A family in Atlanta is devastated after a police officer shot and killed one of their beloved pets.
Kelly Rodriguez says someone in her home accidentally called 911. The police responded to the call. When Rodriguez opened the door, her two dogs dashed out into the fenced-in yard.
One of the officers shot 2 year-old Jane, a rescued Labrador-pitbull mix, in the head.
Jane didn’t survive emergency surgery to remove the bullet from her face.
Police said the dog tried to jump on the officer, so he shot her in the head.
Rodriguez said her dog was not trying to attack the officer.
“They shot her and then they were pointing the gun at my 14-week-old puppy. And I ran down in the yard to pick her up to take her upstairs to protect her.”
Police said they shot Jane because the owner did not call the dog off of the officer.
“She was running, but that’s what she does. She runs to greet people. She wasn’t malicious. She didn’t bite him,” Rodriguez said.
The ASPCA says that most instances of police shooting dogs are avoidable. The organization receives reports on a regular basis of dogs that have been shot by police officers. In a position statement on law enforcement response to potentially dangerous dogs, the ASPCA says:
Most police departments require detailed reports any time an officer discharges a firearm, even accidentally. Some of these reports reveal a disturbing trend. Our review of public records of firearms discharges by police indicates that it is common for 50% or more of all shooting incidents to involve an officer shooting a dog. Many of these incidents involve multiple shots fired and many do not result in the dog’s swift, humane death.
In an interview with Fox 5, Rodriguez said “The biggest thing is I just would hope that officers of the law would learn how to use mace or a taser gun or shoot a dog in the leg, and not shoot a dog wagging its tail in the head.”
The ASPCA’s position is similar:
Police rarely receive any training that would allow them to rapidly and realistically assess the degree of danger posed by a dog; nor are they routinely informed about or trained to use any of the wide variety of non-lethal tools and techniques available to them as alternatives to shooting. Examples of such alternatives include batons, OC spray, Tasers and chemical capture. Most departments do not have relationships with area animal control agencies, humane societies or SPCAs that could provide training or assistance in responding to calls where dogs are known or suspected to be present. Since more than one-third of American households have a dog, officers are likely to encounter dogs whenever they approach or enter a residence. Although they may encounter truly dangerous dogs in some situations, the majority of dogs they are likely to meet are well-behaved family pets that are legitimately protecting their homes and families from intruders.
Statistics on how many dogs are killed by law enforcement officers don’t seem to exist, but some activists have counted dog shootings that have been reported in the media. One group says that according to their calculations, a dog is shot by law enforcement every 98 minutes.
How many police officers have been killed by dogs?
According to research done by Petsadviser.com, none:
So why are some officers so quick to kill family pets? Some activists who are disturbed by the growing epidemic are working on a documentary to answer that question and bring attention to the issue. The Kickstarter-funded documentary is called “Puppycide.” The film “takes a journey with victims of puppycide, the dogs and their owners. From the moment they meet and seal their emotional bonds to the excruciating trauma of loss, we follow the dog owners’ battles for justice with police culture and the legal system, both of which treat puppycides as acceptable collateral damage.”
The filmmakers also explored the police perspective of the issue and found that support, tools, and training in dog handling is severely lacking.
WARNING: This video contains graphic content.
Matthew Rodriguez, Kelly’s husband, posted a letter to Jane on Facebook. Here’s an excerpt:
And now I’m trying to piece together the events that led up to your violent death. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t spent a great part of the past 20 hours trying to figure out who to assign blame to–to your mom, to my brother-in-law, to the police, and, ultimately, to myself. If only I hadn’t wanted to move our family into the city; if only I’d trained you to sit obediently at the door when we opened it; if only I had chosen to stay with my family rather than going on the charity ride; if only, if only, if only.
But ultimately, none of that matters right now. What matters is that you’re gone; what matters is that we loved you so much; what matters is that we’ll never forget about you.
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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”