Required animal training for all law enforcement
This petition had 38,538 supporters
Please provide SDPD and all law enforcement across America with the same or similar training to The Colorado Dog Protection Act. Training will teach law enforcement to read a dog's body language/animal behaviors to better understand them and differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, as well as to employ non-lethal means whenever possible.
It's estimated that about 70-80 million dogs are owned in America. Approximately 37-47% of households in the United States have a dog. As a species, dogs have become so domesticated that most of them would not be able survive in the wilderness alone. As a result of being domesticated over hundreds of years, dogs have learned to react and understand human body language. They have even learned to look us in the eye- something we thought was unique only to humans. In return, we as humans have learned animal behaviors and most of us can determine if a dog is hostile or friendly.
Why are FedEx and UPS employees required to undergo animal training courses, but law enforcement is not? Both FedEx and UPS drivers face many more encounters with barking, charging, scared, and yes- even aggressive dogs than law enforcement is and are able to successfully deliver mail unharmed and without the use of lethal weapons. As stated above, many Americans have pets in their families. Yet why is it that so few police officers know how to react when they encounter an animal, resorting to the use deadly force? It needs to stop.
On March 15, 2015, an officer from SDPD shot and killed a beloved family pet, named Burberry. It all started when police received a call for a domestic disturbance around 5:30 a.m. Burberry began barking, like any normal does when banging on the door occurs. Once Burberry was outside, he stopped barking. Surveillance footage showed one officer bent down and petted the pitbull, then the second officer reacted to seeing the dog. The second officer began to yell and screamed at Burberry to get inside, which startled the dog. The officer proceeded to draw his weapon and shot Burberry in the head. This unnecessary action killed the dog and put others in the area at risk. The police knocked on the wrong door for the domestic disturbance call- no charges were filed.
Burberry was both very loved and very well known to the community. His docile demeanor helped Ian deal with the loss of his father. He was even a registered service dog who worked along side children with down syndrome. Unfortunately, hundreds of tragic cases similar to this one have been reported across America.
Why is is that some officers feel like a barking, scared, or charging dog is such an extreme life encounter where they need to use a lethal weapon? A scenario so dangerous that officers feel entitled and appropriate to open fire in a residential neighborhood, to wound a dog while putting civilians at risk? Aside from being absolutely unnecessary and dangerous, it is simply the lack of proper training in how to deal with dogs.
States such as Colorado have passed bills pertaining to this same issue. A law titled The Colorado Dog Protection Act, taking place this year (2015), mandates training in dog encounters and changes in procedure for all Colorado police officers to avoid these tragedies. "Specifically this statute aims to assist in training officers to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, as well as to employ non-lethal means whenever possible" (animallaw.info, 2014).
Please sign this petition in support to raise awareness in hopes of SDPD and law enforcement across America in implementing animal training courses, similar to the one in Colorado. The Colorado Dog Protection Act should be a required course for all law enforcement persons so another tragic story such as Burberry's does not happen again.
More info about The Colorado Dog Protection Act: https://www.animallaw.info/statute/co-police-training-dog-protection-act
More info about Burberry's story: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Dog-Shot-Pacific-Beach-San-Diego-Felspar-296441431.html?partner=nbcnews%3Fpar%3Dnbcnews&site=nbcnews.com&cm_ven=nbcnews&cm_cat=Article#
Justice for Burberry Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-Burberry/386066888231959?ref=ts&fref=ts
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