Monday, October 02, 2006

Police Officer Kills Dog

A dog died after Omaha police responded to an intrusion alarm near 31st and Larimore streets around 1:30 Sunday morning. While officers were at the home a dog charged one of the officers and the officer in turn shot and killed the dog, said Officer Andrew Passo. "I heard gun shots, I look outside my window and saw cop cars 15 to 20 deep. What I think was a person in my yard that was shot.. Actually was my dog in a fenced-in gate, which I paid $9,000 for my dog to be able to run around legally" said Kerwin Andersen, the dog's owner.

These are tough cases. The police need to be allowed to catch criminals. So, we allow them to engage in high speed chases, which sometimes cause horrific accidents, killing innocent people. And likewise, we allow the police to chase criminals, and if a dog gets in the way, the police are allowed to kill the dog in self defense.

I am hoping this police department, and all police departments, have clear rules for when the killing of a dog is allowed. I'm betting most police departments don't have a written policy on such things, allowing them to kill dogs in situations that wouldn't be considered justified. In this case, however, if they were responding to an intrusion alarm, and went to the appropriate address, then I'd side with the police. But, the owner should be compensated for the loss and given a new dog, or cash settlement. If the alarm was faulty, then the alarm company should be the one to give the owner a new dog, or cash settlement.

By the way, this is another good example why dogs should NOT be left unsupervised in your yard. They can't protect you from anything out there, they are vulnerable to being killed, or they can harm someone or another animal. Dogs should be in the home at night, with their owners. Dogs should not be left outside in the yard unattended for long periods of time. If that is impossible (and there are only a handful of good reasons for keeping pet dogs outside unsupervised for long periods of time), then they need to be housed in a properly constructed home kennel, or left with a professional boarding / daycare facility. The role of the guard dog is obsolete.

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