Incidents of cops shooting dogs for little or no reason

I decided to see how often cops were killing people’s pets after following the Cisco debacle for the last few days.   While there are countless stories of officers shooting dogs that were off leash &/or attacking, there is a very disturbing amount of incidents which make me feel afraid for my dogs even though I’m not a drug lord nor do I have any outstanding traffic citations.

Police invade home on false burglary call, shoot 11-yr-old, arthritic lab & leave the owner a note.

Police terrorize then shoot non-aggressive, chained dog (David, you already know this one).

SWAT team busts into home, shoots pit bull & Corgi in front of 7-yr-old for not even enough marijuana to convict.

Cops invade home, shoot dog while it is being held by its owner when he refuses to release it BECAUSE he’s worried they will shoot it.

SWAT team invades home on botched drug bust, kills 1 dog where it was lying in the kitchen, shoots the other one in the back as it’s running away.

Here’s a story where a SWAT team sets the house on fire & when a puppy tries to escape, they chase it back inside to its death & LAUGH at the distraught owners. And the only thing to come out of the raid is they arrested a guy for missing court for traffic citations.

Cop goes to a dog park, shoots a husky for playing too rough.

There are more.   I do have a number of friends in HPD & I’m sure that not all cops are rabid murdering bastards.   But apparently there are a few, & maybe when the “raid” juices get flowing they just lose all reason.   I don’t know if there is any kind of program in place to educate officers on how to tell if a dog is going to attack.   Perhaps it wouldn’t make a difference anyway, if they just shoot the dog to get it out of the way.

It’s just a problem because these are animals we love who didn’t do anything wrong.

4/24/2012 edit: I just wanted to share a link from Tanya on the Justice for Cisco page containing a police officer/dog trainer’s tips on what we as dog owners can do to minimize the chances of terrible incidents like the ones above happening to our dogs.   Certain items on the list are no-brainers imo, but it’s advice nonetheless for which I’m grateful.


43 responses to “Incidents of cops shooting dogs for little or no reason

  1. And people speak of the pack instinct in dogs – looks like it’s worse in police.
    Maybe they need to hire on intelligence rather than testosterone (or lack thereof).

  2. I think we have a training issue here. They’re poorly trained on how to react to dogs in any given situation. Educate them and they’ll react better. If not, how about we just penalize them for shooting? Their own departments won’t hold them accountable so we need to (as dog owners). Shoot my dog and I’ll see you in court. $620,000 later, we’ll send a message that this won’t be tolerated. If it costs the city, and the department enough money, things will change. I would also file a civil suit against the actual cop that did the shooting. I believe in holding people accountable for their actions, even if their bosses won’t. I know the DOJ manual is supposed to help, but I have absolutely no faith in the actual police departments educating themselves unless they are FORCED to. Just because a manual is going to be issued doesn’t mean that it’s even going to get read.

    • Wow Jennie – thanks for linking that article. I found a little more here: I’m glad SOMEONE was able to get some kind of restitution. It helped a lot that the police dashcam caught the whole thing & showed that the dog in question was in fact NOT attacking.

      I spoke with a police friend last night. He has a maltese. He was still completely unapologetic about how, when doing a bust, dogs are considered “property” therefore shooting the family dog, warranted or not, is considered merely “property damage.” When I suggested education on dog behavior, he promptly (so promptly that I wasn’t done with my sentence yet) stated, with authority, that there is no way to tell whether or not a dog is going to attack.

      I dropped the discussion at that point.

      • Lauren, Your maltese owning officer friend pretty much told you that he has no regard for an American citizen’s 4th amendment rights. If an officer can’t uphold the constitution, He needs to be jailed or fired We have soldiers in harm’s way at this very moment because they have sworn to uphold a constitution that this officer has no regard for. He WOULD NOT be my friend.

