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
An Amish man who shot a mother dog and her eight puppies told police in New York that he thought killing dogs was acceptable under his culture, as long as it was done out of sight and with discretion – or as he put it, “Shoot, shovel and shut up.”
“In the Amish it’s acceptable to put dogs down. I thought as long as you did it out back it was okay,” Jonathon Eicher reportedly told officers who arrested him and the breeder of the dogs in Wayne County.
The nine dead dogs were discovered in a ditch by a highway crew on January 17.
Also charged with animal cruely was Merlin Schmucker, 26, who owned and bred the Australian red heelers, but was unable to sell the dogs because, he said, they’d become too big.
Schmucker asked Eicher, his employee, to put the dogs down, said Wayne County District Attorney Rick Healy.
“This is simply a case of animal cruelty,” he said. “They can’t treat the animals the way they want to treat the animals; they must treat the animals humanely.”
Both Schmucker and Eicher were charged with nine counts of cruelty to animals , WHAM reported.
Schmucker told police he had “raised the dogs and couldn’t put them down myself so I asked Jonathan to do it.”
Eicher admitted killing the dogs with a .22-caliber rifle, police said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amish, animal cruelty, animals, arrests, breeders, breeding, crew, ditch, dog, dogs, eight, hidden, highway, killed, new york, pets, puppies, red heelers, shoot, shot, shovel, shut up, unsold, wayne county
Police in Commerce City, Colo., are reviewing this video, but say they believe officers acted appropriately when they fired five shots at this dog — even though she was secured with a catchpole.
The dog, a three-year-old named Chloe, described by police as a pit bull, died.
Police had been called by a resident who saw the unfamiliar dog loose in the neighborhood. He was unaware that she was being cared for by a neighbor.
According to the neighbor caring for Chloe, she’d secured the dog in the garage before going shopping. Apparently, the dog tripped a sensor, leading the door to open.
The neighbor who reported the dog to police, Kenny Collins, said the dog didn’t appear aggressive, but he was concerned about her running loose. It was Collins’ son who used his cell phone to shoot the video of police shooting the dog.
The dog was sitting inside the garage when police Tased her, got a catchpole around her neck and then, as she squirmed to get free, shot at her five times.
“An animal control agent was able to place a ‘catchpole’ around the dog’s neck,” Commerce City Police said in an intitial statement. “The pit bull remained extremely agitated and continued to attempt to attack the animal control agent. Due to the dog’s size and aggressive demeanor, it could not be controlled on the catchpole. For the safety of the animal control agent and the community, a police officer shot and killed the dog.”
Collins said it appeared to him the dog was simply trying to run away from the officers.
“I totally disagree with it, totally,” Collins said. “The dog was not attacking people and that’s not what I said when I called 911.”
Commerce City Police Detective Mike Saunders said the video is being reviewed: “We need time to look at the video. We need time to look over the officer’s report. And we need time to speak to the officer before we can comment.” Saunders said.
9NEWS dropped off a copy of the video at the Commerce City Police station Sunday.
Alicia Hall, an animal behavior technician with the Dumb Friends League who reviewed the video for 9 News, said:
“The animal could still potentially be a danger, but if the catchpole is being used appropriately, the animal should be restrained safely. As far as I can see from the video, it looks like the dog actually walked right into the catchpole as it was coming out of the garage and was safely restrained.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, catch pole, catchpole, chloe, colorado, commerce city, dog, loose, pit bull, police, shoot, shooting, shot, video
Warning: This video is graphic and disturbing
A video posted on the Internet reportedly shows soldiers in Colombia using a dog for target practice.
The video, taken with a cell phone, shows four officers joking as they tie the animal to a tree, shoot it and laugh while it yelps.
Later, the dog — identified in some reports as a trained detection dog — is struck with the butt of a rifle and, once it regains consciousness, appears to be picked up and thrown.
The unnamed soldiers are reported to be from Infantry Battalion Magdalena 27.
The New York Daily News said the incident happened four months ago in the jungle near the town of Pitalito, but didn’t come to light until this past weekend when a video clip was uploaded to YouTube.
Army Colonel Fabian Estevez is quoted in the South American press as saying the dog miraculously survived the incident and had since been treated for its injuries and “was doing fine.”
The four soldiers who were filmed shooting at the dog have been identified, but face no charges, according to Colombia Reports.
“But this is a regrettable and despicable act from the point of view of the National Army,” Estevez said. “Some young soldiers in an unusual game committed an act of indiscipline which will be subject to investigation of military justice.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, army, cell phone, cellphone, colombia, colombian, Colonel, cruelty, detection, disturbing, dog, dogs, Fabian Estevez, graphic, infantry, internet, magdalena 27, pets, posted, practice, shoot, sniffer, soldiers, south america, target, video, youtube
His owner wants an apology.
