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Nevada Lawmaker Targets Police Who Shoot Dogs

Nevada Lawmaker Targets Police Who Shoot Dogs

Last May a police officer hit a new low when he intentionally hit an Australian shepherd mix named Freckles with his car to stop him from approaching a group of children. He claimed he thought Freckles would harm them, but Freckles’ owner, Sarah Hecht, maintains that he was not dangerous and that he could have been stopped without using deadly force.

“I have no doubt my dog would still be alive if the officer had on iota of training on dog behavior and dog psychology,” Hecht, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. ”There was no reason for deadly force.”

In response to the incident with Freckles and many others that could have been avoided, Nevada Senator David Parks is planning on introducing legislation that will require police officers to complete training on how to deal with dogs without using deadly force, and he’s getting support from local animal lovers.

According to KTNV Channel 13 Action News, deadly force has been used against 18 dogs in the past three years with four fatalities last year and another six incidents with three deaths as of this September. One incident involved police shooting a dog named Bubba who was in his own yard, which was next to a home police were investigating.

Bill Cassell, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department called the number “statistically miniscule.” Though it might be, the incidents themselves are serious tragedies for those involved, and to call them a drop in a bucket is seriously offensive.

Gina Greisen, the leader of Nevada Voters for Animals, believes that each of them could have been prevented had police officers been provided with training. She plans to make the bill a campaign issue during the Clark County sheriff’s election next year.

Unfortunately, this issue isn’t confined to any one area. This week dog owners in Commerce City, Colo., marked the anniversary of the shooting death of Chloe. The horrifically inexcusable incident involving her death was caught on videotape by a neighbor and clearly demonstrates the need for more education. Following her death, Colorado took action and enacted the Dog Protection Act, which requires officers to undergo training that covers canine behavior and ways to deal with dogs that don’t involve lethal force.

According to the Review-Journal, Parks will be looking at Colorado’s law and what other states are doing as the legislation is drafted. He also noted that if animal control officers, U.S. Postal Service and private package carriers can handle dogs without killing them, that police should be able to do the same.

Others are also working to bring this issue into the national spotlight, hoping that attention will lead to better training for officers and fewer deaths. Directors Michael Ozias and Patrick Reasonover have set out to tell the stories of those who have been affected by these incidents, along with exploring their battles for justice, in a documentary called Puppycide.

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134 comments

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9:03AM PST on Jan 11, 2014

Cops think they are above the law, but it's past time they stop killing innocent animals, because they can! Their abuse of power makes me wonder if they're in the right job! Something needs to be done! I was being taken to the hospital due to a bad fall! EMTs called police who came to get the dogs and put them in a kennel! I told him if he touched my dogs, I would refuse to go to the hospital! I advised that my family cares for them in my absence! These are Chihuahuas, so why call Police! I don't trust them and I was so upset the policeman left my home and my dogs alone! No one touches my dogs! They are my life and I will do anything to protect them!

6:56AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

"Statistically miniscule", oh OK then it's really not that big a deal.
Let me ask you Bill Cassell, if only one cop was killed in the line of duty would that be considered "statistically miniscule"-I mean after all it's just one cop out of an entire police force, right?
This killing of innocent and harmless dogs by law enforcement has reached epidemic proportions yet remains unaddressed. I salute Senator Park's efforts.

6:06PM PST on Dec 2, 2013

Good comments - -

12:22AM PST on Dec 2, 2013

I think in some cases the cop just doesn't like dogs, period. Things have to change. No more helpless dogs should be shot or ran over by an uncaring cop.

4:27PM PST on Dec 1, 2013

Save a dog shoot a cop ----- LOL ----- sorry !!!

5:19AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

Hope the law passes. This violence has o stop!

1:55AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

GREAT ARTICLE. :) SHARED ON FB.

8:51PM PST on Nov 30, 2013

If a cop shot my animal, on my property, I would shoot at him, and be justified because under the law, I am allowed to protect my "Property"!

A$$HOLES!

8:43PM PST on Nov 30, 2013

Mandy h is so right- most dogs will respond to bad dog, go home, sit, or even "here's a good dog, go chase the stick" and throw something away from you that will distract the dog. No one is talking a bout cops defending themselves from dogs lunging at their throats. All of these cases were dogs minding their own business in their own yards and then barking at the police, or the one dog that was run over was just approaching a group of kids- not attacking them...

2:04PM PST on Nov 30, 2013

Diana D. - you need to read the article more carefully: a dog was shot because it was in its owner's yard which was next door to the property the police were going to: it had nothing to do with the criminals, if that is what they were, in the target house

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