Confrontations between police and family pets is a growing national issue, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Videos of pet dogs killed by police regularly go viral, with several receiving millions of hits on YouTube. Deaths are also tracked and publicized through social media and on Facebook pages such as Dogs Shot By Police. As Pittsburgh continues to mourn Rocco, the K-9 officer killed in the line of duty last month and whose funeral attracted 1,200 people, some are focusing attention on other dogs killed in the course of police work.
“If you shoot a police dog, it’s a crime,” said Patrick Reasonover, producer of a documentary tracking the issue, “Puppycide,” that is now in production. “If police shoot your dog, it’s fine.” The incidents raise the question of how police officers should react when they run into an aggressive dog, and what qualifies as aggressive. Most police departments don’t train officers to deal with pet dogs.