Senior Arthritic Labrador Shot Dead by Police

Could you imagine coming home after running errands and finding a handwritten note on your front door left by your local police that says “Police responded to your residence to investigate a burglar alarm. While circling the rear perimeter, lab advanced on officers in a threatening manner before being shot and killed.”

That’s what happened to Mary Kate Hallock in Oakland, California on September 28th. The Yellow Labrador Retriever was Gloria, an 11 year old arthritic dog who was known to love everyone and everything. She was shot three times and killed while in the line of duty, protecting her property. Mary Kate is a school teacher and she used to take Gloria to the classroom with her. The students all adored her and Gloria just loved everyone she met.

I didn’t personally know Gloria, but I sobbed when I first heard this story. I have a middle aged Yellow Labrador, and I know that Sanchez would bark profusely if an uninvited visitor entered his backyard. But, I also know if that uninvited visitor brought a piece of chicken or cheese with him, he’d be his best friend for life and never forget him. So why did the Oakland police officer pull out a gun instead of a milkbone?

Gloria (pictured above) was a member of the Hallock family – with parents Ward and Mary Kate and siblings Matthew and Isabel. I spoke with Mary Kate Hallock, owner of Gloria, earlier this week. I asked her what her initial reaction was to the note. “Total disbelief. I read it eight or ten times and couldn’t understand what the note was saying. I was completely frozen. I was afraid to go downstairs, in fear that I would see Gloria’s dead body.

“Ward went to pick up Gloria’s dead body the next day, so we could say good-bye. We are a family of five, not four. Three weeks after the incident, my children still expect Gloria to just walk back in their lives. And I still haven’t been able to obtain a police report. I would love to know how this happened. Was there any struggle? I’m trying not to jump to any conclusions, but three weeks ago a sergeant told me that as soon as the police report was available, it would be delivered to us. I was told it just needed to be reviewed by higher ups because force was involved. It makes me suspicious that I still haven’t seen the report.”

In 2009, eight dogs were killed by Oakland Police. Although nothing can be done to bring Gloria or these other dogs back, actions are being taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again, or an incident similar to when an Oakland police officer shot and killed a young deer that had entered a residential neighborhood.

The East Bay SPCA is entering into a partnership with the Oakland Police Department and providing free animal sensitivity training to the entire staff of 679 officers. The mandatory training will be required once a year and will also include continuing education after that. The goal of the SPCA is to train the police officers to help better prepare them in understanding animals when encountering them during the course of their jobs.

Matthew as a child with Gloria as a puppy

The animal sensitivity training starts early next month and will cost the East Bay SPCA the equivalent of one staff member’s full time salary. Ingrid McKenney, Director of Development and Marketing said:

“The Oakland Police Department has been extremely receptive to this partnership and mandatory training. While the curriculum is still being identified, we are modeling other programs that are already in place with other SPCA’s. The goal is to educate police officers in animal body language and what they are telling us. We’d like to see the Oakland Police use some method other than force with animals. And we believe that all starts with humane education.”

A huge challenge that police face is that conflicting actions are needed when a crime is in progress and when a dog is present. It’s important to make noise so as to not surprise a dog in their backyard, but that same noise will also warn an armed burglar that you are there and can threaten your life.

When I asked Mary Kate how she wanted Gloria’s memory to live on, she responded: “The East Bay SPCA has started a terrific educational program. My hope is that another family doesn’t have to go through what we experienced. Once the hype of this story goes away, I hope that humane education continues to prevent the loss of more innocent animals.”

What do you think of the new animal sensitivity training taking place between the East Bay SPCA and the Oakland Police Department? Should this be mandatory with all police departments and their local SPCA or Humane Society? Thanks for posting your thoughts below.
Image: Gloria in her senior years


Nona V.
Nona V.3 years ago

Again a senseless avoidable dog is killed by men in uniform.
First we need cops that are honest,, good luck.
if an arthritic lab was a threat, the officer needs to get a different job.
Also, police need to know about dogs and how they think; like duh, dogs are on their turf protecting their turf, so the cop is the trespasser.
Then if an officer has no dog of his own, they better get some " dog experience" under their belt and stop being chicken shit.

Lin M
Lin M3 years ago

I would hope more training every where could take place. We need
to find out if police even have a heart. Lately I've been thinking that
they do not.

kathleen t.
kathleen t3 years ago

We read of officers that cried at the death of rocco , then even more police KILLING INNOCENT dogs. its time police were vetted as to who is best for training dogs and working with them. Police can ruin good dogs in training if they arte the wrong person,then the dogs ate killed off or mis treated .All because of one wrong officer.Once again the innocent die at the hands of the guilty. WRONG A CRIME DEATH ATTACK ABUSE ARE all crimes and the law should remember this uphold it not abuse it.

Claudia Moreno
Claudia Moreno3 years ago

"Threatening maner" Off course! He was protecting his home from invaders!!! He only wanted them to back up!!
We need urgently to train police officers to learn how to deal with dogs instead of killing them, in the name of the law!!!

Darla G.
Darla G5 years ago

This still makes my blood boil. I have a senior Labbie and I don't know that I could hold back my anger if a cop shot my boy. I'd probably be in jail for assault.

sandra m.
Past Member 6 years ago

How horrible! And then to come home TO A NOTE!
I tell you things have gotten carried away....I and my husband
watched "Cops" one night and in one of the incidents--5-6 police officers were looking up at a house surrounded by a tall wooden fence.....A person wanted was said to be at the residence,so they were going to surprize him and take him down.When it was time-gave the signal and as one officer started to climb the fence and reach the top,he said a vicious dog was in yard and thought there'd be trouble-Viewers could not see in the yard but we could here barking and growling.--As he and other officers made it over the fence,what did we see?.At first, Nothing cause we were looking for that BIG vicious dog.Then in the corner of the video, we seen it....A SMALL DOG that was still barking -but it had run over by the side of the house and was more scared of the officers!!
We couldn't believe it! I am sure we were'nt supposed to be able to see that because of all the HOOPLA made of the dog
and of camera angle.We laughed so hard...It was ridiculous.
They did get there man however,NO fight,No problem.
How about that!!

Sandy Erickson
Sandy Erickson6 years ago

Not enough info...

Lisa Spector
Lisa Spector6 years ago

I received a "Season's Greetings" card from Gloria's family in December with a beautiful picture of Gloria and the kids. It's the only holiday card I just can't get myself to throw away.

rene davis
irene davis6 years ago


Joanne GREENBERG7 years ago

Imagine the fright for Gloria with all these police surrounding her home...people she didn't recognize and by trying to protect her home she was shamelessly killed for doing what she should have been doing!