A study conducted by the National Canine Research Council showed shocking results for pup Mommies and Daddies everywhere. The research showed that up to half of intentional shootings by the police involve dogs.
In some situations, the acts are justifiable, as the pups may be seriously injured and need to be put out of their misery, or are genuinely involved in a violent or vicious attack. However, most commonly, these pups are wrongly shot.
Up to several thousand animals, mostly pups, are killed by police per year, but many are kept quiet or go unreported. It’s estimated that 25 to 30 pet dogs are killed each day in this fashion. This is further helped by a horrifying recent federal court ruling that gives law enforcement the authority to shoot and kill any pup that moves or barks when they enter their homes.
There have been multiple incidents of dogs being shot and killed for all the wrong reasons by police officers. You can read about them, many of which are entirely shrouded by misunderstanding and prejudice, as they have been compiled by Huffington Post here.
Four videos entitled “Police & Dog Encounters” were released by Safe Humane Chicago and the National Canine Research Council in 2013 to try and rectify the situation. The videos focused on learning to assess a dog’s body language and suggest alternative methods to deal with them. However, police officers require training in order to understand the body language of all pups regardless of breed, and also in order to project the right kind of body language back at the dog.
It is, of course, difficult to ensure that your pups are guaranteed to be kept safe from police officers wrongly attacking them. But there are some steps you can take:
1. Post “Beware of Dogs” signs on your fences and keep them locked, and make sure that you are always careful about leaving your pups unattended outside.
2. Make sure that you have taken steps to ensure that your pup cannot escape from your home or yard while you are away.
3. Don’t walk your pups off-leash, and try to maintain total control over them during walks and other outdoor activities.
4. Treat your pup to greet strangers politely and calmly. You cannot guarantee that he will always respond to newcomers this way, but it can definitely help lessen the possibility of an overexcited greeting being misinterpreted.
5. If any unknown guests – including police officers – are visiting your house, make sure to keep your pup in another room or in a crate safely. Police officers who are not operating under a search warrant will likely allow you to move your pups before they step in, and it’s also a safety measure.
6. Advocate for pups through the democratic process by electing officials who support education for their law enforcement departments. Share stories of unfair police shootings and write letters to state, county, and city officials. Use your voice!
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