I’m amazed (but not amused) at the number of police officers who shoot family pets. While some of these shootings are justifiable, many aren’t, robbing law abiding owners of their canine companions and endangering nearby bipeds. The cops misread dog behavior and terminate them with extreme prejudice. Texas has tackled this issue. Since January 1, police officers licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement must attend a four-hour training course on how to handle canine encounters using “nonlethal resources.” Given that America is home to some 70 million pet dogs, the program should be rolled out nationwide. That is all.

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108 Responses to NYPD: They Shoot Dogs Don’t They?

  1. I love dogs.

    Now that that’s out of the way, the cops can shoot as many pit bulls as they like.

    Anyone dumb enough to call a pit bull a pet deserves to have it shot.

    • your logic or lack thereof is amusing. There are no bad dogs just bad owners. Replace pit bull with carry a gun and see how your logic fails.

      Anyone dumb enough to carry a firearm deserves to get shot

      • Would you say the same thing about Jackals? Wolves? Coyotes? They are all variations of our domestic dog, but they do attack humans. Genetics is the key, and the pitbull breeds have the genetics that make them aggressive and a danger to humans.
        The simple fact is, all dogs are pack animals, and the human needs to remain the alpha to control them. Being the alpha is easy when it is a doscile dog such as a lab, much harder when it is an aggressive breed. like the pit. Pits havea place and a purpose, but they are about as good a companion animal as an aligator.
        There is so much evidence out there regarding the breed, but there is also false BS spread by the pit lover groups.
        Feel free to keep on believing your precious pit is as safe as a labrador though. Just stay away from my grand kids.

        • Jackals and Coyotes are not the same species as Wolves and Dogs. Not that that really matters so much as the fact that pit bulls (and other domesticated dogs) are domesticated and jackals, coyotes, and wolves are not. Some domesticated breeds are bred for greater agression, usually some targeted type (e.g. jack russel terriers are aggressive towards rodents, some types of sheep guard dogs are really only aggressive towards predators, etc) but in all cases they can be raised to overcome this natural instinct, if so desired. Pit bull breeds were bred to be aggressive towards various other animals, but not towards humans. In a 2014 literature review of dog bite studies, the American Veterinary Medical Association states that breed is a poor sole predictor of dog bites and that controlled studies show no increased risk in pit bulls.
          I think that targeting pit bulls specifically is not supported by the evidence available, so the police should probably consider treating them similarly to other domestic dogs.
          Now, of course, there does seem to be some sort of favor by certain criminal elements towards selection of a “mean” type dog (ie one that looks mean and/or manly), and, given pit bulls’ (probably undeserved) reputation, probably means they tend to like owning pit bulls. They probably also train/teach their dogs to be aggressive to others as well as other anti-social behaviors. This is probably where your vehemence comes from.

    • I have 2 pitbulls and they are the gentlest dogs you will ever meet..you need to think before you engage your mouth next time….

      • Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a working dog, bred to be protective of their owners, and especially their children.

        That they have had been mistrained by the ilk of Michael Vick is hardly relevant to their genetic tendencies.

        • Had a rednose AmStaff live next to me for a few years.

          Majestic dog, was wonderful with small kids…

        • Once again, well said, 16V. You’re on a roll. As to why cops shoot dogs, you have to look at cop culture. A paradox is that there are cops who will shoot someone’s pet, yet go home and be affectionate to their own dogs. The question is why do they do this? I think what has happened is that cop culture has internalized a set of rules that sanction shooting any dog that they perceive as keeping them from performing their cop’s role. Police interactions have become ritualized performance art and cops see dogs, even tail wagging, friendly dogs, as a threat to their ability to dominate the social interaction with civilians. So, shooting the dog is a way of announcing their authority. And, yes, it’s a absolutely sick practice. Unfortunately, it’s one of many that are institutionalized in police culture.

        • I will add that an LEO made a very cogent comment in a similar discussion about cops shooting dogs a couple of years ago. He said that every police department has cops who like to shoot dogs. They are well known to their colleagues. Not all cops do this, of course, but they certainly recognize that there’s a difference between cops who kill people’s pets and those who don’t.

