City Government

Coppers Cap Canine, Same Old Story

It’s like watching cable TV–same story over and over. Such was the case with a local event reported Tuesday by KTVB.

Police approach a house, dog appears (usually a pit bull) “the officer says the dog ran at him growling, with his teeth bared, and the officer actually feared because of the actions and the attitude of the dog that he was about to get bit.”

Neighbors say the dog is friendly, cops justify the shooting. No reason to doubt any of the players. From what we can gather, the dog was owned by a party not involved in the original incident. No doubt the matter of a license and allowing the dog to roam will be part of the various reports that will follow.

But the GUARDIAN asks once again, how come mail carriers, meter readers, and delivery drivers never have to use deadly force to kill dogs? Surely these people come into contact with dogs more often than coppers.

By his own account, the copper was scared and that’s why he shot the dog three times. Turns out this is a long standing trend nationwide. A reader sent us a link to a site called PUPPYCIDE which details the national trend in police killing dogs out of fear.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. The dog was black and the cop was scared. This is Idaho.

    The other option would have been shoot the dog , arrest and strip search owner, throw him in jail.

    End of story.

  2. I commented on a friend’s post about this. It boils down to protecting its pack. The police come, person becomes fearful, and dog gets protective. Lets face it… people don’t get fearful when the mail carrier or meter reader comes around.

    I worked for a year in a groom shop. Most dogs that have reputations, have them for a reason. A dog left in the care of a groomer is not the same as one with its owner around. Even “peaceful” dogs that “love everyone” can sense when the owner is scared, and intervene. Don’t be surprised when a cop comes to your door, and a person gets “fearful” if a dog’s reaction is to be protective to its pack. The REAL unfortunate thing, is that it wasn’t even the owner that caused this. It was a 3rd party.

  3. You can’t gauge another persons fear.

    Mail carriers, delivery drivers, etc often won’t deliver to your house if an aggressive dog is loose. Police don’t always have the option of coming back another time. Plus, how many of them have been bitten at one time or another? You don’t have to allow yourself to be bitten.

  4. All of these dog shootings started to occur while Bush was president. It’s not Obama’s fault, Obama wanted things to change.

  5. According to the witness “They were going up to the door, then I saw the dog come out, wasn’t even going straight towards them, he was just running out because he was free,” doesn’t sound like the cop was in dire jeopardy. The reasonable and prudent thing for the cop to do would have been back off, they were looking for a guy with an FTA warrant according to KTVB. There is no possible way IMHO that the cops can spin this to a justifiable shooting, when they are looking for someone on a misdemeanor warrant. Cops are way too quick to go to guns in this country anymore.

    Rifter, sounds like you are profiling….

  6. Wouldn’t it be just as effective to taser the animals instead of shooting them? That method seems more humane and is survivable. Dog bites are also survivable. Pets can be very protective if they sense danger to their masters, but are otherwise docile and loyal. If this seems naive and simplistic, so be it. I love animals.


  7. I know nothing about this case thus far. The following based on past observations and findings of similar circumstances.

    It happens a lot because they can, because we let them.

    I think this is necessary to happen sometimes, but rarely.

    More often Cowards, Callousness, and lack of respect for the rights and property of the general public most of the time. Embolden by the fact/knowledge that his pals and the management will fix the whole mess for him. And sometimes, it happens with premeditation as a way of terrorizing and intimidating the suspect. After all, the dog did commit contempt of cop.

    Questions: Where they at the right house? Was the copper feeding the dog treats the week before, like the guy who shot the very old and friendly family pet a while back?

    Pets are family for some people, and only family for many.

  8. dangit, the dog was just “standing it’s ground”. The officer should have backed off and called for animal control, those gals are good. They would have lassoed the dog with a pole loop in the blink of an eye. Maybe BPD officers need to take some lessons from them or get some shin guards. Three shots fired in serving a failure to appear warrant and all they got was the dog.

