Wednesday, April 30, 2014

PUPPYCIDE; Beloved Dogs Being Murdered by Police

I wasn’t going to write another post this week, but I’m so distraught I have to say something, I have to do something.   In my   11/12/13 post, Shih Tzu Happens and Pets Get Lost I talked about the importance of obeying leash laws, and that authorities have shot and even killed family dogs in public recreational areas because they felt threatened.  However, the stories that were reported in yesterday’s Good Evening Arizona’s news are something different.  I can understand police reacting if an off leash dog is barreling toward them in an open public area and the officer feels threatened and trapped.    These stories, however, are those of pure ignorance and callousness on the part of police officers.  Tears are streaming down my face as I write this.   As animal shelter and rescue workers we fight SO hard every day to save precious lives.  To see incidences where loving family dogs have been deliberately and callously snuffed out like they mean nothing is too much to bear.

My beautiful girl, Phoebe lounging by the pool
On last night’s Good Evening Arizona’s news broadcast, they reported on a number of "Puppycide" incidences where police have shot and killed beloved family dogs right in their own yards with no valid reason.   Several of the incidences were actually cases of mistaken identity or of police arriving at the WRONG house address!  I sometimes let my dogs play in the yard while I’m watching from the kitchen.  What would I do if police mistakenly arrived, entered our yard or home and murdered my precious baby girls!?  That thought kept me tossing and turning last night.  I realized that I would take a bullet for my dogs.  I rationalize that I would be given emergency care and would likely survive.  My precious dogs, my furbabies, wouldn’t be so lucky.  If someone murdered my dogs, it would be as if they killed me too. 

One story was of police responding to the wrong address, shooting the owners beloved dog in the back, killing him and devastating the family.   I remember a few years ago in Texas, a family and their dog stopped at a gas station.  The father mistakenly left his wallet on the car hood when they left the station and some money flew out.  There had been a robbery in the vicinity and somehow the police targeted this family as possible suspects simply due to the money flying off the roof.  They pursued the family, pulled them out of the car and made them get on the ground.  Their sweet little dog trotted towards the police.  One of the cops shot and killed this family’s beloved dog right in front of them.  I’m sure that family is still completely traumatized.

The Huffington Post also reported a story yesterday about an Officer that killed a friendly dog in Louisiana.  A witness stated that the Officer smirked, and appeared to be holding back a smile after shooting a man’s friendly dog right in front of him for no reason.  You can read that sickening story here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/29/cop-smiles-after-shooting-dog_n_5235504.html.  A followup to the story was reported by KPLCTv this morning, which you can read here at; http://www.kplctv.com/story/25385577/reports-sulphur-police-officer-fatally-shoots-dog.

A friend of mine has a relative in Connecticut who owned a loving family dog, a friendly playful Pit Bull named Diesel who was their 3 year old son’s best friend in the world.  Somehow the dog escaped from their yard.  Diesel’s two sibling dogs were across the street playing with a neighbor’s dog.  He wanted to join them so he bounded over there to play too.  Unfortunately the neighbor’s relative, an off duty cop, was visiting that day.  He must have seen an unleashed Pit Bull and decided to shoot and kill this beautiful loving dog.  Bleeding to death, Diesel was able to drag himself across the street back to his home where he collapsed and died in their foyer, in his owner’s arms.

The web site Police State USA has reported a number of horrific instances where authorities have killed beloved family dogs with no valid reason.  You can view those stories at http://www.policestateusa.com/tag/puppycide/.  There is also a Facebook page that reports on dogs shot by police, https://www.facebook.com/DogsShotbyPolice.  Inside Edition reported yesterday that “It is estimated that every 98 minutes a dog is shot by law enforcement.”  That is a horrifying statistic!  My husband and I drive cross country several times a year.  It terrifies me that we could potentially be pulled over or approached by police for a minor traffic infraction or due to some mistaken identity, and end up mourning the loss of our beautiful loving girls because an Officer shot them in the car for no valid reason.  There are many Police Officers out there who “get it”.  They don’t become trigger happy just because a canine is in the vicinity, but there appear to be many who do, far too many.
 
Clearly, these killings are steeped in ignorance and total disregard for families and their beloved dogs.  These horrific stories are becoming more and more frequent.  Additional training should be mandatory for police to help them better understand how to deal with dogs during the course of their official business.  During the course of police business, the dog isn’t the suspect, the human is.  A dog shouldn’t be wasted like a worthless piece of garbage because his human is suspected of something, or is merely wanted for questioning.  Dogs are not criminals, they are innocent victims.  Shooting and killing a dog should never be an Officer’s automatic first course of action.  Officials need to understand how devastating it is to a family and a community when an Officer shoots and kills a dog that is a beloved family member.  

My baby girl Isis, smiling for the camera
Over the past few decades peoples’ perception of their pets has shifted.  Dogs no longer have to sleep outside and eat only table scraps.  They are considered members of the family.  We feed them like family, we love them like family, we take them along on vacation, we buy them their own toys.  We want them to be happy, healthy, and have the very best.   Officers need to weigh a situation carefully before snuffing out a dog’s life as though it means nothing and is of no consequence.    Authorities must realize that there will be public outcry and consequences for hateful, callous acts against beloved family pets.  I’ll be writing some strongly worded letters to police officials in areas where these killings have occurred this week.

2 comments:

  1. I saw that story and was outraged also! Our neighbor had his Boxer shot in front of him by an officer. Another neighbor had called on him for parking his car in his yard. Absolutely horrific and senseless.

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  2. Oh, that is so horrible! I don't understand it, how is it so easy to shoot and kill a beautiful living breathing creature? That is so extreme. Officers need to start getting training to recognize body language and learn how to handle a strange dog without reacting so harshly. A catch pole in the trunk as standard issue might be a good start! Thanks for sharing your neighbor's story, I'm so sorry for his tragic loss.

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