"Law Enforcement Today" Article Advices Police Not To Kill Family Dogs
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2867
    http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2013/07/law-enforcement-today-article-advises-police-not-to-kill-family-dogs/

    Highlighted passages:

    If “regular” citizens can receive up to a 20-year prison sentence for killing a police dog (many of which have viciously attacked people, unable to distinguish between ordinary citizens and “perps”), then why is there such a double standard for police officers? Why are they above the law and the people they are meant to protect and serve? It seems that more and more these days, we need protection from them.

    Well, police now can be held accountable in the case of wrongful death of a dog. It is illegal for officers to seize a dog by deadly physical force unless the actions taken are deemed objectively reasonable pursuant to the Fourth Amendment. Law enforcement officers know about objective reasonableness when using force against humans (though not all of them apply it), it is new for courts to recognize that this can apply to dogs killed in the line of duty.

    When courts sets precedents in their rulings, it can take a long time for police law to catch up. At a conference attended by Gaffney last month, he learned from Chicago attorney Laura Scarry that shooting a family dog could be considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment. This amendment grants US citizens the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, protected from unreasonable arrests and seizures. Federal courts are now recognizing a dog as an “effect.”

    This precedent is the result of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the case of Fuller v Vines, 36 F.3d 65,68 (9th Cir. 1994), where it was ruled in favor of the defendant and enabled protection of dogs against wrongful death. The Bill of Rights has flexibility that allows for changes to be made as societal expectations change, and many in society want their dogs to be protected not only by the law, but from it.
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-13 18:22:31
  • NanookNanook
    Posts: 111
    i don't know if you saw but there was a video that went sort of viral of a nypd officer who was trying to arrest a bum on the street and he had a dog with him and officers from what was shown were forceful with the man (he caught a seizure attack) and his dog didn't like what the officers were doing and he started barking at the officers and running around them (not once did he actually bite them though) and 1 minute into the video and one of the officers shot the dog point blank range in the head you can hear the people yelling at the cops etc...was a very sad video happened in times square
  • *JackBurton**JackBurton*
    Posts: 1369
    "started barking at the officers and running around them (not once did he actually bite them though)"

    Actually biting would be WAY to late. Everyone has a right to believe whatever they want. If your view is that officers need to do what ever it takes to restrain an animal without shooting, then you need to be willing to accept the fact that officers will be trained to do so in the future. So that same officer will try to do anything but shoot, when a stray dog is lunging and growling around a child as a park, or beach etc. What does the officer do then?

    I know that this is an unpopular view but public safety follows policy and training. Maybe the solution is for municipalities to expand animal servies so that they can be called on scene for things like this.
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  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2867
    Sean, its all about objective reasonableness. Nothing should be taken to the extreme in either direction.

    Something is very wrong when the first response to seeing a dog is to unload a clip into it. Even ignoring that the dog may not have been threatening at all, they don't try scaring it with a shot in the air or siren, or mace/pepper spray, or the baton, or shooting to injur, or even only firing one shot.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-14 12:36:08
  • *JackBurton**JackBurton*
    Posts: 1369
    "shot in the air " so where does the bullet land?

    The basic rule of first response is not to make yourself a victim. Some of these videos are wrong, I'll give you that -but- no department is going to green light their personel to assume additional risk. They might get trained differently or might try to get control of the situation before they need to shoot but this wont be the last time we see an animal shooting.

    "Something is very wrong when the first response to seeing a dog is to unload a clip into it." Really all of these videos document the moment of first contact to the conclusion. I look at the Hawthorn video and I see a dog jump out of car and get shot when it lunges at the PD. The only video the puzzles me is the one where they shoot the dog after the snare it.

    The key to all of this is scene safety. Your definition of scene safety and mine are two different things.
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    Post edited by *JackBurton* at 2013-07-14 13:00:39
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3975
    I never get why they shoot when many areas (including NYC) requires officers to also carry a taser to subdue culprits. I'd rather my dog get shocked from the taser than shot by a gun.
    image
  • *JackBurton**JackBurton*
    Posts: 1369
    Now that is a good question. I have no clue either.
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    Post edited by *JackBurton* at 2013-07-14 13:52:32
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2867
    The problem is they have no concept of "scene safety" and instead go for "shoot first and don't even bother asking questions later."
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  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3219
    "On May 13, Colorado became the first state to pass requiring law enforcement officers to complete training on how to assess if a dog encountered on a call poses a threat" - AKC Family Dog magazine July/Aug 2013.