  9. You people crack me up. Have you ever had a pit bull come after you? I have, when a few guys I know at the park, have one. They are bread for one purpose, yes to fight, I know that hurts you all, but they may be good famly dogs, but they have also bite many people and can be very terrytoral. When a cop meets up with a visous dog, its a split second decision, just like some of your responceses seem to be, always against what they do.

  10. I could get long winded here but won’t. Worked with dogs all my life, yes with dogs in lsw enforcement etc. This stigma about pitbulls is sad, they are born with one of the most gentle dispositions, and no dog is born to fight, they are made that way by irresponsible owners.
    Has anyone else read or seen the studies on what is now called tazer mentality. Cops feel why get near any suspect, just tazer, don’t deal with a suspect with a knife, just shoot him.
    Keep an eye on these incidents, it is certain departments that tend to have more of these incidents, over others.
    Why did it take a properly trained officer 3 shots to knock a dog down, one shot didn’t even hit the dog.
    Lastly people keep talk about cops covering for each other ever heard of “The Thick Blue Wall”.

  11. problem is nez the dog wasnt going after the cop… read what the witness said….I understand you know most of these cops personally but remember they are still cops, you cant trust them.

  12. I spent one summer while in college working for animal control checking dog license and rabies vaccinations. I ran into aggressive dogs every day some would back down others got a face full of pepper spray. Cops all have pepper spray and there was no need to shoot the dog. I never encountered a single aggressive dog willing to come at me after a face full of pepper spray. A clipboard between the choppers worked nearly as good as the pepper spray but you had to be mindful of where your fingers were while shoving the clipboard between their teeth.

    We checked thousands of dogs and I handed back a nearly full container of Halt at the end of the summer. I got bit once by a small rat terrier on the back of my left ankle. The trigger happy cop needs to be kicked to the curb.

  13. Zippo, I know that I rite bad, but I dont understanda thing you are saying.

  14. Cops like to shoot things, that’s the only story here. Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day, give a man a gun and he’ll come up with an excuse to use it. Welcome to the Fourth Reich, where every man and his dog is subject to excessive punishment.

  15. Dogs are not humans. Period.

    I witenessed 2 pit bulls charge a 9 year old child who was ahead of me on a bicycle. If I had had a gun I would have shot both those dogs dead. You never s

    Pepper spray? Give me a break. I am not waiting around to see if it’s going to work or not.

  16. You have never seen anything like a 9 year old frozen with 2 large dogs charging. You have never heard a scream in any movie like that which came out of that 9 year old’s mouth.

    I got off my bike picked it up over my head and slammed it into the head of one of the dogs. Fortunately for the dogs and the dog’s owner they ran off after that. Bear in mind that I was in shorts and flip flops and had little ability to flee and lots of exposed flesh.

    The commotion brought out several neighbors and they all supported me and offered up commentary that this wasn’t the first time the dogs had gone after someone.

    Sorry pit bull lovers, but they are unpredictable and do terrible damage when they strike.

  17. amen Paul, sooner or later a person will not cower to this guy and the same thing will happen… then we will be talking about how the gun happy BPD killed someone and Mrs. Hightower will be standing up telling us all it was justifyed.. Look into the UCR, a citizen is nealy 11 times more likley to be MURDERED by a cop than even a gang member (2009 UCR)

  18. Far as I can see. One more Pit Bull gone. YAAAAAAA!

  19. I have a pet black mamba, and he would never hurt anyone. He loves being out in the front yard when the kiddies are coming home from school. I sure hope the coppers don’t shoot him.

  20. @Sal Nez: BS! Stop blowing smoke officer. The disrespect you feel after actions like this is well earned. You are part of the PR department sent to hush and cover? Have a dog biscuit on me.

    B Cynic, pepper spray does work better for bear attack than the gun. does not have the reach of a gun, but better for poor aim up close too.

    Just a sidebar observation. As the cops have become more well armed their danger level has gone up too. Chicken vs Egg?

