Should Police Officers Have Run Over This Dog on Purpose?

This terrifying scene is sadly familiar. There’s a lone dog running scared on the highway, dodging traffic and unsure how to find safety. Recently in North Wales, police had to deal with just this problem. They ended up mowing down the dog in their patrol car — on purpose.

Now the debate rages. The Internet screams its outrage. Did those police do the right thing?

Phones began ringing in the North Wales Police control room around 3 a.m. Drivers reported a dog running loose on the A55, a major expressway running through North Wales. Authorities dispatched officers from the Road Policing Unit.

A55 highway

The A55 highway in North Wales. Photo Credit: Nigel Chadwick/Wikimedia Commons

That stretch of roadway is dark at that time of night. Nevertheless, traffic motors along at a bracing 70 mph. The officers witnessed the dog, a foxhound, running in and out of traffic, forcing cars and tractor trailer sized trucks to swerve suddenly to avoid him. There’s no question the situation was a recipe for disaster.

The officers put themselves in some danger from oncoming vehicles by entering the roadway on foot to try to capture the foxhound. Once an officer almost snagged him, but the dog bit the officer and got away.

Admittedly, it was a dicey situation and it had to be resolved quickly to avoid a tragedy. The question is whether purposely executing the dog by running him over with a patrol car was the way to do it.

Watch a statement from the North Wales Police about this incident here:

North Wales Police Chief Inspector Darren Wareing said in a statement:

The potential for a serious collision was present throughout, and in the circumstances there was no alternative way that officers could contain the dog and minimize risks to motorists. The only safe option was to run the dog over at sufficient speed to ensure that it was destroyed and would not suffer. Other methods of destruction were considered, but were ruled out on the grounds of public safety.

Fast roads such as the A55 present inherent risks, and to have vehicles including a HGV having to swerve in the dark was deemed unacceptable as the officers witnessed a number of near misses, and were highly concerned about the potential aftermath of a high speed collision.

Certainly, no one believes the officers acted out of any malicious intent or lack of empathy for the dog. In fact, both apparently have dogs of their own at home. The question is whether running down the dog was truly the only safe solution.

Was There Another Way to Handle This?

This incident happened in the early morning hours, not the middle of rush hour. Would it have been impossible to put flares on the roadway and just stop traffic until they could catch the dog? Surely all police carry flares in their vehicles, especially units responsible for policing the highway?

The officers had to make a quick decision. They apparently determined that the risk a motorist might swerve wildly and cause an accident didn’t leave them time to do anything but what they did. Perhaps they were right. Perhaps they weren’t. It’s difficult for Internet naysayers to second guess in this scenario because we were not there.


Photo credit: Pixabay

However, it’s worth mentioning that there are plenty of examples of escaped animals running free on busy highways that have been successfully rescued. It can be done. It has been done. Could it have been done here as well?

For the record, the dog’s microchip led authorities to the dog’s owner, who said he supported the tough decision the officers had to make. Here’s something to wonder about, though. Why wasn’t this dog at home with his owner, a man reported not even to be from North Wales. How did this unfortunate dog wander so far from home and safety? Whose fault was that?

If You Have a Dog, Keep Him Safe

The dog reportedly became separated from a hunting party that had been recently in the area. He somehow went missing from that event and ended up on the A55 in the middle of the night. Well, that’s nice. You set out with your dog to kill an innocent animal and what happens? You end up with your dog dead in the middle of the road. That’s a good day’s work, hunters. Dead animals all around. Are you proud of yourselves?

There’s been enough public outrage over this dog’s death that the North Wales Police have already decided further investigation is warranted. A quick peek at the comments on their Facebook page shows that the public has already made up its mind that the officers were wrong.

“There has been understandable public outcry on what has been a particularly tragic incident,” a spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [RSPCA] said. “We very much welcome the police (voluntarily) referring this incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission [IPCC] as the appropriate body for such matters. We understand the force is undertaking an internal review into how such incidents are dealt with and look forward to engaging with this work.”

In the end, the IPCC decided to leave the investigation to the North Wales Police, who will work with the RSPCA on its internal investigation.

These officers shouldn’t be vilified, the way I see it. As dog owners themselves, their decision must have devastated them. I have to believe they thought it was the only way to prevent traffic mayhem and imminent deaths on that roadway. I reserve my anger for the dog’s owner. How could he let his dog wander away and then just leave the area?

People who take on the responsibility of caring for an animal must live up to that obligation. It’s the least we can do for our canine and feline companions. Had this owner been keeping better tabs on this foxhound, he might be alive now instead of struck down on the highway because he couldn’t be captured quickly.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mark Donner
Mark D2 years ago

All they had to do was block off that section of road until the dog was saved. They do that all the time with accidents. No, this was one hundred percent an act of criminal sadism.

Mark Donner
Mark D2 years ago

North Wales "police": Another gang of criminal psychopaths masquerading as police officers. Not only did they deliberately do this for sadistic enjoyment, these kinds of criminal organizations deliberately hire sadistic psychopaths.

Nelson Petrie
Nelson Petrie2 years ago

The police officers were not only wrong in their decision making but were acting in a deliberately cruel way. They showed that they really did not want to use their brains to look for an alternative which proves that British police are by and large big idiots. These officers should be booked and severely punished for act of cruelty. I thought the British were animal loving people. This is another incident that proves otherwise.

AniMae C.
Animae C2 years ago

Both petitions already signed, thanx.

Lori E.
Lori E2 years ago

Nope, I don't agree.

Jana DiCarlo
Jana DiCarlo2 years ago

police are degenerate idiots if you watch how they solve problems

Valentina R.
Valentina R2 years ago

Signed both petitions:

Valentina R.
Valentina R2 years ago

Is that a rethorical question? I hope so. How about mowing down the idiotic, negligent hunter who owned the poor dog...?

Val M.
Val M2 years ago

Here is another petition, in addition to the petition that Ruhee posted, :