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Shooting Prompts Agency to Teach Animal Handling

January 29, 2003  | 

A Tennessee police department is reacting to an officer's shooting of a family dog by training all officers in handling aggressive animals.

The Cookeville (Tenn.) Police Department received thousands of angry complaints following the Jan. 1 shooting during a videotaped traffic stop.

Police and state troopers pulled over and handcuffed James and Pamela Smoak and their 17-year-old son, mistakenly suspecting they had been involved in a robbery. The tape shows an officer shooting the dog, named Patton, after the bulldog-boxer mix jumped from the car and ran toward him.

Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist personally apologized to the North Carolina family, who were on their way home from a vacation in Nashville.

The Humane Society of the United States will conduct training in March, according to Sgt. David Dukes, who oversees training for the department.

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