Over the past couple of years, multiple news stories have emerged about officer-involved shootings of dogs. Of course dogs will become protective of their owners in intense situations, but it’s difficult to know exactly what’s happened. Police feel threatened by charging dogs and their instinct is to shoot, but what if there was a way to give them a better handle on the situation? Individual states are currently looking at legislation to do just that.
Photo Credit: Jordan Shields
Colorado was the first to adapt such a law back in 2013. Earlier this month in Texas, House Bill 593 was given preliminary approval. It requires police officers to undergo an extensive training program that provides them with information on how to understand canine behavior, distinguish between friendly and aggressive dogs, and also how to defend themselves against a dog without taking lethal action. The bill was put into motion after the Boling family lost their Border Collie to an officer who was afraid of dogs and shot it when it approached. They’ve used the tragedy as a means to work with the police departments in Texas and have helped set up many of the training programs in Texas.
Advocates in Ohio are hoping to make it the next state to join. The mayor of Woodville, a town outside of Toldeo, is already paying for training for his officers, but is now helping to lobby for the idea at the state level. The training initiative was built into the budget for the state and is heading to the senate this week. If approved, Ohio’s attorney general will work out the specifics of how much training is needed and what will be included in it. Essentially, however, the goal is to train officers how to implement non-lethal methods when approached by dogs.
There is hope that all states will look to adopt proposals such as these. Keeping everyone safe is the main goal, but that should include dogs as well. Nobody should have to lose their pet because of a simple misunderstanding. Training like this is essential and nothing but beneficial. If you want to get involved, contact your representatives about implementing training in your state. Hopefully, no one will have to lose their friend ever again.