44 Responses to “New at HuffPost: Puppycide, the Slide Show”
Helmut O' Hooligan |
April 27th, 2012 at 1:20 pm
“Groups like the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offer free training to police departments, but both organizations said few departments take them up on the offer. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle are among departments that don’t provide regular training to officers on how to respond to dogs.”
Unfortunately, I don’t find this to be suprising. I’ll bet the primary excuse is, “ha, that’s not REAL police work.” If it doesn’t involve kicking in doors, writing tickets and making arrests, it’s just not real police work these days.
My father was a police officer. He was on the job from the early 70’s until a few months before 9-11. Dad was and is a dog lover and I could never see him shooting at a dog that wasn’t actually trying to maul him. Hell, I don’t know if he would have even shot at a dog in those circumstances. Dad and his co-workers were also trained as EMT’s for a good part of his career (remember, EMS service was spotty back then, so it was more common for police to provide basic life support [BLS] ). These days, too many cops would just stand around with their hands in their pockets in the event of a medical emergency. After all, that’s not REAL police work either.
I don’t remember hearing a thing about cops shooting dogs when I was younger. Of course that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but it seems to be epidemic now to the point where it seems to be part of protocol to shoot whatever dog is around..Can anyone here pinpoint the time frame where cops began shooting dogs as a matter of course? All of this is very sad and disturbing…to prevent this from happening don’t ever call the cops. Even leashed and chained dogs have been killed and I heard of one that was in a cage getting shot as well. These guys are way out of control and its time to push back.
The problem is that too many police officers are combat veterans who fought for our country in AFGHANISTAN AND iRAQ.
tHEY LEARNED TO SHOOT DOGS OVER THERE BECAUSE IT HELPS TO COW THE POPULACE.
Then they forget to retrain these soldiers when they switch from green to blue.
No military veteran should be allowed to be a policeman. There should be a national law to that affect. That would fix a lot more than just the dogshooting problem.
Veterans can work in the private sector. Or be unemployed. They do not need to be policemen. Too easy to go back in one’s mind and fall back on that training so rigorous that it has become instinct. Like when MDS’s training kicked in and he blew away all those policemen using only a handgun. One never forgets, it seems. That matters.
One of the reasons we’re hearing more about dogs being shot now is because of this site. The article mentioned there is really no way to track dog shootings, but this site has become a “clearing house” and archive (although I’m sure there are more that don’t get here). It’s sort of like the wrong-house raids that were always labeled “isolated incidents” until Radley started collecting them here.
That said, violent policing does seem to have escalated (as Radley also has documented) for some reason. I think that is one of the really important questions that needs to be answered. It’s not just the drug war, it’s not (just) surplus weapons going to police departments. When police feel free to shoot dogs for no reason (“stop resisting!”) something has gone terribly wrong.
@Sertorius #4: Why does that surprise you? The Huff Post end of the spectrum is where breed specific legislation comes from. It’s one predominant way they channel their racism. The other predominant way is to accuse those who have political disagreements with them of being racist. That’s how left-liberal p*sssies roll.
#DarkEFang #10: You’re absolutely correct. While I wouldn’t have believed this even 5 years ago, I can’t ignore it now. And I feel bad for whatever breed of dog (owned by whatever “breed” of person) callously killed in often unnecessary confrontations initiated by law enforcement.
@Radley: Despite the dour subject matter, your article reads like a symphony. It has a strong hint of “I’ve been beating this to death, will you just hurry up and see what’s going here so we can fix this and move on to other pressing problems”. It’s 2012 and we have a law enforcement system that obviously terminates these animals for side-sport. Something is pretty f’d up with that.
“Can anyone here pinpoint the time frame where cops began shooting dogs as a matter of course?”
I can’t, but can only say that I first heard of this sort of thing in 2003 (the family that was traveling on a family vacation who had their golden retriever shot by a state trooper during a stop somewhere).
The other poster who mentioned Iraq/Afghanistan veterans is probably on to something — I’ve read plenty of things that seem to indicate that for U.S. troops over there shooting dogs for sport was pretty much SOP (under the guise of “animal/disease control”). I believe that some dogs were also shot by the US Army at Ft. Sam Houston for the purpose of training medics, though after an outcry they switched to pigs.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this has become more common with police in recent years, corresponding with the large numbers of Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans who have been hired. That combined with “qualified immunity” means that this problem isn’t going to get any better; any “justice” that takes place isn’t going to happen within the system.