        • I’m sure there are people among all trades who don’t like dogs enough that they would shoot them if given a chance. But only cops get a chance to do it, and get away with it every time.

      • I had a pit 8 years ago. When I became pregnant, he wouldn’t let any strangers get near me. He wouldn’t bark or growl he would just manhandle (doghandle?) them util they were far enough away. Never used teeth, he would just shove them with his shoulder. He wouldn’t let anyone, including my husband, touch my belly either. He was the sweetest thing.

        I do appreciate what Texas is doing. There are many dogs who are just protecting their families from what they think is a threat. My German Shepherd pup would do the same.

    • I love my pitbulls. You should not say that.the most friendly,lovable, tail waggers youd ever meet.All they want is lovins. The two old pits I have had for 15 years, they are my friends. You just wished death to my best friends. Fck the cop that tries to shoot them. I will serve life in prison. You do not shoot the only thing in my life that has allways had my back, never lied to me or ever passed judgement.Its not the dog, its the owner, I can take a beagle and make it a terror.I am very angry with that statement, very angry.

    • I have a pet Pit Bull, named Cupcake, who is a very loving dog.
      It’s not the breed but the way they are raised and trained.
      Do you apply such broad condemnation to people based solely on inherited appearance?
      I suggest that the stupidity is yours.

    • Is it just me, or do there seem to be more trolls around than usual lately?

      Oh wait … It is spring break season, isn’t it?

    • Are you serious?

      Why would you say something so ignorant?

      Any dog can be aggressive, any human can be aggressive, we are animals. With your lack of logic, all living things deserve to be shot regardless of aggressive behavior.

      That same mentality is why racism exists and sexism as well.

    • Pitbulls are great dogs. They get a bad rap from people breeding them and training them to fight, but most are very sweet dogs and very loyal. They were commonly used as nursery dogs in the past and often really wonderful pets for kids.

    • You have to be the most bigoted person alive at this very moment…. You’re obvious lack of knowledge on the breed is showcased by your bold and ignorant statement… My 2 year old pit is a loving loyal companion, he protects and comforts me and my kids, hell even my wife. The breed is not an aggressive breed in particular, it all comes down to the 2 legged member at the other end of the leash as to how any dog behaves.

    • You know it.

      It ought to be department policy to require pepperspray before shooting someone’s pet.

      And provable with bodycam video…

      • Postal workers just get the pepper spray, despite the fact that they have (at least) hundreds of times the potential interaction with a dog every day that a cop does, yet still, only 6000 bites per year. 2005-2015 dog bites killed a whopping 360 Americans. A whole 36 per year. Not even a statistical blip in a country of over 330MM. More people won the Powerball, let alone the rest of the lotteries.

        LA was the worst, a tiny-by-comparison s-hole in TX, SAT was number 2. With SEA-TAC in a tie for 3rd and ORD/MDW only 1 behind in 4th.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2325244/USPS-releases-dangerous-cities-dog-bites-Los-Angeles-ranking-worst-postal-workers.html

        These are (generally) large, multicultural cities. The owners of said attack dogs were almost universally black. Followed by Hispanic.

        • In localities where you are (unconstitutionally) not allowed to own or carry a firearm would an aggressive dog qualify as “arms” under the Second Amendment?

        • San Antonio has a crazy disproportionate stray dog problem for a city of its size. I live here and do fosters and rehabs. I’ve also been bit trying to help dogs with behavioral problems. I’ve got some scars, but I can’t say a dog has ever made me fear for my life.

    • The dog was obviously happy to see the cops, why even those would be necessary in this situation eludes me. So are the cops pussies? Or do they just like shooting people’s pets?

      • Both. Scared shirtless that someday someone will fight back on one hand and scared that they will never get to kill anything with their gun on the other.

      • “So are the cops pussies? Or do they just like shooting people’s pets?”

        Yes.

        Make it a statement: Move the “are,” replace “or” with “and,” drop “do” and you’ll have it.

      • They are required by their very job description to frequently go to stupid places where stupid people are doing stupid things and then try to intervene to stop the stupidity. There is a good chance their adrenaline is pumping pretty good by the time they get there and so over-reacting to the perceived threat of a dog suddenly appearing before hem is likely to happen.

