Since January of 2010, Houston police have gunned down 187 dogs, killing 121 of them.
And last year alone, law enforcement officers in Houston and Harris County shot more dogs than New York City police officers shot in 2010 and 2011 combined.
All of those shooting were deemed by police to have been justified, but it’s not too hard to find families that disgree with that.
The KHOU 11 News I-Team did, and its report this week is more evidence that, across the country, requiring police to be trained in dealing with dogs could save dogs, and their families, a lot of pain.
Colorado passed a law requiring that, and it was signed by the governor this week.
The KHOU report, when it looked at the police-involved dog shootings for all of Harris County found at least 228 dogs had been shot by officers and deputies since 2010, 142 of them fatally.
“If the dog turns and comes at a citizen, or the deputy, they have all right to use lethal force,” explained Dpt. Thomas Gilliland of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Records show Harris County deputies shot 38 canines in the last three-and-a-half years.
When asked if all those shootings were justified, Gilliland said: “The justification is, in that matter, and at that moment the deputy had to choose the decision to use lethal force against that animal.”
Sgt. Joseph Guerra, who works as a cruelty investigator for the Houston Humane Society, said it teaches some officers how to safety interact with threatening dogs. But the training isn’t mandated for all officers.
“A lot of times, officers are not sent to training to get that type of certification to feel comfortable enough to deal with these animals,” he said. “We need to get those officers involved in some mandated training in how to defend before going to deadly force.”
The Arlington and Fort Worth Police Departments started mandatory dog training for officers last fall, and state lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the training for officers across Texas.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggressive, animals, arlington, behavior, canines, colorado, dangerous, deputies, dogs, fatal, fort worth, harris county, houston, interact, killed, law enforcement, new york, officers, pets, police, police shooting dogs, shoot, shot, texas, threatening, training
A former Marine sniper’s support dog was shot by police in Dacono, Colo., after escaping from his yard and acting in what police say was an aggressive manner.
Mongo, a 3-year-old pit bull, is recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest.
His owner, James Vester, is seeking an explanation and an apology from police, whose behavior, he noted, seemed more like something you’d see on the streets of Iraq.
“I didn’t think I would see that again. You see it in Iraq — and then you see your best friend here get shot,” said Vester, who got Mongo, a certified emotional support dog, to alleviate stress after returning from combat.
Vester said he was doing yard work when Mongo got loose. A neighbor called police because Mongo began barking at her dogs from across a fence. When two officers arrived, Mongo barked and growled and lunged at one of them, according to police reports.
Some neighbors disputed the police account, according to Fox 31 News in Denver.
“There was no noise at first, I just heard the gunshot — then the dog started crying,” said Heather Viera, who was told by police to go back inside her home when she stepped outside.
Another neighbor, Jenny Stevens, says she was a few hundred feet down the road, walking her dogs, when she heard the shot. She said she didn’t hear any barking or growling before it was fired. “It was dead silent. There was not a bark, there wasn’t a growl. The cop did not say stop to the dog, the cop didn’t yell anything.”
Dacono Police Chief Matthew B. Skaggs said an investigation was being conducted.
“I think it is important to remember these things develop very quickly,” the chief said. “If you look in the report, the officer did say specifically that the dog got within six feet of him and at that point he felt like it was his only option.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggressive, animals, barks, behavior, colorado, dacono, emotional, growls, investigation, iraq, james vester, law enforcement, marine, mongo, pets, pit bull, police, police shoot dog, service, shoot, shot, sniper, support dog, veteran
House Bill 956 would create a new “aggressive dog” classification for pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, chows, Presa Canarios, wolf hybrids and any dogs “that are predominantly” a mix of those, WRAL reports.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, said of those breeds, ”I don’t want to say those were the ones with the most incidents, but they were the most prevalent by the feedback that I’ve gotten.”
In other words, the proposed legislation doesn’t let facts get in the way.
Under the bill, prospective “aggressive breed” owners would have to undergo a criminal background check, apply and pay for a special state permit, notify their property insurer, and take a 4-hour education course before adopting, buying, or “otherwise taking possession of” one of the dogs.
Moore said the idea was brought to him by a concerned constituent.
“There needs to be some kind of accountability,” Moore said. “A lot of people breed them the wrong way. You have very harsh incidents of these dogs maiming children, maiming older folks, and sometimes even turning on their owner.”
The bill calls for county sheriff’s to provide the criminal background checks and report the findings to the state Department of Insurance. It would have the authority to deny a permit to anyone whose background check “is not suitable for the ownership of a dog belonging to an aggressive dog breed.”
