Canine Rights

Half of Police Shots Fired Are Aimed At Dogs, Study Says

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Are most dog shootings justifiable? Consider these examples, compiled by The Huffington Post:

Spike, a 70-pound pit bull, was shot by NYPD police when they encountered him in the hallway of an apartment building in the Bronx. Surveillance footage shows the dog, tail wagging, right before an officer shot him in the head at pointblank range.

Arzy, a 14-month-old Newfoundland, Labrador and golden retriever mix, was shot between the eyes by a Louisiana police officer. The dog had been secured on a four-foot leash at the time he was shot. An independent witness testified that the dog never gave the officer any provocation to shoot him.

Brandon Carpenter, Seen Here Playing With His Dog, Arzy, Was Stopped By Lousiana Police When He And His Dog Climbed Into The Back Of A Box Truck To Escape The Rain. Arzy Was Tied By A 4' Leash To A Fence When Police Shot And Killed Him.
Brandon Carpenter, seen here playing with his dog, Arzy, was appraoched by Louisiana State Police when he and his dog climbed into the back of a box truck to escape the rain. Arzy was tied by a 4′ leash to a fence when police shot and killed him.

Seven, a St. Bernard, was shot repeatedly by Connecticut police in the presence of the dog’s 12-year-old owner. Police, investigating an erroneous tip, had entered the property—without a warrant—where the dog and her owner had been playing in the backyard, causing the dog to give chase.

Dutchess, a 2-year-old rescue dog, was shot three times by Florida police as she ran out her front door. The officer had been approaching the house to inform the residents that their car door was open when the dog bounded, tail wagging happily, out to greet him.

Gillian Palacios Embraces Her Dog Duchess As She Lay Dying In Front Of The Palacios' Home After Being Shot By Police, Her Tail Still Wagging.
Gillian Palacios embraces her dog Duchess as she lay dying in front of the Palacios’ home after being shot by police, her tail still wagging.

Yanna, a 10-year-old boxer, was shot three times by Georgia police after they mistakenly entered the wrong home and opened fire, killing the dog, shooting the homeowner in the leg and wounding an investigating officer.

Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo And His Wife Trinity Tomsic Walking Their Black Labs, Payton And Chase, After Executing A Swat Raid At The Wrong Address.
Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo and his wife Trinity Tomsic walking their Black Labs, Payton and Chase, after executing a SWAT raid at the wrong address.

Payton, a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, and 4-year-old Chase, also a black Lab, were shot and killed after a SWAT team mistakenly raided the mayor’s home while searching for drugs. Police shot Payton four times. Chase was shot twice, once from behind as he ran away. Mayor Cheye Calvo was handcuffed and interrogated for hours—wearing only underwear and socks—surrounded by the dogs’ carcasses and pools of the dogs’ blood.

In another instance, a Missouri SWAT team raided a family home, killing a 4-year-old pit bull Kiya. Believe it or not, this time the SWAT raid wasn’t in pursuit of drugs, mistaken or otherwise, but was intended “to check if [the] home had electricity and natural gas service.”

So, what can be done?

In 2013 Safe Humane Chicago and the National Canine Research Council produced four approximately 10-minute-long training videos titled “Police & Dog Encounters” that are now available on YouTube and distributed by DOJ COPS. The four videos cover assessing a dog’s body language, tactical options for dealing with dogs, and the potential legal ramifications of shooting dogs.

In the body language section of the “Police & Dog Encounters” videos, dog trainer and author Brian Kilcommons works with four Chicago PD officers on how to approach dogs that are not very happy about having strangers in their territory. “Dogs don’t lie,” Kilcommons says on the video. “They tell you what they are thinking.”

But, an officer needs to know how to listen to what a dog is saying by understanding the basic body language that’s consistent across all dogs, regardless of breed or size.

In addition to teaching body language, police need to be able to recognize that a dog could be present to begin with. Officers about to enter a property should check for signs of a dog on that property. They should notice things like “Beware of Dog” signs, worn running paths next to the fence, dog leads, dog toys, food dishes, and water bowls and take appropriate steps to ensure both their own safety and that of the animal.

Kilcommons says officers have to remember they are entering the dog’s territory and the dog’s job is to defend that territory. A dog doesn’t see an officer in uniform and think, “that’s an authority figure, I should go sit quietly out of their way.” A dog only sees a stranger, a potential threat – or, in many cases, a potential friend that will pet them – and acts accordingly. “It’s the officer’s body language that sets most dogs off,” Kilcommons explained. “Police are taught to take control, be assertive, and stand there and be ready. And the more you push like that, the more you stare at the dog, the worse it gets.”

But, in order for the videos to be effective, they must be watched. Only a small handful of states require mandatory dog behavior and encounter training for officers. They are Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, Colorado, and Ohio. Outside of those states, some departments have begun providing dog encounter training to officers, taking a major step in the right direction of serving and protecting all citizens, including those on four legs.

So, what can dog owners do to protect their dogs? CLICK NEXT

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  1. Avatar Of M



    I think these People are in saine & they should be be hind bars. For my mom & older Sister they are insaine.

