogs this year setting a pace to double the 17 dogs shot in 2008 and surge past the 20 shot in 2009, according to the departments internal investigations reviewed by the Dayton Daily News.
Just last month, police shot and killed six dogs, the most in any month since before 2008.
Wait, six dogs killed by police in a single month in one small city? Yikes.
This past weekend, police in Florida shot and killed a dog in Florida. While this is unfortunately not rare or startling news, perhaps this particular incident will garner more attention than your average "cop kills dog" story because in this case, the owner was injured as well. She's currently hospitalized with a bullet fragment in her leg.
Earlier this month, cops opened fire in a crowded street festival, killing a rescue dog who was there hoping to find his forever home.
These incidents are not isolated but are increasingly common. Here are a few other recent examples - THESE ARE ALL FROM THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER:
- TODAY! Muncie Police Shoot, Kill Dog
- Couple donate pup to replace Lexington man's dog killed by police (12 September 2010)
- Dog Shot and Killed by Police (9 September 2010)
- Family Outraged After Officer Shoots Dog (22 September 2010)
- St. Petersburg Officers Kills 2 Dogs, Police Investigating (12 September 2010)
- Dog Shot Dead (24 September 2010)
- Sacramento Police Shoot and Kill Three Dogs (22 September 2010)
- Lawsuit Filed in Missouri Drug Raid (21 September 2010)
- Rampaging Dog Killed by Police Officer (3 September 2010)
- Officers Shoot Pit Bull (22 September 2010)
- Family Still Wonders Why Police Killed Their Dog (10 September 2010)
- Police Shot and Killed Pit Bull (12 September 2010)
- LaFourche Parish Sheriff's Office Probes Deputy's Dog Shooting (21 September 2010)
- Police Shoot Apparent Dog-Coyote Mix (3 September 2010)
- Dog Owner Outraged By Police Actions (10 September 2010)
- Owner Cited But Dog OK After Being Shot by Police (21 September 2010)
I am not an unreasonable person. I do believe that occasionally, an incident may arise where a police officer may need to use lethal force to protect citizens or other dogs from an aggressive dog.
In many of these instances, that seems not to be the case. Earlier this year, police shot a medical assistance dog. They have shot dogs that were on leash, in their own yards, or in their own homes. The victims have many faces, with small dogs and large dogs being effected. In June, a 5 lb Chihuahua was tasered and shot.
We'll talk about this important issue in more depth later this week. Tomorrow, we'll talk about some of the reasons why this seems to be an increasing trend in law enforcement.