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We hear stories almost weekly about family dogs being shot or killed by police officers, often in their homes or yards, under questionable circumstances (dogs secured behind fences or tethered, dogs that were not behaving aggressively and were no threat to the officer).
The problem of police on dog shootings has become so widespread that nationwide campaigns have begun in hopes of making dog handling and behavior training mandatory for officers.
One such program, an 8-hour mandatory training program for Round Rock, Texas police, has now proven to be effective.
When Round Rock Police officer Randall Frederick responded to a disturbance call, he was greeted at the front door by Jillaroo, the family’s very protective Australian Shepherd. Immediately, Jillaroo lunged at the officer, biting him twice on the leg.
For most dogs, biting an officer would be a death sentence, but Officer Frederick, despite being bruised and bleeding, responded to Jillaroo with compassion, trying to soothe and comfort the frightened, protective dog.
Jillaroo’s owner wrote a letter to the Round Rock Police Department, praising Officer Frederick’s calm and compassionate actions in an incident which easily could have gone very differently.
Below is an excerpt from his letter:
Today, I needed to file a report about a disturbance and the dispatcher who took my report said the patrolman would call before he arrived. We have one dog (an Australian Shepherd) who is very protective of my family.
When the officer arrived and rang the doorbell earlier than I expected, I ran downstairs, but my four year old son was already at the door with our dog. When my son opened the door and started to approach the Officer, the dog immediately put herself between him and the Officer and ended up biting the Officer twice on the leg – not viciously, but still creating bruises and breaking skin. The Officer was slowly backing up and trying to get her to calm down with outstretched hands. Luckily I was there an instant later and separated her.
The Officer then proceeded to take my report about the issue I had originally called about in a very calm and professional manner. I asked him if my dog got him and he said “Yeah a little – I am sorry I should have called first.” (He did not need to call or apologize at all). Protocol necessitated he call in the bite (understandable) so that Animal Control could take a report and do a rabies vaccination check and the standard 10 day in home quarantine – BUT that’s where it ended. The Officer did not strike back against my dog during the incident, did not act disproportionately, he did not file charges or wish her punished, but instead said “She was just doing her job.”
He was absolutely professional and trained and we thank him for it, as we know it could have turned out very differently. I am a grown man, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, and I am getting emotional over this. We love our sweet dog with all our heart but she is extremely protective, which is a quality in this day and age that is both bad and good with an outcome that always comes down to who is involved.
I tried to look up news stories where Police Officers had been bitten by dogs to glean some perspective, but all I saw were terrible stories where dogs were being tased and shot by the Police – sometimes with very ambiguous circumstances.
I want everyone to know that in Round Rock, TX we have some pretty darn fine police officers who do a job a lot of the time without much thanks or recognition. This little incident should show you what kind of caliber people we have protecting us and maybe they should get a little credit from time to time for doing things right that nationally seem to be very difficult. I will be shaking all RRPD Officers hands when I see them from now on.
Officer Frederick has since been commended by his department, his community, and dog lovers from around the country. He was awarded the Chief’s CHIP Challenge coin in recognition of his compassionate and intelligent response to the situation.