      • John – I understand what you’re saying but I don’t expect my friends to agree with everything I believe, & vice versa. I don’t end friendships due to a disagreement. I’m very disappointed in his response, but I’d like to leave my personal relationship choices out of this if possible & stick to the topic at hand. Thank you for your heartfelt response though. =)

      • Lauren, I too can not respond to your comment in the proper order. Your personal choices are not at issue here. Forgive me I gave that impression. What is at issue is ANY officer’s willful and intentional disregard for the Constitution of the United States of America. It is illegal under the color of authority. In simple terms, a sworn officer who disregards the constitution is himself a criminal

      • Thank you John =) I hope my friend wouldn’t actually act in the manner one might expect from his words. I hope I never have to find out though.

        What really shut me down about his statement was that he had already made a judgment about dog behavior when he has no (none that I know of, anyway) experience as a behaviorist. There are experts out there who can & do tell if a dog is being threatening or not. However, he dismissed them without a thought. Maybe it was just to shut me up, since historically he’s never enjoyed it when I start asking questions about how he & his peers do their jobs.

        If every officer is this defensive then there is no hope for any change. I can only hope it was just my personal talent at putting men on the defensive. lol

      • your friend obviously has his mind set. take the dog from him he doesnt deserve to take care of any living beings. property damage? that’s a man who hides behind his badge and gun. i’m tired of this mentality from police. it’s this exact reason that this whole topic is being discussed.

      • No offense, Lauren, but this is why I don’t have any cops as friends. I find them to be uneducated and completely narrow-minded. I can’t hang with someone who feels that no laws apply to them. They park in red zones to eat lunch, they arrest and hassle people based on their race, they can’t solve crimes unless the actual perp slams them in the face and the whole community shouts ‘THAT’S HIM.’ My two best friends are defense attorneys and I thank god we have smart women like them on OUR side. I’ve never broken the law, but that doesn’t matter. If they think I have, they’ll arrest me and worry about trumping up evidence later.

        His response is sad. The Department of Justice wants to educate them. Sadly, they have no desire to educate themselves. My five year old nephew can tell when a dog is going to attack because we have educated him in dog behavior. Oakland PD can now tell you because they’ve been educated. Sue, sue, sue. If my dog gets shot, that officer is going to find a civil suit on his doorstep and will be out of a home because I’m going to see to it. It’s a choice they make to be so short-sided. Most of us (and I live in an upper income area) have cameras EVERYwhere to make sure our police department (which is currently under investigation by federal authorities) don’t try to pull anymore fast ones. Pretty humiliating when your guests are pulled over and handcuffed for DWL (driving while Latino – racism being one of the things they’re being investigated for). They were thirty minutes late to our dinner party because they “matched the description of some robbery suspects”. Well, once subpeoned – big surprise, no robbery in our neighborhood that night. Just some bored, stupid police officers. Our dogs aren’t allowed in the yard without supervision because I don’t trust an officer of the law ever. Not with my kids, not with my friends, not with my dogs.

        Your friends response is exactly why so many of us not only loathe cops, but don’t trust them in the least.

      • I should have added – you did the right thing dropping it. You saw that you weren’t going to change his mind and back off. It takes incredible restraint to do that. I commend you. 🙂

        This was a great post.

      • Thank you Jennie – as a bartender I have had years of practice in restraining myself! lol

        You are a wellspring of useful information. Kudos to the Oakland PD. They have set a precedent. I wonder how many other PDs have been open-minded (& intelligent!) enough to accept education when it is available. This is extremely relevant information. If one PD can do it, others can too. If mailmen can do it, so can the police.

        You bring up another very important point: documentation. For our own protection, we need to have means to document abuse if it ever happens. While this is not possible for many, for those of us who can it’s one more way to feel a little more secure. Thank you for bringing that up.

    • Thats’s just sick! Shooting a caged animal! Why, Why, Why? How the hell can that be justified? WTF are these assholes thinking? This isn’t a combat zone douchebags! This makes me hate the police. They hide behind there badge and do whatever the hell they want. Why was no one held accountable for that dogs life.