  2. Avatar Of M



    Any 1 who shoots there or other dogs for no reson . they should shoot thrmselfs .

  3. Avatar Of Gray Liddell

    Gray Liddell


    It is my opinion that cops are attacked unfairly in the press, blamed for keeping order in a society that encourages disorder by the movies it watches and the shoot’m’up video games it plays. So the cops feel picked on and i don’t blame them.
    They wonder why if all they are trying to do is maintain order in a disorderly society, they are the Velcro for Blame.
    So they are itching to shoot something and if they can get away with shooting your dog WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES they will.
    The cops are attacked on all sides, by lawyers, by the press, by minority organizations and dogs eat the cops frustrations.

    I would also add that by and large, immigrants are not dog-friendly. Islam considers dogs dirty. In fifty years, with continued immigration(1.5 million a year legal and another million illegal), dog’s lives will be considerably constricted, if they exist outside of your personal property at all.
    Good luck Bowser.

  4. Avatar Of Glenn J. Gooding

    Glenn J. Gooding


    From some of the accounts given here, it appears that the cops are trigger happy and feel they have the law on their side and must kill something. The killing of a 7 pound dog on the porch illustrates the point. I too am leery of any encounter with the police. They have the Wyatt Earp syndrome that gives them the impression of being the almighty and powerful and can throw their weight around as they please and it will be to your detriment to challenge them in any form or fashion, especially verbally or any form of non compliance to their orders. So, watch your animals and watch yourself.

  5. Avatar Of Rosanne Leccese

    Rosanne Leccese


    Absolutely appalling & utterly inexcusable. Police seem altogether cowardly in their dealings with canines! How terrifying can a lapdog get?! The footage of some of these incidents is utterly heartlessly brutal & criminally irresponsible. Not only should these abusive cowards be automatically fired but they should be brought to justice and appropriately penalized. Penalty being where I suspect it would really hurt…$$

  6. Avatar Of Jacqueline



    What's the point of all these situations explaining all the details? These police officers don't give a damn. Such ignorants twads for all I know. Shoot an animal or person which one is easier? In pursuit of and an attack by a human criminal are totally different approach. I hope Americans animal lovers will fight for a right for those voiceless and defenseless.

  7. Avatar Of Kimberly



    There has to be a better way of dealing with this issue. We have our dogs to let us know if there is a stranger around. If we did that to their police dogs we would go to jail.
    Their are animal right activists out there that can fight this. We can go to the capitol to find out how we can get this on a bill and vote this so called permission out. They use bean bags on people if a dog attacks use that or a tranquilizer to calm it. Shooting first is insane. First comes dogs it would suck if we were next with police.

  8. Avatar Of Vigalante



    Shoot my dog, I would kill at least 2 cops.

  9. Avatar Of Susan Murray Susan Murray says:

    I have felt so bad for police dogs who are killed in the apprehension of a criminal that I have given to organizations who supply protective vests for the dogs. But now to read this I don’t know if I still will. I have two very small dogs, one who is old and I’ll, and one who is 4 and barks at anyone who comes to the door before hopping up on his two back legs to greet you. The thought that someone would shoot them for this natural response is appalling and would literally destroy me!

  10. Avatar Of Gary Marek

    Gary marek


    Most cops couldn’t fight there way out of a wet paper bag if it wasn’t for them hiding behind their badge and having the privilege of shooting at whatever they care to

  11. Avatar Of Mary



    This is outrageous. Of course a dog is going to move or bark. Haven’t they heard the expression a barking dog doesn’t bite. They need to be trained to read dog body language and behavior. Don’t come into my home and shoot my dog because he moves or barks. Friendly dogs move and bark too. This is disgusting. We are turning into a police state where anything they do is okay.

  12. Avatar Of Laurie Mann

    Laurie Mann


    You didn’t mention any of the numerous dogs shot in and around Buffalo,NY. Seems to be an epidemic (of mainly one shooter)going on.

  13. Avatar Of April



    Many police officers have a low IQ and no interpersonal skills. It can be very dangerous to all to call the police. I have grown wary of them, and I am just a little white girl. I feel sorry for the black man they are at risk. And to kill a dog too? Really I think their guns should be taken away and they only get a bottle of mace. Many are irresponsible and have no empathy.

  14. Avatar Of Dan Stewart

    Dan Stewart


    If someone shoots my dog for barking, the dude best be looking over his shoulder the rest of my life.

  15. The difference between the police & the prison population is a uniform, a badge, a state-issued weapon & the right to shoot to kill anything that moves……..with impunity.
    Neither the government, the courts, legislators not cops are for the people.

  16. Avatar Of Marie Elesarke

    Marie Elesarke



  17. Avatar Of Jim Conroy

    Jim Conroy


    As a police officer I find this ruling despicable and disgusting. This ruling is absurd. Dogs are shot for no reason by police – often. It is disgraceful that no one holds them accountable and now these clowns on this court in Michigan are going to allow it to happen even more. Wake up you clueless bozos.

  18. Avatar Of Ronnie Dispain

    Ronnie Dispain


    Police are to trigger happy.

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