Pat Miller on Dog shootings

Pits in the news and info on Breed Specific Legislation.

Postby TheRedQueen » November 14th, 2010, 1:21 pm

(she mentions Parrot, the pit bull killed in DC over the summer...but I figured I'd make this its own thread)

http://www.peaceablepaws.com/blog/?p=563

September 18, 2010
Cops Shooting Dogs
Filed under: Animal Shelters, Dog shooting, Dog-related fatalities — Tags: dog, Dog-related fatalities, Marin humane Society, Pat Miller, Peaceable Paws, police, shelter, shooting — Pat Miller @ 6:14 pm
It used to be a rarity to hear of a dog being shot by a law enforcement officer. Not any more. Something has happened in our culture and our law enforcement communities that has caused an exponential increase in tragic incidents such as the one that occurred on September 12th at a crowded street festival in Washington DC. On that afternoon, Officer Scott Fike shot and killed Parrot, a Pit Bull/Shar-Pei mix who was attending the event with his foster caretaker.

Other recent cases from the Police-Killing-Dogs Hall of Shame include Bear-Bear, a Siberian Husky who was shot by an off-duty federal police officer for engaging in what was probably rough play between two dogs at a dog park, or at worse a normal, non-serious “scuffle” between two dogs,” and the killing of two Labrador Retrievers in their own home; the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, when police officers served a search warrant at the wrong address.


Dr. Randal Lockwood of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says he sees 250 to 300 incidents per year in media reports, and estimates another 1,000 aren’t reported. That’s more than three per day. Three per day!!! What is wrong with us???

I worked for 20 years at the Marin Humane Society in Novato, California, just north of San Francisco, for much of that time as a humane officer enforcing humane and animal control laws. I can’t recall one single incident of a dog being shot by a police officer in our county during that two-decade span. I also edited and published a quarterly newsletter the (C.H.A.I.N. Letter) for animal protection professionals for 13 years, ending in 1999. Pre-Internet, we compiled and published animal-law-enforcement news from around the country (and the world) and if we came across three or four dog shootings a year it was a lot.



On the rare occasions when a dog shooting did happen there was inevitably a huge uproar with considerable attention from the media. Today, cops shoot and kill dogs around the United States multiple times daily and it hardly causes a ripple. Let me repeat that. Today, cops shoot and kill dogs around the United States multiple times daily and it hardly causes a ripple. Most of the time not much is said about it – it certainly isn’t often picked up by national news. So what has changed? Several things.

1.Popularization of the Pit Bull. When I started working at Marin in 1976, we never saw a Pit Bull in a shelter. Ever. In those days the only people who owned Pit Bulls were dogfighters, and they weren’t about to let their dogs end up in shelters. Nor were they foolish enough to breed dogs who would attack people. Heck, they had to be in the pit with dogs who were fighting each other, and they had to separate them when they were fighting. The last thing they wanted was a dog who would bite a human. If one did, he was taken behind the barn and shot. Then, in the 1990s, The Humane Society of the United States launched a campaign to make dogfighting a felony in all 50 states, and in their efforts to educate the public and legislators about the brutally cruel “sport” they glamorized the breed – and people started wanting them; some responsible dog owners, for the right reasons, but a lot of irresponsible ones for all the wrong reasons. Shelters started seeing a trickle, then a downpour, and finally a flood of Bully dogs, until today almost every full-service shelter in the country often finds a preponderance of Pit-type dogs in their kennels. Many other large, strong breeds – like the Rottweiler, the Cane Corso, the Presa Canario, the Boerboel, and the American Bulldog – were also extremely rare in this country until the 1990s and later. Now they are common. Law enforcement officers in general seem to be exceptionally phobic about the Bully breeds, or dogs who appear to have even a remote possible relationship to a Bully breed.


