Police shootings of dogs

A New York City police officer shoots a dog. By: Gothamist.
A New York City police officer shoots a dog named Star, who was protecting her injured owner, August 13, 2012. By: Gothamist.

On a chilly night in late February in Fishers, Ind., Patricia McConnell was taking her daughter’s 7-year-old, 20-pound terrier mix, Reese, out for a midnight potty.

Reese was harnessed and on a retractable leash, but as she bounded ahead around a corner, the dog saw a neighbor and started to bark. Unfortunately, this neighbor was Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal William “Buzz” Brown. Reese was able to bark only two times before the deputy shot the leashed dog twice.


Brown, who says he felt threatened, was two feet away from the dog when he thought she might attack him. Amazingly, Reese survived. However, because she was shot at such a close range, Reese’s front left leg and shoulder had to be removed, and her back left leg was left shattered. The vet bills reached $10,000.

Patricia McConnell said the shooting was so unexpected that she feared that if she said anything, the officer would fire at her as well. Her daughter, Deborah Twitty, told Fox59 that they live in fear of their neighbor. “I’m afraid he’s going to retaliate,” she said of the deputy.

The two women describe their ordeal in the short video below:

U.S. Attorney Kerry Forestal responded to the public outcry that followed by saying, “I trust Chief Deputy Brown’s ability to make decisions on a daily basis, and I continue to trust him.”

Reese is very lucky to be alive — many dogs that have encounters involving police and guns don’t survive.

What’s Going On?

Recently, there has been a steady drip of awful stories like the one above. Most of them occur when a law enforcement officer feels threatened by a dog and makes a split-second decision to shoot. Sometimes, as with Reese, the dogs are leashed — or even tied up in their own yard. There are even shootings where it turns out the dogs were running away or hiding.

Because there are no national records or a centralized database of dog shootings, it’s hard to tell if incidents are on the rise in the United States. However, a review by Pets Adviser of “use of force” statistics from several large cities shows no notable uptick in these cases. In fact, in New York City the yearly number of dog shootings by police is far below the inflated numbers of the late 1990s (43 dogs shot in 2011 versus an average 82 per year in 1996-98; numbers include vicious dog attacks).

The increased attention to these cases in recent months appears to be due to heightened awareness, more extensive media coverage and social networking buzz when a shooting occurs. The shootings occur so often, in fact, that a certain numbness has started to set in. One commenter online wryly remarks, “Same story. Family. Dog. Cops. Dog shot. Dog dead. Family bereaved. Shooting justified. No matter what. Repeat.”

Pit Bulls Are #1 Victim

Stacy Field (in purple) gets a hug during a vigil for her dog Kincaid, killed by Baltimore police on New Year's Day. By: Matthew Mahlstedt for Pets Adviser
Stacy Fields (in purple) gets a hug during a vigil for her dog Kincaid, killed by Baltimore police on New Year’s Day. By: Matthew Mahlstedt for Pets Adviser

The idea that pit-bull-type breeds are aggressive has led to many of these dogs being labeled as “threatening” by cops and shot dead with minimal provocation, sometimes in the dogs’ own yard. Pets Adviser found that around 75 to 85 percent of dogs shot by police are pit bulls.

This is not to say that other dog breeds haven’t suffered as well. German shepherds, Rottweilers, Labrador retrievers, terriers, Shar-Peis, even registered therapy and service dogs — all have been victims.

Just a few egregious examples:

