GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ)—Since WJZ brought you the story of an officer shooting and killing a family’s dog in Anne Arundel County, we’ve received an outpouring of responses demanding answers. We’re staying on the investigation and looking into whether anyone can prevent this from happening.
Investigative reporter Mike Hellgren has an inside look at new video.
Police across Maryland and across the country deal with animals on a daily basis.
Experts tell WJZ the key to preventing tragedy is good training and the initial reaction in the first seconds after the encounter.
Moments after an officer knocked on a door in Idaho, a dog inside rushed out and was shot in the confrontation.
In California, as police arrested a man, his dog lunged toward officers–who shoot and kill him. We can’t even show what happens next. It’s so graphic.
And in Maryland, there was national outrage after officers killed black labs belonging to the mayor of Berwyn Heights. And again after a civilian officer killed a Husky named Bear Bear in Severna Park.
Now there’s the latest case–a rookie officer shot and killed a dog in Glen Burnie while looking into a neighborhood burglary.
He claims the Chesapeake Bay retriever with a champion bloodline confronted him after he knocked on the door.
“I said, ‘Why did you shoot my dog?” and he said, ‘Because he attacked me.’ And I looked at him, and I said, ‘Where did he attack you? Where are the paramedics?'” said Mike Reeves, dog owner.
Police say the officer shot twice and was not injured.
Nationally, the ASPCA says its research shows at least half of police-involved shootings involve dogs.
They added “many incidents involve multiple shots, and many do not result in the dog’s swift, humane death.”
Nichole Miller with the Maryland SPCA says the initial seconds are critical.
“In these situations where it’s really fast and you’re reacting, more training is better,” Miller said. “In any situation, we want lethal force to be the last option. Turn to the side, drop eye contact, and assess the situation.”
Anne Arundel County Police have now brought in the American Humane Association.
“It’s as much of investigating this situation as it is to prevent future incidents,” said Justin Scally, American Humane Association.
“We have sophisticated training. If it needs to be more sophisticated, I’ll make that happen,” said Chief Kevin Davis, Anne Arundel County Police.
Police in Anne Arundel County do have pepper spray, batons and Tasers–other options available before shooting a gun.
Nationally, the ASPCA says policies that only require an officer to feel threatened set too low of a threshold for justifying the killing of dogs.
You can see their recommendations by clicking here.
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