Two decades ago you never saw a Pit Bull on the street or at a shelter. Now they are everywhere, and are, sadly, one of the breeds most commonly found at many shelters.
2.Sensitization of Our Society to Dog Bites. In the “good old days,” if a dog bit a kid, Mom usually asked Junior what he did to the dog that he shouldn’t have. Today she calls Animal Control first, then her attorney. In the “good old days,” dogs ran loose a lot, everyone accepted that dogs were a part of life, that dogs sometimes bit people, and it was no big deal. Plus, because dogs ran loose a lot, they were better socialized and probably less likely to bite people. Today, with a marked increase in responsible dog ownership, dogs don’t run loose so much, they aren’t as well socialized, and the population of humans as a whole is a lot less comfortable, and a lot less tolerant, of dogs doing what dogs do.
3.Dog Mauling and Dog-Related Fatality Statistics. In the mid 1990’s, an average of 20 people per year were killed by dogs in the U.S. In those pre-pit-popularity days, dogs most often implicated in serious dog bites and dog-related fatalities were breeds like Huskies and German Shepherds – medium-to-large dogs who lacked the sheer bulk and determination of many of the Bully types. In 2009, depending on whose numbers you believe, there were 32 dog-related fatalities in this country; fifteen of the deaths were allegedly caused by Pitbulls or Pit mixes and three by Rottweilers or Rottie mixes. (I say “allegedly” because there are people who insist that there is a rampant problem of reed-misidentification in dog-fatality cases – not a point I want to argue here, but I don want to acknowledge the point.) This year so far, with 24 fatalities on the books and three months to go (projecting a total of 32-ish again this year), twelve of the deaths were caused by Pits; four by Rotts; and one by an American Bulldog. That’s 56% in 2009 by what some call “high-risk” breeds, and a staggering 75% so far in 2010. Although 32 deaths is miniscule in a country with a population of more than 310 million, in which an average of 92 people are killed by lightning annually; 15,500 by murder (by our own species) and 42,000 in car accidents, still, people get incensed over dog-related fatalities.
4.Lack of Community Outrage. In the end, the police work for us. We the People. If we don’t get outraged over cops shooting dogs, they can reasonably take that as a statement of public support for their actions. I think back to all the aggressive dogs I managed to handle during my animal protection career without ever shooting one – and without ever being badly bitten (one minor bite in 20 years… but that’s another story). I carried a gun for the sole purpose of dispatching badly injured wildlife, and it never even occurred to me to point it at a dog. My trusty control pole was all I ever needed to protect me from the ravages of flashing canine teeth.
So… let’s get outraged. For starters, sign the petition that urges disciplinary action against Officer Scott Fike for his inappropriate use of deadly force against a dog who had reportedly already been subdued prior to his arrival on the scene. But let’s go farther than that. We need a grassroots campaign that insists our law enforcement officers be trained and equipped to appropriately and non-lethally handle situations in which dogs are involved. Call your own police department tomorrow to inquire about their department policies for handling dogs, and to ask if their officers are equipped with and trained in the use of humane canine capture equipment. Then ask three of your friends to call, and have them ask three of their friends. Get it started. Perhaps Parrot’s death can have some meaning after all.

Warm Woofs, Happy Training,

and

keep your dogs safe…

Pat Miller
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby Pit♥bull » November 14th, 2010, 1:49 pm

Well stated :goodStuff:
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Postby DemoDick » November 14th, 2010, 8:34 pm

Horseshit. If anyone wants me to, I can handily tear this apart piece by piece.

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Postby mnp13 » November 14th, 2010, 9:07 pm

DemoDick wrote:Horseshit. If anyone wants me to, I can handily tear this apart piece by piece.

Demo Dick


Seriously, why bother? It'll turn into another screaming fight. We know you're going to tear it apart and we know that people are going to say you're biased and closed minded. Then you will say the same thing back.

I'm not taking sides, like everything else, there is some truth here some untruth some stretched truth.

I love this though:
2.Sensitization of Our Society to Dog Bites. In the “good old days,” if a dog bit a kid, Mom usually asked Junior what he did to the dog that he shouldn’t have. Today she calls Animal Control first, then her attorney.
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Postby DemoDick » November 14th, 2010, 9:14 pm

Actually, everyone just go to dogsbite.org and compare the reasoning method they use to the reasoning method used in this, uh, "article".

There, that was easier than I thought. :D

Demo Dick
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Postby BigDogBuford » November 14th, 2010, 10:05 pm

mnp13 wrote:I love this though:
2.Sensitization of Our Society to Dog Bites. In the “good old days,” if a dog bit a kid, Mom usually asked Junior what he did to the dog that he shouldn’t have. Today she calls Animal Control first, then her attorney.



Michelle, I liked that too.

When I was six or so I was running through my neighbor's back yard and got bit in the ass by their GSD. When I told my mom she asked me, "Well why the hell were you running through his back yard?" Haha. It wasn't a serious bite and it was a good learning experience for me. Guess what, GSD's like to herd!
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 14th, 2010, 10:18 pm

DemoDick wrote:Horseshit. If anyone wants me to, I can handily tear this apart piece by piece.

Demo Dick


No thanks. If you want to argue it, you can talk to Pat Miller...I can get her phone number for you even.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby DemoDick » November 14th, 2010, 10:26 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:
DemoDick wrote:Horseshit. If anyone wants me to, I can handily tear this apart piece by piece.

Demo Dick


No thanks. If you want to argue it, you can talk to Pat Miller...I can get her phone number for you even.


LOL. Anything I have to say will fly right over his/her head.

P.S. Why start the thread then?

