Its a story played out almost daily across the USA. Cop feels threatened by dog. Cop kills dog. Community outraged.
Its like a cable TV RERUN.
Here is the official version of the latest tragedy in Boise from the BPD website:
“Loose dog creates unfortunate situation”
“Officers never want to harm an animal. The dog came upon the officers quickly and they felt it was about to bite them. This is a very dog friendly community. Many officers have dogs. We work with dogs. Dogs running loose are a safety risk, for people and for the dogs. This was a very unfortunate situation for everyone involved,” Said Deputy Chief Pete Ritter.
What happened: Boise Police patrol officers were investigating a theft reported in the area of North 28th Street and Woodlawn Avenue Sunday afternoon, October 20th, at approximately 2:00 p.m. Two officers were standing in a parking lot when the dog began running toward them in what the officers felt was an aggressive, potentially dangerous manner from about 10 feet. The Officers felt forced to protect themselves. Independent witnesses to the incident described the dog as barking and snarling as it approached the officers. One officer made an instant decision to fire a single shot at the dog when it reached less than three feet from the officers. The dog, a mixed breed, was hit and died at the scene. The owner of the dog was found nearby and confirmed to officers the dog had been running loose.
Pretty clean, straight forward, and matter-of-fact. Not so fast says the family left with a two week litter of motherless puppies and those commenting on social media and news sites.
We go back to the same logic as past incidents. Package delivery people, letter carriers, politicos campaigning door-to-door, and Mormon missionaries seem able to make these visits without being forced to kill the family pet. In order to justify shooting, officers have to declare they are AFRAID–”in fear of death or great bodily harm.”
On top of all the other training we subject these coppers to, perhaps some charm school lessons from CESAR MILLAN, the TV dog whisperer, or the Postal Service would help. Seriously.
The GUARDIAN contacted a postal worker with a history as a letter carrier who has been bitten five times. He didn’t die, didn’t kill any dogs. He also said the ongoing training by the postal service undoubtedly prevents most encounters with dogs. Carriers have pepper spray, are trained to place the mailbag between themselves and the dog, assume a commanding, but non-threatening position, etc.
Postal service reported 7,000 bites last year. A pretty small number considering they visit every house in the USA six days a week.
Interesting how the perspective about canines changes. If a “suspect” shoots a police dog or resists–by reason of self defense– a snarling nasty bite, he can be charged with multiple offenses including a felony. It all depends on who owns the dog.
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