  21. @B Cynic, I have shot dogs. Was on our farm during deer season many years ago. We’d had a lot of livestock loss from large dogs but there was no wolf around then. A pack of nasty domestic dogs chased me up a tree. So if it is appropriate at times, no problem. But ask yourself: Would you have had the time to clear the area behind your target. Might you have injured someone 100 yards down the block? Ask the copper who shot the tiger. Had to do it, but what a mess.

    As for the cops knocking on doors: Who are the intruders and aggressors in the situation? The departments are doing a crappy job of dealing with this issue. Their image is damaged as a result. A little bit of advance work will reduce this issue. Perhaps send them to UPS/FedEx for training.

  22. Must say I agree with everyone:

    Many cops are trigger happy and aggressive, but they are or become that way because they deal with the dregs of society, so I don’t have too. That is why cops have a higher than average suicide rate (22 per 100K versus society at large of 12 per 100K) and more domestic violence at home (40% of police officer homes have domestic violence, compared to 10% for society on average, national center for women is the source, other sources puport less), although one might say it is not all always reported through the blue wall.

    I can somewhat attest to the blue wall. While working for a police chief in another state (not as an officer) our chief had a reputation of “not playing ball” which meant when other officers from other jurisdictions got into trouble in our city, instead of refering the offending officer back to their department for internal discipline, he applied the law of the land. Other jursidictions were negative toward us for not recirpcating the flexibility for officers to bend the law and get a slap on the hand instead of citation and charges. That cheif led by example, when he would get a call in the night that one of our officers got into trouble in another jurisdiction, they would ask what we wanted them to do about it, our cheif responded to the other officers to do their duty. If a warning, issue a warning, if a citation issue a citation, if an arrest, make the arrest. He neither gave nor recieved special treatment, and it appeared that was unusual.

    I appreciatte the jobs our police do, they have a tough job, but to be honest many of them love that tough job, and there is a culture issue amongst the blue. They work together, play together, and do not really mesh into the general public very well. That is why we are called civilians, to seperate us from them. Why can’t we all be civilians, even the police?

    I did not shed a tear that there is one less pit bull in town. Waste of a breed, don’t realy care someone has a realy nice pit bull, many a “nice” dog attack, should be dinner for someone in Korea.

  23. it boils down to this….the witness who saw the event said the cop was in no danger….end of story…cop made a bad decesion… now he should have to pay for that…oh wait…cops are not held to the same standard as citizens..I keep forgetting that part…

  24. Again, I have yet to see the dog that won’t do an about face when they get a snoot full of pepper spray and every Cop carries it. A pack of dogs is another story. I knew a sheep rancher who get fed up with dog packs taking down his sheep for sport at night and he cured the problem with some hot lead. He ended up goig to jail over it.

    Dogs allowed to run free will pack up and kill livestock just for the sport of it.

  25. JJ, if 40% of cops working have as you say domestic violence problems then how are they still on the force? ooppss there’s that pesky same standard thing again. Citizen gets a domestic…no gun… cop gets a domestic…. Still has his gun, still has his badge and now he’s madder than ever….. I will agree on the pit bull thing, but it could have easily have been my arthritic old mastiff (since it sounds like the cop was at the wrong house) and woe is to the person who shoots him. We won’t be having this particular discussion when that is over.

  26. Paul, the sheep rancher was in California? Ranchers can shoot a dog harassing livestock in any non-commie state so long as not to endanger etc.

    Question? How do so many cops get all pumped up looking by riding in the crown vic all shift? The answer might have something to do with the increase in domestic violence and suicides.

    Yes they have a dirty job etc. But so does the guy who cleans my barns. The courts need to reel these guys in some so they don’t think of so many people as pooh on their boot. Idaho is improved to be sure. I’d like to see further improvement though. The pay and bennies are finally good enough, now how about a real education to ingrain a better understanding and connection to the community….. and how stupid it looks to kill someones pet because of poor planning. Criminal justic degree is too easy and too narow

  27. when did livestock come into this discussion?

