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September 2008
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Dogs

Scott Morgan has an excellent post talking about the latest episode in the continual slaughter of dogs by law enforcement officers — the shooting of a Jack Russell terrier.

Ok, obviously there‰s some sort of major misunderstanding going on here, because the number of household pets being killed by police has gone from alarming to inconceivably, mindblowingly outrageous and intolerable. Of course, police are heroes who would never kill animals just to be mean (only sociopaths are cruel to animals), so the answer must be that police are disproportionately terrified of dogs.

It’s a good point, and I find myself wondering — since police are always going to often find themselves interacting with dogs, wouldn’t it make sense to give them some, I don’t know, training on dealing with dogs? Did some departments just cut that part of the training?

“Well, we were going to have dog training, but that would’ve taken a whole day to do it right, so we just said “Shoot ’em.” Took 5 seconds instead.” [</snark>]

Many years ago, I worked as a crew leader for a company that delivered advertising material door-to-door in Chicago and the suburbs. And some of the most vicious dogs are kept outside, sometimes on chains, by the side of the house.
Now we couldn’t make our quota of deliveries if we took the sidewalk back and forth at each house, so we often cut across lawns. And invariably, right when you get to the side of the house you’d come face to face with a large dog three feet away from you, with 20 feet more chain.
And we weren’t issued guns.
So you know what, we learned how to get along with dogs. We learned dog psychology. And I never had a delivery person get bit.
Add to that the postal carriers, UPS/FedEx, meter readers, and neighborhood children. They all figure out ways to deal with the dog without shooting him.
Now you may say that the police have a different situation in that they are dealing with dogs inside the house. And that’s true. But that leads me to another theory.
You see, dogs aren’t any more dangerous inside the house. They just bark a lot. And all that barking in the confines of a room gets really loud, and if you’re stressed, it can make you edgy. “I can’t think with all this noise!”
Maybe cops shoot dogs because they want quiet.
That wouldn’t be a very good public reason, of course. “We killed your family member because he was loud.” That’s why they use the “I felt threatened” line.
Just a thought.

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