I feel like every few months now, anymore, you hear about a police officer who gets trigger happy when it comes to someone’s beloved pet — dating back to two years ago when police responding to the wrong house fatally shot a Blue Heeler named Cisco, starting the Justice For Cisco movement, which has since raised awareness to this sort of thing.
In many of these incidents, police are making an otherwise harmless dog feel threatened or are trespassing on private property, as was the case with Sean Kendall of Salt Lake City, whose Weimaraner named Geist was killed last month when a police officer encountered the dog after entering Kendall’s fenced in, enclosed backyard searching for a missing three-year-old boy.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reports on the incident, which Kendall recorded:
“About fifteen minutes [ago] I got a phone call from Utah animal control calling to tell me that an officer had shot and killed my dog,” Kendall says to the camera. “He was inside the backyard in a fenced off area.”
Then he asks the question that has remained largely unanswered since his Weimaraner, Geist, was fatally shot in the head last week: “What was the cause for an officer to shoot and kill my dog?”
The officer remains on duty while the police department conducts an internal investigation. The department has revealed little information about the June 18 shooting except to say that the dog acted aggressively when the officer entered its backyard as he searched for the missing child.
“I wasn’t in that situation. The officer did what he did in the moment to avoid being bitten, possibly,” Det. Greg Wilking said in an interview Monday.
Key word: “To avoid being bitten, possibly.” Look. I understand that police are within the boundaries of using reasonable force to protect themselves, but that also doesn’t give them the right to go around shooting any dog that could possibly be considered a threat. It’s not The Leftovers all up in here or anything.
Personally, I have a big, dumb fluffy Australian Shepherd who is the sweetest animal ever and would never hurt a fly. But does that mean she doesn’t lose her sh*t every time someone comes to the door, whether it’s a complete stranger or the mailman or our next door neighbors who she sees all the time or close friends and family? No. Because she’s a dog and that’s what dogs do. And if a police officer for some reason entered my home and found her to be a threat, she’d be a goner for sure. From my understanding, the majority of police officers aren’t required to complete any kind of training on how to deal with potentially aggressive animals, which would probably greatly reduce the amount of tragedies like this from occurring.
Anyway, here’s the full footage of Kendall confronting the police after his dog was shot, and kudos to him for handling it as coolly as he did, because if it were me I would have probably left in the back of that squad car. Oh, and if anyone was wondering, the kid was fine.