Oakland police will receive free training on dog behavior, local wildlife awareness and alternatives to shooting animals. In 2009 Oakland police shot eight dogs. In a nearby county, only one dog has been shot by local police in seven years. A local branch of the SPCA is providing the training due to a number of animals being shot by police in dubious circumstances.
In May, Oakland police shot a young deer, and killed it, though the deer was not aggressive, nor diseased. It simply had wandered into a residential neighborhood and become lost, and was hiding in someone’s backyard. Children and adults had gathered around the area to see the deer. Police officers shot the harmless animal between six and seven times.
Recently the Oakland police responded to a home burglar alarm, and were greeted by an eleven-year-old yellow lab that was barking. They shot and killed the family pet, saying the dog was threatening. It was revealed after the shooting that the dog was arthritic and had hip dysplasia, two conditions which would compromise any dog’s ability to be much of a threat. The lab had been with the family since it was a puppy. The shooting took place in broad daylight at about noon. The family was not at home when the incident occurred and returned to find a blue note on the door of their home, which said a lab had advanced on officers in a threatening manner so they killed it.
Mary Kate Hallock, the dog’s owner said, “I was incredulous. Gloria’s never bit anyone. She’s just a gentle old dog, a classic Lab, always wagging her tail.” She also explained, “The kids were crying. We all sat around with her, put our hands on her, told stories about her.” (Source: SFgate.com)
Training about how to better handle these types of animal situations will be provided for all 679 of the Oakland police officers. “The goal is to give officers new skills and show them what a crucial role animals play in this community….We need to make sure animals are treated humanely, and show that animals are important to the Oakland Police Department,” said Oakland’s animal control director, Megan Webb. (Source: SFgate.com)
Police will learn how to use non-lethal force such as pepper spray, batons, and long poles with collars to deal with aggressive dogs. They will also learn about domestic and wild animal behavior in order to deal with them in a more humane way.
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