Animal Advocates

Proposed Bill Would Require Police Training on Dog Encounters

As the number of police-on-dog shootings continue to rise – studies have estimated that half of all intentional police shots fired are aimed at our four-legged family members – California lawmakers are proposing a bill that would require mandatory police training on dog encounters.

madatory police training on dog encounters

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that at least 10,000 dogs are shot and killed by police nationwide. While a very small percentage of these shootings are considered justified, a vast majority are easily avoidable with a better understanding of dog behavior, body language, and alternative responses when unexpectedly encountering a dog.

In response to the growing problem of police-on-dog shootings, State Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian introduced Bill AB-1199, more commonly known as the Police-Canine Encounters Protection Act, which would require mandatory canine encounter training for police officers across the entire state of California.

With between 37 and 47% of the U.S. population sharing their homes with dogs, police can expect to encounter a family dog about as often as they can expect not to. Yet, police are largely untrained in how to appropriately handle a dog encounter.

“AB 1199 Police-Canine Encounters Protection Act will require mandatory in-service canine encounter training to California peace officers on how to both quickly and safely respond to unexpected situations when encountering a dog.  This invaluable training will give them the tools to protect themselves as well as the life of a treasured canine family member,” said Judie Mancuso, president of Social Compassion In Legislation.

Dog attacks on police are very rare – in fact, no police officer in recorded history has ever been killed by a dog. In many cases, dogs are shot in and around their homes, inside fenced backyards, and while tethered or leashed when they growl, bark, or lunge at an officer that enters their space.

“Attacked is one thing, but the videos of the animals being shot is far from being attacked,” said Mancuso.

The bill calls for state-wide mandatory police training on dog encounters that would help officers understand the behavior and body language of dogs, and how to use non-lethal force.

The Police-Canine Encounters Protection Act training will include:

  • Understanding the behavior and body language of dogs
  • Tactical considerations and best practices during encounters involving dogs
  • Safe and appropriate use of non-lethal force in handling dog encounters
  • Supplementary training two years after the original training

“Police officers want this training and dog owners want this training, it’s a win-win for everyone,” stated Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian. “Police officers without proper training are too often stuck in a terrible lose-lose situation. We need to proactively train police officers to ensure that they feel safe, and our family dogs are safe.”

Similar laws recently been enacted in Colorado and Texas have proven effective in reducing the number of police-on-dog shootings.

Would you support this bill in your own state? Weigh in with a comment below!

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Elaine Havens

    May 13, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    I have been hoping for this kind of training for police officers!! Too many innocent dogs are being killed by police officers who have no clue how to interpret dog behavior. They shoot the dog to get him out of the way or they are afraid of the dog, even Goldens. Most are harmless family pets. In any case, most dogs, unless Pit Bulls, can be backed down by yelling at them. Pit Bulls are in a very different category than regular dogs and different rules should probably apply to them. Because of all the police killings of dogs my husband and I have developed a plan. If a police officer comes to the front gate one of us puts our dog in a crate in the house and covers it. Only then will we let a police officer in the house. I do worry about a police officer jumping our fence to find someone and our dog is out there, but he is never outside unless we are home. We also had another rule. If we are out walking our dog and a police officer approaches we will have our dog sit and we will stand in front of him. How sad it has come to this!!

  2. Sandie Abel

    May 3, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    I think that police officers could be successfully trained to understand dog behavior AND–wait for it–human behavior as well. "shoot first, ask questions later is bad police policy.

  3. Lee

    May 3, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    They need to understand most dogs protecting their family & property

  4. Mary

    May 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    YES!!!!! I would most definitely support this Bill.

  5. Laurie Mann

    May 2, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Buffalo NY desperately needs this to be law!!

  6. Susan

    May 1, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Of course I would support this bill in my state (Texas). I agree with Jim that the training should be necessary for police officers across the country.

  7. Donna

    May 1, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    I would support this bill. Far too many family dogs are shot for no good reason. So many of the dog/animal laws should be changed.

  8. Elizabeth McFarland

    May 1, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    CA does not do much correctly, but this is one I support completely and every state should have every law enforcement officer go through this type of training. So far the only ones killed have been pets (I prefer to think of them as four footed family members), but if law enforcement does not learn how to safely interact with peoples four footed family members, it is going to lead to worse actions and that is not an acceptable thing to happen as an officer could end up being mortally wounded or killed by a very irate four footed family member " human parent," or "human sibling." I have been waiting for that to occur as in our fur animal kids, their lives are just as important as any one. God made ALL creation, not just humans and we are suppose to protect and care for every part of creation, not just human lives.

  9. OLIVIA HUFFSTICKLER

    May 1, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Yes this bill should be mandatory in every state!! Too many dogs are being shot by police!! What do you expect a dog to do when you enter their living space, lick you? Most dogs will try to protect their living space by attack! Just like police dogs are trained to attack, most family pets will attack when their space is invaded!

  10. Joan

    May 1, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Yes, every state MUST have the same Police-Canine Encounters Protection Act. What sense is it if all of U.S. do not do the same. All abuse of animals goes against everything I believe in. Like the Newfoundland in Burien, Wash. was shot several time by 2 police officer's just seeing the dog walking down a residential sidewalk. It was going to visit a neighbor and was lonely that day.
    It got in to the neighbors fenced yard and that is were the 2 bad cops killed her. Her name was Josie, a very gentle god. the neighbor witness this and tried to stop it. Such poor attitude from the 2 policeman as they said on their walk-ie talkies "let's get this dog and kill him. "SHAMEFUL TO SAY THE LEAST. JOSIE TRIED HARRD TO HIDE IN THE NEIGHBORS BUSHES, BUT THEY FOUND HER. AND THEY KILLED HER.

  11. Suzanne

    May 1, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    I absolutely would like to see All police officer's be required to have training on dog encounters! Our pets are family member's, and there's no excuse for all the pets that are murdered everyday across our country!

  12. Jim

    May 1, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    THis training should be mandatory 'everywhere' for everyone wearing a gun and badge……

    • Robby Parker

      May 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      Absolutely should be MANDATORY for a once taimed "Protect and serve" agency. Now too often Wyatt Earp would rather shoot any and everything! The poor me scenario has gotten old and out of control! Every single day more and more are dyeing at the hands or bullets rather of police. More harmless pets than in the history of both the Police and the history of the united states. We all have seen wheather on tv or news print that prosecutors lack both the will or want to prosecute the Judge Dread officers of this troubled country! While governments both state and federal pass more and more laws to protect the already overprotected police angencies at the same time dismissing at a record rate of accountable wrongful killings by the killer men and women in blue. Leaving broken hearts and families with no justice for the flat out murder of pets and innocent yet smuged victims. Smuged and trashed by police and media in an hoaxed attempt to inject false accusations of a families pet dog had attempted to attack officers whom in most cases have kicked in the door of the wrong address in an attempt to arrest an over due library book! Also how many charges or attempted convictions have you read or heard of for police whom have left a k-9 police dog in the patrol car with NO WATER or AIRCONDITIONING resulting in the Death of a Police Dog? A crime if done by the public taxpaying citizens can face up to life in prison!?! Different rules for badge or no badge??!!

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