“I don’t want anything else out of this,” said Robby King of Smyrna. “This is life changing for me. Luke was such a big part of my life and I didn’t realize what all I did with him until now.”
The 6-year-old chocolate lab was shot by a Cobb County police officer Sunday, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.
A spokesman for the Cobb County Police Department told the newspaper that, while he could not discuss the incident, the two officers involved “followed proper protocol.”
King, 45, says he accidentally triggered the burlgar alarm at his home Sunday afternoon, and couldn’t remember the password required to turn it off.
Two Cobb County police officers, identified as J.P. Gibson and G. M. Roach, responded.
Roach, in his report, said that when he opened the back door of the home and announced he was a police officer a “large brown dog” came running toward him, “barking aggressively.”
According to his report — and we’ll admit to not understanding this part – he didn’t close the door because it would have put him in “immediate risk of danger from the unknown that was inside the residence.”
He continues: “While quickly retreating out of the patio, the large brown dog continued to charge toward me in an aggressive manner while continuously barking at me as he advanced on me. The large dog closed the distance between me and him in less than three seconds. I fired one round at the large dog and it continued charging me in an aggressive manner as if the dog’s main focus was attacking and harming me. I fired one more round at the large dog and it immediately collapsed falling to its left side in the grass.”
Did he mention it was a large dog?
Gibson’s report described things more briefly: ”A dog began to bark and came at Officer Roach. Officer Roach shot the dog.”
King says he never heard the officers announce their presence.
“… I heard Luke bark and I said, ‘Luke come,’ as I was headed through the house … I heard a pop, pop and as I was headed out the door, I said, ‘Oh God, please don’t shoot my dog,’ and Luke was laying there, gasping for air.”
King said Luke always barked when someone was at the door.
“… If the officer had just stopped, Luke would have gone up to him and just sniffed him and probably would have gone and gotten a ball to fetch. I know the (officer) didn’t know that, but my point is that he didn’t have to shoot my dog. He could have shot up in the air, maced him, kicked him, whatever he wanted to do. He wouldn’t have bit him.”
Police also said they were told by a neighbor that Luke had bitten her.
The neighbor, though, who is also King’s sister, told the Daily Journal that police apparently misunderstood her. She said she told them she’d recent been bitten by another dog, a Chihuahua.
“The reason I said that was because I was trying to point out to them that this little dog bit me and Luke never even bit nobody,” she said.
King, who adopted Luke when the dog was six months old, buried him near the garden in his backyard late Sunday night.
“I haven’t been able to stop crying. This was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” he said.
(Photo by Todd Hull / Marietta Daily Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apology, burglar alarm, chocolate, chocolate lab, Cobb County, cool hand luke, dog, dogs, georgia, kill, lab, labrador, luke, marietta, pet, pets, police, robby king, shoot, shooting
And much more quickly than police seemed to go to the aid of anybody when the incident — all captured on video – transpired in the East Village two weeks ago.
An Animal Care and Control spokesman told the New York Daily News Saturday that Star is quickly recovering from the gunshot, and that her medical bills — about $10,000 worth so far — have been paid for with donations to a special fund set up for the wounded dog.
Star was shot when she lunged at a police officer approaching her owner, said to be a homeless man with epilepsy, as he lay on the sidewalk in the throes of a seizure.
For several long minutes thereafter, as more police arrived, none appeared to go the aid of either the dog, or her owner, Lech Stankiewicz.
By Friday, Stankiewicz had not reclaimed Star, giving animal control legal ownership. The agency expects to hand custody over to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals when Star has fully recovered.
The Daily News reported last week that the shooting was not the first encounter Star had with police.
On June 19, according to the report, Star attacked a 22-year-old friend of Stankiewicz when she tried to prevent the dog from lunging at a police officer. The woman was treated for bite wounds to her arms and chest.
Star was seized by authorities after that, but a rescue organization called CollideNYC helped reunite dog and owner two weeks later.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alliance for animals, animal, animal control, bills, collide nyc, condition, dogs, donations, epilepsy, homeless, Lech Stankiewicz, new york, new york city, nyc, owner, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, recovering, recovery, seizure, shoot, shooting, star, veterinary
This video — and we warn that you might not want to watch it — shows New York City police shooting a pit bull that was seemingly trying to protect her owner, who was in the midst of a seizure.
It was an act that enraged many onlookers when it happened — on Aug. 13 – and many more in the week since the video was posted on the Internet.
