The “Don’t Shoot My Dog” bill was signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The measure requires additional training programs to prevent shooting of pet dogs by law enforcement officers.
SB13-226 was signed into law on May 13, 2013. Law enforcement officers in Colorado receive training to better deal with pet dogs that they encounter in the line of duty.
Brittany Moore of Erie, Colorado, testified before the Senate committee, recounting the story of her beloved dog Ava.
On May 10, 2011, Moore contacted the local police department as she was receiving harassing telephone calls. When the officer arrived, he was approached by Moore’s two dogs, Ava and Ivy.
The officer placed his hand on his weapon as he backed away from the dogs. Moore called out to Ava and Ivy, prompting Ava to turn around and look Moore in the eyes. That’s when Moore heard the gunshot.
Moore describes what happened next:
“A rawhide bone fell from Ava’s mouth, and she made the most awful sound that I have ever heard and immediately fell to the ground. She tried to get up one last time, but her hind legs wouldn’t work because her spinal cord was severed.”
The officer contends that he felt threatened by the dog. However, friends, family, and neighbors describe Ava as friendly and harmless. Ava hopes that the “Don’t Shoot My Dog” law will prevent other families from suffering a similar tragedy.
Incidents where law enforcement officers shoot dogs are far to common. Most recently, a dog was shot and killed by a police officer in Hawthorne, California.
As reported by News One, police were in the process of arresting suspect Leon Rosby for playing “loud, distracting music,” which they say interfered with police business.
Rosby dropped his dog’s leash in the process of his arrest. The dog lunged at one of the officers, prompting him to shoot the rottweiler four times.
The incident was recorded on a witness’ cell phone and posted on the internet, drawing outrage. Later, officials with the Hawthorne Police department posted an extended video which portrays the dog behaving in an aggressive manner.
***Warning Graphic Video***
Defense attorney Robert Helfend contends that the police officers were negligent as they failed to think about the situation before they acted. As Rosby was not arrested for a violent crime, Helfend feels the officers should have given him time to secure his pet dog.
Measures similar to the “Don’t Shoot My Dog” bill assure that officers are properly trained to handle citizens and their dogs.
[Image via Flickr]