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Rochester cops shoot mostly at dogs

banner_policecarTwo of every three shots fired by police in Rochester, N.Y., are fired at dogs; and four of every five shots fired at dogs were aimed at pit bulls.

Those are just a couple of the more stunning statistics presented in an article in yesterday’s Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Police have shot at 87 dogs, killing 35 and injuring 33, in the line of duty over the last five years, according to a review of police reports from 2004 to April 2009 obtained by the Democrat and Chronicle under the Freedom of Information law. Some of the injured were later euthanized.

Over the same period, police fired at nine people and used their guns to kill 36 deer, all of them injured before police were summoned. Guns discharged accidentally three times.

All of the dog shootings were determined to be within Rochester Police Department guidelines, which permit the use of deadly force on animals when they are attacking or “presenting an imminent danger” to any person.

Some of the dangers described in the police reports, though, sound something less than imminent:

In one case in November 2007, a pit bull was fatally shot while penned in a front porch encased in glass.  An officer fired a shotgun through the porch glass door because “the dog was blocking our entrance into the house.”

Two years earlier, the same officer blew out a glass storm door that “began to open” when a Rottweiler jumped on it at the sight of police, according to the report.

Another shooting in September 2008 involved a leashed mastiff that charged at an officer. Police reported: “The dog was leashed, however the leash was long enough to allow the dog to charge the officer.”

Dana Campbell, a Rochester-based lawyer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said anecdotal evidence suggests such incidents are increasingly common. “It seems to be epidemic,” Campbell said. “I think folks would be alarmed to know how many cases of this are going on out there.”

Police in Rochester, as in many large cities, receive no special training in dealing with hostile dogs.


Comment from Fayclis
Time June 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm

It is well known that police are using dogs as target practice but until the public takes them to task it will go on. More and more shootings of “other” dogs are starting to occur as they get away with it almost ALL the time.

It is sickening.