We recently speculated that it wouldn’t be long before a police officer, in his haste to shoot a “pitbull” or some other dog the officer believed to be hostile, would shoot a person. We didn’t think it would happen as quickly as a few days however. An officer in Paterson, New Jersey, in an attempt to shoot a “pitbull” in a house in which a S.W.A.T. team had conducted a drug raid, accidentally shot a fellow officer in the arm when the stray bullet intended for the “pitbull” entered the floor and hit the officer on the floor below.
The owner of the “pitbull” was told his dog had been shot “five or six times” to which the owner said “I don’t think there was a need for them to shoot my dog…” The Animal Control officer who attempted to seize the dog maintains that the “pitbull” tried to lunge, at which point the officers said they had no choice but to shoot the dog. Such a claim is of course ridiculous. Had the dog been a Jack Russell Terrier or even a Labrador, would the dog have been shot? This is a clear-cut case of breed profiling. If it was a Labrador, the time would’ve been taken to seize the dog, even if it had been lunging at Animal Control officers. Since it was a “pitbull,” I guess AC and the police would rather just shoot it and get it out of the way.
And despite how the police may now try to backtrack, they didn’t kill a dog that was trained to protect a drug warehouse. They recklessly killed a beloved family pet. Worse, because of an officer’s carelessness, a person was shot. How easily could the bullet have gone a few inches the other way and killed the officer? How easily could the stray bullet have gone outside the house and killed a bystander? Never, never, never should a firearm be discharged so heedlessly. It’s time for police departments nationwide to review their policy on shooting supposed aggressive guard dogs in police raids. Other victims, besides just the dogs, could get killed.
Click here to read about Tippy a dog in Newburgh, NY who, while defending his owner’s home, was shot by police after he jumped up on one of the officers and bit him.
One response to “S.W.A.T. Stands for “Shooting Without A Thought””
Add to that the number of innocent bystanders attacked by police dogs. On average, it’s about one per week, in the U.S. Many victims of police dog attacks are fellow officers. My favourite story was the officer who couldn’t shake free from the Malinois K9, and ultimately shot the dog, killing it. Still, it took several officers to pry the dead dog’s jaws off the victim’s arm. (Clearly demonstrating that even herding breeds can have a pretty strong ‘bite and hold’ response…even into death!)