Two Detroit Cops Shot Over 100 Dogs During Their Careers

It’s a terrible fact: An estimated 10,000 pet dogs are shot and killed by police officers in this country every year. Half of all intentional police shooting involve dogs, a 2012 study found. There’s even a term for it — “puppycide” — and the U.S. Justice Department has referred to these shootings as an epidemic.

How very fortunate that most cops aren’t like two members of the Detroit Police Department, or this statistic would be much, much higher. Between them, William Morrison and an unidentified officer have shot more than 100 dogs, according to an investigation by Reason.com.

Most of the shootings happened during drug busts. The police officers, claiming that “vicious” dogs were charging them and the shootings were justified, were cleared.

But the dogs’ owners — and often the evidence as well — had very different stories to tell.

Morrison had already shot 39 dogs during his career when he and other officers with a narcotics search warrant knocked on the door of Nikita Smith’s home in January. She put two of her pit bulls in the basement and a puppy in the bathroom. As the officers searched the house, one of the dogs escaped from the basement and, Smith says, sat down beside her. He was shot eight times by the officers, who then went down to the basement and shot the other dog, a pregnant female who had been backed into a corner, five times.

When the officers peeked into the bathroom and saw the puppy, they shot him multiple times through the door.

Smith was charged with marijuana possession, but the charges were dropped when the officers didn’t show up for her court date. She has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against them and the city of Detroit for what she calls the execution of her dogs.

The other trigger-happy Detroit police officer currently works in the Major Violators Unit (MVU). He has shot and killed at least 67 animals during his career. His name and badge number were redacted in the police records obtained by Reason.com.

Just a couple weeks after Smith’s dogs were killed, MVU officers broke down the door of a home where they believed marijuana was being sold. Nicole Motyka and Joel Castro put their three pit bulls in the kitchen behind a large wooden barrier.

You can probably guess what happened next. The officers claimed the dogs tried to attack them, so they shot and killed all three. The dogs’ bodies, however, were huddled together in a far corner of the kitchen.

The officers found 26 marijuana plants — which were perfectly legal, since Castro is a state-licensed medical marijuana caregiver.

Teaching Cops to Deal with Pets Without Using Guns

As troubling as these cases are, steps are being taken across the country to prevent them.

In 2013, Colorado became the first state to pass a “Dog Protection Act,” which requires law enforcement officers to be trained in how to humanely deal with pets. Two years later, Texas enacted a law that required the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to establish a statewide comprehensive training program in dog encounters.

In response to a 2013 video that went viral showing a Hawthorne, Calif. police officer shoot a Rottweiler as the dog’s handcuffed owner begged him not to, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles began offering the class, “Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement” to all police departments in California.

Laws and programs like this are a great start, but as those sad puppycide statistics make clear, teaching law enforcement officers how to humanely deal with dogs should be required in every state. Officers with histories of dog shootings should not be allowed to work in situations where pets may be present.

It’s comforting to know that, unlike Morrison and the other cop, many police officers go out of their way not to harm pet dogs, but to help them.

Photo credit: YouTube

132 comments

Jennifer H
Jennifer H6 months ago

I still want to be supportive of cops because the job they have is a thankless one. However, the fact is that more and more idiots like these two sociopaths are ruining the reputation for all police who try to serve with distinction. I find that the lack of accountability for one's actions has greatly increased the arrogance and lack of empathy towards fellow humans and other living beings. I agree that the so-called "blue wall" has created such a pack mentality that has turned the cops with evil tendencies into a type of predator. The only way to deal with this is accountability and charges. Tougher psych tests must be given for any person who wants to become a police officer and a full knowledge of what a “civil servant” actually is. There is NO amount of training that will stop these horrific actions from happening. Empathy is not trained. Sympathy is not trained. Compassion is not trained. Responsibility/Accountability/charges will stop it.

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Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Militarization of police

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Joseph E Fasciani
Joseph E Fasciani6 months ago

This seems to happen most of all in he USSA [not a typo]; one wonders why this is. I think it's part of a trend to make civilian police --who are supposed to 'serve & protect the community'-- are made into a paramilitary arm of the State to enforce long-term plans. But why is it that 'We the People' do not know of these plans, or how to behave when confronted this lethal, unthinking rage?

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Ana Luisa Luque M.
Ana Luisa Luque M.6 months ago

They need to be dead!!!

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Fi T.
Past Member 6 months ago

No more unnecessary death!!!

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Lisa M.
Lisa M6 months ago

They deserve a far worse fate, the scum-sucking pieces of useless human junk.

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Vanna Rocha
Vanna Rocha6 months ago

Evil monsters, they should be fired. they should die because this planet has a lot of cruel people already. Hope that will be their fate. Karma.

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Valentina R.
Valentina R6 months ago

What the hell is wrong with American cops.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran6 months ago

killing puppies? that's just awful!

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