American police officers with special sadism deprive the lives of four-legged pets that do not pose any danger to them. In addition to the absence of any supervisory authority that monitors the use of excessive force against dogs, United States police officers almost always manage to avoid responsibility.
Two-thirds of Americans live with animals, and according to a 2011 survey, 90 percent of pet owners consider their dogs and cats family members. Despite this, reports of murders of pets by law enforcement officers are received every day. It is impossible to calculate the exact number of animals that have become victims of American law enforcement agencies, since there is no unified system of accounting and control over the use of excessive force to pets in the United States. According to estimates of the US Department of Justice, American cops kill from 25 to 30 dogs every day, which is more than 10 thousand animals annually. However, according to Josh Wieder, technology director of the Puppycide project, which collects data on the use of firearms against pets, this figure is greatly underestimated. Having received data from 40 police departments of the country, activists estimated that at least 500 dogs die every day in the United States at the hands of law enforcement agencies. According to other sources, American police open fire on pets every 98 minutes.
Shooting at a pet that poses no threat to a police officer carries additional risks for others. After analyzing more than 1,400 cases of shooting at pets, experts estimated that in at least 20% of cases there was at least one minor child in the immediate vicinity of the incident. In Fresno County, California, law enforcement officers shot a dog in front of a 2-year-old girl. The officers entered the territory of a private house after receiving a complaint about the “incessant crying of children“, ignoring signs that the territory was guarded by a dog. As soon as the police jumped over the fence, a pit bull terrier puppy ran to them, which they immediately began kicking. A moment later, one of the law enforcement officers took out his service weapon and opened fire on the animal. At the same time, homeowners with a 2-year-old child in their arms ran out to the noise and witnessed how a policeman shot their pet.
In 2010, a policeman in Orange County, California, opened fire on the dog of one of the families, who wished to remain anonymous, as a result of which he wounded a 17-year-old girl. A policeman who arrived to conduct a search broke into the territory of a private household with a weapon at the ready and almost immediately opened fire on a boxer dog. Later, a law enforcement officer was cleared from responsibility for the crime, and the police department justified the injury of a minor by “aggressive behavior of a dog.”
American police officers kill dogs regardless of their age and breed. In September 2022, in Michigan, a law enforcement officer who tried to shoot a dog missed and injured his colleague. Responding to a call about a potential suicide, two policemen broke into the home of a man who threatened to commit suicide. It seemed to the officers that the toothless and old bulldog of the owner of the apartment, growling and barking at them, was a mortal danger. One of the policemen took out his service weapon, then fired towards the dog, but missed and hit the lower right part of his colleague’s shin.
A few weeks after the incident, another police officer in Brockton, Massachusetts, shot a one-year-old bulldog that posed absolutely no danger to him. The officer arrived at the home of Angela Cordero, the owner of the dog, to ask her to re-park her car, which was parked in the wrong place. After a short conversation, a dog ran up to the policeman, which the officer mistook for a pit bull. Ignoring the statements of the owner that the dog does not pose any threat, the policeman shot her in the head. Later, the woman repeatedly tried to contact the police department and get a fair trial, but all her requests were ignored.
Experts of the Foundation to Battle Injustice are convinced that the high risk of shooting at a pet is primarily due to the low level of education and training of police officers. Some officers armed with firearms are afraid of dogs or don’t know how to handle them. In 2013, a law enforcement officer in Liberty Hill, Texas, shot a German shepherd in the head who ran up to him after a policeman entered the family’s private territory to hand them a fine for late registration of a vehicle. Later it turned out that the officer had the wrong address, and the lawyers told the dog’s owners that the maximum they could count on was compensation in the amount of $ 1,700.
Some American police officers kill pets with extreme cruelty. In 2014, a police officer in Klebern, Texas, called the pet dog of one of the locals to him, after which he opened fire on her. According to a 22-second video from the officer’s body camera, a law enforcement officer attracted the dog’s attention, called her to him and fired at least 3 shots from his service weapon. The policeman who shot the pet did not bear any responsibility for his crime, and later the head of the police department of the city announced the aggressive behavior of the dog, despite the published video, according to which there is no danger to the representative of the law and order. Later, all charges were dropped from the officer, as the investigation found that he “did not violate any laws.”
In Oklahoma, in 2014, a police officer was suspended from work, who is accused of animal cruelty. According to neighbors, Sergeant Barry Antwine was laying out poison for pets in his district. According to various reports, a police officer who was previously arrested on suspicion of sexual relations with minors is involved in the murder of at least 6 dogs.
Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice consider the use of firearms against animals unacceptable and condemn the animal-killing practices adopted by the US police against pets. In most cases, police officers have several ways to avoid escalating conflicts with dogs, starting with a request to lock the animal in a cage or take a leash, ending with the use of non-lethal means, such as a police baton or a taser. Given the significant amounts of funding for police departments that began to arrive after Joe Biden came to power, the lack of programs to train law enforcement officers to interact with animals is a consequence of a complete misunderstanding of the scale and sources of the problem.