Mary Kate Hallock of Oakland, California returned home one afternoon to find a note on her door saying that police responded to investigate a burglar alarm and her dog "advanced on officers in a threatening manner before being shot and killed."
The "threatening" dog was an 11-year-old yellow Labrador with hip displaysia and arthritis. She was shot three times.
This is not the first time Oakland police have unnecessarily shot an animal. Just a few months earlier, an officer fired six or seven shots to kill a young deer in a residential neighborhood.
Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts called for a review of the department's procedures after the deer incident. It has not happened yet; if it had, maybe the Hallock family's dog would still be alive.
Tell Chief Batts that the officer who killed the Hallocks' dog needs to be held accountable and he needs to take immediate steps to change his department's procedures and training for animal-related incidents.
It is clear that unnecessary and excessive force was used in this situation, and it's not the first time.
I understand that you've called for an investigation and review of police procedures in handling animals. I appreciate that you're taking this tragedy seriously, but a review was also announced several months ago after a young deer was shot by an Oakland police officer in a neighborhood. Gloria, the Hallock family's lab, may not have died if your department had taken action earlier.
Many humane organizations across the country are more than willing to help train police officers in dog behavior and handling. In addition, there should be a force continuum established for dealing with animals to ensure that excessive force isn't used in situations, like the response to the alarm at the Hallock home, where the threat is minimal.
Please take immediate action to stop any further tragedies like this from occurring. There are dogs in 39% of U.S. households and, like the Hallocks, most people consider their dogs to be like a family member. Firing weapons at dogs is tragic for the family, dangerous to citizens, damaging to public relations, and completely preventable.