  • Late last summer in Spartanburg, S.C., a sheriff’s deputy shot dead an 8-year-old shepherd mix named Diamond who was tied to the front porch. “Why did you shoot my dog?” the owner pleaded. The officer’s response: “She tried to bite me.” Diamond was at the end of her restraint when she was shot, according to the dog’s owner.
  • One night in April 2011, police in Camden, N.J., sprayed a neighborhood with gunfire to take down a pit bull puppy named Capone — even as one lone police officer pleaded, “Don’t shoot him!” Witnesses say more than 30 bullets were fired, ricocheting across vehicles and piercing a home. “It was like a war zone,” one startled resident recalls.
  • A Gulfport, Miss., police officer investigating a possible break-in at the house next door fired five or six times at an 11-year-old dog named Melmo in the dog’s own backyard. Making matters worse, Melmo was on a chain that ended “about 30 feet away” from the officer, according to the dog’s owner.
  • A Newfoundland named Rosie who had escaped from her home was Tased multiple times, then executed by officers in Des Moines, Wash. A dashboard video of the long ordeal shows officers wondering aloud what to do with the dog if they catch her — then they conclude, “We should just shoot [her].” They chase her down to finish the job. Another officer hollers “Nice!” when Rosie is shot. A witness says the officers high-fived one another afterward.
  • Everything was friendly and conversational when a man in Kingman, Ariz., left his 2-year-old pit bull dog outside with police while he stepped inside his home to retrieve his ID. He told the officers that the dog, Blue, wouldn’t bite and says the officers seemed comfortable. Moments later, there was a loud pop outside. A neighbor says he saw a deputy fire his weapon as the dog casually walked by the group of officers. The neighbor also says he overheard another officer tell the shooter, “Go sit in your cruiser and keep your mouth shut.” The official police report claims the dog was charging and aggressive.
  • On New Year’s Day of this year, a pit bull mix named Kincaid was barking at a man running from police who had trespassed into his yard. Baltimore police shot six times at the dog; half the shots missed Kincaid and his owner (who was reaching for the dog’s harness) by only inches. Kincaid died on the scene.
  • A miniature bull terrier puppy named Colonel, who had just wandered out of his home in a bustling Chicago neighborhoodwas shot twice by an officer who happened to be out front writing a parking ticket. Multiple witnesses say the puppy was simply sniffing a tree about a car-length away from the police officer who shot him. Colonel is lucky to be alive after five hours of emergency surgery.
  • Baby Girl, a pit bull mix who was so sweet that one of her best friends was a rabbit, was taken to a dog park on Staten Island, N.Y., when a fight broke out between two other dogs. While those other dogs were being separated, the police were called. When they arrived, witnesses say Baby Girl got scared and ran toward the woods. Officers shot and gravely wounded her. Baby Girl held on through several surgeries as her family prayed she would pull through; however, she died a few days later.

In the video below, Natalie Yandle and Aiden talk about the loss of their dog Bucky, a therapy dog. Then Rita Hairston talks about how much she misses her dog Prada:

Deadly Consequences

The biggest factor in the shootings appears to be insufficient training of officers in dog behavior and non-lethal conflict resolution when dealing with animals. Jim Crosby, a retired deputy in Jacksonville, Fla., says, “There’s no training that I’m aware of, nothing cohesive…. That’s a tool the officers haven’t been given even though they are given extensive training on everything else you can think of.”

Seen through the eyes of someone with little or no experience with dogs, a family pet bounding toward the door can easily be mistaken as a dog about to attack. If that person at the door has a badge and a gun, the consequences can be deadly.

Police officers shoot thousands of dogs per year, according to former officer Jim Osorio, who is now a specialist at the National Humane Law Enforcement Academy, which provides instruction to police departments. The question is, are there that many “aggressive” dogs? If so, why aren’t we seeing more dog attacks on mail carriers? “Just because a dog barks doesn’t mean it’s an aggressive dog,” says Osorio.

In fact, fewer than 1 percent of U.S. Postal Service workers are bitten by dogs. Unlike most police officers, postal employees are annually shown a two-hour video on canine behavior and given further training on “how to distract dogs with toys, subdue them with voice commands, or, at worst, incapacitate them with Mace,” according to journalist Radley Balko, who has written extensively on this topic.

A mail carrier told Pets Adviser, “I rarely feel scared of the pets that people have. In fact, I really like saying hi to the dogs when they come to greet me. I’m always armed with a Milk Bone and Mace just in case, though.”

The ASPCA and the Humane Society are two groups that offer to provide police departments with free training classes for dealing with dogs, but only a few departments choose to participate, they say.

Infographic: No officer ever killed by dogs
Share this infographic on Facebook or tweet it.

Seeking Justice in the Courts

Pet owners do have one ace up their sleeve: the court system. Cases that have made their way through the legal system in recent years demonstrate that judges no longer accept that family pets can be shot dead simply as a matter of procedure.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, for example, ruled in favor of the Hells Angels in a case where police officers shot two dogs during a raid. Calling the shootings “unreasonable seizure” [PDF], the court chastised the police for failing “to develop a realistic plan for incapacitating the dogs other than shooting them.” The Hells Angels eventually received a total of nearly $1.8 million in a settlement.