The “aggressive dog permit” could cost as much as $25. Under the bill, the Department of Insurance could require additional insurance coverage be taken out by owners of the dogs.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about it, saying I’m trying to blacklist these dogs, and that’s not the intent,” Moore said. “It’s just to let people take responsibility for owning those breeds.”
The representative’s email address is Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, background checks, bill, breeds, charlotte, chow, dog, dogs, fee, hb 956, house bill 956, insurance, law, legislature, mastiff, mixes, north carolina, ownership, permit, pets, pit bull, presa canario, proposal, representative, restrict, rodney moore, rottweiler, wolf hybrid
An off-duty Buncombe County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a border collie mix at North Carolina’s Catawba Falls says he did so to protect his children from what appeared to be an aggressive dog.
“You’re damn right I shot your dog,” he reportedly told the dog’s owner, Scott Shulman of Durham.
Shulman, who was hiking with his son, said his three dogs got ahead of them when he fell into the water.
By the time he caught up, he saw Deputy Jason Honeycutt pointing a gun at one of his dogs, a 45-pound border collie mix named Nellie, who he says was barking and wagging her tail.
“I hear two or three pops, and I see Nellie roll over and hit the ground,” Shulman said. “I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I just said, ‘Did you shoot my dog?’ He said something like, ‘you’re damn right I shot your dog.’”
Shulman told the Asheville Citizen-Times that his dog was not posing a threat to the officer or his children, and that he thought shooting the dog was “disproportionate and excessive.”
The McDowell County Sheriff’s Office has investigated the case, and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office conducted an internal probe, but no charges or disciplinary action were recommended against the deputy.
“We don’t have any issue with what our officer did,” said Lt. Randy Sorrells of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department. “He was protecting his children.”
A McDowell County incident report that lists Deputy Honeycutt as the victim states the dog appeared to be aggressive toward children.
Shulman disagrees, and says two witnesses to the shooting also believe Nellie, while barking, wasn’t behaving aggressively otherwise.
“My main concern is making the citizens aware that this incident occurred … I don’t want anybody else to have to experience something like this.”
(Photo: Asheville Citizen-Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, barking, border collie, buncombe county, catawba falls, children, deputy, disproportionate, dog, dogs, durham, excessive, hiking, jason honeycutt, kills, mcdowell county, mix, mountains, nellie, north carolina, off duty, pets, protecting, scott shulman, sheriff, shoots, tail, wagging
An Oklahoma teenager has admitted he shot and killed a pit bull with a bow and arrow and posted a photo of its corpse on Facebook, but says the dog appeared aggressive.
Caisen Green, 18, who had fled his hometown with his mother after outrage over the Facebook post led to threats, was interviewed Tuesday night by Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault.
Chennault said he will add Green’s statement to his report and deliver it to the District Attorney’s Office today. Prosecutors will then decide whether Green will be charged, the Tahlequah Daily Press reported.
Green told sheriff’s officials that the dog was one of two that wandered onto his family’s property as he was practicing with his bow and arrow.
“The pit and a smaller, non-pit bulldog came into the yard,” said Chennault. “The pit bulldog looked diseased.” Green told Chennault that when he tried to scare the dogs away the pit bull growled and began to move toward him. He said the dog ran about 30 yards after he shot him with an arrow.
Green posted a Facebook photo of the dead pit bull with the message, “For all you Pit lovers out there, here’s what happens when one shows up around my house.”
Lou Hays, who volunteers with the Humane Society of Cherokee County said Green bragged about killing when he was contacted about the post, and didn’t indicate that the animal was causing any trouble .
Hays said HSCC would push for Green to be prosecuted and receive community service at the local shelter.
Green’s post was removed after calls, emails and faxes flooded into Cherokee County authorities over the weekend, many of them demanding he be arrested and expelled from school, some of them making threats.
Chennault said his meeting with Green and his attorney had to be set up at an “undisclosed location” because of the threats made toward Green and his family.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, arrow, bow, bow and arrow, caisen green, cherokee county, dog, dogs, facebook, high school, interview, investigation, killed, oklahoma, outrage, pets, pit bull, sheriff, shot, student, teenager, threatening, threats, undersheriff
A police officer’s fatal shooting of a citizen’s dog on a sidewalk in Omaha three weeks ago was captured on a neighbor’s security camera — and aired this week by a local news station.
Grainy as it is, the video shows officers stopping the man, who they described as drunk and defiant. One officer takes him down; the other shoots the dog he was walking.
In their report, the two officers, named Schuster and Clement, say the “suspect’s dog became aggressive, growled at officers, and showed its teeth before being shot and killed.”
Police were searching for an armed suspect when the Oct. 7 incident took place. They said Chris Schulte, who lives in the area and was walking with his dog, Teela, in the direction of the search area, refused their orders to stop.