        On the other hand, under the same conditions, how often do they accidentally shoot the person(s) they were coming to see?

    • In fact, mace is a far better way to handle an aggressive dog in any case. It might be less lethal, but it’s a much stronger immediate deterrent.

  2. As a dog lover, I personally think this should be treated as if the officers shot an unarmed non violent person. However, they really do not get in trouble for that either. For the most part.

    • Seems fair, especially considering that police dogs are considered the save add human officers.

  3. I got bit plenty of times.
    I don’t think I could shoot a dog. Some dogs are better than some people.
    Wait a minute…. You mean to tell me an NYPD officer actually hit what he was shooting at?

    • It’s a whole lot easier to shoot straight when you aren’t facing a deadly threat and are just shooting something that annoys you.

    • About 6000 postal carriers are bitten every year.

      Postal employees aren’t quite the flaming pansies that current cops are (occasionally getting bit was part of the job until the early ’80s). i delivered pizzas long ago, I didn’t get to shoot dogs. The UPS and FEDEX guys (who see a dozen more dogs every day than a cop) don’t get to shoot dogs.

      • Exactly. Our property (10 acres) is posted at all entry points informing law enforcement that there are dogs on premises and that we do not give permission for them to enter without enlisting the aid of local animal control officers. We have rescued and fostered many “bully breeds”, such as pits rotties, american bulldogs,cane corsos, and I even have a Tosa (look it up)My wife and I work with humane societies and rescues all over the country. We have also had our share of Labs, and mutts
        .I can tell you from experience there is no meaner dog per lb than a chihuahua! There is almost never a good reason for cops to shoot dogs, except for ignorance, and some sort of need to prove something. I would probably have a very hard time restraining myself from reacting with extreme prejudice if one these dickheads shot one of my dogs.

      • I understand your feelings but the incident would not even happen if you had your dog under control. Also drawing a gun on a Cop today is instant execution by Cop and the corrupt judicial system backs them up 99.9 per cent of the time no matter who they kill. If you did survive you would spend a long, long, time in prison and your dog and its many succeeding generations would all be long dead and gone by the time you got out of prison.

        Cops do not uphold the law they are the law and they know it. Here in Ohio it has been legal to carry openly for decades but just try and do it and they can arrest you instantly on a long laundry list of trumped up charges which will cost you thousands to fight in court. Most people just let the Cops take their guns (which they never get back) and pay the fine for the trumped up charges. One of their favorite charges is “inducing panic”. Impossible to defend yourself in court over that one.

        Just remember they have absolute power over you unless of course you are out to commit suicide and they love live pigeons to do target practice on.

        • Your first statement is demonstrably false. The second is speculation with scant context until the “and”. The rest is obvious.
          Also, doing the right thing, sometimes requires sacrifice.

        • ps, So are you a lousy cop, or an apologist for lousy cops?

          As APM noted above, the first part of your statement is pathetically false – dogs that could not possibly hurt anyone are routinely killed by trigger happy pansy cops, scared of a little nip. My buddies daughter works at a kennel part time – she gets bit/nipped regularly. Guess she should shoot them all, huh?

        • Few people realize how dangerous a dog or cat bite is because if the fangs go very deep an infection can result that is untreatable by antibiotics resulting in the arm or leg having to be amputated. Several weeks ago “In Good Health” ran a segment on this problem and the horrific pain and suffering people go through that come down with animal bites that turn incurable.

        • So ps, once again, 6000-ish Postal Workers get bitten every year. There is no tragedy of which you allege.

          Millions of other folks, mainly delivery drivers, face this ‘terrible risk’ every day. Yet, very seldom do any lose a limb, let alone die from it. And they don’t get to shoot dogs (let alone cats!).

          Do try once more to form a cogent point…. Let alone a statistically meaningful one.

        • I am still pissed, you dont draw down on my wife, kids, or dogs. To hell with the outcome.Cops allways win, but love concours fear

        • “Few people realize how dangerous a dog or cat bite is because if the fangs go very deep an infection can result that is untreatable by antibiotics resulting in the arm or leg having to be amputated.”

          As a scare-mongering absolute, this is nonsense.

