Police officers in Dayton, Ohio have shot nearly 50 dogs in the last four years. In a majority of cases, the officers insist they were simply following protocol. However, as the numbers are unusually high, the division has taken steps to reduce the use of lethal force.
As reported by Dayton Daily News, Dayton police officers shot nine dogs in 2014 alone.
In April 2014, officers were called to Edgemont Avenue to investigate reports of an aggressive dog. Officer Devin Portis attempted to approach the St. Bernard to detain him. However, the dog reportedly “turned on” the officer in an aggressive manner.
Dayton police Lieutenant Matthew Dickey confirmed Officer Portis shot and injured the dog. However, he insists the “use of force” was necessary.
In June 2014, the Dayton Police Department responded to calls about three loose dogs, which reportedly attacked another dog. While attempting to catch the dogs, Officer Jason Olson shot a 4-month-old puppy in the leg.
As reported by WDTN, Olson insists the pit bull puppy approached him in a threatening manner. However, Curtis Gifford and Jenah Pearson said the puppy was in their yard when the incident occurred.
Although their dog survived the shooting, Gifford and Pearson incurred a hefty vet bill.
As reported by WHIO, police officers generally do not shoot dogs unless it is absolutely necessary. Lieutenant Matthew Dickey explains.
“The definition would be that we’re allowed to use lethal force to protect ourselves or someone else from harm or death… We view dog bites as potential for serious harm. If you do get bitten by a dog, it is going to cause significant injuries, so we view that as a justifiable use of a firearm.”
Lieutenant Dickey further explained that all “use of force” incidents are subject to an internal investigation — whether they involve a human or a dog.
Dayton police officer fatally shoots ‘vicious’ dog: A Dayton police officer shot and killed a dog that was… http://t.co/pPfEh1I3RN
— Dayton Buzz (@DaytonBuzz) September 1, 2014
Although the Dayton Police Department denies an excessive use of force against dogs, the sheer number of shooting injuries and deaths are daunting.
In an effort to reduce the use of lethal force against dogs, officers with the Dayton Police Department participated in a mandatory training program with the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center.
DOG SHOT UPDATE: Dayton police sergeant was falling backward from lunging dog when he shot it in the face Monday http://t.co/FGbnQ87XYe
— WHIOTV (@whiotv) April 29, 2014
Animal Control Supervisor Robert Sexton said the program was developed to give officers “the tools that they can use to deflect some situations so maybe lethal force would not have to be used.”
Officials hope the program will prevent police officers from shooting dogs when there are safer options available.
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