There ain’t enough bourbon in all of Kentucky to make me watch that.
Bottom Line: Cops hurt unarmed people and dogs because they can, and because it makes them feel good. When cops begin to be harshly punished (i.e. jail) for hurthing unarmed people and dogs, it will lessen.
Until then, keep your kids and dogs the f#*k away from cops just as you would a poisonous snake.
Oakland PD shot the dogs of some acquaintences of mine (who, for purely demographic purposes, are both white) in West Oakland, in 1999 or so. They were living in West Oakland almost in Emeryville at the time, and the police were in pursuit of a suspect. (Which, given where they lived, also doesn’t make any damned sense, there’s nowhere to go out of their yard, and if the dogs were really that aggro, they should have just let the dogs maul the suspect.)
Which was my first introduction to this whole police puppycide issue.
Actually, the problem goes the other way: my friends in the Army say that the really undisciplined, trigger-happy guys were reservists who were cops or prison guards IRL. The prison guards are apparently the worst of the lot.
In Islamic societies, dogs are considered unclean, so shooting them has a reduced cowing effect: most people view gunning down a dog the way Americans view the gunning down of rats.
Cops are members of a street gang. Some street gangs play well with people outside the gang. Others have nothing but contempt for outsiders. To those guys, with little to no consequence for offing fluffy, it’s a way of asserting dominance over the towns they predate on.
What I have heard about soldiers vs. cops is pretty much what tarran says. Soldiers searching homes in Iraq are often more polite and professional than police serving warrants.
As for the shooting of dogs in Iraq, I wouldn’t be surprised. BY all accounts there are a lot of stray/feral dogs, making more every day. And in a war zone, there is no Humane Society to take them in. Having a lot of feral dogs around is dangerous and unsanitary. You have to do something.
I do not know what (if any) training the Des Moines, Washington police department receives in dealing with animals. According the reports the lone animal control officer was on her scheduled day off the day Rosie was brutally killed. From watching and listening to Des Moines Police Car 545 (Youtube) you can see and hear for yourself that one of the 3 responding officers does in deed call the animal control person. (they call her Jan) When she calls back and tells the dispatcher to have him call a certain number, he replies that his hands are a little occupied right now. Pretty much right after that he comments to the other officer “na, he’s getting pretty mad, I think we just shoot him. Just kill him”. And that is exactly what he did. (after tasing the poor dog and chasing her off her owners property, tasing her again, this time from the window of the police car as they chased her down the sidewalk) And believe it or not, all this seems to fall within department policy and the county prosecutors officer apparently found no grounds to file animal cruelty charges. Shame, shame, shame. As if what they did to Rosie was not bad enough, everything that has happened since is just about as bad. No accountabilty for these heinous acts. Oh wait, not entirly true, the local interim police chief did state (when addressing the city council) that some of the comments were clearly unprofessional and have been addressed…….I guess that is something.
“As for the shooting of dogs in Iraq, I wouldn’t be surprised. BY all accounts there are a lot of stray/feral dogs, making more every day. And in a war zone, there is no Humane Society to take them in. Having a lot of feral dogs around is dangerous and unsanitary. You have to do something.”
Oh, yes, I’m sure it’s always just a necessary evil for the greater good, and that U.S. troops never take any pleasure whatsoever in shooting the dogs over there. Just like the cops don’t here (even though they have been heard laughing about it afterwards).
Kind of like how Marine LCpl David Motari in his famous YouTube video was doing the Iraqis a big favor by throwing that dangerous puppy off the cliff and then laughing about it. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear that he’s with some law enforcement agency now, he’d certainly be a good fit for the job.
There’s always some “greater good” excuse for ANY killing done by anyone with authority (“officer safety”, “I was in fear for my life”, etc). And there is virtually never any accountability, even when the victim is a human.
Did does Officer Thomas Griffin, a two year veteran of the Austin PD, the guy who exited his car with his gun drawn and then shot Cisco — that Officer Thomas Griffin — was he in the military?
How about the ones who shot the dogs in Columbia?
Or Cheye Calvo’s dogs?
People want to believe that its military, as a class, is better than regular people. They are not. And when it comes to inflicting violence, they are worse. They have big heads because they get way too much hero worship for suffering relatively small discomforts and taking relatively small risks.