Scott Heiser, senior attorney and criminal justice program director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, tells Pets Adviser that three major things account for unjustified police shootings of dogs:

  1. Poor training of police officers on matters of deadly force
  2. Internal reviews of the shootings that are “less than objective”
  3. The failure of victims to file a lawsuit and aggressively seek justice through the courts

According to Heiser, more people who lose their pets in unnecessary shootings should file suit, citing the constitutional protection against unlawful seizures (Fourth Amendment). “If the Hells Angels can win one of these cases, other victims in these types of cases can too,” he says.

As the saying goes, money talks. A growing number of high-dollar judgments against police departments are slowly creating change. More cities are beginning to mandate enhanced police training in non-lethal ways to deal with dogs, according to Osorio.

Institutional change moves at a snail’s pace, so these are welcome developments.

Next… In Part 2 of this special series, we discuss misconceptions about “aggressive” breeds.

* * *

David Deleon Baker, Clarissa Fallis, Kristine Lacoste and Sarah Blakemore contributed reporting to this article.

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Leave a Comment

  • Shazza

    I am looking forward to reading the rest of this article.

  • macghil

    “Osorio, a former cop, tells them there are dogs in about one in three households — nearly 80 million in all. He says officers shoot about 250,000 dogs a year… often needlessly.”


    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Pets Adviser

      We’re aware of his estimate. With all due respect, it seems very high to us, at least based on a review of recent “use of force” reports from several large police departments.

      Case in point, New York City, population 8 million-plus. Number of dogs shot in 2011 was 43 dogs.

      Therefore, we’d put a ROUGH estimate of a few thousand max yearly in the United States. On the low end of the range, high hundreds. We would welcome any data anyone might have otherwise.

      The frustrating thing is there’s no real database of these numbers.

      • pandora delphy

        Do you honestly think that people who have had, in effect, A FAMILY MEMBER gunned down in cold blood, sometimes in front of their children. are going to report said incident? Think again. Half the people are scared to death of the cops after something like this and the cops rely on that fear to keep them out of trouble. Come on. You’re doing a service here but honestly and ‘with all due respect’ I think your head is in the damned sand.

        • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Pets Adviser

          No head in sand. We prefer to rely on real data and best estimates rather than wild guesses. Even Jim Osorio says he was misquoted by Reason.com and that 250,000/year was off the mark (see comment below).

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      I was able to reach Jim Osorio, and he says this:

      “Hi Dave, yes it was misquoted. There are about 250,000 animals that are shot needlessly and not just dogs. I’m not sure if I would say ‘low thousands’ when it comes to dogs. There are a lot of dogs that are shot and undocumented. There are still police departments across the United States that do not have to make a report when shooting any animal in the field today.”

      So it sounds like “tens of thousands” would be his estimate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.flathcairns Mary L. Flath Cairns

    Two of my three rescued dogs were shot by a policeman in Galloway, NJ when my husband opened the front door and they barked at him. He was there to investigate an accusation by a pizza delivery man that one of our dogs bit him (he later withdrew this claim in court.) One dog lost her front leg and the other needed reconstructive surgery on her palate because he shot her in our foyer pointblank with hollow point bullets. We went to court and lost and the whole ordeal cost at least $25,000 and we lost our homeowner’s insurance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.flathcairns Mary L. Flath Cairns

    Delivery people and mail carriers deal with barkingdogs every day and don’t need to shoot them.

    • Danny G

      Probably because they are not armed. I bet some of them wish they could though.

      • http://www.mikechurch.com/ pete838

        Even if they were armed it doesn’t mean shooting is the first defense. How many service people are even attacked by dogs? Cops “feeling threatened” is the excuse for gunning down people on a daily basis. God knows why society lets them get away with it.

      • Kelly Lauckern

        The point is Bladerunner, is that they do not have to be armed and they survive the dogs. They do not have to shoot and kill!!

