by Sheriff Jim Wilson - Tuesday, January 8, 2013
From time to time we see reports of police shooting a dog in the course of responding to a call for assistance or while executing a warrant for search or arrest. Without a doubt, some of these incidents may be the result of poor training or the lack of proper planning on the part of law enforcement. However, that is of little comfort to the citizen when his family pet has been destroyed. With some thought, planning, and training, this kind of tragedy can often be avoided.
Having a family dog should be viewed as a commitment on the part of the dog owner. Besides proper feeding and regular vet care, the dog also needs basic obedience training. The animal should be taught to come on command, as well as to sit and to stay. Your dog should understand that "No" means that he is to stop what he is doing and pay attention to you. In short, you should be able to control your dog whether it is loose, or on a leash. This sort of training is surprisingly effective and inexpensive. The local pet store or your vet can direct you to trainers who can educate both you and your dog.
Allowing a dog to run loose in the neighborhood is not only a way to make enemies of all of your neighbors, it is also virtually a guarantee that the dog will come to the attention of the authorities. If the animal is not in a fenced enclosure, it should be on a leash and under your control. Training and controlling your pet will go a long way towards keeping it safe, not to mention how much your neighbors will appreciate you.
Sadly, the police can't look at a dog and determine that it is harmless anymore than they can tell the good guys from the bad guys simply by looking at them. However, dealing with family pets ought to be part of every policeman's training. And every tactical unit should develop plans for neutralizing a dog without harming it, if at all possible. Pet owners in a community might even consider opening a dialog with local law enforcement to address these issues and help develop this training.
We talk about the importance of having a plan for protecting your family. The family dog is a valuable part of most families and deserves protection as well. The solution is planning and training. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
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