The recent rise of smart phones equipped with readily accessible cameras has lead to an increased social awareness about the unethical behavior of police officers towards canines.
In two recent cases, dogs have been brutally fired upon by officers who claim that their actions were justified based on “the active threat” that the dogs in question posed.
One such case involved Parrot, a 2-year-old Shar Pei, who was killed by Officer Scott Fike after allegedly biting him.
Aaron Block was walking Parrot when the dog had an altercation with a nearby Poodle. According to eyewitness testimony, both owners had their dogs under control when Officer Fike arrived on scene.
Officer Fike noted that Parrot appeared to be a “pit-bull” and so he allegedly restrained the dog to the ground, burying his knee into the dogs spine.
According to one eyewitness, “As seen in the photo showing the officer had control of the dog, he held the top of dog’s head and the skin on his back and walked over to the stairwell railing and threw the dog from chest height down to the bottom – a height of between 9 and 10 feet. This I saw because I was standing at the doorway of the business where the dog was killed. As I turned away, in 1 – 3 seconds a single shot rang out. I then went out on the platform above the stairwell, and saw the dying dog’s head was nearly on top of the floor drain next to the locked gate at the bottom of the steps facing away from the steps.”
A similar case occurred in Hawthorne, California, when Leon Rosby was videotaping a police raid from his car parked outside the residence. The man was asked to turn down his music, and when he failed to comply, officers arrested him.
Rosby’s 2-year-old Rottweiler, Max, was in the car with the windows rolled down. Upon seeing his owner being taken away in handcuffs, Max jumped out of the car in an allegedly threatening manner. Officers proceeded to shot Max four times.
In both cases the officers involved were not convicted of any wrongdoing, although their actions appeared to be unethical in nature. Rosby has since gone on to sue the City of Hawthorne for emotional distress.
Generally speaking most officers are not equipped with the proper training to address seemingly threatening animals. Firing upon a canine should be the last possible resort, when all other methods of subduing the creature have been exhausted.