Want to know what the modern American soldier is like? Watch the Collateral Murder video. It tells you all you need to know about their attitudes. The attitudes are NOT what you have been told they are, Tarran. You have been “fed a bunch of BS.” Stop swallowing for goodness sakes.
I was an office in the Navy who deployed to the Persian Gulf. The best man in my wedding was an Army enlisted man whose unit saw combat in Iraq. My best friend at the place I was working in 2011 was an ex army sergeant with a wonderful set of scars from the time her convoy got ambushed and she got sprayed with shrapnel. My personal experience, the anecdotes my friends tell, the things that acquaintances from libertarian blogs that are in the military all agree.
1) Active Duty soldiers get very good training in boot-camp about fire discipline and the geneva convention and the need to obey rules of engagement.
2) Active Duty soldiers – particularly in their early years are far more disciplined than the reservists.
3) The military faces consequences (lost battles, lost wars, death) from mistakes that don’t exist for law enforcement.
4) I have repeatedly heard complaints from people who took part in the unpleasantnesses in Iraq and Afghanistan that reservists who were cops tended to be really trigger happy.
5) The Abu Ghraib scandal had – at its heart – a bunch of MP’s who were prison guards from Pennsylvania who were applying their initiative to carry out the orders coming from General Sanchez’s office to abuse prisoners to get intel.
Now, I am not the sort of person who idolizes the military, far from it – I can write at length about the twisted incentives and psychological problems that inevitably arise out of the way governments organize & control their soldiers – but the fact is that the notion of vets that were brutalized and turned into amoral killing machines by fighting overseas is really the product of movies and is actually quite rare.
The problems with police brutality here in the U.S. is that over the past 130 years, various factions and movements inside the U.S. have supported it or turned a blind eye to it, while building an apparatus that increased government intrusion into the lives of people because it served their aims to keep eastern europeans from drinking, or white women from sleeping with black jazz musicans, or keeping white people from hiring black people etc. The problems started long before Reagan had the War Department fob off surplus weapons to the police. And trying to blame the nice little police state that the progressives and conservatives have colluded to construct on the military will result in you completely missing the mark.
A few things, first, echoing #22 | Mr Lizard | I like to say that I’m glad Balko has embraced the “Balko ball kick” meme and on a Friday no less.
To the people theorizing about war-zones, feral dogs, and Muslim culture; frankly that’s immaterial to the issue. What matters is that it was someone’s dog, not that it was a dog. I understand culturally it will tug on Westerner’s heart strings because of our affinity for the canine, but that’s not a principled stance. What is, is objecting to the destruction of private property, that because it is an animal is singularly unique and as such irreplaceable to the owner, by agents of the state, without due process of the law.
It’s a symptom of the disease, not the disease itself.
Burgers, if you think I worship vets, then you and I have nothing to talk about, because you are an idiot with only a tenuous grip with reality.
I’d point you to the numerous arguments I had with Eric Dondero where he accused me of hating vets, but it’s not worth the trouble. After all, you’ve read my “numerous” posts without actually noticing my cynicism towards the military and my contempt towards the pro-military idolatry practiced by many of my countrymen.
“What matters is that it was someone’s dog, not that it was a dog. I understand culturally it will tug on Westerner’s heart strings because of our affinity for the canine, but that’s not a principled stance. What is, is objecting to the destruction of private property…”
That’s no more or less necessarily principled and no more or less necessarily tied to emotions. Statements like this remind me of conservative Christians who puzzle themselves over how atheists (or liberals, or just about anyone) can possibly have moral beliefs or standards. Just because someone believes in principles that you don’t, or rejects some principle that you hold, doesn’t mean their position is unprincipled.
btw, the person who I am really trying to find out whether he has a military background is Ogden Police Officer Troy Burnett. This officer probably merits an article by Mr. Balko based on this officer’s career as found on the internet. For myself, I really want to know if Burnett was in the military because he would be the perfect poster boy for my no-military-men-in-the-police campaign.
