Back in August, Elie wrote something controversial (what else is new?) about the difference between black people and dogs. He thought that nobody believed that police needed to respond with deadly force to protect themselves from random dogs, whereas the same standard did not apply to random black men.
Looks like Elie’s never been to Florida….
As it turns out, police in Florida do respond with deadly force to protect themselves from random dogs.
In early October, officers in St. Petersburg, Florida shot and killed a 12-year-old, arthritic golden retriever named Boomer. That’s because in St. Petersburg, it’s just standard procedure. Well, that was standard procedure, until Boomer was killed. The St. Petersburg Times has more information:
Boomer belonged to personal injury lawyer Roy Glass. Since his dog was killed, Glass and his wife, Lauren, have led a campaign to demand that police be trained in dealing with animals. The movement includes an online petition at change.org and a dedicated Facebook page with more than 3,700 followers.
Did they really think that they could just kill a lawyer’s dog and get away with it? If this personal injury attorney could’ve brought a wrongful death claim for his dog, I’m sure he would’ve. But here’s what happened because Glass wouldn’t sit and lie down after Boomer’s death:
[On] Wednesday, [St. Petersburg police Chief Chuck] Harmon announced policy changes for the department, including the use of “catch-poles” to help restrain dogs and stricter requirements for deploying officers on vicious dog calls.
From now on, officers will be dispatched to such calls only when a person is in “imminent danger,” Harmon said.
So now, instead of shooting random dogs, police in St. Petersburg will try to treat dogs more humanely. And it took a solo practitioner’s activism for that change to happen.
Shouldn’t this sort of thing have already been taking place? Boomer was the seventh dog shot and killed in St. Petersburg this year. You’d think that PETA would be all over that, but I guess they have more important things to do (like freeing the enslaved orca whales and bashing Mario for wearing a tanooki suit). But hey, at least now the police are going to be doing what they should’ve been doing a long time ago.
And as for Glass, we’ve got a suggestion for you: maybe you should cross “dog bites” off your list of practice areas in Boomer’s honor.
St. Petersburg police shooting of golden retriever prompts change [St. Petersburg Times]
Personal Injury Lawyer’s Golden Retriever Didn’t Die in Vain: Police Shooting Results in New Policy [ABA Journal]