    It's called the Dog Protection Act, senate bill #13-226- this is kindof a dopey magazine, but Im just posting it up as a relevant lead one could look into, if one was looking for an example of a law...
  • The reason they don't taze the dogs is because they only work while the dog is being tazed. Departments are going to be worried that once they stop tazing, you're just going to have a mad dog trying to get to your officer (besides, aren't actual Tasers short range? I know my officers are equipped with stun guns that have range but I thought Tasers were melee only?). Same thing with riot spray, there's the worry that it won't work on an aggressive dog.

    Much of the time, it seems that these situations amount to this: dog is loose and then lunges/barks/growls at officer. Officer shoots dogs. As much as I hate seeing dogs die over this, because most of the time it's the stupidity of the owner causing the situation, I have to admit, I don't see a better solution. I'm not going to ask officers to risk their own safety over a dog. It's not the dog's fault, but that doesn't mean we should be putting the officer at risk by making them jump through a lot of hoops (such as riot spray, tazers, etc) which may not be effective before letting them protect themselves in the way that will actually be effective.

    That said, I do like the idea of this standard applying because there are situations where I dog really is doing nothing and gets shot. For instance, I always hate it when I hear that the dog did nothing other than "charge" the officer. That's often code for breed bias as opposed to an actual threat because you can be pretty sure that if it were a golden retriever "charging" instead of a pit bull or whatever, it would be interpreted as friendly instead of threatening. There have been a lot of cases, mixed right in with the justified ones, where officers have been too free in using their weapons. They simply use their weapons because a dog might be a threat and it's "just a dog" rather than a person who they will get in huge trouble for shooting.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3663
    You know what it really comes down to? Do you trust the police to protect you (and dogs) and be reasonable or not? I'm afraid I do not. That's what happens when you are a person of color in this country. I also live very near a city that has the third highest rate of use of unnecessary force and police brutality against citizens (Albuquerque is after NYC and LA). So do I trust the police to make the right decision? I very much do not. I have more faith in the Bernalillo County Sheriff (probably because several of them are my neighbors).

    Many, many of the cases of shooting dogs have been overreaction. A woman in NM not too long ago had police coming to talk to her about a call she'd made (a minor call, not a 911 call) and she waited and they didn't show up, so she left, leaving her elderly GSD mix outside. They came to check on something that was not important, the dog barked at the intruders, as it should, and they shot and killed the dog and left it on her porch. There have been a lot of totally unnecessary shootings of dogs by police, like this and so I'm very pleased to see that article, though given how many other problems there are with unreasonable use of force against humans, I doubt it's going to do very much good.

    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • *JackBurton**JackBurton*
    Posts: 1369
    How the hell did color get into this topic? NS gave a great response as to how it works from a department standpoint.



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  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3663
    It got into it because it is a fact of life, at least my life. I was saying why I don't trust cops for the most part, and that ties to this issue too. This the America we live in. I realize half the world doesn't want to think it is a fact of life, but sorry, that's not the world I live in.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2013-07-14 16:28:58
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2867
    I live in a city which employs questionably legal tactics called the "Bad Apple Program" where they use the full extent of the law (and then some) to harass people that City Hall doesn't like until they get fed up and move. They imploy such practices as having the local police become qualified city inspectors, falsifying "anonymous" complaints about the property, and having the "city inspector" come out to verify the complaint. An inspector cannot be denied access and does not need a warrant. If he "happens" to see something illegal during the inspection he will take action as a police officer. They show up at the house in street clothes not police uniforms and act like THUGS. We've had this happen multiple times, including a cop in civvies waving a gun in my husband's face for having Sudafed and coffee filters in a house -- clearly, a meth lab. The truly ludicrous thing is that they're PROUD of the Bad Apple Program and brag about it on the city website.

