How Can We Prevent Security Guards From Shooting Dogs?

Even while police shootings of dogs dominate the news, there’s another profession that needs better training to respond to dogs: security guards.

Just this week, a security guard shot a San Francisco bull mastiff named Betty.

According to her owner, Eric Wafer, the dog escaped her collar and leash on a walk. Soon after, he heard gunfire and ran toward Betty to find a security guard had shot her in the head.

Wafer claims Betty approached the man hoping to be pet. Meanwhile, the guard maintains that the dog lunged at him, but security footage does not show that to be the case.

Luckily, Betty was only wounded, not killed. But this shooting reflects a larger issue surrounding armed professionals who shoot dogs.

For instance, police rarely keep accessible records of these incidents. But independent estimates say officers shoot dogs every 98 minutes in the United States.

Care2 member Kelsey B. took action for Betty’s case when she wrote a petition targeted toward Brinks Security and the San Francisco Police Department.

She asked the police to take the shooting seriously, rather than push the case on Animal Control, and urged the security agency to better train its armed officials to respond to dogs perceived as threats.

Betty wasn’t even being aggressive! She is moving slowly in the tape, just walking by the guards,” Kelsey writes. “Betty didn’t know she shouldn’t approach the officers. But the officers had the choice on how to deal with her. Shooting her was the wrong choice.”

As journalist Radley Balko told the Washington Post in July, dog shootings don’t necessarily happen because officers are malicious or in the wrong.

But the sudden movements of dogs approaching can make officers instinctually reach for their guns when there are other alternatives.

Just look at the Postal Service. Mail carriers learn to avoid bites from “both vicious and gregarious dogs” on the job.

At the sessions, handlers put postal workers through sample scenarios using live dogs, teaching them how to calm a dog, distract a dog and even fend one off if necessary,”  reporter Nathan Robinson writes. “Similar training for meter readers has massively reduced instances of bites. Trainers say that in many cases, officers simply have no idea how to read a dog’s body language.

“Trainers say that in many cases, officers simply have no idea how to read a dog’s body language.”

Security companies and police departments, take note.

Take Action!

Consider joining nearly 42,000 Care2 members in signing this petition demanding justice for Betty the bull mastiff.

And if, like Kelsey B., you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.


Photo Credit: Shumilov Ludmila/Unsplash


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you for posting

Melania P
Melania Padilla6 months ago

Educate the bastards!!!

Margie FOURIE7 months ago

If someone jumps my wall and shoots my dog, they will be carried out feet first.

Jennifer H
Jennifer H7 months ago

"But the sudden movements of dogs approaching can make officers instinctually reach for their guns when there are other alternatives." If they panic this easily, they are in the wrong profession.

Marty P
Marty P8 months ago

Dog owners have guns too and one of these times it's going to end badly for all involved. These are family members you jerks are shooting at time to wake up and become a man.

Mike H
Mike H8 months ago

Petition signed. It is a national pastime for cops and guards to shoot dogs

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga8 months ago

its horrible to hurt, shoot animals

Ruth C
Ruth C8 months ago

They need training on how to handle the situation without shooting to kill!

heather g
heather g8 months ago

Can't they carry bear spray?

Debbi -W-
Debbi W8 months ago

ALL law enforcement officers AND Security Guards must be trained on when to fire their gun, and how to Avoid using their gun.