Animal Law, Pets, Police

‘Don’t Shoot My Dog’ Law

‘Don’t Tase me, bro.’

Animals are cool. People are a-holes. Any bill that prevents people from senselessly harming animals is a good thing.

The natural enemy of the family dog is the local cop. Some of the stories we hear about cops shooting dogs, man, it’s like they don’t even try to deal with the animal reasonably. They shoot first and put the leash on later. I get that some people are just irrationally afraid of dogs, but cops are armed and in stressful situations. And since “dog murder” isn’t really a thing, there’s no incentive for cops to hold their fire.

We’ve reported in the past about how jury awards are going up when cops are found to recklessly kill family pets. But money cannot replace the companionship of a best friend.

Now, one state is trying to take more decisive action by requiring cops to learn how to deal with “short, hairy children”….

The Denver Post (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports that a bill called the “Don’t Shoot My Dog” law is making its way through the Colorado State Senate.

The bill would require police officers to undergo training on how to deal with dogs. And it has bipartisan support:

“The reason I think it is important is dogs are not just property to most people, they are their short, hairy children,” [said Jennifer Edwards of The Animal Law Center]. “They are a part of the family, and it is absolutely devastating to lose an animal and to lose an animal so wrongfully when it could be solved by better training and better understanding of dog behavior.”

The bill’s sponsors, Democrat Lucia Guzman and Republican David Balmer, point out that “landscaping companies [and] delivery companies” deal with dogs all the time, without shooting them.

Some of the stories about police brutality to dogs are disgusting:

Among those expected to testify in favor of their bill is Gary Branson of Pueblo, whose 4-year-old labrador mix was shot multiple times by a Commerce City police officer after the pet escaped a relative’s home.

In Branson’s case, the 58-year-old left Chloe with a relative while visiting his brother in California last November. The dog got out through an open garage door and was running around the neighborhood.

Commerce City police said the dog was aggressive and continued to behave that way after being restrained with an animal-control noose. Chloe was shocked with a Taser and then shot multiple times.

What kind of sick person Tasers and shoots a family lab that has already been restrained?

Dogs are not people and shouldn’t be treated as such under the law. But they’re not mere property either. We need to carve out a legal space for our furry companions that at least respects our rights to keep them alive.

Senate panel OKs “Don’t Shoot My Dog” bill after emotional testimony [Denver Post]
‘Don’t Shoot My Dog’ bill moves forward, would require more police training [ABA Journal]

Earlier: More Evidence That Shooting Dogs Is A Way Bigger Deal Than Shooting Black People

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