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Protecting Pets From Police

From the Associated Press:

Dog lovers concerned about recent cases where law enforcement fatally shot people’s pets lobbied Colorado lawmakers on a bill Wednesday that would require new training for law enforcement on how to handle canine encounters in the line of duty, a legislative idea that appears to be unique in the country.

The bill unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be considered later by the full chamber.

Several dozen dog owners rallied outside the Capitol before the bill was heard. Some held signs that read, “Officer, please don’t kill me,” with an accompanying picture of a dog.

This is going to catch on with lawmakers around the USA.  Long overdue.


Deputy: ‘You can get a new dog’

From Denver

An Adams County man is in shock after he says deputies shot and killed his dog.

Jeff Fisher said deputies went to his house by mistake. He said when they forced their way through the door his dog Ziggy ran outside and an Adams County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed him.

“(He went to the door) to see who it was and the police officer shot him three times,” Fisher said. “They killed my dog for no reason.”

Video at the link above.

Police Chief Sounds Off

So this morning I received an angry email from a police chief in Michigan.  His complaint concerns a story we related about a dog getting shot by a police officer.  This is the item from our September 11 recap:

  • St. Louis, Michigan: A local family says their dog was shot and killed at the hands of a police officer. Lori Walmsley, a neighbor, says she saw the incident. Walmsley said the officer asked if the was dog hers.  She said “no,” but told the officer Scout wasn’t dangerous. She says the officer tried to catch the dog, who apparently didn’t want to be caught. The dog tried to run away and when cornered by the officer, let out a little growl. Walmsley says she couldn’t believe what happened next. “He just started shooting him, he just kept shooting him in the head,” she said. “I said, ‘What are you doing? He’s just a puppy!’”

Here’s the email from the Police Chief, Patrick Herblet:

Wow is all I can say. Your general statement to all says you publish strong cases supported by third-party witnesses or other compelling evidence.  You need to get the incident report/investigation from the independent agency, (Michigan State Police) that I by the way requested be done less then 12 hours after the incident.  All you have is the words of a so called witness that changed her story several times and only said, the vicious things she said after the TV camera was in her face.  I could and at some time will tell this whole story, but in the meantime I will stand by the officer making the right decision under the circumstances and the Investigation done by the Michigan State Police and the decision of our county Prosecutor.  I now have zero respect for anything you put in print when I have first hand knowledge that you do absolutely no investigation before you print your vicious hate toward public servants.

There has been a very recent development in the case: No charges against the officer.  I’m not sure why Mr. Herblet is reluctant to tell us the “the whole story” now, but he is confused about a few things.   This site gathers news stories from around the country relating to police misconduct.  We do not have the investigative capacity to go forth and interview the witnesses in each case.   We don’t even have the capacity to do that for the police force here in Washington, DC,  much less police incidents around the entire country.  So Mr. Herblet’s real complaint seems to be with our news gathering method or the  local media who, he thinks,  originally  “printed vicious hate toward public servants.”  But even that complaint seems misplaced.  The reporter related what the witness said.  Of course, a good reporter should always ask the police for their side of the story, but there is no indication that that did not happen here, so what gives?  Even now Mr. Herblet says we don’t have the “whole story.”   He seems to be saying “just trust me!”

I think Mr. Herblet did the right thing as far as calling in a separate agency to conduct an investigation into the shooting.  I do not know whether that agency did a good job or not.  I do not know whether the neighbor/witness is reliable or not.   I do not know whether the dog was “coming at” the officer or whether “coming at” means “walking toward” or “attacking.”  I do know that using a gun is serious business–deadly force!–and that if a gun is used inappropriately, there should be accountability.  There are situations where a cop should not be criminally charged, but neither should he be a sworn officer anymore (accidents, bad judgment, etc).   As always, readers here are  invited to come to their own conclusions.  You have the news stories and we have shared Mr. Herblet’s point of view.  We are as transparent as possible.

Police Go to Wrong House, Shoot Dog

From KSAT:

A local couple says a San Antonio police officer who shot their dog in the jaw early Sunday morning was at the wrong house.

Albert Morales said his brother, Hector Serna, woke him up before dawn after hearing the gunshot and then pounding on his window.

“I thought someone was trying to break in,” Serna said, since the officer never identified himself.

Serna and Morales said they went outside and the officer approached them saying there had been a 911 call about a deceased woman.

Morales then said the officer told him he was responding to the call from another family blocks away on another street, who had once lived in their house.

Morales said the officer then told him 20 minutes later to check on his dog.

H/T: Jonathan Turley blog