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Dog Owners Can Prevent Violent Encounters Between Police and Their Pets

Many police shootings of dogs involve animals that have not been trained and not been secured properly by their owners.

November 04, 2014  |  by - Also by this author

This dog is behind a fence, which is good. Now to keep it safe, the owner should call it into the house until the officer has left. (Photo: National Canine Research Council)
This dog is behind a fence, which is good. Now to keep it safe, the owner should call it into the house until the officer has left. (Photo: National Canine Research Council)

There are usually two people involved in lethal encounters between law enforcement officers and pet dogs: the pet owner and the officer.

While the mainstream media and many angry dog owners believe the sole responsibility for these tragedies should fall on the officer who pulled the trigger. Often times, the pet owners made mistakes or were even irresponsible in controlling and training their animals.

Noted author and dog trainer Brian Kilcommons argues that some pet owners are just not taking good care of their dogs.

“This situation is two-fold,” Kilcommons says. “We need to set a better standard of behavior for people controlling their dogs. If someone shows up at your house and the dog is barking at them, you should be able to call your dog to you. You have to work your dogs and not just rationalize its behavior.

“Also, towns and cities need to be more aggressive with their licensing and their leash laws. Certain cities and towns are not enforcing their laws and they and their officers are being dragged into lawsuits because of it.”

In addition to training their dogs, another thing dog owners can do is speak with the officer before letting the officer into the house. If the officer is responding to a non-exigent call and is not serving a warrant. You can ask the officer, “Would you mind if I put my dog in another room, on a leash, in its crate?” If the officer assents to this request. Secure your dog as quickly as possible, then come back and speak with the officer.

Another key is to keep your dog in your house. If law enforcement officers are working a wreck or performing another task outside your home, don’t open your door and go outside. Your dog may bolt out the door and charge toward the officer or officers and then bad things can happen. If you must watch the action, watch it from a window.

Many shootings of dogs by police occur when the dog is roaming the neighborhood. Make sure your dog is secure. Even if you have a fenced yard, check on your dog and do it often. Dogs are ingenious escape artists and much faster than you. They can dig under fences, slip leashes, and bolt through open gates and open doors.


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

joan @ 11/17/2014 6:34 AM

ups and fed ex drivers are another example of how private industry does a much better job of handling the public and their furry family than government workers who are really hard to fire and dont suffer the consequences like private industry workers.

Scott Lacy @ 11/17/2014 3:48 PM

Joan, that's because UPS drivers aren't armed to the teeth and therefore must think their way through encounters with dogs. I myself have been charged by dogs several times, and while it can be unnerving, dogs always stop once it's clear I'm respecting their space.

Not so with a great many officers who treat their guns as if they were hammers, screwdrivers and bottle openers: i.e., the tool for every situation.

Discharging a gun should be the last resort. Too often it's the first one. And there is tons of video out there that proves it.

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