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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4 thoughts on “When Cops Shoot Dogs

  1. Bryant

    This is a growing issue which is now pitting the police against the general public. The truly discouraging part is instead of the police departments owning up to these rogue officers, they are instead covering for them. Their unions are doing the same even with overwhelming evidence agains these officers.

    There is absolutely no excuse with all the alternatives available, like simple pepper spray or catch poles, that these officers should be using lethal force as a first line of defense.

    To make matters even worse, many of these officers are trespassing on private citizens’ property when these incidents take place.

    Fortunately, the general public now have tools, such as cell phone video, to hold these officers accountable for their actions. The bottom line is our officers have take an oath to protect and serve us. We are now holding them responsible to that oath.

    To you officers, if you are afraid of the dogs that at least 40% of us own, it’s time to find a new line of work.

      1. Daniel Bishop

        Wow you kinda took it to the extreme end of the spectrum there…I’m pretty sure he wasn’t defending a child mauling, red-eyed rabid chupacabra. Unfortunately, not all cops are trustworthy outstanding citizens like you would think. A lot of them are just in it for the power. By all means if a sasqwatch is mauling and old nursing home lady, kill it!…but a family dog that gets shot because it bares it’s teeth threateningly at an officer, because the officer is trespassing or to lazy to use LTL weapons, is just wrong. The officer should face criminal charges for it.

  2. J. Sheckelty

    I don’t think what Clifford wrote is extreme at all. A year or so ago I had to shoot a large pit bull that was killing our dog and about to attack my wife. We were out walking our dog, and the PB came from the owners yard and attacked us in the street!

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