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April 20, 2022

It Is Time for a Meaningful Discussion About Shooting Dogs

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Written by: Bob Guere
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TOO MANY DOGS ARE BEING SHOT by Law Enforcement and its time for a serious debate. If the subject of officer-canine involved shootings is important, please share this post.

Most of you know that we recently rescued a dog that had been shot 3 times (maybe 4) by Kern County Sheriffs Department. Her name is Diamond and she weighs 36 pounds. In the news story, its stated several times that she is a “Pit Bull’ rather than a “dog”and that she was “attacking” the officers as opposed to “barking” at them. A dog is dog before it is a Pit bull and it should be recognized as such: as a living spirit, capable of LOVE, that is to be respected, not feared. If Diamond had been a Golden Retriever or a Cocker Spaniel, I seriously doubt that she would have been shot. Fear leads us to mischaracterize energy and frequency as “aggressive” when in fact these behaviors are very normal and easily containable if understood. I believe that most of society is ignorant or at least naive when it comes to canine behavior and understanding what a dogs energy state of awareness is. Perceived Canine aggression is something that I have encountered more times than I can count and the best way to counter it is calm, assertive behavior. Recognizing why the dog is behaving this way and what, exactly, his/her true emotions are will help officers understand that these are very rarely , if ever, situations that require deadly force. Truly human aggressive dogs, that are trained to attack, exist primarily in Law Enforcement and require tremendous amounts of training and breeding to acquire human aggressiveness. Many dogs may bite if afraid or if encroached upon but an elite few will actually attack. The police officer in this story as well as the police officer that shot Diamond DID have a choice other than deadly force, they just didn’t know what it is.

Discharging your service weapon, in a residential neighborhood no less, should be that last thing an officer does and could have resulted in the death of an innocent bystander via stray bullet or ricochet. I have been in dozens of scenarios where dogs have displayed aggressive or defensive mannerisms or even maneuvers towards me but I had the knowledge to correctly diagnose the energy of the dog and correctly determine the best way to address that energy-which is NEVER deadly force. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed due to these careless, or at very least needless, encounters. I am fully aware that a Police Officers job is dangerous and that they operate on a heightened state of awareness and readiness, but reacting with deadly force will only result in needless, potentially very tragic death. A Police Officers PRIMARY FUNCTION is to “Protect and Serve” and behavior such as this is contrary to that function, in fact, its diametrically opposed.

We equip our Law Enforcement to be ready for any situation-terrorism, chemical attack, mass shootings- but NOT how to deal with a dogs. The UPS/Fed-Ex/ Mail Man has never, in the history of mail, asserted deadly force on to canine but somehow they’ve all survived. How is that so? 1) Because they don’t have the option of deadly force, therefore they don’t employ it and 2) because they have the intuition and knowledge to identify the dogs “aggression” for what it actually is, which is noise, alerting and posturing.

The thing that worries me the most about the hasty use of deadly force is the energy that officer himself is imposing on his surroundings. If two police officers wearing bullet proof vests and carrying any number of non-leathal weapons from batons to pepper spray cannot subdue a 36 pound dog with out using deadly force then imagine how they are going to react to a 200lbs man who is uneasy, hyper, excited or otherwise exhibiting a heightened state of awareness? Calm, assertive energy should be present regardless of the situation. Calm, assertive, confident behavior brings with it the knowledge that YOU WILL control the situation; YOU DO have things under control; and that YOU ARE aware of your surroundings. Discharging your firearm 4 times at a 36 pound dog in a closely packed residential neighborhood where kids are in danger is NOT okay and should be heavily reviewed and scrutinized. Again, INNOCENT LIFE WILL BE LOST if we don’t adequately train Law Enforcement on how to carefully, consciously and effectively handle excited/aggressive canines.

 

A couple interesting stories:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/17/calif-tv-station-films-dog-calmly-playing-with-kids-after-cop-shoots-himself-trying-to-kill-it/?onswipe_redirect=no

http://www.examiner.com/article/redrum-the-backwards-world-of-officer-involved-dog-shootings

 

 

 

 
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