This is part two in a series. Read part one here.
Some good news from the world of “puppycide” — that bizarre thing where cops keep inexplicably shooting dogs and (usually) getting away with it.
First, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied a request by police and city officials in North Las Vegas, Nev., to dismiss the lawsuit filed by a Louisa Thurston, whose dogs were shot and killed by police during a raid on her home. The court found “[g]enuine issues of material fact as to whether the police officers acted reasonably in shooting Thurston’s pet pit bull and mastiff,” and “[g]enuine issue of fact as to whether the dogs attacked. Perhaps they did not attack at all.”
In my experience covering these stories, it’s pretty rare for a civil rights suit to get even this far. All this decision does is get Thurston into a courtroom. Now she’ll still need a jury to find in her favor.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice appears to be aware of and concerned about the cops-shooting-dogs issue and is doing something about it:
The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), in collaboration with the National Canine Research Council (NCRC) and Safe Humane introduce a new video training series for law enforcement agencies across the country. Police & Dog Encounters: Tactical Strategies and Effective Tools to Keep Our Communities Safe and Humane is the nation’s very first video training series meant to help officers protect, serve, and stay safe when they encounter a dog while on duty.
Police are in need of resources, best practices and protocol when they encounter a dog while on duty. Without the necessary training, law enforcement officials often feel the only option they have is to draw their weapon, putting themselves, bystanders and dogs at risk.
Aggression is the most misunderstood aspect of dog behavior and understanding dog body language and visual cues is essential when approaching a dog. The videos feature dog behavior expert Brian Kilcommons demonstrating real-life scenarios with SWAT and street officers, giving police options and strategies to better understand and deescalate encounters with dogs.
(Emphasis in original.)
Glad to see this. Hope to see lots of police departments take advantage of the opportunity.