          “Several weeks ago “In Good Health” ran a segment on this problem and the horrific pain and suffering people go through that come down with animal bites that turn incurable.”

          What “In Good Health” are you referring to? The youtube channel, a blog site, an organization dispensing marijuana? Which of the many non-authoritative sources of information are you quoting here?

          Seriously. Vet your information a little better. This post makes you look foolishly naive.

  4. I usually do not side with Cops but this time I do. When a dog owner does not have a dog chained or under control the Cop has every to blow away the dog. And I might add they are doing the neighborhood a favor because the dog sooner or later will attack another person. Few people realize how dangerous a dog or cat bite is because if the fangs go very deep an infection can result that is untreatable by antibiotics resulting in the arm or leg having to be amputated. Several weeks ago “In Good Health” ran a segment on this problem and the horrific pain and suffering people go through that come down with animal bites that turn incurable.

    • “When a dog owner does not have a dog chained or under control the Cop has every to blow away the dog.”

      They also trespass onto private property and shoot chained up dogs behind fences too.

      Akai Gurley never had a chance, or after his death a chance for justice. What chance does a dog have?

      • Blow it away?What they got tornados on call? I have only seen one animal blew away with a gun. A mouse shot with a twelve gauge. I do not like statements of “blown away.” It gives the false impression that pulling a trigger vaporizes your problem. Pulling triggers only starts the problem, blown away deer still need to be cleaned and proccesed, blown away dogs still need to be buried, and blown away humans are the worst problem of all. I wish I could pull a trigger and my problems would magically dissappear, but it dont work that way.

    • “Several weeks ago “In Good Health” ran a segment on this problem and the horrific pain and suffering people go through that come down with animal bites that turn incurable.”

      We should take “In Good Health” as authoritative why? Which “In Good Health?” A ‘Net search yields dozens (or more) disparate sites and organizations that use that moniker.

      Put the Kool Aid down. Dogs are not the enemy of humans.

    • FLAME DELETED You can step out of your front door and get crushed by a meteorite. I’ve been bitten by dos, and even a feral cat or 2. Soap and water right away has always been effective. FLAME DELETED

  5. I always carry a box of milk bones in my car. That helped a lot. Any time I got surprised by a dog charging I just yelled at and they turned tail and ran. I love my own dog and I as a police officer would rather get bitten than kill a dog that most likely thinks it’s doing its duty to its owner

  6. Discount the police shootings of dogs on property where they police have the legal authority to be, and they perceive (rightly or wrongly) danger from unrestrained dogs.

    There are enough instances of cops shooting RESTRAINED dogs while TRESPASSING to create a disturbing trend.

    But then, given the respect shown by the NYPD (and prosecutors) for the life of Akai Gurley, why would anyone imagine that they have MORE respect for the life of a dog?

  7. Some of them are fraidycops, a minority of police officers who have largely lived in metropolitan areas and freak out every time they see an animal, or a human for that matter. The other half of the dog shooters are the type of sociopath that we’d call future serial killers if they were teenagers. The other 90% of LEOs don’t escalate every encounter they have with animals in an attempt to create an excuse to kill.

  8. I’m guessing these officers didnt grow up with dogs- as that dogs body language was clearly friendly.

    At least what we saw on the video. Given it was a DV call, the dog could have just as easily picked up on something and gotten protective, rendering it more dangerous.

    Seems unwise to be shooting in tight quarters, though- especially with the woman’s daughter in the hall.

    • Agreed that dog was clearly not hostile. It was either a freakout or shooting a nuisance. Hopefully other careers are considered before he does the same thing to a human.

      What do you think that the odds are if the video wasn’t around that the dog would have been “quite hostile” in the paperwork and testimony of the law suit later? I’d say above average.

    • Agree. From the short video of that dog coming out of the door, that was a friendly dog. All I saw was playful tail-wagging there. No stacking, no fearful posture, no aggressive posture.

      I’m sometimes on medical or fire calls in the middle of the night, to see people in the neighborhood I’ve never met. And they have dogs. I’ve met a couple of pit bulls and a couple of Rotties on these calls. I have never had a problem – other than pit bulls seem to love to whip everything with their tails as they wag “hello” and “can I help you there with some tail-swatting in your face while you’re working on someone on the floor?” or the Rotties doing that clumsy “Ooooo, you just opened up your little magic bag! Are there any treats in there for me?”

