Law Enforcement

Coppers Cap Canine Momma

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.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I don’t want to sound like an internet tough guy, but if I were the owner in this situation, this situation would have gotten a lot, lot uglier for everyone involved.

    Dogs are family for many people, and these officers are playing with fire with their reckless decision making.

    Just saying, BPD…

  2. Cops are cowards, that’s all there is too it.

  3. How about using a less than lethal alternative? pepper spray?

  4. Two fairly obvious questions were not answered:

    – What was the breed and size of the dog?

    – Were either or both officers carrying OC or any other lachrymatory agent?

    EDITOR NOTE–According to other media reports the dog was a lab/pit bull mix. Many if not most of these events do indeed involve
    pit bulls. Don’t know about the spray–which letter carriers have available. For non-library types, “lachrymatory agent” would be
    something which causes tears.

  5. Dogs are family? Uh, family is family. And what about the families all over the world which have had a family member killed or maimed by pit bull?

    So, a child gets abused by a person and all kinds of judicial and internet heck breaks out. But people just turn the other cheek when a pit bull rips the flesh from a child. This is probably the greatest facepalming issue of our time. The cognitive dissonance is strong in the pit bull breeding/owning world.

    Go do a google image search of pit bull attacks. Get back to me when you’re done.

  6. Folks, as I have said before I am the first to bash a cop especially in instances such as this where it is much deserved. Unfortunately when the bashing begins they (LE) can just laugh it off as the ranting’s of the fringe let’s not let them get away with that this time. Dave sarcastically made a very good point. Why is it that letter carriers and mormon missionaries have been going about their jobs without killing anyone’s pet? I am far from an expert in this particular field but one thing I do know that part of the problem is attitude. When I lived downtown in Boise our mailman (can I still say mailman) had taken the time to make friends with nearly every dog on his route. I understand that LE does not have the time to do this but, as with people a little charm will go a long way. The average mailman walks his beat with no gun, no tazer, no ASP, no bullet proof vest, just a bunch of letters maybe a can of pepper spray and a totally different attitude. When you compare the two it seems the average letter carrier is much braver than the average cop.

    I know from experience that LE is taught to take control of any situation they encounter, unfortunately this does not work with dogs and it is increasingly not working with people. People are getting fed up with being bullied by LE, especially when the citizen knows enough about their rights to throw the B. S. flag when LE oversteps their bounds. The best thing we can do for ourselves is too become educated on our rights, and to instigate for better supervision for the rank and file cop. And do not bash it will only get your comments banned and threads like this cutoff. Let them do their thing the way they do, it will make our point much better than we can.

  7. My Two Cents
    Oct 22, 2013, 2:44 pm

    First of all, I am an avid dog lover and own multiple dogs and always have. I like them far better than I like most people. That said, however, from what I read, the owner deliberately let the dog out unleashed, unfenced, to do its business. That is just not responsible pet ownership, though I am extremely sympathetic for their loss and it really breaks my heart that what sounds like a very sweet girl has died.

    I do agree that the Boise Police need to figure out how to handle conflict with pets a tad more effectively than blowing them away on sight. Frankly, Boise PD has had some similar issues in the past dealing with some conflicts with human beings, too. There surely are ways to address difficult situations that don’t always have to include deadly force…

    While I agree with TJ that if this were my dog, I would have utterly flipped at such a situation, the truth also is that if it were my dog, I would not have deliberately let my dog out unattended. Because YOU know your dog is gentle does not mean you have the right to let it roam free anywhere other than your own private property. Many years ago when my son was little, I recall being quite upset a few times at rather large dogs coming toward us unattended at the park and also just on local streets. Although I am truly a dog person, the fact was I had a little defenseless kid to take care of, and there was an unknown dog coming at us. The times I said something to the owners, they usually gave me the “he’s very friendly” comment, which is similar to what I read about this story. That is really not good enough. What if you don’t like dogs? What if you are afraid of dogs? What if you cannot read dogs well and misinterpret the friendly heading over to lick you as an aggressive move? Honestly, people should not have to bear the onus of that confrontation because the owner is not controlling the animal. I think we, as pet owners, have a responsibility to properly control our pets.

  8. Our coppers are off the leash.

    The increased pet killing is a simple extension of the general disrespect for the population that coppers and copper departments harbor. It is us vs. them and all of their policies basically say so.

    The SWAT teams kill pets intentionally as a planned in advance type of psy-ops… often when the dog is no threat at all.

    And you are correct, it plays out daily all across the nation.

    EDITOR NOTE–In the interest of free speech we will allow the comment, but we certainly have never heard of “pet killing psy ops” acts by coppers here or anywhere else in USA.

  9. BOYZEEEcynic (I am fairly certain that is how you and your cronies pronounce Idaho’s capital city)
    One more time, you are way out in left field with your odiferous opinions, we don’t just disagree one more time, we strongly disagree.
    I didn’t see anything in this instance about children, citizens, or even one of Boise’s finest enforcers, resplendent in his bullet resistant vest, baton, capsaicin spray, more than likely wearing black “sap” “stud” gloves and probably a carrying Taser actually being attacked. Bullies with phobias, K-9 or otherwise, should probably take up, either voluntarily or involuntarily, a new career in retail sales at a McDonald’s fry station.
    A poor decision by the owner to let the family dog outside to do her business that MAY have been at most a misdemeanor resulted in a hastily made pee-poor decision by a, used to be at least, “Public Servant” to execute the pet on the spot.