        • Bladerunner64

          True, they do not HAVE to shoot anything or anyone, but what happens if they are attacked and have no means of defending themselves against the attack?
          I once saw a short video of an animal control officer respond to a complaint about a Pit bull, it was a female officer, she arrives, exits the vehicle and approaches the owner, a heavy set woman that couldn’t control her pet. As the officer gets near, the dog attacks her, it lunges at her and clamps its jaws on the poor woman’s hand, she’s screaming bloody murder as the camera crew try to assist. The owner can’t do anything about it, they are all helpless against this dog. Now, if I have to consider losing a body part, or rabies, or getting torn apart by an out of control dog, you better believe your sweet little azz, that dog is going down.
          I got bit by a dog when I was a kid and they had to put that dog down to test it for rabies, I got the shots as a precaution, so, if the dog is going down anyways, it’s going down before I suffer any injury to myself or someone else suffers injury.
          I don’t like being the cause of an animal dieing, that includes when they run out on the road and I end up hitting them, but self preservation is going to put me above that animal. Sorry if you don’t feel the same, but that’s the way it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Eagle/1162970536 Jane Eagle

    Thank you for writing about this horrifying trend. I have been following these stories for over a year on facebook, on the page named Dogs Shot By Police. It seems like a dog is shot every day…which leads to the question (touched on in your article): if there are all these aggressive dogs in homes, why do we rarely hear of dogs being shot in self defense by postal workers, UPS and Fed Ex delivery persons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gardeners, pool maintenance workers, door to door salespeople, appliance delivery people…you get the point. The fact that so many police respond first with deadly force has now made many pet owners more afraid of police than of criminals! A criminal may steal my stuff, but there’s a high chance that the police will kill my family members(in fur, or by stray shots).

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Pets Adviser

      We’d argue it can’t be called a “trend.” There doesn’t actually appear to be an increase over the past few years. In NYC, dog shootings by police have gone way down over the mid-1990s.

      You can have the criminals. We’ll take a well-trained police officer any day. We are grateful and humbled that so many officers put their lives on the line for public safety every day. Obviously it’s not a black and white issue. We would never seek to imply that ALL police officers behave such-and-such way. That said, is there a problem? Yes, we sure think so. That’s why we’re drawing attention to it.

      The vast majority of police officers want to do the right thing — they just haven’t been given the proper tools. There are a lot of misconceptions about what is and isn’t an aggressive dog, for example. We’ll talk about that one tomorrow. And on Wednesday, we’ll hear from a retired deputy who agrees there’s definitely too much lethal force being used inappropriately.

      • Lin

        I disagree with you. There IS an increase over the past few years…just this past three or four days, I have read about just as many dogs being shot. One GS was shot in the back of the neck and the cop lied and said the dog was charging him.

      • Kelly Lauckern

        I disagree also, I believe there are a lot of trigger happy cops and shoot these dogs because they can!! What happens to these officers for doing so, nothing and there has been an increase in the killing of dogs over the years.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dawn.stewart.5283 Dawn Stewart

      It seems to me the cops are responding with deadly force because they can. There’s no punishment, there’s no reprimand, there’s no nothing, they can’t even get sued for these injustices. They know it too. It makes me sick. Exacto on the cops vs. criminals. Take my “stuff” if it has to happen … just please leave my family alone!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Eagle/1162970536 Jane Eagle

        Yes, the police CAN BE SUED. There have been 2 cases won in the last couple of months, one for over $300,000! The second one I read about, the jury awarded $50,000+ and the judge deemed it insufficient and added an additional $50,000. It is expensive to take a case through the courts, but people are starting to win.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dawn.stewart.5283 Dawn Stewart

          That is so good to hear. Maybe knowing a civil lawsuit could be filed will make for better judgment in these situations.

        • Cindy Boling

          Dawn – In Texas there is no forum for a civl suit against law enforcement or a city -they have complete immunity – plus theTexas Supreme Court recently ruled that pets have no value beyond “market value.” The only lawsuit available to Texans is a Federal Suit for civil rights violation. I share this not to discourge but to encourage people to take action with their local and state government -too many people are NOT productively active on this issue.

        • RealityAlwaysBites

          Perhaps all that is needed is a little persona Karma visit will straighten the mentally damaged psychopaths out.

    • Buddy Penick

      When was the last time you’ve been pulled over on the road by a criminal, shaken down & left with a bill? Who does this? It’s why we fear police more than criminals.