Schulte admitted “I was just walking on,” but said the dog never behaved aggressively.
Tim Wagner told Channel 6 News he watched the incident from inside his home on his night vision security camera.
“The dog didn’t stand a chance,” Wagner said. “The dog did nothing aggressive. I’ve lived next to this dog two and a half years and it’s one of the best dogs.”
Teela belonged to his Schulte’s aunt, Michelle Meadows.
Meadows said, “It was very shocking. I would think they would maybe taser her or something, if they thought she was being aggressive, but I don’t think she was.”
Schulte was arrested and charged with obstructing police and resisting arrest.
“The Omaha Police Department is aware of the incident and Chief Schmaderer has authorized an Internal Investigation into the matter,” a police spokesman said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggressive, animals, camera, disobeyed, dog, dogs, drunk, investigation, killed, law enforcement, night vision, officer, owner, pets, police, security, shooting, shot, surveillance, teela, video
Reacting to protests that erupted after a court decision declaring all pit bull type dogs “inherently dangerous,” the Maryland Senate has approved a new dog bite law that holds all breeds — and their owners — to the same standard.
The bill, considered emergency legislation, now goes to House of Delegates. Once signed by the governor, it becomes law, overriding the state Supreme Court decision that singled out pit bulls as dangerous and ended the requirement that, in liability cases, they be shown to have a history of aggression.
That resulted in a different standard for pit bulls, or any dogs deemed pit bull mixes, at least when it came to civil suits. While all other breeds would still have to be proven dangerous, pit bulls would not because, as the judges saw it, they were that way by definition.
Pit bull owners and lovers saw the dangers inherent in that — from the difficulties it could pose for those who rent, to pit bulls being abandoned at shelters — and began campaigning to have elected officials do something about it.
“It’s definitely a win for pit bull owners,” Katie Flory of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told WJZ in Baltimore. “We really do feel this is really the best way to go … It is very important that we look at the animal as an individual and not just the breed.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, aggressive, animals, bites, breed-specific, breeds, civil, courts, dangerous, decision, dogs, inherently dangerous, laws, legislation, maryland, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, senate, supreme court
Forbes, the magazine best known for listing the world’s richest people, now brings us a list of the riskiest dog breeds.
Or at least what insurance companies say are the riskiest dog breeds.
The magazine, to its credit, makes a point of saying the breeds aren’t the likeliest to bite, but, as the article points out, that often doesn’t matter to your insurance company.
The list starts out with Rottweilers, pit bulls, Doberman pinschers and German shepherds — the breeds that most seem to frighten insurers.
And when insurers get frightened, you, the insuree, usually pay the price.
Fearing lawsuits from people hurt or bitten by dogs, companies offering homeowners and renters insurance are pickier than ever about which types of dogs they’ll insure, said Jeff McCarthy, an agent with Harrington Insurance Agency in Woburn, Mass.
Insurance companies, the article points out, may deny you a policy, or drop you like a hot potato if your “risky” dog causes harm, or even if he doesn’t.
That leaves you having to find a carrier that will cover your dog, which could cost more. It could also mess up your bundling discount.
While some people try to skirt the issue by not telling their insurance company about a new dog, insurers say that is risky.
“If something does happen with your dog in your home and you didn’t disclose this information, the insurance company may deny your claim,” one said. “That could cost you thousands and it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Spoken like a true insurer.
Most commonly, insurance companies tend to resist covering these 11 types of dogs — or any mix of these breeds:
1. Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
2. Doberman Pinschers
4. German Shepherds
6. Great Danes
7. Presa Canarios
9. Alaskan Malamutes
10. Siberian Huskies
The article concludes:
“This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get a pit bull — those little guys can be pretty darn lovable! — or another kind of ‘risky’ dog, but you should call your insurance agent to find out whether they cover the breed, and if not, what it will cost to get a homeowners or renters with a company that does.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, akita, alaskan malamutes, animals, breeds, chow chow, dangers, doberman pinschers, dogs, forbes, german shepherds, great danes, homeowners, insurance, list, perceptions, pets, pit bulls, presa canarios, renters, riskies, risks, risky, rottweiler, siberian huskies, stereotypes, wolf hybrids
In another study buttressing the belief that people tend to get dogs that match their personalities, British researchers say they concluded that disagreeable people prefer to own aggressive dogs.
The study, by a research team from the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology, was based on personality tests, filled out by participants.
Participating humans, we mean.
For the dogs, researchers seemed to mostly fall back on old stereotypes.
