News: Cop shoots dog

It seems that not a week passes without another story of a cop shooting a dog out in public. The accounts of these incidents always vary depending on who is telling the story, but the police almost always maintain that the shooting was justified.

Dogs have been shot after attacking other dogs, for actively attacking or threatening people, because they were running loose and couldn’t be caught, for being one of those breeds that just look menacing and while tied to a police car bumper because the cops felt they had no other option.

Unless you were there, it’s impossible to know what the right course of action was at the time. Did the dog(s) really need to be shot dead? Could the dog owner, animal control or another dog savvy person have prevented the shooting?

These stories are coming from all over, from big cities to rural areas. Common themes seem to be that in many areas, there is no protocol to follow for dealing with potentially dangerous dogs and loose strays. Often it’s pretty obvious that the cop doing the shooting has zero training in dog behavior and may have overreacted. And once a dog is shot for legitimate reasons or not, the law doesn’t really seem to care. Just a dog, right?

I’m not blaming the police out of hand in these cases. If a dog is actively attacking another animal or a person, shoot first, sort it out later. The frequency and often disputed nature of these events, however, call into question how police in every town/city/county are prepared and equipped to handle stressed animals.

Aside from responsible ownership, which would solve 99% of these conflicts, more education and training ought to be mandatory across the board to mitigate dogs being shot in situations where it’s not best, nor the only possible outcome.

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