Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chikamauga dog shooting update

I blogged earlier in the week on the shooting death of a mixed breed dog in Georgia.

The chief of police has talked with reporters now and is offering a more detailed description of what happened. It includes that the officer had attempted to go back to his vehicle for some pepper spray.

Now, here is what I don't get. The officer and caller were standing out in her driveway discussing the incident while the dog was pacing and barking mere feet away. Even though they knew the dog had been able to walk up the woman's front stoop, they somehow assumed the dog wasn't planning on coming back over the fence. They knew the dog had been running loose for several hours. They knew where he was located and what he was doing, yet they chose to stand their and act shocked when the dog repeated the same behavior as it did earlier in the day - barked and hackled and growled at people.

In my mind, it seems more prudent to remove civilians from the situation and assess the dog from the safety of a vehicle, THEN grab your pepper spray, a catch pole and see if a safe, non-lethal method can be attempted. Bring another officer to boot. If a reasonable effort is not successful and the dog cannot be safely confined or cornered, consider monitoring the dog and contacting neighbors to find the owner. This isn't a large city, it's a town of 2,200. I think it's fair to make REASONABLE efforts to use nonlethal solutions. And I think this dog would still be alive if a different tactic had been attempted, maybe not.

When it comes down to it, though, we have an owner who KNEW that the dog could get out of his yard. There was a hole that the owner chose not to fix, for whatever reason. When you know your dog can get out, you know he can get into trouble. He could be hit by a car, get into fights with other dogs, get poisoned, or, in this case, get shot and killed, his body dumped into a landfill for you to dig out later. All because a person chose not to block a hole in the fence.

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