    If all you have is a hammer (or pistol) or else using a hammer (or pistol) is all you are really trained in is using a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    I will not say anymore about it but yes, some dogs really are family members. You would fare just about as well shooting at me, my wife, mother, son or daughter.

  10. I’m all for killing the dog if it show aggression. Had my experience as a kid with aggressive dogs and see no place for them.

  11. I was glad to see the comment from MyTwoCents bringing up the fact that the dog was not under owner control (the law requiring that to be a fence or a leash). I’m a dog owner, and in fact have a pit bull and two bird dogs. I would be devastated if something happened to any of them.

    The thing is, having an unsecured dog is very, very dangerous to that dog. This dog could have easily been hit by a car, been stolen by someone for a bait dog, been attacked by another loose dog, or what actually did happen. This does not suggest that the officer’s action was at a reasonable level, but it does mean that if your dog is loose, it could be killed. Maybe the reason she’d just had a litter was that the owner made a habit of letting her off-leash and she had an accidental litter.

    There are just too many negative possibilities for a dog to be off leash or out of a fence in Boise proper.

  12. Yes the dog should have been under control… but you’re loosing sight of the fact that it was shot. If a person goes for a walk through their neighborhood and encounters a dog running up to them barking and snarling are they justified in bustin a cap? If that happened the person would be at the very least cited for discharging a gun in the city and probably much more. There is NO way the actions of this cop can be seen as justifiable…

  13. Rick, yes a person would be justified in shooting an attacking dog and that has happened twice in the last year. Or maybe you just don’t pay attention.

    Guardian, your analogy to mail carriers, there is something wrong with that. One, you leave out the fact that mail carriers can and do stop delivering mail if there’s a vicious dog that can’t be bribed with treats. In fact, didn’t this happen right here in boise a few years ago? Should cops simply ignore calls if there’s a dog snarling at them?

    Bitten five times? That is sad, just pathetic. So what would happen if the mail carrier shot a dog? They would be fired? And since jobs are scarce, no mail carrier is going to risk their job… I can’t believe that mail carriers have to take a bite over their job. Their Union must not be as good as the police and fire unions.

    EDITOR NOTE–You already made the point about suspending service. The point of mail carriers is they visit EVERY HOUSE in the USA six times a week!

  14. Cynic

    I just have a hard time believing that LE is correct in every situation…Dave was right… you shoot a cop dog and you will have several cops shooting at you almost immediately… Cop was more than likely wrong…plain and simple… end of story

  15. No no no. Please point out one case, ever, where a cop shot a person who injured a police dog. And if there is a person does shoot at a police dog, then that would be an extremely foolhardy thing to do. And furthermore this is apples to oranges. Unlike delivering mail, presumably, when a police dog is involved, the human subject is wanted for something and the cops have a duty to arrest that person. It is their job whether we like it or not.

    People went crazy with lynch mob comments over the recent hit and run accidents. So which is it? Do people want cops to do their job or not?

    To use your own logic. What if it was you and not a cop. You’re having some altercation with a person and they pull out a gun and shoot your dog. You also have a gun. What are you going to do? You will probably pull your gun, and then, you are committed to use it.

    And, you’re putting words in my mouth. I never said anything about cops always being right. What I am pointing out is that pit bull type dogs are causing problems and have been for a long time. Does no one else see the false dilemmas? People demand law and order from police, and rightly so, but anarchy is ok when it comes to keeping dogs on a leash.

    Come on people. Just 3 weeks ago in Baker City a five year boy was killed by a pit bull. Just 2 or 3 years ago a 6 year old girl was mauled in Caldwell and then a 70 year old man in Fruitland. Am I the only one that can remember things for more than a day?

    What if it was a mountain lion attacking your dog? Watcha gonna do? You’re gonna call BPD. But when dogs attack kids, no one gives a damn.

  16. Dave Kangas
    Oct 23, 2013, 5:19 pm

    Occasionally dogs are loose it happens to probably every dog owner. Sometimes we let them out for air, sometimes they just get out. What I don’t understand is why these dogs are not threats to the unarmed neighborhood residents, but are life threatening “cujos” to armed police officers. After all, in none of these incidents are they responding to dog atacks, are they?
    Maybe it their behavior that is triggering aggressive, protective behavior in the dogs, just maybe.

    Also, I have to question the policy of shooting them. Afterall back country guides and outfitters strongly prefer pepper spray vs the .45 against a charging grizzly. But in our neighborhoods it deemed safer to fire a weapon in heavily populated neighborhoods?

    In this case, the dog was proably let loose each evening to get away from the pups. No reported problems or complaints that we are aware of and it appears that it is an apartment complex or townhome community.