Demo Dick
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 14th, 2010, 10:38 pm

LOL. Anything I have to say will fly right over his/her head.


Sure. :rolleyes2:

P.S. Why start the thread then?


I plead temporary insanity. I forgot which board I was posting to.
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Postby mnp13 » November 14th, 2010, 10:38 pm

BigDogBuford wrote:Michelle, I liked that too.

When I was six or so I was running through my neighbor's back yard and got bit in the ass by their GSD. When I told my mom she asked me, "Well why the hell were you running through his back yard?"

lol

Our mom's were cut from the same cloth.

Haha. It wasn't a serious bite and it was a good learning experience for me. Guess what, GSD's like to herd!

go figure! :wink:
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Postby mnp13 » November 14th, 2010, 10:39 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:
P.S. Why start the thread then?


I plead temporary insanity. I forgot which board I was posting to.


Temporary? :wink:
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Postby DemoDick » November 14th, 2010, 10:51 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:
LOL. Anything I have to say will fly right over his/her head.


Sure. :rolleyes2:


Anyone capable of writing that drivel with the intent to pass it off as somehow legitimate and useful for anything besides rallying the troops through an appeal to base emotion is nowhere near the same intellectual level that I am. That's a fact. Any undergrad with a cursory understanding of research methods could tear that whole article to shreds, easily.

Like I said, go on over to dogsbite.org and you will see the exact same quality of research and reasoning. If the woman behind that site is full of crap (and she is) for using faulty reasoning, then so is Pat Miller.

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Postby amazincc » November 14th, 2010, 11:40 pm

DemoDick wrote: pass it off as somehow legitimate and useful for anything besides rallying the troops through an appeal to base emotion

:?

We need a grassroots campaign that insists our law enforcement officers be trained and equipped to appropriately and non-lethally handle situations in which dogs are involved. Call your own police department tomorrow to inquire about their department policies for handling dogs, and to ask if their officers are equipped with and trained in the use of humane canine capture equipment.

She actually states quite clearly that she's trying to "rally the troops"... what's wrong w/that???
I would think that you, as a bully owner AND a PO, would encourage that your fellow officers are equipped with, and trained in, the use of humane canine capture equipment.
Probably not going to happen any time soon, if ever... but one can hope. :|
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Postby DemoDick » November 15th, 2010, 8:06 pm

amazincc wrote:She actually states quite clearly that she's trying to "rally the troops"... what's wrong w/that??


The problem is extremely complex. First of all, the author makes an astounding number of assumptions and I literally don't have time to address them all. So let's start with the big one. The author uses anecdotal evidence and media reports to draw the conclusion that the number of dog shootings is going up. That's not even remotely objective and as such cannot be considered valid within the scope of actual meaningful research. She goes so far as to call this an "exponential increase", and I'm quite confident that the author couldn't even define what that really means. Second, she goes on to come up with a four-point explanation as to why this is happening, all from the comfort of an armchair without a single peer-reviewed study to back her claims up. There are no operational definitions of the variables, and hence, no actual data to display those variables interacting. Without data there is no validity.

I would think that you, as a bully owner AND a PO, would encourage that your fellow officers are equipped with, and trained in, the use of humane canine capture equipment.
Probably not going to happen any time soon, if ever... but one can hope. :|


It's simply not going to happen for a number of reasons. Mainly, departments have limited budgets and training facilities (as well as a plethora of state mandated, and completely pointless "diversity based training" objectives). The idea that Police Departments should devote a portion of their already stretched budgets to train their Officers in the use of "humane capture equipment" is pure fantasy. ACO's call us to back them up on aggressive dog calls. Many ACO's are under standing orders NOT to respond to dangerous or aggressive dog calls until a Police Officer is onscene. In my opinion, this is the way it should be done. Why? We have guns. We can, if necessary, use deadly physical force to make sure the ACO goes home in one piece if Plan A (the catch pole) doesn't work out as planned. In a perfect world we wouldn't have to shoot dogs, or people, or even have to use force to affect arrests. But everyone knows this world is far from perfect.

If I could increase funding and time in any aspect of Officer training, "humane capture" would be very near the bottom of the list. Why? Priorities. The first slice of that pie would go to driving, and specifically emergency driving, without question. Why? It is the one thing that we do every day that puts both Officers and the public at the greatest risk. It is across the board the number one Departmental cost-category for liability, Officer injuries, medical costs, and vehicular repair/maintenance. Second would probably be additional Defensive Tactics training, specifically edged weapon awareness and additional practical firearms training, as most departments only require one firearms qualification per year and for many officers that is the only time they ever shoot. I would also like to see Tasers issued to every Police Officer in the country and the necessary training completed. I could go on and on coming up with areas in which we are under-equipped and/or under-trained, and eventually yes, we will get to humane capture. But it will be a long while before we get there.