  28. Well folks, I think the lesson leaned here is, there are many views on this. None of us were there, so none of us know how the dog acted, nor do we know how the officer perceived it. So there was a few witnesses that said the dog wasn’t mean. I’m sure there are a few neighbors that would say otherwise. Anyway, its over and done with, lets get onto something that impacts all of us. How about the Broncos upcoming season?

  29. boiestaxpayer
    Apr 12, 2012, 10:24 pm

    They advocate using bear spray for a charging grizzly bear. Wouldn’t pepper spray or other nonlethal methods be more appropriate for a charging dog? Or how about a little common sense by the police..

  30. big pac I doubt if you would be in the mood to forgive and forget if it was your dog. Have a good day officer

  31. Often aggressive dogs are used as a distraction when officers approach a house, as the officer now has to decide what to do the occupants of the house are given the opportunity to run, destroy evidence or target that officer for deadly force. The officer has enough to deal with other than deciding what spray can pepper / bear spray is appropriate ( god forbid you spray a human with bear spray! Police brutality would be news of the day).

    As for a witnesses perception of danger, that does not matter it’s the perception of the person in danger to decide.

  32. @Rock, whats funny is, they haven’t even had a quote from the owner saying anything. Its all supposed witnesses, why don’t the press talk to the owner.

  33. @Sig – Great point about perception. Each individual in a situation has a uniquely different perception and they’re all realities of the situation.

    As sad as it is to lose the dog we can sit and play Monday morning quarterback all day long. Bottom line in this case I’m going to side with the officer 9 times out of 10. It’s obviously different when people are involved and deserves/requires more investigation. But what cop honestly wants to shoot a dog? I’m not sure that was something the officer intended on doing when he woke up that morning.

  34. I have no idea, but hopefully it coz their lawyer told them not to comment prior to the law suit

  35. I see the police are starting to post their standard union rep BS. But remember this was not a high risk target. Probably could have done the job with a phone call or just pull the guy over on the way to/from work. But they need to be thugs and upend the household just to intimidate, harass and hope for a bigger charge. It puts all kinds of people and property at risk. I’ve not heard any of them talk about all the bystander risk. Judges need to specify how to serve this minor warrants for the public safety, since the police are not concerned.

  36. Zippo
    I don’t think cops can be referred to as thugs, you are correct that they do attempt to intimidate and instigate confrontations to up the ante so to speak. The fact that this incident turned to gun play cannot be defended. The simple fact that this cop had time to fire 3 rounds at the dog means that the individual had time to retreat. I understand that the training cops receive tells them that they will not retreat and give their adversary any option to gain the upper hand.

  37. Note to Zippo.. The sheep rancher followed the dog into town and shot the dog within city limits and all hell broke loose with the local cops, and the CHP. The rancher got into a brawl with them all and ended up in jail.

  38. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the obvious. If the dog had been controlled by its owner, it would be alive. If it had been inside or in a fenced yard… wouldn’t have been shot. Come on now, enough of the conspiracy theories. Control your animal

  39. @AJ: The cops are careless about this much of the time. It is high time that carelessness cost them more. I have a right to enjoy my property with my dog loose in the front yard under my control and supervision. The cops are the intruders but don’t see themselves as such. This is costing the community and the individual for what is basically an attitude problem.

    Time to limit cop rights and power. Time to make it a very big deal to fire the gun. The only way the cops are so sure of themselves when killing a friendly pet on private property is because they know they can pencil whip the report and the management will back it. And as the editor eluded to, UPS and FedEx know that a barking dog is often not a biting dog. Pepper spray on the belt, but they don’t use it because they know they can shoot the dog and get away with it. It will bite them eventually.

    Here’s a great example of cop stupidity:

  40. If the cops wernt always looking to busta cap…the dog would be alive

  41. Here, here AJ, only sensible entry I’ve really seen on this topic!!

  42. If the dog was in “it’s” own yard……no need to be on a leash…

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: