Follow-up: Austin Police issue apology for shooting family dog and release more details
Before I get into this story more, I want to say that I’m not one to routinely or callously criticize law enforcement officers. I have a high degree of respect for anyone who puts their life on the line to protect innocent people – from law enforcement to firefighters to the brave men and women who serve the nation in our military.
But that being said, this level of service and bravery should not serve as a shield from being exposed for any wrongdoing.
The case in Austin, Texas where the police officer shot a family dog should serve as a call to better train officers across the country in dog behavior. Cases such as the one in Austin have happened enough now – as reported today by the Huffington Post – that it should spark some better training.
The Huff Post piece linked to a Daily Beast article from 2009 that reported dog attacks on US Postal workers have become rare. Why? – Because mail carriers are offered training on how to distract dogs and are “shown a two-hour video and given instruction on how to recognize and read a dog’s body language, how to differentiate between aggressive charging and playful bounding, and how to tell a truly dangerous dog from a merely territorial one.”
The Beast also noted that between 2000 and 2002, the Indianapolis police shot 44 dogs, as reported by the Indianapolis Star.
ABC News filed this video report, which includes interviews with the dog’s guardian in Austin and dash-cam video and audio from the incident in Austin. From the audio, it seems clear to me that the officer is one who should be trained the way postal workers are trained.
I’ve been approached on numerous occasions by aggressive dogs and in none of these instances, barring one occurrence I recall when I was a small child, did the dogs bite me. And never did I have anything I could use to protect myself, other than my wits.