      • Which is why ‘are you a dog person’ should be a requirement.

        Honestly, if you can’t deal with an animal who has been selectively bread for 30K+ years to be a friend to humans, how the hell can you deal, with you know, actual humans?

        • 16V smacks it out of the park with that final rhetorical question.

          A not-so-rhetorical answer might be that they shoot and go home for the night if it’s an animal, or shoot and maybe get a year of bonus vacation if it’s human.

  9. Honestly this is more a result of a generation of kids being raised to be pussies. It’s that simple. They’re afraid of dogs, mean words, hurt feelings, mean cats, squirrels, insects, getting dirty, germs, and gluten. Many of these symtoms ya’ll notice in unfavorable police practices are a direct result of the liberal education system, the feminization of men, and coddling a whole generation of kids. They’re then unleashed into a dangerous world in which they overreact, lose thier tempers, and cry uncontrollably when their told the word, No.

  10. In airports its illegal to carry a gun anyway. Even if you were carrying a gun in a place where it was legal the terrorists know that most people cannot be vigilant all the time and they are busy buying a ticket or carrying out their usual business procedures etc. Remember this will all happen in a matter of seconds giving you no time to even figure out for sure whether the fellow in question is a terrorists or just some run of the mill person that looks a little odd if he even looks odd and even if you even notice him or her. Remember too a good looking woman can distract a man or men long enough to get close to the target area and set off a bomb before anyone even has any suspicions that she is a terrorist.

    Lets face facts the terrorists are getting smarter and smarter and airports are not fortresses and they cannot be and still handle the large amount of people that use airports everyday. To make airports terrorist proof would require that the average person would spend at least one day just being processed before you even got on a plane, maybe two days during holiday travel. The terrorists know this and we can expect more attacks like this as well as attacks at every large public gathering, sports events, parades, races and amusement parks unless each and every individual is checked for weapons and bombs and even then the terrorist can set off a vest bomb and kill everyone standing in line to see the event.

    Many years ago psychologists predicated that as a population increases the amount of insane people actually increases at a higher percentage rate than the population does. I remember reading a story almost 48 years ago about a study where they deliberately placed an abandoned car in 3 places. In the country, in the suburbs and in a large city. In the country people called the police to report an abandoned car. In the suburbs people stole things off of the car. In the big city the people actually attacked the car and destroyed it showing how many more mentally ill people their were as the population density increased.

    If you have noticed many of the suicide bombers lived in over populated cities with high unemployment. None were actually very religious rather they were looking for an excuse to commit suicide. And that is the hardest type of a person to stop from doing what they want to do.

  11. My fear is that the new TCOLE rule will backfire. A cop on the stand will simply be able to state that he or she had taken an authorized course on dog behavior and in their now “educated” opinion felt the need to shoot based on the dogs body language. Case settled. A four hour course? To learn enough about dog behavior to determine aggression vs. fear and predict what the dog might do takes more than that. And for the Pitt haters out there, I’m part of a rescue for the breed. I know them and the people here defending then are absolutely right. They are no more threatening than any other large breed.

  12. As long as there is no consequences for shooting dogs regardless of the situation and the law treats dogs as disposable, cops will continue to shoot dogs. The issue does not even get a rise from PETA or the ASCPA why would politicians or courts care? Sadly, unless the cops shoot the dog of an A-list celebrity and that person makes a stink, nobody is going to care. Because that is the state of society today.

    In the eyes of the law, pets are disposable as long as they killed by the government.

    • This is right on, and it is really sad. You’ll see a lot less of these after cops start getting fined, fired, or thrown in jail. It may suddenly, and ‘mysteriously,’ get a lot easier to keep their fingers under control.

  13. Guy that taught my CCW class was talking about trigger discipline, specifically about keeping your finger off of it. He’s former LE, and the example he gave was a local LEO some years previously who answered a call for a home that had been burglarized. The family hadn’t entered, so he was clearing the house. Unfortunately he had his finger on the trigger when he was startled by and wound up shooting the family cat when it hightailed out of one of the rooms.
    I can only guess he must have had a shotgun.

