When Cops Shoot Dogs
Scope Of The Problem
Police defense attorney Laura Scarry noted this year in an excellent presentation at the annual conference of ILEETA, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, negative publicity and lawsuits over police shootings of aggressive dogs are on the rise. I sat in that large class and noticed how many cops in attendance nodded affirmatively as she spoke. “Backlash” against police use of deadly force on canines is definitely increasing. There’s at least one website devoted to us evil JBTs (“jack-booted thugs”) who supposedly murder beloved family pets.
In the year 2010, there were 30 incidents in which New York City Police Officers used their guns to defend against animal attacks, in comparison to 33 incidents in which they had to defensively fire at human beings. The figure comes from that year’s SOP-9 report, Standard Operating Procedure Number Nine being the intensive analysis of every discharge of an officer’s weapon outside of the training range; a study that has been in effect for more than four decades. Twenty-nine of those 30 cases involved dogs, and the remaining incident involved a raccoon.
In several of those incidents, someone was bitten before the shots were fired. Sometimes an innocent citizen, sometimes a cop. When cops shoot dogs there is generally a very good reason.
By Massad Ayoob
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