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July 23, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Shooting Blind: Police Protocols Relating to Dogs is Severely Lacking

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

It has been in the news a lot lately. A police officer, or an off-duty officer, shooting a family pet.

Are the officers justified?

Is their life in enough danger to warrant shooting a dog versus using other means?

What are your thoughts on this?

Here are five stories that have recently happened:

1. A Pitbull was killed by an off-duty police officer working as a security guard at a pet store after it attacked another smaller dog in the store. Apparently, the owner lost control of his dog, and the dog ran through the store dragging its leash. It then attacked a smaller dog on a leash being held by its owner. The officer shot twice and killed the Pitbull.

2. A German Shepherd was shot after it ran toward a police officer visiting the home. Surveillance cameras show two police officers entering the property through a gated, fenced in-yard (with a sign clearly posted on the gate saying - Beware of Dog). One officer leaves the yard, and a playful Pitbull is following him toward the gate, as the Pitbull starts to bark out of excitement the German Shepherd runs from around the house toward the officer on the front porch. The police officer shoots the shepherd (which later had to be euthanized), saying she was afraid he was going to bite her.

3. An officer delivering a warrant (at the wrong address), shoots a German Shepherd (which is a certified Therapy Dog) three times. The officer knocked on the front door. After he received no answer, he proceeded around to the back of the house when two German Shepherds ran towards him. The owner of the dogs heard the shots and walked outside to see the officer shooting at his dog. The officer claims that he feared for his safety and shot the dog. The German Shepherd survived, but may never walk normal again.

4. An off-duty officer and his wife were on a walk with their dogs. A Boxer had escaped out of its backyard and was running after them. The officer claims that the Boxer attacked them. Meanwhile, the Boxer's family member, a 12-year-old boy, was running after his dog after he ran out of their gated fenced in-yard. The 12-year-old boy witnessed his Boxer jumping up towards the couple and trying to play with their dog when the officer shot the Boxer point blank in the head. The dog died on its way to the vet.

5. A man was arrested for recording a police invasion at a neighbor's home and antagonizing the officers. His Rottweiler was inside his vehicle with the windows down, jumped out of the vehicle, and ran towards the police officers barking at them. The Rottie jumped up towards the officer, and he was shot four times. As onlookers watched, the dog lying on the ground cried and flailed its legs as it was dying.

46% of households in the United States share their home with a dog. There should be a protocol for Police Officers to have mandatory education about how to read a dog's body language, handling a crisis situation involving a dog, and using other control methods before shooting, if warranted.

Do you think, in any of these stories listed, that the officers were justified in protecting themselves, a partner, family member, stranger, or another dog?


American Humane - Fact Sheet

Huffington Post - Police Shoot Dog Dead

Huffington Post - Police Shoot Dog

ABC Local News

Huffington Post - Woodson Story

SGV Tribune News

More from Health Coach Victoria Swanson Others Are Reading


  • "It's ok I'm a cop I'm a cop" doens't give you any right to kill someones family member. Cops in this country think they are above the law. We don't need internal affairs. We need public investigations against law enforcement. If they have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear. Isn't that what they tell us?

  • Sorry but I really believe these cops love the killing and are using their badge to do so.

  • Jocelyn, I agree that some cops feel they are above "the law." Sadly, these stories are not the last of them.

  • yes you mess with my dogs you mess with me you mess with me you mess with my dogs.One more to say ITS A GOOD DAY TO DIE IM READY ARE YOU? Who am i THE LAST MARLBORO MAN And a Korea vet.

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