I spent nearly 8 years in the Army from early 2003 to mid 2010. From personal experience, the ratio of psychopaths to non-psychopaths steadily increased with each deployment. The sane Soldiers who could do other, more productive things, fled the ranks. When I first joined it was unheard of for a Staff Sergeant (E-6) with 7 plus years in not to re-enlist. Now, because years of un-winnable wars with poorly defined goals the military has been reduced to people who cannot do much else and psychopaths. 5-6 years ago I would have sided with tarran. But the military that you served in during the first Gulf War no longer exists.
Ex-military men are not generally psychopaths and psychopathy is not why they are unsuitable. It is the “normal” ex-military men who are unsuitable. Good examples are the men talking in the Collateral Murder video. Not psychopaths. Just that they have deeply ingrained training that make them unsuitable for domestic police work. It is in the video. The video doesn’t lie.
I think the whole discussion about which are worse — police or military personnel — is (mostly) misguided. A friend who is former police/Marines told me once he was trained by both agencies not to draw his weapon unless he was prepared to use it. His take on this was not “be prepared to shoot something,” but, instead, “don’t draw your weapon if you don’t need to.” In many of these dog/raid stories, we’re reading about officers who stepped out of their cars with their guns drawn. I repeat, something has gone wrong with officer training/mindset if they are engaging in mostly non-lethal situations with drawn weapons. This is what needs to be addressed.
No, the problem is that the vets acted as an occupying army for ten years. It is by acting as an occupying army in a “hostile” land that got the bad training started. They were trained to be storm troopers and now they are fatter storm troopers. True, some may be non-military wannabes (Mehserle comes to mind), but you get the actual US ex-military out of the domestic police force and I guarantee that the wannabes will leave of their own accord.
I hate to break this to you, but the cops were always an occupying army. Yes, lots of cops are ex-military (and lots of ex-military run training programs for cops, which is even worse); but identifying this as the problem mistakes the cart for the horse. Police forces seek those members, and that training, and that equipment. They deliberately cultivate the stormtrooper mindset (with the approval of their handlers, patrons, and enablers, mind), it doesn’t just happen to them.
I dedicated my Facebook page “Dogs Shot by Police” to a young Cocker Spaniel who was shot by a local sheriff in Whiteface Texas in 1971 under the window of our classroom. Her offense was that she had gotten out of her yard and run to the school. She enjoyed being there because she liked the kids. I had heard that the sheriff had threatened to shoot her if she kept getting out of her yard, but I didn’t believe it until I heard it happen. It would not have made the news then. I didn’t hear of anything coming of it although I’m sure her family was upset.
I believe that we are hearing more about these cases because people are not as embarrassed as they might once have been to admit to being attached to their animals. Additionally, the Internet makes it possible for news to spread quickly and broadly. The Internet also creates the possibility for us to embarrass agencies that behave this way with publicity just as this blog does with many abuses by law enforcement.
As I have followed the issue of dogs being shot by police, I have been horrified to learn how often human beings are killed by the police with just as little or even less justification than when animals are killed. It seems that people are quick to assume that if the police shoot a human being they are justified in doing so, while more of us are willing to give a dog the benefit of the doubt (unless the dog is identified as a “Pit Bull”).
I came to understand this following the comments about a local situation in which an off-duty copy hunted down and killed a young man whom he thought was stealing a car in his neighborhood. It turned out that the young man was helping a friend change a tire. The comments on the story were shocking during the period when people assumed the young man was stealing a car. “Well he won’t steal any more cars” and comments to that effect. These kinds of attitudes allow this kind of unjustified violence to continue. The tone of the comments changed considerably once it became known he was not stealing.
One other factor is that when law enforcement officers kill dogs, they don’t necessarily know whether the dog belongs to someone they consider a “bad guy” or to an “upstanding citizen” and they kill dogs from all parts of society. That means that even people who would ordinarily have little or no contact with law enforcement have a reason to fear that their dog will be shot. There are too many who do not accept the rationale that “it’s just a dog.”
I hope that if enough dog guardians join together to succeed in changing law enforcement’s practices and policies dealing with dogs, this would have a positive effect on how they deal with shooting human beings. It seems to me it would be difficult to legally justify a standard for shooting humans that is more permissive than the standard for shooting dogs. I can only hope.
“I hope that if enough dog guardians join together to succeed in changing law enforcement’s practices and policies dealing with dogs, this would have a positive effect on how they deal with shooting human beings. It seems to me it would be difficult to legally justify a standard for shooting humans that is more permissive than the standard for shooting dogs. I can only hope.”