Experts Say Many Police Killings of Dogs Are Avoidable; DOJ Issues Guide


There has never been a documented case of a dog killing a police officer, says the Seattle Times. The same can’t be said for police killing dogs. Every year, hundreds — if not thousands — of animals, mostly canines, are killed by police or animal-control officers. The National Canine Research Council says that up to half of the intentional shootings by police involve dogs.

Sometimes, the animals have been injured and need to be put out of their misery. Sometimes, they are vicious and killed for reasons of public or officer safety. Mostly, they die tragically and needlessly, victims of misunderstanding, prejudice or simple convenience, according to animal-rights and behavior experts. Usually, police simply aren’t properly trained or don’t have the resources to deal with canine encounters, the experts say. The U.S. Justice Department has published a 46-page police training and information guide, “The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters,” to dispel myths about dogs and dog bites and provide resources to help police develop nonlethal strategies for officer-dog encounters.

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