(Article changed on July 18, 2013 at 04:11)
Photo via YouTube by Gabriel Martinez
The recent shooting of 'Max' the rottweiler by the city of Hawthorne police touches our hearts and sheds light on a lingering problem.
Police shootings of dogs in commonplace investigations need to be studied, especially since they are often prompted by nothing more than the natural instinct of dogs to protect their owners. A formal study of the problem could lay the groundwork for police training and updated public policies that would give police "non-lethal" options to protect both themselves and dogs in any hazardous confrontations between them.
Of course, no cop wants to shoot a dog. But the police are exposed to a great deal of stress and do face real threats. I believe they would welcome any training and response options that could spare dog owners, and in fact themselves, the heartbreak associated with killing "man's best friend."
In the post-9/11 world of greater police power, increasing public discontent, and a growing "us vs. them" mentality, I urge that we the people come together now on something we can ALL agree on: our love of dogs.
I urge the state of California to study the issue of police shootings of dogs, and to give our police the training, updated tools, and policies needed to protect the lives of innocent pets. When you factor in the present costs of lawsuits brought by grief-stricken dog owners who have lost their pets, and, frankly, too, the costs of lowered public trust, the modest investment required to carry out such a program would be nothing short of a bargain.