    So do I trust the cops? In this city? FUCK NO.

    EDIT: We are "fortunate" not to actually be on the list for the Bad Apple Program. It was my brother-in-law whom they wanted to run out of town. They succeeded. My husband bought the house from him before we were married, and was still persecuted by the city non-stop for four years after Dave moved out. When one final utility that had been forgotten about was changed into our name suddenly the harassment stopped.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-14 17:13:52
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3663
    My god. That's nightmarish.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • @poeticdragon Can I get a link to the city website talking about this? It's only somewhat related, but 4th Amendment law is one of my "things" and I'm sort of curious to see an official statement about how the program works and whatnot and see if I can find any litigation about it.

    And I do think that there have been some pretty horrific shootings of dogs that have gone on, but oddly enough I think it's the more justifiable one that seem to be getting media attention. For instance, I've seen a lot about a shooting where a guy's Rottweiler jumped out of a car when his own was being arrested. Now, I watched it with the sound off and can't comment on the righteousness of the arrest or anything like that, but I have thought it is weird how outraged people are about a dog who actually lunged twice at an officer being shot. There are so many worse dog shootings by police of dogs, ones that are not at all justifiable, but this one gets focused on.

    The media attention on shooting of dogs by police is a really mixed bag, much like the media attention on so many things.
  • *JackBurton**JackBurton*
    Posts: 1369
    I guess I fall into the other half. I'll be painting everyone with a giant broad brush. ><<br />
    NS - they are LA County Sherriff
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    Post edited by *JackBurton* at 2013-07-14 18:12:25
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2867
    @NotoriousScrat I am attempting to find it for you. It was originally in an article/e-newsletter about the state of the city ~5 years ago. I'm having trouble finding it on the site now, their archives may not go back that far.

    This is the homepage if you want to look, too: http://www.lakewoodcity.org/

    EDIT: Going COMPLETELY off topic now, Lakewood is also proud of its Sky Knight program:
    http://www.lakewoodcity.org/more/emagazine_archive/sky_knight_helicopter_program.asp

    We have helicopters buzzing our house or hovering over it for hours on end multiple times a week. I have become so used to it I don't notice except that I often have to remove helicopter noise from my home videos. We can hear them using a loudspeaker sometimes, stuff like "pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and wait for law enforcement to arrive." Yep, they use the chopper as a traffic cop.
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-15 03:03:37
  • ArcticArctic
    Posts: 16
    Ah, yes. The militarization of our police departments. Many are determined to deny this is happening. I grew up in Morris County, New Jersey. It is routinely ranked among the counties in the country with the highest median income (a flawed statistic, of course, but it does provide some context). Despite there being very little to no violent crime, our police officers routinely wear military-style BDUs and fatigues and carry MP-5s in their squad cars. Makes me feel very safe.

    Sorry, I digress, but I would not trust a police officer around my dog, even though she's a little Shiba. The police had to come to my home due to something my roommate said to his ex-girlfriend, and you can bet that the second they stepped inside I picked up my dog and removed her from the situation. Paranoid? A bit, but I figured it's also courteous and you never know what might happen.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3663
    Off topic, but on the topic of the last couple of posts, I find the ways in which people are willing to give up rights for an illusion of safety to be very, very frightening. I think both those posts point to that.

    Yeah, I'm not trusting anyone with our dogs either. My nearish neighbor is in the sheriff's dept, and he has dogs, and he's admired Oskar before and we've talked about big dogs (he has a great dane), so I figure he's safe, but I'm not sure about his colleagues. The thing is, in our neighborhood, many people have the same set up as we do, which is you cannot get to the door of the house without going through the yard, and our dogs are out there, and you're not getting through the dogs. I like this set up most of the time, and I note that when there were a string of burglaries in the area, no one who had that set up with dogs was burglarized. But of course, it also means no one else can get to the door. Any law enforcement officer who works in a rural or semi-rural area like this should know how to interact with dogs without using deadly force.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • I think there can be so much variability in how someone behaves. Policy is really important in guiding the issue. Ideally, there should be an attempt to de-escalate situations (in non-extreme or unclear circumstances) before lethal force is deployed.