  3. As a owner of a blue heeler i have had difficulty ever since i started following the cisco case. I think it is sad though that extremism on many activist issues from saving the whales, to the environment, to abortion have made some people turn off wanting to hear about these things let alone do anything, and i think they also just don’t want to realize how terrible it really is to treat animals differently. I am sure this is the tip of the ice burg when you also consider the suffering from over population, an inability to afford simple health care, and lost and missing animals. It is important to focus on simple easy to understand solutions, i.e. and at least awareness and discussion could lead to just a little more thought on the part of the authorities. Anyone is at risk of being attacked by a dog entering someone’s property, but most people survive in spite of having a gun to shoot the attacker. I think yes, a policeman’s job is supposed to be dangerous and just because it is doesn’t mean they should be so quick to use deadly force in these situations.

    • Stephen, I am a Paramedic. I have worked 911 for over twenty years. I have NEVER had to shoot a dog on a scene nor have I ever been bitten and I see more dogs than the average police officer does. I know postal workers never bitten within an entire career who’ve never shot a dog as well. If you allow the belief that a police officer is more readily targeted than postal workers and paramedics by the average canine. You give the dog far more intelligence than awarded the police.

      • Thank you very much for posting this information. Ironic, isn’t it, that paramedics and postal carriers manage the problem fine without killing dogs, and that it is the police department that “goes postal?”

      • very very good point!!!! best ive read yet john~~ if paramedics and postal workers can do their jobs..enter properties without shooting any animals thruout their entire careers..why can’t cops?

      • I’d sooner trust my dog to have my back than the these dickless morons who dare call themselves police officers.

  4. Following all of this, I have another disturbing trend to report. My meter guy was at my 6ft fence, I have 3 dogs, they were barking at a strange man. The meter man told me that my address was marked down as “aggressive” because the dogs were barking. “They are not aggressive, they are letting me know you are here” He agreed with me, having dogs and kids of his own but he said that the the energy company changed their policy from dogs to “aggressive dogs.” I argued that they are protecting my four year old. He sympathized but his job gave him no choice. He also told me that even if they are protecting property, protecting family, that they have to be reported as aggressive to “protect” workers from being attacked. ” They are protecting us from being attacked” Again I got agreement and sympathy, but it’s a CYA for the company from workers suing them.
    Could this be part of the problem?
    Ironically, Game Wardens need no warrant in my state to enter a home, but they will call animal control to catch your dogs on your property if you do not comply with them entering your property/home. This info is not off of TV but all in my front yard.
    Maybe cops need to go through warden training.

  5. From whati m seeing stuff like this happens all the time. I have completely lost respect for cops. This stuff is suppose to happen only in 3rd world countries.

    This one is pretty disturbing.
    Go ahead and google. Police shoot family dog during ‘felony stop
    Such a sad outcome

  6. The sad truth is, while the actions of a few horribly vicious individuals who are allowed to carry guns, wear a badge, and act with absolute impunity don’t represent the whole ~ how do I know which are which? How do I know that I can trust one with my family’s well being, but not the other. I don’t. I can’t. And for that reason ~ I trust NONE OF THEM. I look at each and every one of them as a threat to everything I love and hold dear. I cannot afford to risk being wrong.

  7. There need to be programs in place for officers to learn to read dog body language AND to TASE before taking lethal action! If they feel they really must “detain” a dog, they need to be equipped with tasers. You don’t go into a home and shoot someone’s baby because it’s crying too loudly and you shouldn’t shoot a dog just because it barks. It’s sad and sickening the lack of education that leads to so many furry family members losing their lives needlessly.

    • Department of Justice offers a great training course, complete with the manual. Police departments don’t feel it’s a priority or that they need the training. Now that it’s available, though, I do expect more lawsuits. If the department chose not to educate when it was available, that makes them liable. Which is exactly as it should. You damaged property, now you’re going to replace it.

  8. I had only seen of the 2 others in texas (Austin specifically) and the dashund – that got shot for ‘attacking’ the officer!!!!

  9. Wasn’t it similar scenarios in our nation’s history that caused our forefathers to send the Red Coats packing? These “civil” servants are paid by us through our tax dollars and yet we put up with them getting away with this shoot first and ask questions later mentality. This has to change.