  • Lisa Ashley

    A spotlight needs to be shined on this. In addition these police departments need to be SUED and I mean big time. They won’t make changes til it hits their pockets.

    • TXD

      Not sued. Suing the police department sues the taxpayer. Government has no money of its own, it only has what it steals from the people. CRIMINAL charges, loss of employment, jail time, and public ridicule and revile are how this will stop and in no other way short of armed revolution like has happened so many times in so many countries throughout history.

      • RealityAlwaysBites

        Sue the psychopathic thug animal itself, take the mentally damaged thugs and make it too expensive for them to support their violence habit.

        Only by punishing every one of the psycho thugs hiding behind badges will anything with a heartbeat ever be safe.

      • Jorie

        Good point. It should be remembered that animal cruelty, including killing a dog, is now a felony in all 50 states. Any private citizen who did something like this would be charged with a felony, and yet police officers who do it – and apparently enjoy doing it, if the reports of high-fives after the shootings are true – face no charges because their departments cover up their crimes. These officers are mentally disturbed and should face the same criminal charges that anybody else would face when they commit acts of animal cruelty.

    • gabe mart

      Sure does

    • Kelly Lauckern

      Karrie you are absolutely right, until it hits their pockets it will not stop! However, the courts systems are so corrupt that they side with the guilty officers. It is literally impossible to win a case. Are you familiar with Justice 4 Maximus. The officer is on video calling the dog over to him and then fires his gun and kills the dog and he was found justified. How on earth is that justified! Something has got to be done. It is getting really out of hand!

  • Cindy Boling

    I’m certainly glad to see this coverage and that it is covering what I think is an epidemic of shootings. We certainly did not know how frequently dogs are being shot by law enforcement until our Lily was shot to death a year ago this month. I hate that we were not aware – it probably would have saved our baby’s life. We never imagined – ever – that when we saw Officer Frank Brown walking up our drive way that we had something to fear – that our lives would be changed forever. And in the spirit of being unbias – we don’t think Frank Brown expected his life to be changed on that day – we don’t think he went home and high-fived the events of the day. He was one of the first to sign up for the mandatory training in Fort Worth – we believe if he had the training on May 26 2012 – our baby would still be alive. In closing let me say – more people need to DO SOMETHING about this problem – I found the majority of folks just want to talk about it and let others DO – Jane Eagle (and many others) you are most definitely a doer and I so much appreciate you.

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      Hi Cindy, thanks for reading and for your comment. Be sure to catch Part 5 of our series on Friday. We talk about how you’ve led the change that has happened in Fort Worth, plus how Arlington has done an about-face as well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dawn.stewart.5283 Dawn Stewart

        Don’t think Arlington TX quite has the entire head-out-of-the-butt yet. Another trigger happy cop made another bad judgement call last month April 26, 2013. It was a terrible horrible travesty. No one is safe from what a cop thinks they can do … not even in their own homes. And dogs definitely aren’t safe in their own backyards.

  • maxiemom

    When they shoot a pit bull, most of these cops ADMIT they shot the dog because he was a pit bull. I remember one case where a border collie was shot and killed because the cop thought he was a pit.

    Herding behavior, such as nipping at the heels or shoes, is ALWAYS taken as being aggressive even though it’s the dog’s way of saying ‘get the heck out of my yard, jerk!’.

    One thing you didn’t mention about Rosie’s murder: someone had called the cops because they feared Rosie would get hurt because she was out of her yard, not because she was doing anything dangerous. The cops decided to shoot her within MINUTES of their arrival. They FORCED her out of her own yard so they could shoot her, following her as if they were hunting a wild animal. They cornered her in someone else’s yard and CHOSE not to close the gate to confine her. Instead of keeping her safe, which was what the INITIAL call was about, they ended her life.

  • Lynn

    We really need to educate our police better. There really is no good excuse for what is happening, it was animals this time what about a child startling them, would they shoot them too???

  • stratomartin

    Train your dogs to be well behaved, obedient, calm, and relaxed, otherwise they will get into trouble and people will shoot them.

    Dogs aren’t supposed to pull on a leash. Start there….