    @jackburton - I know you seem to strongly disagree with @shibamistress on this, but I think she does have a point. Race does affect the perception of actions and how innocuous or threatening they are. @notoriousscrat made the same point about breed bias. The point is that without official policy and training aimed towards the kind of assessment that doesn't just leave everything up to the discretion of an individual, this will continue to be an issue. Some cops are great and some are to put it mildly, jerks. No one wants an outcome that's entirely dependent on one's luck in having the former or the latter come to your property.

    I went to school in New Haven and some times my friends would wait for me outside a shop when I ran a quick errand. Half the time I would emerge from the store 5-10 minutes later and find cops questioning my friends as to what they were doing and requesting their student id, etc. I would turn to my friends and thank them for waiting for me while I ran inside and then turn and politely ask the cops if I could help them with anything. Inevitably they would mumble a polite apology to me (and my friends, if they had any shame) and just leave. Never once while I was the one waiting outside was I questioned by the cops, or asked to prove that I attended the school. It doesn't feel good for anyone when a friend gets to be nicknamed the "get out of jail free card."

    That to me is a prime example of how a variable that shouldn't affect the perception and assessment of a wholly innocuous situation, does affect situations. I don't think @shibamistress is wrong in bringing up the fact that this happens. I am wholly in agreement with you that there does need to be better training and policy though. That's what helps prevent these other variables from playing too primary of a role when it comes to assessment.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3975
    To kind of follow along the lines of what @shibamistress and @violet_in_seville have brought up:



    There are always a lot of factors in how people respond, and no one can claim that they haven't formed some sort of stereotyping on people that caused them to give a negative response/outlook. The same happens to dogs thus why so much hate on the bully breeds.
    image
  • MapleTwinkieMapleTwinkie
    Posts: 651
    Articles like this make me roll my eyes.

    Police Officers are people. Most likely they own dogs as well. I doubt that any one of them would shoot a dog if they didn't have to.

    Most of the time, police officers do NOT have the luxury of time to assess whether or not a dog will attack. They don't take the chance because they need to get the job done.

    Are we going to impose more penalties on people who are just trying to save our lives and protect the community? What if that moment of hesitation "oh here comes a rushing dog, well, if I shoot it I could go to jail...." winds up costing the life of the officer and the life of the person he was trying to save? Unless you've been in dangerous situations and have risked your life in order to save others, it's really not fair for you to critcize or comment.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3663
    There have been a lot of cases of dogs shot when it was certainly not a matter of life and death:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/questions-after-officer-shoots-dog-new-mexico

    This one has a list of dogs shot by police:

    http://www.petsadviser.com/news/dogs-shot-by-police/


    Or what about the numerous cases of dogs shot in total mix ups of warrant serving, etc?

    http://www.khou.com/news/texas-news/212140001.html

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/texas-man-claims-police-killed-dog-cisco-responding/story?id=16150874#.UeR0CmTF35g



    There can ALWAYS be better training, more ways to deal with this. That would be true for anyone, law enforcement or not. There is always more to learn. And I'm pretty scared by the idea that the authorities are always right and should never be questioned.

    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2013-07-15 18:24:40
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2867
    I see two or three articles A MONTH on my facebook about dogs shot by police. Now sometimes people overreact, but sometimes the officer was clearly in the wrong. I'm not bringing up any specific cases because it doesn't matter.

    The point of the article is that now there may be an investigation and trial in the case of a wrongful death of a canine companion. Citizens now have some recourse when their pets are killed out of hand, and HOPEFULLY police departments will find dealing with these cases to be a financial burden and train their officers better. If we don't need to cite precedent, if it never comes up again in court, then that is FANTASTIC -- it means that we've solved the problem, eliminated the cause, and prevented future tragedy. But should it ever happen again at any time, now there is legal ground to stand on for the family affected by such tragedy.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-15 19:20:43
  • I think @poeticdragon is pretty on the money here. A reasonable standard is a very good thing. If we're going to be entrusting law enforcement with the power we do, then we need to have recourses to make sure it's used responsibly. That is going to me that we will be demanding that police officers react appropriately under high pressure situations. They encounter these situations every day and need to be able to react appropriately. If they cannot make correct decisions in high pressure situations and not hurt innocents, then that may not mean they're bad people, but it does mean that they should not be a police officer. Not everyone can be a police officer. It's a hard job. However, that doesn't mean a free pass. It means better training so that we can set them up to succeed and being willing to admit when someone shouldn't be doing that job and removing them from it.

