Dog lovers have been pushing for the measure in light of recent fatal pet shootings by law enforcement officers, some of which were widely viewed as questionable and might have been preventable if officers had more knowledge of dogs and were better able to determine when they posed a true threat.
During debate on the bill, lawmakers said 37 dogs have been shot by officers in Colorado over the last five years.
“The idea here is to keep officers and animals safe,” Hickenlooper said. The governor brought his dog, Skye — a shelter mutt who is part Akita, part bulldog, part chow chow – along for the bill signing.
Also on Monday, the Colorado legislature proclaimed shelter dogs and cats as the official state pets, approving a proposal presented by schoolchildren as part of a program to teach them about the legislative process.
The training legislation mandates that sheriffs’ offices and police departments offer three hours of online training on recognizing dog behaviors and employing non-lethal control methods, according to the Associated Press. The law also directs authorities to give dog owners the option to control or remove their dogs when officers respond to a call concerning a nonviolent crime. The training must be in place by Sept. 1, 2014.
The bill — believed to be the first of its kind – was unanimously approved.
(Photo: Brittany Moore with Ava, her German shepherd, who was shot and killed by an Erie, Colo., police officer in May 2011)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ava, bill, colorado, dog, dogs, governor, killings, law, law enforcement, mandated, officers, online, pets, police, requirement, shootings, signed, three hours, training
Two and a half years after the manager of a sled dog tour company shot and slashed the throats of scores of no-longer-needed huskies, he’s scheduled for sentencing in court.
Bob Fawcett — who claims the owners of Howling Dog Tours ordered him to cull the herd, and that doing so gave him post-traumatic stress disorder — is to be sentenced tomorrow in British Columbia’s Provincial Court in North Vancouver.
The animals, owned by the Whistler-based tour company, were killed in April 2010, but were exhumed more than a year later after an SPCA investigation. They were reburied earlier this month in a memorial ceremony.
Fawcett entered a guilty plea in August to charges of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal and faces maximum sentence of five years in prison and $75,000 in fines.
The mass slaying came to light after Fawcett filed a workman’s compensation claim, stating that shooting, slashing and dumping the bodies of about 100 dogs over a two-day period had left him with post traumatic stress disorder.
He said the cull was ordered by company owners after the demand for sled dog tours dropped after the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Since the slaughter, the province has revised its anti-cruelty laws to provide new protection for sled dogs, and established more severe penalties for cruelty.
After being dug up and examined, the bodies of 56 of the sled dogs were reburied at a pet cemetery near Penticton, British Columbia, earlier this month at a memorial ceremony.
Fifty-six separate stones were placed individually on a memorial stone which read, “In loving memory of the Whistler sled dogs,” according to the Penticton Herald. Mourners attending the ceremony brought their own dogs, and some wore T-shirts that read, “Justice for the Whistler sled dogs.”
“You (dogs) will never be forgotten, and we pledge that in your memories that we will fight any form of animal cruelty and abuse,” Marylee Davies, president of the BC-SPCA, said during the service.
As Fawcett’s sentencing neared, a former volunteer BC-SPCA investigator has come forward to question whether the organization — based on what she saw on a 2000 visit to Howling Dog Tours — could have prevented the tragedy.
Eleanor Matthews visited Howling Dog Tours in January of 2000, when 73 dogs were under Fawcett’s car, and, described inhumane conditions in a report submitted to the SPCA, according to the Edmonton Journal.
She took photos of dogs, some emaciated, cramped in cages, and crammed into crates on two trailers — including this one:
Matthews says she joined the SPCA as a voluntary investigator about 14 years ago. She quit when the SPCA failed to act on her report, declining to take it to prosecutors so charges could be brought.
BC-SPCA officials, however, said earlier investigations at Howling Dog showed no evidence of abuse, cruelty or neglect, and that while they did order improvements in conditions for the sled dogs there, the company had complied with those orders.
(Top photo by Jeff Bassett / The Canadian Press; bottom photo by Eleanor Matthews)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bcspca, bob fawcett, bodies, british columbia, charges, claim, cull, culled, culling, death, dogs, dumped, howling dog, howling dog tours, investigation, killings, memorial, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, reburied, sentence, sentencing, service, shot, slashed, sled, sled dogs, spca, stabbed, whistler, whistler sled dogs, work
Austin, Texas, is on the verge of becoming a lot dog friendlier — and in a way much more important than most of those measured by websites and magazines in assessing dog friendliness.
The Austin Police Department announced Tuesday that, effective July 1, there will be several changes to policies and training concerning how officers deal with dogs.
The new rules clarify that lethal force can be used only if there is “imminent danger of bodily harm” to officers or another human, not when a dog is simply acting aggressively.
It also suggests alternatives to deadly force, including firing a Taser or using pepper spray, or simply yelling at a dog.
Assistant Police Chief David Carter said dog shootings by officers will get increased scrutiny, and any officer using deadly force against a dog will have to explain why lesser force was not used. Each incident will be reviewed by the entire chain of command, as opposed to just the officer’s sergeant.
Other improvements include having dispatchers inform officers when they are going to homes that have histories of dangerous dogs being present. In those cases, city animal control officers will also be sent there.
