Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The following message was sent to the CityCouncilman in whose district this killing occurred and the Mayor and others

I just heard about a cop shooting a 2-year-old puppy boxer dog on Christmas eve at 11:00 pm at 24th and N NW because the dog was off the leash. (The dog was just standing there, although the office says that "the dog attacked him."). The NBC2 story is below this message. Two years ago a weimaraner (Daisy, I believe) on Foxhall Road was similarly shot by a copy in broad daylight in her own yard. Last year it was Joe's dog Princess in Dupont Circle. This summer, a police officer responding to a dog-bites-dog incident near Conn Ave. was getting ready to shoot the Sidney, the bigger dog, until cooler heads prevailed. This is the worst kind of animal cruelty because we expect that the police are going to protect us in our parks, not shoot our dogs.

Some cops are killing our dogs just because the dogs are off the leash. The fine is supposed to be $50 for having a dog off the leash, not the death of the dog. This shooting has to be in gross violation of the DOJ's POLICE USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE - A CONCILIATION HANDBOOK FOR THE POLICE and THE COMMUNITY which police are required to follow. If they are doing this to our dogs, our puppies, what are they doing to people?

Two years ago, I polled 40 police officers in DC from various forces about the kind of training they get to handle dog situations, of which they have many. The answer was unanimously, NONE. I repeat, NONE. One office simply smiled and pointed to his gun. I checked with the only police supply house in the country that puts out the well-known, definitive video on the subject, "What Dogs Are Trying to Tell Cops." Although they have distributed 12,000 copies of that video to municipalities, they told me that DC has never requested one. Officer should get formal training and then refresher training in roll-call sessions. Now they get none. Our dogs are getting shot as the result.

Two years ago, I wrote to you and the mayor about the subject. The mayor sent the letter to Chief Ramsey who sent it to his training chief. He or she wrote me a latter back saying, "Oh, No, we train our officers on how to handle dogs. " I showed that letter to several officers I know and their unanimous reaction was "That's bull s-___. We get none."

We have got to get the police trained on how to handle dogs, for their safety and for the safety of the dogs and others who are around. Just because a dog is off the leash, that is no reason to shoot the dog, even if the dog runs to the officer. There are ways police can be trained to deal with that. We all deal with that every time we see a dog coming to us, and we do not have guns. There are many examples in DC of cops reacting correctly in these situations, but some officers are so damned afraid of dogs and they need to be trained (or not hired --- if they are afraid of dogs, they surely must be afraid of criminals).

The solution is training. Now the police get none. Our dogs --- including yours --- are all vulnerable as long as they are off the leash and untrained cops carry guns. Don't give a cop a gun until they are trained in this.

I am outraged as I am saddened that this happened again, especially since I brought it to your and the mayor's attention two years ago.

I think now I know why DC has the lowest percent ownership of dogs in the country, 20 percent compared to the next lowest (42%) and the average of 59%: because a few untrained cops are shooting dogs and the pound quietly puts every pit bull to death who enters its doors unclaimed. This is wrong. By the way, from a source, I discovered that in the "poorer" districts here, dogs are being shot far more often here, even dogs that are retreating back to their houses. [Source redacted.] She saw this with her own eyes when she was an animal control officer.

Also, I would appreciate it if you would have someone call up and get that cop removed from duty or at least your district immediately until an investigation is done. Also, please call for an investigation because it happened in your district, again. Truthfully, these days I am afraid to walk with my dogs on the street LEASHED as long as that cop or any is around here. Please.

How many more times does this have to happen before something is done. This is a form of animal cruelty that has got to stop. Most of the cops know how to handle these situations, but we are all vulnerable because of the few bad ones.

I am sending this to the mayor too, and the Washington Post. I have already called the post and they are going to have someone get back to me. I would also like to send it to Chief Lanier, who is a dog lover herself, I understand. Does someone in your office have her fax number for me?

Below is the story from NBC2. What a sad story. This is an outrage.

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