    Proper training is key and a big responsibility.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stuart.harrison.79 Stuart Harrison

      We should not have to remove the natural guarding response of a dog in it’s own back yard to protect it from being unnecessarily shot by police. Considering the sheer number of homes with dogs, police MUST step up and take responsibility for training their officers to know the difference between normal guarding and aggression, and to reconsider the reason they are there before escalating to firearms. There is no reason to kill someones dogs so you can serve papers, or inquire about someone illegally parked a few houses away (both have happened).

      There was a story this morning about a Pitbull chasing a serial burglar and registered sex offender out of his home. The intruder was not bitten, but he did leave the property for his own safety. If the intruder had been a police officer, that same hero dog would probably be dead for doing his duty – in my opinion that is just plain wrong unless the police officer has a life or death reason for being at that house, at that time (ie, pursuing a suspect from a violent crime, responding to an emergency call).

    • Michele

      Your correct proper training is the key but not for the dogs but the police! Some of these dogs are in their own backyards, or running away from police and they are shot and killed!! We had a baby deer in some ones back yard and the officer said he felt the deer was a threat so he shot and killed it. Some dogs are just protecting their owners or homes that is what they are suppose to do and we don’t expect them to be shot and or killed because of it. The officers can mace a dog they don’t need to kill it!!

    • 410tonez

      Are you serious? A gun should never be fired unless you have a DARN GOOD reason, 95% of all these shootings we see are due to trigger happy cops. Save the crap.

  • TXD

    This has nothing to do with training. It has to do with an overly aggressive, increasingly militarized police force that is being taught that its actions have consequences only to the victims. The criminal police are hiding behind their badges in these matters. As they continue to get away with these animal crimes, they will only become emboldened. Animal killings are just the start. Fascism is [crony] capitalism in decay. Until people send a clear message and hold these people accountable *individually* and not let them hide behind the skirt of government bureaucracy, they will only continue and increase their abuses. We get the government we deserve. We have been willing to put up with this kind of increasing government violence in the name of better security. All that is happening is that the elite are more secure from the rightful anger of the people who are being trodden upon. I dare say there will come a day when they shoot one dog or innocent person too many. I urge police to go buy a clue with their overpaid salaries and benefits before that day arrives because nobody will like what they find.

  • David1234

    These cops are getting so bad these days!!

  • Brenda Tucker

    This is so sad!! Police seem to do this all the time anymore!! They need trained on dealing with dogs instead if just murdering them, maybe just pepper spray if they feel they may be vicious , good god, officers are suppose to be good guys but anymore that’s not the case in a lot of places. They’ll even shoot the tiny dogs, I agree if its a sinless act they should be prosecuted and relieved from their jobs, if they can’t handle a dog then I can’t handle a criminal !!! But they seem to shoot them even if the pets show no aggression !!! Wrong !!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bk.simpson.7 Bk Simpson

    Disgusting. The cops involved in these shootings should at the least lose their jobs. This is entirely a case of insecure, bully A holes who just want to kill something to prove what big men they are.. well F them. Incidents like these that we hear about all too often these day only serve to make me numb when hearing about officers killed in the line of duty. Its hard to drum up sympathy for cold blooded killers.

  • http://www.252cats.com/ Stephaine Knight

    why to shoot shift stray dogs to shelters..there are so many peoples who seem to be interested in keeping them….then why to do this inhuman behavior to these wonderful pals

  • Lin

    Just a few days ago, an idiot, trigger-happy fool of a cop who should not even BE a cop shot an elderly COCKER SPANIEL, claiming he was in fear of his life. The dog is alive, Thank God. In another case just a few days ago, a soon-to-be police chief shot at a boxer in his owner driveway with the owner right there and ended up shooting her in the leg. Nothing is going to be done to him because the D.A in Winston-Salem said he did nothing wrong. The bullet in her leg can’t be removed. He also left her bleeding in the driveway so he could get on his cell phone.

  • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Pets Adviser

    That’s terrible.

  • Harry45255

    As a retired police lieutenant I find this trend disgusting. My brother officers and I received no training whatsoever in dealing with aggressive dogs, but apparently we had a level of maturity and restraint in the use of firearms not shared by today’s law enforcement. I can count on one hand the number of dog shootings we had during my twenty-plus year tenure, and I myself was always able to deal with aggressive dogs using either my voice, or at worst a rap on the muzzle with my nightstick. Officers now are shooting dogs because it makes them feel like tough guys and because they know they will not be disciplined. Only the public can stop this…SUE departments that condone this behavior.!!

