Colorado Dog Shooting Spurs Legislative Action

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, the annual awareness campaign run by the 147-year-old ASPCA. While awareness campaigns can share really important information, the campaigns are only meaningful when people act on that new-found awareness.

And that’s just what’s happening in Colorado, where Chloe, a three-year-old mixed breed was senselessly gunned down by a police officer last November. The incident was caught on a cell phone camera and has inspired state legislation that promises to educate police on how to handle dogs in hostile situations.

The Dog Protection Act, which passed in the Colorado Senate unanimously, requires officers to have three hours of online training on dog behavior and allows only nonlethal force to get control of an animal.

“This will give them the training to see whether it’s actually an aggressive dog or not,” said Gary Branson, Chloe’s bereaved pet parent.

Branson said he was out of town while his cousin was left to watch the home and Chloe. When Chloe managed to get out of the garage, police responded temporarily, restraining the dog with a catch pole. At one point Chloe gets away, and while moving away from the officer, she is shot five times.

According to research by Colorado lawmakers, police officers in the state have shot 37 dogs in the last five years. Other high profile Colorado dog shootings include a German shepard in Boulder and a border collie mix in Adams after responding police went to the wrong address.

Police officers face unpredictable and dangerous situations every day. When a few bad apples either use bad judgement or maliciously abuse their power, it makes emotions run high on both sides of a debate, often spurring irrational outbursts.

In this case, however, there seems to be a solid consensus:

  • The Dog Protection Act was introduced in a bipartisan effort between David Balmer (R-Centennial) and Lucia Guzman (D-Denver).
  • The legislation passed unanimously through the Senate (it still has to pass the House).
  • The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has charged officer Robert Price with felony aggravated cruelty to animals.
  • The legislation was put together with input from law enforcement, including Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.

“We think the more officers become comfortable with dogs, the more that they will know how to handle dogs in a nonviolent way,” said Senator Balmer. “And the ultimate goal is to reduce dog shootings.”


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Sara P.
Sara P4 years ago

No words....

Nickihermes Celine
Past Member 4 years ago


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Tim Mccoyle
Tim M4 years ago

Wow again. Ok all you keyboard judges. Here is a question. What are you willing to give up and how much are you willing to pay to see that the cost of extra training is available to police officers. Have you thought of where the extra money to pay for this should come from? Oh I know lets take it from medicare and if someone does not get their needed medication oh well. Oh I know lets take it from food stamps, and if someone starves oh well. OHHHH lets take it from heating assistance. if someone freezes oh well. Oh I know lets RAISE more taxes, and if a small child goes to bed homeless cause they are taxed beyond living oh well.
How about we all look to solutions instead of sucking the tit of pitty. How about we try to understand what the officer was thinking. How about we try to show compassion in every level as opposed to just showing our own inability to care beyond that of our self serving purpose.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla V4 years ago


Kayleigh Harter
Kayleigh Harter4 years ago

Hopefully more intensive hands-on training will help to prevent tragedies like this in the future

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Jason, for Sharing this!

Sandi C.
Sandi C4 years ago


Karen Novak
Karen Novak4 years ago

I have certainly heard this tragic event unfolding in numerous states. I have two beautiful Pit bulls who absolutely fear anyone in a uniform. However, they are the most loving animals I have ever owned. All my girls (AKA: my dogs) would do in this type of situation is run the opposite direction....and sadly enough probably get shot up by protectors we refer to as the Police. They shot first and ask if their mean later. Corrupt Police indeed.

B Jackson
BJ J4 years ago

If a police officer doesn't know how to handle a situation with a dog, how reliable would that officer be in a human situation? Have people become so afraid of life they think everything is a threat & justifies killing?