  10. I thought shooting dogs went along with the agenda of disarming the public. Take away guns (if you have any) and kill your dogs, so they cannot warn you that the stormtroopers are coming. If you are a light sleeper, maybe you will hear the jackboots goose-stepping onto your property, when the fascists come to round you up for the FEMA camps. I hope this never happens, but it seems that is their evil and unconstitutional plan. Please everyone, wake up and take steps to stop it.

  11. Love firemen. Hate cops. Never once had a good experience with a cop. They are a bunch of power obsessed bullies. Now I HATE them even more!!!

  12. This is all news I haven’t heard and just the head lines bring tears to my eyes… I do have a friend who is a sheriff and he has been bit, chased, and almost attacked by dogs but has always used his judgement… He will mace a dog or taze a dog before shooting a dog… Not all police force are bad but these ones need some serious consequences!!!!

    • Good point. We need to remember that police officers DO have to deal with dog attacks. We don’t want them to not protect themselves. We just want them to not kill unless they really really have to.

  13. Also 2 recent dog shootings in CT, one in Newington CT and another involving an innocent dog Ice who police misidentified and killed though he was wagging his tail in his fenced in yard.

  14. Not to belittle the shooting of dogs; but far too many HUMANS are killed by police; often unarmed, sometimes completely innocent, and in most of the rest of the cases, for non-capitol punishment offences. Perhaps this research into unnecessary (and abhorrent) pet shootings will add some light to the human’s shot as well.

  15. There was a time when officers didn’t kill dogs every chance they got. Now they do it as a matter of form. I grew up respecting cops: now I have very little respect for most of them. They claim dogs were attacking them while they shoot them in the back as they were running away. The shooting of Baxter the Australian Shepherd in Florida was especially upsetting because Baxter was murdered for exhibiting HERDING behavior: he bit (nipped) the idiot cop’s shoes, which that bastard then called a threat! Aussies herd by nipping at the feet (my dog loves to untie shoes) and ankles. If they want to attack, ARMS AND LEGS are what they’d go for, just like any other dog. Only a complete and total fool would think otherwise! Cops don’t look at dogs as family, but as if they are potted plants and possessions. My dogs ARE family, and God help any trigger happy bastard who shoots one of them.


    Please help up stop this ignorance state wide by going to the top. Thank you for your blog and letting people know what is happening. Prada Andree was a miracle dog and my fur baby that our voices saved. She was shot 2x because cops said she (45lbs) was flipping Rots (120lbs) over her head after 1 shot. Another dog in Cheatham county this week was shot and thrown off a cliff by police. This has to stop and the people paid to serve and protect us must do time and be punished.

    • Nicole, thank you so much for that link. I signed the petition & just posted a blog about it. I am also emailing the petition link to my friends & family who also love dogs.

  17. These gun happy assholes, aka cops, need to be held accountable for what they do. If a mother fucker comes into my house and shoots my dog because they barrelled in on the wrong address, they might as well shoot me, cause my guns will be blazing also! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!!

  18. Cisco probably saved the actual suspects life. The officer approached the situation with his mind made up. Seems he was going to shoot ,no matter what, or who.
    Peace Cisco

  19. I had to share this as I keep seeing so many events of cops shooting ppls dogs. This hit a nerve with me as “Lady” reminds me of my past Rottie who was the most loving loyal dog ever. I am so glad she lived! I’m amazed actually.

    This issue with me is, cops can shoot ppls dogs so often unwarranted – but if we shoot a police dog it’s considered the same as an officer. Well, we consider our dogs and pets as family members too! So I really think the tables need to be turned . .

  20. I was reading the comment by the police officer about a dog being property and shooting and killing one being considered property damage. If this is the case then why, (in Cleveland Ohio), is it considered assult on a police officer when a criminal gets stopped by a K-9 unit and hits the dog. To me this is just one more example of laws for the citizens and other laws for the police forces.

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