To the editor:
I have just read yet another tragic news story about a police officer executing a family's dog in the course of responding to a distress call.
This one happened during an armed home invasion in Lubbock, Texas. By the time the police arrived, the homeowner himself had chased out the invaders, and there was only the barking dog, which some creep of a policeman shot in the head, killing him instantly, in front of a mother and her two young children.
Why, in God's name, was this necessary or appropriate?
The mother of the household said their family dog was kind and gentle. Yet, according to the report, police refused to let the family have the body and instead called the pound for removal and disposal.
Police there say it is procedure for an officer to use deadly force to defend themselves if an animal puts them in danger.
Put them in danger? Eyewitnesses report that the poor dog never rushed this bone-headed guardian of the peace; just barked, which anyone who has ever known a dog realizes, is, to the dog, his primary duty: to protect his humans and their turf.
We live in an era where most police departments equip their officers with pepper spray to subdue unruly humans. It's very effective. Why would this cowardly individual feel it necessary to use his .38 special to execute an animal, a family friend, who was just doing his job to "protect and serve?"
I myself own a dog, a 95-pound German Shepherd who is the gentlest soul on earth. A police dog, if you will. But after reading story after story about police officers across this country executing family dogs (There is even a case of a police officer shooting a vociferous 4-pound Chihuahua; apparently he later resigned in humiliation) because they found them "threatening,"
I have told my family that, if they ever see a police car pull into our driveway, their first duty is to run to our beloved family member (who in all likelihood would be barking his fool head off) and throw their arms around his neck until the danger is past — assuming that police officers would hesitate to fire on an innocent civilian human, because that might get them in considerably hotter water than "property damage." That, you see, is all the poor family in Lubbock can sue for.
Though there have been no police dog killings on Cape Ann that I know of, I was hoping that maybe the Gloucester Daily Times could query our local police departments about their policy on the use of firearms on family pets such as ours.
Washington Street, Gloucester