In August 2005, a Weimaraner dog (Peach) was shot to death by a police officer checking out a burglar alarm on Foxhall Road. The dog was attacking her, the officer said. In September 2006, a terrier named Princess was shot to death in Dupont Circle. The dog was attacking him, the police officer said. The there was another dog, Bronson, in Georgetown, whom I knew well to be a friendly dog, who was shot by police investigating a burglar alarm call.He survived, luckily. On Christmas eve, the boxer Scobby. Again, the police officer said the dog was attacking him. These are only the highly publicized cases over the last two years. No one knows how many unpublicized cases there were, although I am told that it happens often. My question is this: If Police officers have a right to use their weapons when not in the middle of a crime pursuit (other than dogs off the leash), isn't this a reason for DC to drop its handgun ban and allow all of its citizens to carry guns to ward off all those attacking dogs? It does not make sense that police officers can use their weapons to shoot attacking dogs but we citizens just have to grin and bear it. Fortunately, dog bites are not a problem in DC
There is no question but that police officers do need extra protection against truly vicious dogs because those dogs can lead to a tragedy when there is a crime incident in process. But protection comes not only in weapons, but in training too. Police officers need the training to know when there is not a problem with dogs as much as they need to know when there is. Police and everyone need to know that just because a dog runs up to someone, the dog is not attacking. There are clear, recognizable signs that a dog is ready to attack. They do not get a lot training on the job with dogs because DC has the lowest percentage of dog ownership in the country, 20 percent. The next closest is 42 percent.