  14. The officer needs to be deprived of his sidearm and immediately transferred to the Animal Control department.

    Payback can be, literally, a bitch.

  15. The lesson in this is that if you call the police for whatever reason and they have to respond.

    PUT A LEASH ON YOUR DOG AND RESTRAIN THEM.

    Most of the local cops I have met love dogs and would not shoot them out of inconvenience.

    • One of the few(very few) reasonable responses. Put your freakin’ dog away. Got a nasty pit bull 2 houses down. Got out and attacked a woman walking her dog at night. Yep-lowlife ghetto types. My neighborhood is going to hell…and I am not interested in how wonderful your dog is. Neither are most trigger happy po-leece.

    • The problem is that you’re often not the one that call the police, and the police may not even be heading to your place (you just happened to be a neighbor, or they got the wrong address etc).

    • The problem is cops routinely shoot restrained dogs, or dogs who’s property the cops are trespassing through.

  16. The cops misread dog behavior and terminate them with extreme prejudice.
    No, the cops terminate them with extreme prejudice.
    Actually the cops in my area have shot up more domesticated animals than dogs.
    Really need to get rid of the LEO immunity.

  17. I put the blame on the dog’s owner. You hear a commotion outside your door so you open it to see what is going on, and your dog forces it’s way out. That is just plain stupid.
    The officer was confronted with an animal that that had just muscled it’s way through a door to get at him, unless he was familiar with reading dog body language he was right to be concerned, the shooting, hard to say.

  18. I look at it this way. USPS employees confront dogs in far greater numbers than police. You have to ask that if these dogs are so deadly, why don’t they arm USPS employees with something more powerful then mace?

    • Ha, you really think that the USPS would allow their employees to carry a lethal weapon under any condition?!

      • If the fed thought it would help them control the population without causing a public backlash, they would mount Mk 19s on top of their delivery vans. 🙂

  19. If you Google, “police shoot dog” you get a return of 47.6 million+ hits.

    I am not sure what that means but I am pretty sure that it is safe to assume that an awful lot of cops are shooting an awful lot of dogs.

  20. I love that about TTAG. We can hate on the cops all day long and nobody complains or even calls our bluff. Most other pro gun sites require at least a shred of truth behind hate talk.

  21. If the owner doesn’t have the dog under complete control, on a short secure leash at a minimum — fire at will.

  22. Our local SPCA offers free classes to LEOs on dealing with dogs. It is a very popular class, the officers really seem to like it, and follow-up studies have shown the number of officer-involved dog shootings in our area has gone down as a result.

    I have to opine that a lot of cops should get similar training dealing with people, especially POTG!

    I’m also surprised that officers don’t try pepper spray or Tasers on dogs before going to using their guns. It’s not just concern for the dogs. Slinging lead if you don’t have to is never a good idea.

  23. Several years ago in my neighborhood in Chicago a cop walked up to a person walking his nine pound terrier, (on a leash) drew her gun and said that she could kill his dog and nothing would come from it. All the dog owners got together and contacted the police. We were told to let it go. Don’t press it. Don’t try to get her fired, etc. She remained on the job. WTF?

    • You said you were CHICAGO. What part of CHICAGO didn’t you get?

      Cops in Chicago feel perfectly at liberty to try to stomp barmaids to death.

      You think they give a damn about DOGS???

    • Cops shooting dogs are pretty low on the radar in Chiraq Bob. I live 10 miles south. I suggest you make a helluva’ lot more noise. Rahm is in a slash & burn mode.

  24. Lot’s of this kind of stuff going on…And we’re not talking BLM… Let me be clear…I support Police officers who honor their oaths to uphold the US Constitution , and The Bill of Rights….Here are some ways to cut police brutality, and pet killings.

    1. Full Independent Civilian Review Boards.

    2. The Removal and Elimination of all Police Unions from public services. In order to weed out “bad apples, rogues, and Sociopaths.”

    3. State, and Federal victims funds for Lawful US citizens who were victimized by senseless Police misconduct, or violence.

    4. Hold individual Law Enforcement Officers accountable for their actions.

    5. No special privileges, rights, or dispensation for LEO’s. Same as a Lawful US citizen.

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