Decision Maker Response
Mary Cavanagh’s response
May 21, 2014 — Thank you for contacting me through Change.org asking for justice for Rock. I did see the news story on WDIV and my heart went out to Rocks owners, Bianca Alakson and Ryan Showalter.
It has grown increasingly common for police officers to use deadly force when dealing with animals. It is an unfortunate that police officers are viewing dogs as a threat first, instead of as a family member of the home they are entering. As the owner of two large breed dogs which are very friendly, but can be perceived as dangerous, I would be distraught if they were a causality of a police officer.
As a state representative and dog owner I would support legislation that would provide for:
• Improved training to officers about non-lethal options for handling dogs and understanding dog behavior
• Use alternative equipment such as catch-poles, nets and batons.
• Establish clear departmental procedures with a scale of options to exhaust before discharging a weapon-procedure that reduce or eliminate the automatic shooting of an animal as a response to tense situations.
• Provide training at the police academy to new officers on all non-lethal options accessing canine behavior and dealing with pets while on duty.
Thank you again for contacting me through Change.org. If there is anything I can be of assistance on regarding state issues please don’t hesitate to contact my office.