  • Chainsaw

    What is needed is simple, obvious, and probably politically impossible – a civilian review board with open public participation and hire/fire and policy power over the police.

  • Jp

    As someone who has a permanant scar on the left side of my face from a german sheppard i knew for years that i thought was friendly. I say shoot em up cops.

    • Rodney

      FU jp

  • gmo2ashes

    Dogs are super perceptive. Not only are they very keen on body language, dogs can see a broad spectrum of light invisible to humans, such as infrared and ultraviolet. Dogs, and many other animals, likely also see the human aura, an invisible field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person that could reveal hatred, malice, or revenge, the inner intent of police. Visible to dogs, a lower energetic aura emanating from a police officer indicates they’re a threat, a harmful individual. And on another level, the policeman might intuitively fear the dog can see his ill-thoughts, his evil-intentions – and thus he kills the dog for that reason.

  • mandy1972

    I think the problem is a nationwide police culture where a great number of them go to a residence or wherever, knowing that if they encounter a dog, they will just shoot them. It seems as though that is what they are told or trained to do, and then simply claim they were being attacked. With this happening all over the country and moreso in recent years it is the only thing that makes sense. But they would never admit that they have already made up their mind before they arrive to shoot any dog they see, nor that that is what they are told to do by their superiors. I think in many cases they automatically see a dog as simply an inconvenience or an impediment to doing their job, or doing it quickly (calling the owner or animal control would take time), instead of seeing them as living breathing feeling beings. There are of course the ones that do it clearly for their own pleasure or out of irrational fear, as can be seen in some of the accounts. It is sick and must end no matter what the reason. Truth is, any police officer that relishes the chance to shoot someone or an animal should not be in society, let alone on the police force. How about some psych testing before handing them a gun? I mean Oakland police shot a fawn to death in someone’s backyard! Six times! Last time I checked deer were not predators…………..

  • rex

    Armies kill dogs as a pretext to invasion in order to remove the alarm system

  • Rodney

    For the record: If ANY pig shoots, stabs, slashes or otherwise injures ANY of my animals for ANY reason; I will execute that pos AND his/her family. PERIOD.

  • Dustin

    Today my dog Echo was shot six times by the Wichita PD
    in front of my house after a kid let her out of my back yard…. the officer kept shooting at her as she was running to my front door. also have two bullet holes in the side of my house and one in the fence. I can barely type right now but I am trying to get my story out

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      Oh no! We’re sorry to hear this.

  • RealityAlwaysBites

    What else could be expected from psychopathic thugs without a single braincell to their pathetic names. Hire mentally damaged retard thugs and everything with a heartbeat is in mortal danger.

  • Charlie

    Insufficient training is the cause? A bigger burst of nonsense I never saw. They are training people who have hideous mentalities to start with—who were bullies in high school—training them to kill dogs. They do it because they get a rush from snuffing out a dog’s life. They do it because they have the mindset of pillaging Mongol horsemen, who transported dead bodies to the walls of the next city, and climbed over the dead bodies to invade it. Police are the most vicious lowlifes anywhere. We have to castrate them at State legislative level. Starting with, if lawsuit judgments—they must personally pay. If they can’t pay it all, their union pension funds must be immediately forfeited. Everyone should, in their spare time, follow police around in groups of 20, and start filming them.

  • Meg Hinley

    It’s called CELET. Canine Encounter Law Enforcement Training. It’s offered as a course. But most cities are too cheap to pay for it and most cops are too lazy to take it.

  • Charlie

    And? The owner of the (formerly 20 pound dog) resides in Indiana, and is a FEMALE. Women stick together—men do not, because that would be “effeminate” or some such foolishness. Let her go to the national women’s rights organizations. Pressure the Indiana Senators to remove and prosecute Brown and his boss. Afraid of a leashed, 20 pound dog? No, he lives to kill—there is no other way to be a REAL member of “law enforcement,” especially when people are not breaking any law! He deserves to lose body parts equivalent to those he maliciously subtracted from the dog. Too bad the law doesn’t prescribe it. Attorneys? Where are you?