WHAT MUST BE DONE NOW
1- The police chief must undertake an investigation of this incident immediately. At a minimum, it may have been a violation of the DOJ's Guidelines for Use of Force.
NOTE: CHIEF CATHY LANIER HAS INDICATED THAT AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY.
2- The police chief must suspend the officer from duty until the investigation is complete and the officer trained to handle these situations if he has had no training already. This is for his sake, our dogs' sake and the sake of others. As we saw last year in DuPont Circle, a PARK police officer shot and killed a dog named Princess when she was running up to the officer at a busy time of the day when many others were around. Although the witnesses in he area said Princess was not attacking and those who knew said she was friendly, the officer was later cleared of any wrongdoing, including using his gun when he had other means to defuse the situation and Princess never touched him.
3- The city must fund and require training for officer on how to handle dogs and about the use of lethal force when other means are available to them, for their own safety as well as our dogs and then public's. Police have to deal with dog situations in many instances and they need to know how to handle dogs. Again, this is for their own protection. The officer's safety in an incident is of paramount importance and he or she cannot be distracted by a vicious dog. But also, he or she cannot take time out to deal with dogs that are not a threat because that wasted time could be a distraction also.
NOTE: CATHY LANIER HAS ALREADY EXPRESSED AN INTEREST IN SEEKING A PARTNERSHIP WITH CITIZENS TO IMPROVE THE THE POLICE ACADEMY'S TRAINING FOR THE POLICE OFFICERS, FOR THEIR BENEFIT AS WELL AS THE PUBLIC'S AND THEIR DOGS. CHANGES MAY ALREADY BE UNDERWAY, JUST TWO DAYS AFTER THIS SAD STORY BROKE. BLOGGER IS OPTIMISTIC THAT WARRANTED CHANGES WILL TAKE PLACE.
4- As a start to item 3, the Police Department should order copies of the four videos containing useful information on how cops can handle dog situations and start immediately a roll call training program on a voluntary basis.
NOTE: THE DIRECTOR OF THE POLICE ACADEMY HAS ALREADY ASKED TO BORROW BLOGGER'S COPIES OF THE FOUR VIDEOS. IT WAS ALSO LEARNED THAT AFTER THE INCIDENT IN 2005, THE ACADEMY OBTAINED ONE OF THEM AND INCORPORATED IT INTO THEIR TRAINING.
HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:
1. Contact the mayor and express your concern about this matter. The mayor's e-mails are: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
2. Contact City Council member Jack Evans if you live in his District, where the killing of the Scooby occurred, and express your concern about this matter. Ask to make to make the officer is removed from duty until the internal investigation is done and he is being given proper training on how to handle animals and in the use of force. Jack's contact information is:
Phone: (202) 724-8058
(Note: Apparetnly, after the 2005 incident, Jack sent our letter to the MPD and they incorprated some of the suggestions into their training.)
3. Contact your City Council member and ask them to support the training of police officers on how to handle animals and in the Use of Force. The police cannot do this on their own and they need city council support and funding and priority. The police I have spoken with would welcome this training. So would we. Click here for the web site with city council members' contact information.
Their phone numbers and room numbers at their address (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20004) are:
D.C. City Council Member Phone and Room Numbers
Vincent C. Gray (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-8032 Room 504
Carol Schwartz (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-8105 Room 404
Phil Mendelson (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-8064 Room 402
David Catania (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-7772 Room110
Kwame Brown (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-8174 Room 506
Jim Graham (WARD 1) - (202) 724-8181 Room 105
Jack Evans (WARD 2) - (202) 724-8058 Room 106
Mary M. Cheh (WARD 3) - (202) 724-8062 Room 108
Muriel Bowser (WARD 4) - (202) 724-8052 Room 406
Harry L. Thomas, Jr. (WARD 5) - (202) 724-8028 Room ?
Tommy Wells (WARD 6) - (202) 724-8072 Room 408
Yvette Alexander (WARD 7) - (202) 724-8068 Suite 400
Marion Barry (WARD 8) - (202) 724-8045 Suite 400
4. Contact Police Chief Cathy Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department and thank her for her prompt, professional and forward-looking response to this and tell her your support the idea for an improved training program for officers on how to handle animals and the use of force. Blogger is confident she understands the gravity of this matter (and the need to be fair) and has already taken all the action she can with regard to the future. Tell her that this training is not only for our dogs but for the officers themselves and the public nearby when incidents occur. Chief Lanier's e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Contact the Metro Section at the Washington Post and ask them to give visibility to this story with regard to the future. (There is nothing that can be done to bring Scooby back, but there are things that can be done in the future to prevent this from happening again.) The phone number for the Post is 334-6000 (ask for the Metro section).
6. Contact Mr. Michel Marauw, Scooby's guardian, and give him your condolences about Scooby's unwarranted death and tell him that you will work to make sure that this never happens again to another dog in DC. You may also leave messages of condolences for Michel and his family in the next posting (click here). Blogger will make sure Michel receives them.
His office contact information is:
Address: Park Hyatt Washington
1201 24th Street NW
Washington DC 20037
7. If you are a supporter of the Humane Society of the United States, contact them and ask them to make more visible their efforts in this area as a nationwide concern. We were told that their e-inbox contains alerts about one shooting of another around the country every day. DC's record is excellent compared to many jurisdictions around the country, but it doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement here. In fact, DC can and should be a leader in this regard. Ironically, Scooby's incident occurred just four blocks from the HSUS's office in downtown DC. Also ask them to send a letter to Mayor Fenty endorsing an improved program for training officers on how to handle dogs in DC and on the Use of Force in general.
Not providing officers sufficient training in these areas is tantamount to a form of animal cruelty since it is 100 percent avoidable and done in the name of the law. Most police officers know how to handle animals and know about the use of force. It's that small percent we need to concern ourselves with. Every one is trainable in this. Most police officers agree that except in the most extreme cases would the use of force be required against a dog. Fortunately, most police officers know that. For instance, read the below items that appeared in the Washington Post in June 2005 (when Blogger saw this piece, he immediately called the officer's precinct captain to inquire about the officer's condition --- he was fine --- and to ask that that officer be commended for sparing the dog):
Dog Bites Police Officer: I ST. SW , 200 block, June 16. A police officer was bitten by an 8-year-old pit bull while arresting the dog's owner. The dog was impounded at the D.C. shelter. The man was released from police custody the next day and claimed his dog at the shelter."