10. July 2014 · Comments Off on Police Shelter Dog Program Cancelled Due to Excessive Fatalities · Categories: Blog Miscellania

An experimental program to train shelter dogs for obedience and service to the disabled has been cancelled shortly after it began. The “Cops and Canines” program run by the county animal welfare agency was intended to allow volunteer police officers to be paired with a dog from a local shelter, and the two would attend basic obedience and Canine Good Citizen classes together. Four weeks later, there were no graduates and no survivors.

Spokeswoman Janice Hardy described the tragic breakdown of the plan: “It was just totally unpredictable. We lost more than half of the animals on the first day of introductions. The dogs were a little excitable on meeting their trainers for the first time. Little did we know that when they ‘lunged’ on the end of their leads at the police trainers, the officers would be forced to defend themselves with their service weapons. Over 500 rounds were expended in the first hour.”

Officer Timothy Walkens of the Southern Precinct, who unloaded his pistol into a 15-pound cairn terrier after it refused to respond to¬† “drop it” and growled when its squeaky toy was taken away, explains his actions.

“When I approached the subject animal, it was guarding its Wubba aggressively. When I attempted to remove the contraband, the suspect later identified as “Colin” adopted a defensive posture and resisted arrest. I had no choice but to use deadly force. I felt threatened. Canines are unpredictable, and we have to take the appropriate safety precautions.”

Officer Bill Graul, shortly before he was forced to fatally shoot the dogs pictured for "failing to obey a lawful order."

Officer Bill Graul, shortly before he was forced to fatally shoot the dogs pictured for “failing to obey a lawful order.”

County Police Chief Angela Shepherd was contacted about the failure of the pilot program.

“These officers responded to situations where they thought their safety was in jeopardy, and acted according to their training. It’s an unfortunate outcome, but entirely in keeping with departmental procedure.”

The final blow to the project came on Thursday, when Patrolman Leonard Higgins was forced to discharge his 12-gauge riot gun into the four remaining trainees when all of them advanced on him after failing to heed a “stay” command. He has since been reassigned to the animal control detail.

In response to queries about why officers participating in the sessions couldn’t just leave their weapons outside the facility, a police union spokesman replied, “In no circumstances will we allow a law enforcement officer to be put in a situation where their personal security could be compromised. Every uniformed policeman or woman has a right to protect themselves as they feel appropriate.”

In a related story, 24 additional dogs are dead after a SWAT team responded to a patrol officer’s report of a pack of unrestrained canines on county land. It was later determined to be the community off-leash dog park. The department has refused comment as of publication.

 

Of course, this is thinly-disguised satire. But pretty much every excuse here has been used by some officer to explain why they were forced to use lethal force as their first option when encountering a dog. Police-related shootings of dogs – family pets – are on the rise, and firearms have become the go-to response to any off-leash, barking, or perceived protective canine; even if your dog is contained in your yard or house when police are present. If you think there are better ways of dealing with canines than shooting them, make your voice known to your police leadership and local government.

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