In addition, cadets at the training academy will undergo a two-hour session on how to deal with dogs, including how to read a dog’s body language and judge whether it is dangerous. Current officers will complete training sessions online and before shifts, he said.
“It raises the stature” of dog shootings, Carter said. “We need to be as accountable for the shooting of a dog as any other force.”
The changes in Austin come in the wake of a backlash over the fatal shooting of a man’s dog in East Austin in April, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Officer Thomas Griffin was dispatched to a domestic disturbance in late April but was sent to the wrong address, where he shot a blue heeler named Cisco after the dog, according to his account, charged at him. Cisco’s owner, Michael Paxton, has denied that the dog was being aggressive.
Carter said the investigation into the case found no policy violations and Griffin received no discipline.
Since then, though, the department has been looking at the policies of other law enforcement agencies around the country to determine the best practices when it comes to dog encounters, Carter said.
“Quite frankly, we learned a lot from this process,” he said. “We learned a lot from the community, who had great concern about it.”
Paxton, meanwhile, has filed a complaint against Griffin with the police monitor’s office and has retained a lawyer.
“It’s sad that my dog had to die for this to happen,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggresive, animal control, animals, austin, behavior, cisco, dangerous, deadly force, department, dog friendly, dog killings, dogs, firearms, force, killings, law enforcement, lethal force, pets, police, policies, practices, review, shooting, texas, training
A roommate of accused serial dog killer Andrew Thompson testified that at least eight Italian greyhounds mysteriously disappeared from their house, and that one of them died as he and Thompson watched.
Thompson, a former Michigan State University medical student, is charged with torturing and killing more than a dozen dogs in two different jurisdictions.
After a preliminary hearing Thursday, a judge ordered Thompson’s case in Meridian Township back to circuit court where he’ll face trial on nine felony counts of animal abuse, WLNS reported.
MSU student Jacob Dreyer testified that he saw Thompson throw one dog across the room, watched Thompson carry another one’s body outside in a garbage bag, and watched as yet another one died.
“It was hyperventilating, trying to catch a breath. At that time I grabbed my laptop and we were trying to look up an emergency vet and within minutes the first dog had died,” he said.
Dreyer said another dog was thrown by Thompson after it bit his face.
“He took the dog and threw it clear across the room and it went and hid behind the TV. It was shaking and whimpering,” the roommate testified.
A third dog was left in the home for “a day or two” before Thompson removed it, he said. “I did see the third dog dead on the floor. I spoke with him multiple times to take care of the deceased body.”
Dreyer said he told no one except his girlfriend and parents about the incident, because he was afraid of what Thompson might do.
Upon hearing Dreyer’s testimony, a District Judge Donald Allen ruled there was enough evidence to take the case to trial and reinstated six of the seven felony counts that a circuit judge threw out.
In all, Thompson, accused of killing dogs at residences in two different jurisdictions, faces 13 counts of animal killing and torture.
Seven counts in the Meridian Township case previously had been sent back to district court after a circuit court judge ruled previous testimony by one of Thompson’s friends was inadmissable. The friend was unable to appear at the initial preliminary hearing.
Thompson, who has been suspended from MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, still faces three charges in East Lansing in connection with the alleged killing of three other dogs there.
According to the State News, Dreyer told the court that Thompson would give newly acquired dogs the same names as his former ones, including two different greyhounds named Chloe, and three who went by Angie or Angelino.
Thompson has been free on $50,000 bond and staying with friends in Okemos, where he is under a curfew and wears a monitor.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal cruelty, charges, court, cruelty to animals, deaths, east lansing, italian greyhounds, jacob dreyer, killings, medical, meridian, michigan state university, okemos, preliminary hearing, reinstated, student, testimony, torture
Andrew Thompson, a Michigan State University medical student charged with killing 10 dogs, now faces three more charges.
The new charges also pertain to killing dogs, bringing to 13 — or 14, by some other media accounts — the number of canines the student is alleged to have killed in his apartment, WILX reported.
The 10 dogs he was initially accused of killing were all Italian greyhounds.
Few details have emerged about the case.
Investigators say Thompson had been bringing the dogs to his apartment over the past nine months, where the crimes were committed. A concerned neighbor, who saw the dogs arrive but never saw them again, tipped off authorities.
Thompson was suspended from school on June 23. He’s currently being held on $100,000 bond.
In our post on the killings yesterday, we remarked the official statement the university released about the case seemed a little odd, specifically this part: “The alleged actions do not reflect the values of MSU or the ethics of the medical profession.”
We’ve gotten more comments disputing whether that’s odd than we have comments of concern about the murdered dogs, or about the scant few facts of the case that have been made public.
While the medical and veterinary schools at MSU haven’t exactly led the way in using alternatives to live dogs in their teaching and research — it was just last year that the vet school stopped using “terminal surgery labs,” in which live dogs are killed after being used to practice surgery — we’re not saying there is any connection between the ex-student’s alleged acts and the school.
But we will say this: Police and prosecutors owe the public some information about what’s going on.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew thompson, animal cruelty, animals, charges, dogs, greyhounds, italian greyhound, killer, killings, medical, michigan state university, new charges, pets, police, prosecutors, serial killing, serial killler, statement, student, university