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Postby airwalk » November 15th, 2010, 11:45 pm

ACO's call us to back them up on aggressive dog calls. Many ACO's are under standing orders NOT to respond to dangerous or aggressive dog calls until a Police Officer is onscene.


Wow I'm impressed that your LEO Agencies have those resources, here if we waited for law enforcement backup...we would grow old and retire first. I agree with you that in many cases it would be more appropriate, it just isn't the way of my world.
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Postby fenella » November 30th, 2010, 2:04 am

I think her article is timely, though, because of the recent shootings in our area (also her area). Now, I would never say that an officer should put his/her life in danger, nor the lives of others, over a dog. Our family dog was shot by an officer when I was just a baby...he was standing over a lamb that had become roadkill and growled at the officer who came near him. Bang. I don't blame the officer for it.
There has been a TON of publicity over the recent shootings in the Maryland/DC area, especially the dog park shooting and the Parrot shooting mentioned in the article. I don't necessarily agree with everything she says in the article, but I think within the context of recent events, she is within her right to say so...especially as a former ACO.
I was looking for the actual statistics in police shootings of dogs, and came up empty. I did find some instances where police shot more dogs than anything else http://thecrimereport.org/2009/06/15/dogs-are-targets-in-most-rochester-pd-shootings/
Similar to Pat's post, is this article http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-07-19/dogs-in-a-deadly-crossfire/
Are the stats accurate? I have no idea...because the stats don't seem to exist.
I am generally on the side of police, and wouldn't question their decision, though the recent DC area incidents seem to be crossing the line.
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Postby mnp13 » November 30th, 2010, 10:44 pm

I can tell you that the stats for Rochester don't exist because the police department doesn't have to report it to anyone. There is an incident report filled out every time an officer discharges their weapon, but there isn't anything compiled. The only ones you hear about are the ones that make the news... which is why her story is so skewed, unless the department in her area had to report to her? I kinda doubt that.

Now, I would never say that an officer should put his/her life in danger, nor the lives of others, over a dog.

A dog advancing on an officer is a dog that is putting an officer's "life in danger" and if not their life, their livelyhood. A bite from a toy poodle on their weapon hand could put them out of work permanently. Ask a meter reader, post man, UPS or FedEx delivery person, or police officer how often they've been told "my dog is friendly" only to have that dog bite them or try to bite them? And that is with the owner present. Dogs without their owners present are very unpredictable.
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Postby copperlegend » December 1st, 2010, 9:31 am

I've heard horror stories from my dad, when he was an officer they had no choice but to shoot dogs. What else are you going to do when you are doing a drug bust, and you're greeted by two very large, very angry 'pit bull type' dogs that you didn't even hear because their 'owner' had their vocal cords cut? There is no doubt in my mind that crap like that still happens, and honestly you can't blame the officers or the department for that.

I can tell you though, my dad is still haunted by it. He's an animal lover and he was practically tearing up telling me this, and it was 30+ years ago.
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Postby DemoDick » December 2nd, 2010, 6:00 pm

copperlegend wrote:I've heard horror stories from my dad, when he was an officer they had no choice but to shoot dogs. What else are you going to do when you are doing a drug bust, and you're greeted by two very large, very angry 'pit bull type' dogs that you didn't even hear because their 'owner' had their vocal cords cut? There is no doubt in my mind that crap like that still happens, and honestly you can't blame the officers or the department for that.

I can tell you though, my dad is still haunted by it. He's an animal lover and he was practically tearing up telling me this, and it was 30+ years ago.


I have a pair of uniform pants that are torn in the crotch. Damn dog tried to bite my balls off and I still feel horrible about having to shoot him.

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Postby fenella » December 2nd, 2010, 7:12 pm

mnp13 wrote:A dog advancing on an officer is a dog that is putting an officer's "life in danger" and if not their life, their livelyhood. A bite from a toy poodle on their weapon hand could put them out of work permanently. Ask a meter reader, post man, UPS or FedEx delivery person, or police officer how often they've been told "my dog is friendly" only to have that dog bite them or try to bite them? And that is with the owner present. Dogs without their owners present are very unpredictable.


Totally agree. I'm not saying that 99% of the incidents weren't justified, just that the few in this area that have received a lot of attention lately are somewhat, shall we say, questionable...like the off-duty officer in the dog park who thought his dog was in danger of being attacked. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. But there have been more media reports of police involved shootings with dogs as of late, which may be the reason so many seem to be pointing to an increase. It may very well be just like the unfair (or skewed) reporting of pit bulls in dog attacks...
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