Researchers say they found that younger people and people with low levels of agreeableness were more likely to prefer dog breeds that were rated more aggressive. As examples of those breeds, they cited bull terriers or boxers.
Here’s where I’m going to have to be disagreeable. While I’m certain a trained psychologist with a clipboard and a questionnaire can confirm disagreeability in humans, I have my doubts about their labeling dogs aggressive, epecially if, as it seems, that is based entirely on perceptions, which are often misperceptions, about breeds.
Did the scientists actually meet any disagreeable people and their aggressive dogs? (Perhaps it was wisest not to.) Or did they just work from a checklist of allegedly aggressive dogs — Rottweilers? Akitas? Pit bulls? Dobermans. German shepherds?
I don’t dispute the conclusion the study reached; it seems somewhat obvious. I just question what they base the label of “aggressive” dog on. If it’s solely breed, and perceptions of breeds, that’s not science; it’s stereotyping.
And you’ve got to wonder too — assuming there is a connection between disagreeable people and aggressive dogs, whether dogs belonging to disagreeable people started out that way, or became aggressive while living disagreeable people?
Humans generally make dogs aggressive — sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. An aggressive dog usually has a disagreeable human behind it. (Check out some of the comments we’ve received from supporters of dogfighting for proof of that.)
According to the scientists, disagreeable people are typically less concerned about others’ well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive.
The study, published in the June edition of the journal Anthrozoos, found no link between liking an aggressive breed of dog and delinquent behavior, or that having an aggressive type of dog is a “status display,” lead researcher Vincent Egan said in a university news release:
“This type of study is important, as it shows assumptions are not the whole picture. It is assumed owners of aggressive dogs … or dogs perceived as aggressive … are antisocial show-offs.”
If one is relying on “dogs perceived as aggressive” to build their database, isn’t one making some assumptions oneself?
(Photos: We don’t think Rush Limbaugh has a dog, so we went on Google and picked him out a Chihuahua. No slur to Chihuahuas is intended)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, behavior, breeds, disagreeable, dog owners, dogs, humans, match, misperceptions, perceptions, personality, pets, pyschologists, reflect, research, study, university of leicester
A state judge granted a reprieve Tuesday to a wolf dog hybrid named Chief, sparing him the death penalty, but sentencing to a lifetime of employment at Louisiana State Prison in Angola.
The judge had earlier ordered the dog destroyed for aggressive behavior.
Judge James Best of 18th Judicial District Court released Chief to the custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections at the request of prison officials who want to use him to guard inmates.
Area residents testified before the judge last month that Chief frequently escaped from his owners’ property and “terrorized” them, according to The Advocate. Local law in Pointe Coupee Parish requires all dogs be confined to an owner’s property, or secured on a leash. After hearing from the witnesses, Best ordered the dog — who is part wolf, part German shepherd — to be euthanized.
Best said he was contacted by Angola Warden Burl Cain, who wanted to take Chief into custody for guard dog service at the 18,000-acre maximum security state prison.
“When we saw this dog in the paper, we thought it would be a shame to euthanize,” Deputy Warden Bruce Dodd said.
The state prison has developed a program in which wolf hybrids are deployed at night within perimeter fencing encircling the prison’s individual camps.
The program has helped the prison make do with fewer guards, many of whom have been released due to budget cuts.
The prison also breeds wolf hybrids for the program, Dodd said. More than a dozen are already on duty.
“We don’t want them to be vicious killers, but to be aggressive,” Dodd said. “They become a security measure.”
Chief’s previous owner, Vicky Smith, said she doubts the dog, who she purchased as a 5-week-old puppy for her son, would thrive in his new surroundings.
“He’s not going to do well without us. We’re his family,” she said. “I think he’s going to be really, really stressed. We keep him inside our air-conditioned home. I feed him oatmeal for breakfast. You think they’re going to feed him that?”
Despite witness testimony, Smith said, Chief is harmless and has never “bit or hurt anyone.”
“It’s not right what they’re doing. I was going to sell my house and move out of the parish to keep my dog. I want my dog back, but once he goes to Angola I don’t think I’ll get him.”
Parish officials said Chief was to be taken to Angola Wednesday.
“I’m just glad for the dog,” Judge Best said. “It’s a beautiful ending and the community got some relief. The dog is going to provide good service and be well taken care of.”
(Photo by Travis Spradling / The Advocate)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, angola, animals, behavior, bruce dodd, budget, burl cain, chief, corrections, cutbacks, deputy warden, dogs, fence, german shepherd, guard, hybrid, james best, judge, louisiana, maximum security, mix, owner, penitentiary, perimeter, pets, pointe coupee parish, prison, prisoners, state, vicky smith, warden, wolf dog, wolf hybrid