Recently, in the news, a police officer shoots a dog running at large. The officer claims that the dog, a pitbull, came at him in an aggressive manner. We’ll never know what the dog was thinking. The problem with a pitbull dog is that when they are running at you in a friendly way looks the same as if they are attacking you; it isn’t until the reach you that you determine their intent.
This particular officer has previously kill three other dogs in the line of duty. Since the dogs cannot give their story, we will never know if this is the result of an over zealous police officer.
The local media is demanding the police department’s “policy” of dogs running at large. They believe that if there is no policy that allows for a police officer to kill an attacking dog, then that isn’t an option for the officer. The request is pretty stupid. Any rational person would understand that if the police officer feels he is in danger or feels that he needs to protect another person, then a rushing dog might as well have a target painted on it.
When an officer’s first response is to reach for his or her firearm, then they have failed the part of their training that teaches the escalation of force. Pepper spray works most of the time on dogs and a taser is effective, if the officer can hit a small moving target. Because the officer’s first thought is to reach for his gun; if I were his Chief, I would order him to take more training.
The real lesson to learn here is about training police officers. It is about getting dog owners to accept their responsibility of keeping their dogs properly confined. If I lived in a community in which loose dogs are shot, I would probably keep my dog safely indoors.
As I have always preached, all dogs have the potential to bite. Even if your dog is friendly, some people have a fear of dogs and that fear is shared by a lot of police officers. Unless you are looking forward to a law suit or your dog being shot, a smart dog owner keeps their dog under control AT ALL TIMES! The problem is that we just don’t see enough smart dog owners., as demonstrated by the dog owner in this incident in which she is more concerned about the police department’s policy towards shooting loose dogs than accepting her role in allowing her dog to run loose.