Saturday, April 16, 2011

Shoot puppy first. Ask questions later.

A two year old pit bull mix, and a twelve-pound, five month old, bull terrier puppy rush to a waist-high retaining wall, barking at a pair of police officers who were knocking at their door to do a probation check on their owner. One of the officers pepper sprays the puppy, and then pulls out his gun, and shoots her. A twelve-pound puppy. This has got to be a joke, right?

Sadly, it's not. Within the past two weeks, there have been two incidents in which police officers have shot at, and killed, a bull breed dog on its own property, in front of its owner and other witnesses. Two incidents in which the owners had no idea officers were coming to visit, and who had woken up that day as if it were any other day. I can't even comprehend what happened in either situation.

I'm not one to jump on the paranoid wagon, but please, bring your dog inside if you're not there to supervise. And, if the police knock on your door, don't assume they're going to be friendly to your dog. In general, if they want to enter your house, they need to knock, and announce who they are. Then, they're supposed to wait a reasonable time (or be refused entrance) before they can do anything else. So, if they come to your door, please put your dog away before you open that door. Without commenting on whether or not police officers are truly justified in shooting a pet because they felt threatened, suffice it to say that officers are granted great leeway in the eyes of the law as to whether their actions were "reasonable" depending on the circumstances. In these situations, oftentimes the only evidence you'll have is your word against theirs. I'm sure that we'd all prefer not to even get to that point. So please, as a matter of precaution, put your dogs safely away when you're not around, and before you open the door to any potential non-dog friendly strangers.

Our hearts go out to both Mr. Yishay and Mr. Locatelli.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sage advice Christine! This epidemic of officers shooting bull breed type dogs is so alarming. As owners, we need to ensure our dogs are always safe. Thank you,

lynn in N. Cal

Anonymous said...

I don't have a comment. I don't even know what to say, what to think. A cop shooting a puppy is beyond reason. I respect cops and the tough job they have -- this is just not okay, not rational, cannot be justified, cannot even be explained.

Does it come down to my own suicidal action, when I have to draw my own weapon against a cop to protect my dog? What has this world come to?

My deepest sympathies to Mr. Yishay and Mr. Locatelli. I wish I had something comforting to say...but I just can't wrap my head around this. I'm so sorry.

s&b/mtry

Samantha Laine said...

A probationary officer — not an ACO — shot a pit bull on Hovis Road property in Charlotte, NC on Friday. Thus far only news coverage is on air mention, no "story" no online link. Contact with CMPD Public Information Officer will — hopefully — provide information.
Many thanks for bringing this subject front, center and under the Kleig lights.

Bren said...

This is so sad. I wish we had more responsible pet owners in this world and LESS people who assume all pitbulls are BAD. I'm definitely reblogging!

Have you kissed a bull today? I have :) and do everyday!

Jennie Bailey said...

Ever since the San Francisco incident where the family dog was killed by officers in their yard, Lily has not been allowed outside unsupervised. We also have her recall down so that if they come through the front gate when we are out there, she ignores them and runs straight to us. Although, I doubt that's going to save her so we'll work at getting in the line of fire as quickly as we can. I'd rather take a bullet and sue than have my dog be dead with no recourse. I don't trust cops to act sanely or rationally. Here in Los Angeles they tend to empty their guns (90 shot average per suspect these days) before actually thinking. Not. Well. Trained. If only they were as well trained as my dog.

My heart goes out to the grieving owners. I know better than to expect anything to happen to the officers.

nadjatam said...

Sounds like police departments may need even more education than the general public. Maybe that should be the next mission? So sad.

Carolyn said...

That is so unreasonable. Killing a family dog inside his own home is insane. My deepest sympathy to the grieving owners.

Homeowner Insurance

Dianne said...

Here's another heart-rending account:
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_17850637?source=rss&nclick_check=1

There's a yahoo group copsshootingdogs
that was organizing to address this issue. We've had a number of incidents in and around DC and got some momentum going but seems to be fizzling out at this point.

megs said...

12lbs? That's the average size of a Toy Poodle. And we're expected to believe there is not bias against bully breeds when this sort of things happen?

Not for nothing, at 12lbs, the officer could have kicked the dog across the yard had he felt truly threatened.

This is absurd. I feel terrible for that family, and can't imagine the pain that poor dog suffered for no reason.

Crystal said...

Speechless...

Mel said...

I am so mad I am sweating! This is unreal!!!

ForPetsSake said...

Scary stuff. My neighbor a few yrs ago got into a fight with her girlfriend and when the police came to handle the situation, her dogs were in a pretty scary predicament. My neighbor was taken into custody for a few days and luckily she had thought to put the dogs in the back bedroom before the cops came to the apt. They barked and barked, most likely terrified of the entire situation.
M and I asked ourselves what was going to happen to the dogs? After things cooled down a bit, M ran downstairs to talk to the cops and offered to petsit for the dogs in our neighbor's. She agreed and there was no interaction between cops and dogs. He learned that they would've been taken to the shelter otherwise. Would the outcome have been the same if she hadn't put the dogs in a safe place? I don't want to imagine.

Happy ending - she was home a couple of days later and her pups were in great shape.

Rebecca said...

I am a police officer and a pet parent to four pits. This saddens me greatly.

Jennifer Wills said...

I live just down the way from where this happened and am now terrified that the Sheriff could come to my door for a routine reason and my sweet (but barky) 65lb pit could be shot. New family rule: dog goes in the bedroom if a law enforcement comes to the door.