    I think the policy of shooting vs pepper spray needs to be reviewed.

  17. One statement from the media or reports indicated the dog was shot in the back of the head. Humm!
    Meridian had an off duty officer shoot a dog in his neighborhood. Bing you are done. If you are off duty in civilian close in your neighborhood why do you need to carry your weapon?

  18. Cops just testing citizen resolve. Shooting a dog by cops always creates fear. It’s what they want. Look how they paint the cars to look fearsome. Everything about them is fearsome looking. Calling a (Boise) cop for help is a last resort for me. Nothing ever happens to them in dog shootings, so they do it.

  19. Cynic… the problem with your arguments is that the dog was not attacking anyone…..I would really like you to explain how he shot the dog in the back of the head while it was charging at him…. Even Oswalds bullet wasn’t that good….

  20. Interested Citizen
    Oct 24, 2013, 9:10 am

    Is pepper spray effective against an aggressive cop??

  21. Despite the outrage by the public, nothing will happen from this. No protests, no police training, no discipline to the cop(s).
    I put (s) because if this dog was being so fierce and threatening Cop A what was Cop B doing? If in fact this was so urgent then I would expect my battle buddy to also be shooting at the dog at the same time I have to shoot. You can bet if it was methhead coming at Cop A with a weapon there would have been TWO empty mags.
    I would love to see a protest downtown this weekend in the face of PBD with signs of “Don’t shoot my dog”.

  22. Interested Citizen
    Oct 24, 2013, 11:18 am

    This is a leadership issue, beginning in Bieter’s office, and going from there downward. So, nothing substantive will be done, yet again.

  23. 90% of off duty cops carry… Ive been in the Buffalo club and witnessed a very drunk off duty cop… even heard the bouncer ask him if he was “packin” Don’t know which dept he worked for and didn’t stick around to find out….
    Do I hate cops… no… they are a necessary evil… I equate them to 4 wheel drive… If you get in a situation where you need either you made a prior bad decision.

    I find it unfathomable that any logical and reasonable person can argue that LE does not need better supervision. There is a surfeit of these incidents, they are not isolated at all. Look at the ombudsman’s site and you will see several, the unfortunate thing is the number of actual egregious actions will pale in comparison to the actual number.

    Ya pepper is effective…. but get ready for a felony….

  24. Roll to tapes!

    Time to put a body cam on the coppers which they cannot control nor edit. The dog attack on the Nampa coppers last year was on a body cam and saved the coppers a lot of grief due to it being reasonable to shoot the dogs. However, even in that case, did the coppers need to enter the private property? No. Too much conflict between police and the public (and their animals) could be resolved by the police using less in your face contact methods… such as the telephone, remaining in the car, and staying off of private property without prior contact. Unless they are actively perusing a violent and actively dangerous felon they need to use other contact methods and confirm it is safe for all involved for the coppers to step upon private property. Cops often close the distance and then “feel in danger” as a result. Case in point, the Boise Sargent who became a movie star placed herself in more danger without backup so she could get in his face. Had he been a real bad guy this was not smart… Also the recent execution of the mentally ill man in Dallas (video tape on-line).

  25. Foothills Rider
    Oct 24, 2013, 4:42 pm

    I feel compelled to copy what has been rewritten for articles (Statesman, local news, Seattle CBS)as stated by the dog owner: “Stropkai said the bullet went through the back of Kita’s head and out her stomach.” Think about that… I can only visualize a dog facing me, head down (a known defensive posture, dog person that I am)….a bullet shot forward and down towards the supposed threat would enter back of head and exit stomach. I can’t see this as proof the dog was either innocent or was retreating. A retreating animal would not have a stomach exit wound. We otherwise weren’t there, and can’t pretend to know what happened on either side.

  26. Interested Citizen
    Oct 25, 2013, 8:57 am


    Did you mean to say that there is a “plethora of these incidents” ?

  27. nope….. surfeit is what I meant to say….

  28. Lots of good information on this credible website. There is a misconduct problem if pro-police conservative watchdog groups are taking notice.

  29. two wrongs don’t make a right. So a dog attacks or kills…. ACCORDING TO YOU CYNIC we then have the right to shoot all dogs. Following that logic is the same as gang on gang or religion against religion or ethnic group against ethnic group. Simple hate with no logic.
    Cops should be the last to pull a trigger. “protect and serve” ? How did “shoot” get so high on the list of options ?

  30. Interested Citizen
    Oct 26, 2013, 8:55 am

    They need more target practice, and dogs don’t shoot back at the spineless cowards.

  31. Well said John

  32. I left this website over a year ago, (due to a lack of logic in the postings of most of the readers). I periodically return to check in and see if anything has changed. And here it is. Good for everyone here to call out the cops for their terroristic behavior, and shame on those who blindly follow without question. Due to this increase of rational thought on this forum, I just may return more often.

  33. Interested Citizen
    Oct 27, 2013, 6:53 pm

    If they did that to one of my furry friends they better have lots of backup for their cowardly bullying.

    EDITOR NOTE–With that we are done. No more comments.

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