Sunday, February 20, 2011

Police must develop a training plan for dealing with dogs while on calls

I have heard of countless instances where police are called only to end in dogs shot and killed. Police of course say the dog was "acting aggressively" which may or may not be the whole truth. There was an instance in Cambridge in the past few months where the dogs were of course reported to be "pitbulls" and they were actually Fila's but the kicker was; they were puppies and also shot in the rear end. If dogs are shot in the rear end, they are running away from you not toward you.

There was a case not too far from where I live that happened a few winters ago. A man who was wheelchair bound was out with his Rottweiler when his wheelchair tipped over. Police came and the dog was being protective of his owner but was not loose. He was tied to the wheelchair, however police shot the dog dead in front of his owner who laid in the snow saying the dog was acting aggressively toward them.

There is another case that I read about this week in Regina. The person was having an epileptic seizure. The EMS were called who in turn called the police because the dog was being protective of the home. The guy was upstairs and the humane society was called but too far away. The police shot the dog dead firing 4 bullets and missing several times. Not only did the guy suffer a seizure but also lost his dog.

From CTV Regina Feb 18/11
A Regina man whose dog was shot by police trying to save the man in a medical emergency says he wishes the officer had another option besides killing his pet.
Cory Thompson suffered an epileptic seizure at his Regina home on Wednesday. Emergency responders initially weren't able to reach Thompson, who was in an upstairs room, because his American Staffordshire Terrier was blocking the top of the stairway.
"One of our officers attempted to enter the home when the dog approached quite aggressively," said Regina police spokeswoman Lara Guzik.
"The officer fired at the dog. There were four shots fired in total."
Not all of the shots hit the dog. The front entrance way to Thompson's house has bullet holes in the door, carpet, and floor. At least one bullet went through the floor and into the basement, hitting the television. Thompson says he wishes the police had another option beyond gunfire.
"If they would have had the proper net or rope and pole, they could have roped her and pulled her to where they had to pull her and tended to me," Thompson said.
Regina police have another option. They can phone the Humane Society to come handle overly protective dogs, but it isn't always feasible in medical emergencies.
"It depends on where our animal protection officers are," said Don Simons of the Regina Humane Society.
"Our officer was across town...that's why police felt they needed something quicker."
Police say the shooting incident will be reviewed.

I wish police who care about animals and are on the inside would push for and implement training for officers to learn how to deal with potentially threatening dogs. Carrying rope in cruisers and knowing how to contain a dog would save some lives and heartache.

I know that currently the only officers who know anything about dogs are those in the canine unit and they are not called out on routine calls. Many officers are afraid of dogs. Training and education would go a long way since half of all households own at least one dog. I assume dealing with dogs is an everyday occurrence for officers. Not all of them would be threatening however if you think about it, the officers are entering their territory if it is on the owners property, the dogs may be fearful or already in a heightened state due to circumstances. The most mild tempered dog at that moment he/she comes in contact with an officer may be appearing or be aggressive.

The heartache following the aftermath of your family member being shot is painful to think about. We all put ourselves there and think "what if it were me or my dogs?".

The thought is horrifying.

Side note..
I doubt the dog shown is an American Stafforshire Terrier. Very cute dog but AST's are rare in Saskatchewan too! Just a stickler for the facts is all... When AST's are identified as the breed, which we see often, it appears they are common and they are not. It is insane that a super rare breed was banned in Ontario having them commonly identified doesn't contribute to the truth. Sometimes fearful or ignorant people see a dog that they think looks like the notorious "pitbull" which is a slang term for a shape of dog. That can cause the finger to be on the trigger as well.. just sayin'..

FYI there are less than 30 AST's in Ontario. Most people have never met one!

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