I know… that title makes no sense, but those of you who have been following the numerous reports of police getting trigger happy with family pets who may or may not have been actually threatening may find this comforting. Or at least a little comforting.
According to a post in Law Enforcement today, police are advised to try not to kill our dogs because they might get in trouble for it. I’m saying this in the simplest of ways because the article itself is worded pretty carefully. For example:
In the area of use of force, the rulings in the cases of Tennessee v Garner and Graham v Connor provide understanding when a person is seized as well as under what circumstances an officer is to be found objectively reasonable based upon the totality of the circumstances at the time of the incident.
Yeah, I have no idea what he just said either. The post seems to be a warning to all officers to hold back a little on the pet slaughter, make sure they document copiously, & be aware that people are sometimes really attached to their dogs & will take legal action, which is bad, & also seems to say that this is the ASPCA’s fault, & man, are things tough for cops.
That’s cool. I don’t disagree. But back to dogs being “effects.”
Up until recently, dogs have simply been considered “property.” Like a chair. If the cops are cutting through your backyard to arrest the drug dealer next door & they happen to shoot your dog while passing by, they will recompense you for the documented value of your destroyed “property.” If you don’t have a written document showing the dollar value of your dog, it is worth $1.
Well, was worth $1.
In this post about the abovementioned article on Life With Dogs (yes, I am writing a post about a post about a post. Sorry.):
…shooting a family dog could be considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment. This amendment grants US citizens the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, protected from unreasonable arrests and seizures. Federal courts are now recognizing a dog as an “effect.”
No, dogs are not considered valued family members, but this is a step up from “property.” It’s just legal wording, but it might make a cop hesitate just a moment before killing. It might make a department pay attention to the officer who got bitten when he was 5 years old & has no problem with humans but still suffers intense cynophobia. It might make a police department go look up the word “cynophobia” (actually, I did just now… it has a Wikipedia entry).
Good job, internet.