Ridley cops: show Austin how it’s done

A few days ago, Ridley police answered an assault call & ended up tasering a pit bull, which, at the time of being tasered, was in the act of charging at them.   Why am I applauding cops for tasering a dog?

If you’ve followed the disturbing story of Cisco in Austin, where an officer went to the wrong house, surprised the homeowner & his dog, & then shot the dog, or if you’ve read the other countless stories of police indiscriminately killing homeowners’ dogs in their own homes, you would too.   In the discussion under Incidents of Cops Shooting Dogs, Jennie said, “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.”   Since Cisco, reading about the frequency with which officers of the law murder family pets & call it collateral damage has had me living in fear.   I can’t call 911 for anything because I have dogs.   I often worry about being away from home because someone else might call 911 for something in my area, & cops might need to climb into my yard or something.   I fear for my dogs.

The Ridley incident is the first I’ve read that involves police officers treating a dog as we have all assumed protectors of the peace would – with reasonable, non-lethal force.   They also treated the owner, who not only sicced his dog on someone & assaulted her but also refused to cooperate once police arrived, with proper respect & reasonable force.   I’d like to compare what happened in Ridley to what happened in Austin:

These excerpts are from the Daily Times.   Please check out the article for the back story as I am only going to post the portions of the story which are of comparative value to how Officer Griffin of the Austin Police Department handled his situation.

The responding officer saw a man, later identified as Cook, with a white pit bull and a smaller brown pit bull in the apartment complex’s parking lot. The officer was told that Cook was the man who had hit a female victim, the affidavit states. The officer told Cook to put the dogs away then to come back outside so he could talk to him.

This is the officer’s first sighting of the accused.   As seen on the dashcam recording of the Austin incident, Griffin had his gun out as he hit the driveway (of the wrong house).   While there are already huge differences here (like the Ridley cops being at the correct location), I’d like to focus on the fact that the Ridley cops not only saw the dogs but told the man to put them away.   They didn’t enter the situation shouting, with guns drawn.

Imagine this.   Officer Griffin strides up Paxton’s driveway, gun drawn, ready for battle.   He thinks he’s going to encounter a dude beating up his girlfriend.   Instead some skinny white guy walks into the garage to his truck, then looks at him in surprise.

What would you do?   Would you start screaming &  point your gun at the guy, who is just standing there staring at you & obviously not beating a woman?

The Ridley officers not only did not open fire at the sight of a potential target (it would be very easy – & probably routine, in many police departments – to say that the dog was “threatening,” since there is no official definition of what “threatening” is), but allowed the man to put his dog away.

They later had to go to his apartment, where they were charged by the dog upon entry.

Several police officers knocked on his door, but Cook refused to respond. The officers’ summoned an employee of the apartment complex and the door was opened. When police entered the apartment they were immediately charged by the white pit bull. A Taser was deployed, striking the dog, which ran into the kitchen were Cook was hiding.

At that point, Cook’s girlfriend arrived and was asked to put the dog away. She too refused, according to the affidavit. When police went into the living room, they told Cook they were not there to hurt him or the dog. The white pit bull again charged at police and was tasered a second time, incapacitating the animal.

Not once, but twice, they tasered the dog, a pit bull who had already been sicced on someone earlier that day.   And not once, but twice, they requested that the owners put the dogs away.   I am pretty certain, just from reading this account, that more than 4 seconds occurred, & it was probably not 4 seconds of frenzied screaming.   Very different from the Austin case.

And guess what?  They arrested their suspect.  And no one got killed.   And no one got mauled.   Contrary to some of the comments in this Police One article’s discussion section, it actually is possible to survive a situation with a dog without being injured.   It’s possible to for everyone to survive.   Ridley PD has just proven it.

Seriously though
I know that situations occur wherein the officer has to shoot a dog.   I don’t doubt it.   I know that there are ghetto bastards out there, like this guy in Ridley, who raise their dogs to be vicious.   There are owners who fail to keep their dogs safe in their yards, & frankly once a dog is running loose on the street its owner should consider it utter luck if they get it back home safe.   I know that there are many situations in which the officer had to shoot the dog.

But I don’t feel that Griffin didn’t have to shoot Cisco.   He could have entered the driveway with a taser drawn instead of his gun.   He could have entered the garage speaking in a firm voice, not screaming bloody murder.   If Cisco was indeed charging him as he told his superiors, it was because he was a strange, threatening man who was menacing Cisco’s owner, yelling nonstop to create a panicked situation.   Griffin was obviously way jacked up as soon as he arrived, & remained that way afterward, if you listen to all the yelling he does on the dashcam recording, even though Paxton is speaking in a voice not even half his volume.   There were other possible outcomes.

I also don’t think that Officer Davis in Arlington needed to shoot Bucky.   Or that this unnamed cop in Danville needed to shoot a 12 lb dachschund.   Or the other shootings detailed in this Huffington Post article were unavoidable.   It’s apparently very easy for a police officer to shoot someone’s dog & too many of them do it.

So thank you, unnamed Ridley officers, for making the news as cops who didn’t shoot.   Who used non-lethal force.   I’d like to hear more of these, because hearing that there are some good cops out there makes me feel safer.

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6 responses to “Ridley cops: show Austin how it’s done

  1. Very nicely said and very nicely written article, Lauren. Congratulations to Ridley Police Department…. Job extremely well done! Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much for writing this article. Police officers either need to be trained for such situations in a safer, non-lethal way, or we need more officers with common sense that will act in a civilized way, no matter the situation.

  3. I’m so very glad to hear of officers thinking of the safety of pets without using bullets! Hope that other Police Departments follow this lead and show they can be just as compassionate.

  4. Great news. I hope this signals the reversal of a trend. But we should temper expectations. It may well be years before stories like this become the norm.

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