Most early reports about the incident were sketchy, and the facts — even 10 days later — still don’t seem to have fully come out. Other than these:
Lech Stankiewicz apparently suffered a seizure and ended up halfway on the sidewalk, halfway on the street. His dog Star stood by him.
As can be seen at the beginning of the video, a female bystander, apparently wanting to offer some assistance to the man, gets too close and is chased off by the dog. The dog then turns around and runs toward a police officer — one of at least two on the scene by then, both of whom had their guns drawn.
The first officer shoots the dog, and it appears the second one fires as well, leaving Star whimpering and writhing on the street.
The nine long minutes that follow are almost equally disturbing. No one goes to the aid of the dog, no one goes to the aid of the man, and police, whose numbers have swelled by then, seem concerned only with crowd control as both man and dog lay in the street.
Some websites were quick to report that Star had been “murdered” by police — like this outraged account on Gather.com – but she’s still alive.
Star was taken to Animal Care and Control (ACC) of NYC, but that organization saw fit, at least initially, to release no information.
The Lexus Project, which provides legal defense for dogs it thinks are being treated unfairly and is looking into the case, released a statement, but it didn’t say much either:
“We know that so many of you are concerned, worried and outraged about Star. This is an update and although I know you want more but please respect this is all we are permitted to say at this time. Star is very much alive and receiving medical care and holding her own. We will update as soon as we are permitted to. Thank you for your support and understanding.”
The video appeared on the Gothamist website and subsequently has been shown on many others.
Not to jump to too large a conclusion, but watching the video — and the inaction of authorities, other than shooting Star — suggests to me that police may need more training for dealing with dogs, not to mention dealing with epileptic seizures.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal care and control, animal control, animals, control, crowd, dog, dogs, epilepsy, law enforcement, Lech Stankiewicz, lexus project, new york, new york city, nyc, pets, pit bull, pitbull, police, seizure, shoot, shooting, shot, sidewalk, star, street, training, video
“My question is why did the police officer use a gun and not his Mace, his Taser or his stick, or call animal control,” said Amy McDonald.
McDonald, along with her dog, Bullet, was visiting her father on the Virginia island, when Bullet and his brother ventured off.
Chincoteague Police Chief Eddie Lewis said the dog, a pit bull just over a year old, was running off his leash and had cornered a nearby resident and his son in a barn when police arrived, according to DelmarvaNow.com
The chief said the dog growled at Cpl. Kenneth Reese who “just didn’t have a whole lot of time to react.”
The gunshot hit Bullet in the jaw and chest.
McDonald and her 8-year-old daughter were trying to find the dogs when they heard the shot.
McDonald took Bullet to a Maryland animal hospital. She said the dog’s injuries are expected to take as long as eight weeks to heal. She was issued two tickets for her dogs being unleashed. She said the dogs wouldn’t have hurt the officer. “They’re the biggest sissies you’ve ever seen in your life.”
Lewis said the officer was aware of other dog attacks in recent years, including the mauling of a prominent public official’s granddaughter. In 2009, the six-year-old great granddaughter of Accomack County Supervisor Wanda Thornton was attacked by a dog identified in news reports as a pit bull.
“He’s aware of what damage a pit bull will do if they get ahold of you,” Lewis said of the officer.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amy mcdonald, animals, bullet, chincoteague, dog, dogs, eddie lewis, force, gun, island, kenneth reese, officer, pets, pit bull, police, police chief, shoot, shot, virginia
“A good shoot” is how police in Pembroke Pines, Florida, are describing the shooting of Baxter, an Australian shepherd officers opened fire on outside his owner’s home.
The 6-year-old Australian Shepherd was shot at least three times Friday night inside the gated Lido Isle neighborhood.
Police went to the house after receiving a call from a citizen who reported the dog was loose in front of the owner’s house.
The dog’s owner, Frank Jones, said Baxter was already back inside the house when police arrived, but the front door was open and the dog ran out.
His son, Cameron Jones, 13, went outside to get Baxter, who was barking at officers. “They said get your dog or we’re gonna shoot him,” the boy told Local 10 News. Two seconds later, according to the boy, they did.
Police officials said the dog bit an officer’s shoe.
Baxter was still alive Saturday (you can see video of him, not looking too ferocious, in this news report). He was being treated at a Cooper City animal clinic.
A Pembroke Pines police spokesman said the shooting was justified: “It was a good shoot,” said Pembroke Pines Police Sgt. Chris Chacon-Chang. “The officer was being attacked.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, australian shepherd, baxter, community, dog, dogs, florida, force, gated, good shoot, guns, house, officers, outside, own yard, pembroke pines, pets, police, shoot, yard