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Did these law enforcement officers do the right thing?
Residents of Olean, New York watched in horror as law enforcement officers shot Dozer, a red-nosed pit bull in the head. He was shot in the street on June 15. The shooting generated immediate controversy because a bystander filmed it with his phone and put the video online.
“If we don’t put the dog down and it runs down the street and bites somebody or mauls a little kid, then we’re going to be the bad guys,” Olean Police Chief Jeff Rowley told the local newspaper. “If we shoot the dog, then we’re the bad guys. So no matter what, it was a lose-lose situation for us.”
“They could have stunned that dog, they could have pepper-sprayed that dog, but they went right to the lethal weapon,” Don Blancher told The Olean-Times Herald. Blancher started the controversy by filming the shooting.
Law Enforcement Officers Often Have To Act With Little Information?
Police and animal control officers tried to capture Dozer for about two hours before the shooting, however. An officer opened fire when Dozer moved off the porch of his owner’s house.
Officers wanted to subdue Dozer with a Taser ; but were not able to get in position to use the stun gun, Rawley claimed. Witnesses strongly disagreed with the chief’s of polices’ claims.
“They could have tranquilized him instead of putting him to sleep,” Dozer’s co-owner Kimberly Card said. Card was walking to Walmart to buy dog food when she heard the fatal shot.
Dozer’s other owner John E. Holland was in the county jail on domestic felony charges when the dog was shot. Police had apparently arrested Holland the night before. The domestic charges are apparently unrelated to the incident with Dozer except that perhaps it’s difficult to keep your dog tied up and cared for from jail.
Card admitted that Dozer had bitten five people previously, but called him lovable. She also admitted that Dozer did not have a current rabies vaccination. Card was reportedly Holland’s girlfriend, ex-girlfriend or live-in dog keeper.
Incidents like the one in Olean are more common than most people think. Law enforcement officers kill more than 10,000 dogs a year in America, the U.S. Justice Department estimated. Incidents like this one provide an excellent example of the difficulty law enforcement officers face when making a decision to kill an animal.
There are lots of factors involved, including gathering accurate information quickly.
So, what do you think?
Did Olean police do the right thing by killing Dozer? We would love to know what your perspective. Please share your thoughts below.