I am really getting sick and tired of hearing these kinds of stories. What makes this one worse is that it happened in my backyard of Cobb County, Georgia. A Cobb County police officer shot and killed a chocolate lab when responding to a call about a burglary. The problems with this are so numerous it is hard to know where to begin.
First off, there was no burglary. The owner of the home was nervous and in a rush to get to the hospital to see his first grand-kid being born. He was on the phone with the alarm company, but couldn't remember his password to turn it off so he decided to wait for police to arrive. When police did arrive, one officer went around to the back door (apparently proper procedure for a burglary call) and met the "aggressive" chocolate lab named Luke. Luke, based on personal experience with labs, was very excited to see the new person! He barked loudly in excitement and rushed to the officer to play. Instead of playing, he was shot dead.
Second off, the police report contains falsified material! Apparently, the police questioned the sister of Luke's owner who told the police a story about how a chihuahua had bitten her in the past, and explained that Luke would never bite someone under any circumstances. The police report though, states that she said that Luke had bitten her recently, which is absolutely false, yet it helped close the case file as a justifiable shooting.
For some reason, we don't require police officers to undergo training when it comes to encountering dogs. I have absolutely no doubt that with a little bit of training, the officer in question would have quickly been able to identify that Luke was A) not a threat, B) was friendly, and C) was not a threat! Instead, we have this case where an officer shoots an animal in cold blood with no repercussions because police officers are not trained on how to identify aggressive animals and instead are trained to shoot in any circumstance without regard to the situation when it comes to dogs if they feel the least bit threatened. That is the problem and it needs to be corrected!
In case you couldn't figure out, I am definitely a dog person! One thing I know is that out of all the breeds I have encountered, labs are likely the least aggressive of all. I find it extremely unlikely that this dog posed any threat whatsoever to the police officer. I also find it extremely likely that with as little as four hours of training about how to identify when a dog is or is not a threat, this shooting could have been prevented. Seeing how common it is for people to own dogs in society, why aren't police officers trained in this area? Why are they trained instead to shoot first instead of attempting to identify whether or not an animal is an actual threat?
Luke's owner is filing a formal complaint with the Cobb County Police Department. All he wants from them is a public apology. Unfortunately he won't get it. Police departments across the nation have come to the conclusion that this is how they are to treat people's pets, and to apologize would be to admit that they could have done something different. They could have.