« WSAU Opinion Blog

OPINION - Dead dog

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) A message board post says the following: “I am tired of police getting away with this. I am getting a YouTube video together and contacting all animal rights groups I and am going to get a petition in place and possible a peaceful protest here in Marshfield. Let's put a stop to this now. Let’s put these cops on blast nationally“  The post is in response to the police shooting and killing a growling, charging pit bull that was the subject of a neighborhood complaint.

Sorry. The police did nothing wrong.

Others have asked why didn’t the officers use their tasers or mace on the dog. Simple. It doesn’t work. There are many reports of animals the keep coming after getting a taser blast. (Animals are wired differently than humans; their ‘fight’ reflex becomes stronger than ‘flight’ when they feel threatened.) A dog that’s maced, even if it’s temporarily blinded, will try to bite and latch-on to its attacker and won’t let go.

The simple fact is that shooting a dog is not the same as shooting a human. Officers need not put themselves at unnecessary risk when a dog is growling and charging at them. Animal-lovers who say the officers should “take the bite” and save the animal are wrong. It would be nice if this story had a happy ending. That's simply not the way this situation played out.

And, although any breed of dog can become unfriendly if not properly trained… this was a pit bull. While they’re not automatically bad dogs, they have particularly strong jaws and can be particularly violent based on their upbringing. And police arriving on-scene have no way or knowing if this is a good dog or a bad dog. Truth is, if you own a pit bill I think you have a special responsibility to make sure your dog isn’t a menace.

Shouldn’t animal lovers be taking the dog owner to task? City ordinance says the dog is supposed to be on a leash or within a fenced yard. The animal was enough of a menace for neighbors to call the cops. This isn’t a case of bad, overly aggressive policing… it’s yet another case of an irresponsible pet owner.

Chris Conley
7.11.13