    One thing I will note, though, about the standard that this article is about is that it has only been adopted in the 9th Circuit; it's not nationwide and frankly I wouldn't hold my breath that the rest of the federal circuits will be adopting it any time soon. California and the 9th Circuit are widely regarded in legal circles as being a little off their rocker and more willing to throw away good, common law rules (especially in torts) than they should be and instead instituting overly individualized rules that are hard to apply so this may well be regarded by other circuits with suspicion. That said, it's a good standard so I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the less conservative circuits at least take a look at it in coming years.

    Finally, a note about the situations the dogs and officers are in: one thing to remember is that as outrageous as it may seem to one, just because an officer is on someone's property without their permission doesn't mean the law will see it the same way. Generally speaking, in the common law, there is something called a licensee. That includes both people you invite onto your property and people who are allowed to be there simply by virtue of law---think meter readers, process servers, police coming to check out a disturbance and even people like door to door salesmen as long as you don't have a sign up specifically excluding them. Now, these people only have the right to accomplish their purpose (read the meter and then get out, serve someone and then get out, knock on the door to try and sell a product then get out, etc) and not break into the house or something (only the legal owner is going to be able to break into the house), but they do have the right. Many dogs might regard them as intruders, but legally they aren't (obviously this varies somewhat by specific state, insert disclaimer about me not be a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction, etc) and if something happens because the dog thinks they're an intruder but legally they're entitled to be there, well then that's going to be the fault of the dog owner, not the person coming on their property. More importantly, if the dog gets hurt while the person tries to defend themselves then they're going to be within their rights to do so. This is really one of those places where I think one needs to do their best to try and set their dog up for success if at all possible. They won't know the person is an intruder and may even be using good sense in defending their property but they're only a dog and they don't know the law and it's something that could get them hurt without recourse.

    I think one thing to remember in all of this is that the dog can be right in the dog's mind and from the dog's perspective and, once the situation has arisen, using force against the dog can still be okay. The best way to handle that sort of thing is to remember that dog owner need to prevent incidents too. For instance, if I was going to be lawfully arrested for good reason, that might upset my dog. He might legitimately and understandably think he needs to protect me and go after the arresting officer. The answer there isn't to let the dog go after the officer (and I'm not saying anyone is saying that is the answer), but instead to prevent the problem by confining the dog (which, as long as officers don't think you need to be arrested right then due to posing an immediate threat, etc, they should let you do).
  • *JackBurton**JackBurton*
    Posts: 1369
    I think my biggest complaint with this topic is the concept of all uniformed officers are bad or biased. Public perception is that uniformed officers can do no wrong but that is far from the truth. I've personally seen the public call and make complaints on some of the dumbest stuff ever. Investigations never ever end up with personnel walking away clean.

    I don't walk in your shoes, I don't know your life experiences. But I try not to lump everyone in a given category.
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    Post edited by *JackBurton* at 2013-07-16 15:27:55
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2867
    Bottom line: Its not acceptable to kill somebody's pet without good reason. If a pet is shot by an officer, they should be able to prove there was good reason. If there wasn't, there should be some recourse for the victims. Without consequences, people will not change their behaviors. Its that simple.

    If you believe that all pets are killed for good reason and all cops always follow "scene safety", then it should hold up under an investigation and in court. There is no problem.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-16 17:00:29
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3663
    Bottom line: Its not acceptable to kill somebody's pet without good reason. If a pet is shot by an officer, they should be able to prove there was good reason. If there wasn't, there should be some recourse for the victims. Without consequences, people will not change their behaviors. Its that simple.

    If you believe that all pets are killed for good reason and all cops always follow "scene safety", then it should hold up under an investigation and in court. There is no problem.


    Exactly.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)

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