Gunner was shot in the neck by an off-duty Texas officer who claimed the boxer attacked him, his wife and his dog. Twelve-year-old Dalton Fitzhenry says Gunner was just curious and sniffing the other dog when officer Mark Condon fired at point-blank range.
Do you think Police Officers take it too far when they shoot a dog that is curious and not attacking? Do they cry self-defense as if they were crying wolf?
Recently, in my region, we had a man who told his Pit bull to attack his father, because they were having an argument. This is one reason Pit bulls get a bad rap. I hate how it’s the owner not the dog. They’re other breads that get the bad rap, but not like the Pit bull. I was sick when hearing about police officers shooting dogs because they were afraid for their lives. You would think a cop that gets in car chases and in shootouts wouldn’t be scared of a dog. Who gives a crap if it bites you go the hospital get a shot and go on your way. I am scared for my dogs not myself; I can hit the dog if necessary, but being a dog lover I would just run off in hopes it doesn’t follow.
The online magazine Law Enforcement Today has recently published an article warning officers not to shoot loved family dogs. James P. Gaffney, author of the article, is an LET risk management/police administration contributor to the publication, and served with a metro-New York police department for more than 25 years as a patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant and executive officer. He brings to light the popular opinion that dogs are not just pets, but “valued family members,” and that the preferred term is now “canine companion.”
Dogs are excellent at sensing danger, and if they come across people they perceive as a threat, they might immediately become defensive and attack. My little Beagle mix attacked our electrician only because he entered our fence prior to calling and letting us know he would be there. She was only protecting us, but if he knew her name, said it should wouldn’t have ever done it nor if he would’ve called, and let us know he was coming over. We could have had her in the house and then when he entered into the house, she would know that he was a friend not a foe. She would’ve loved on him, because she knew that we knew him. Also, yes we did have a beware of dog sign. But Police are supposed to use objective reasonableness, i.e. common sense, when they are on the job. Approaching an unknown dog, or entering a dog’s territory, can incite an attack. Then police officers shoot, and cry self-defense. Well, if they thought a situation through using common sense and compassion, their deadly actions might not have been necessary.
Officers are trained to take whatever measures are necessary to protect themselves. Of course, officers have the expectation of self-protection from dogs that are attacking. But officers should not be employing a “shoot first, think later” mentality in cases where they enter a property clearly marked “Beware of Dog(s),” when they come across friendly runaways or when dogs are merely running toward them but not attacking.
A dog was critically injured by officers when trying to protect her owner, a homeless man, who was having a seizure. After down on the ground having just been shot, another officer continued shooting the clearly injured dog.
When courts set precedents in their rulings, it can take a long time for police law to catch up. At a conference attended by Gaffney last month, he learned from Chicago attorney Laura Scarry that shooting a family dog could be considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment. This amendment grants US citizens the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, protected from unreasonable arrests and seizures. Federal courts are now recognizing a dog as an “effect.”
Police dogs are considered valued members of the force, and “ordinary” dogs are considered valued members of families. It is time they are recognized as such and treated accordingly; with caution and respect, as police would expect anyone who approaches their dogs.
I wouldn’t be mad if I was running from a cop and they sent there dog after me because I would be in the wrong. A Police dog protects there handler as our dog protects us. We know why dogs attack dogs, some in play, some just reacting because the other comes to close to their owner/master/family. Police need to think and not act stop shooting our helpless family members.
Forrest L. Rawls