On May 13, SB226 was signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Now known as the Dog Protection Act, dog advocates around the world are in hopes this new law will set an example for other states to follow. Any law designed to cut down on the number of family dogs shot by police is likely to draw massive public support from dog lovers who are tired of reading the almost daily stories of dogs killed by police.
Governor Hickenlooper arrived at the Denver Animal Shelter with his own shelter rescue named Skye, where he signed the Dog Protection Act into law. He also signed a bill promoted by school children who were doing a school project. The latter bill makes dogs and cats the state pet.
The Dog Protection Act will bring about required training for all police officers in the state. Not only will these officers receive three hours of online training on dog behavior, they’ll also be taught non-lethal methods in controlling an aggressive (or non-aggressive) dog.
This is an area police officers tend to lack experience in. Many cannot tell the difference between an attacking dog, and a dog just coming over to greet them. After several recent dog shootings in the Denver Metro Area, the lawmakers of Colorado now see firsthand the necessity of a law to protect family dogs.The new training program will be similar to a program offered by the Arvada Police Department in suburban Denver.
Brittany Moore, whose dog Ava was gunned down by Erie police in 2011, was announced at the ceremony as “the face of this bill.” Governor Hickenlooper stated in an interview with The Huffington Post “The idea here is to keep officers and animals safe.”
Supporters of Governor Hickenlooper showed up for the ceremony to provide support for the new law. Animal advocates and dog lovers in general also attended. The only group who didn’t show up to support the governor, his dog, and the overjoyed citizens of Colorado were police officers.
According to a post on the Facebook page Dogs Shot By Police, not a single police officer attended the bill signing ceremony. Were they afraid of the response they’d get when facing dog activists who were present to show support for the governor and Ms. Moore?
Readers, do you feel the new bill will do enough in training officers to better handle what officers consider dangerous dog situations? Or will the “shoot first and try to come up with a good excuse later” attitude continue to haunt dog lovers everywhere, as more and more dogs are losing their lives to frightened officers? Is an online course enough training, or should the new law have required a hands-on class where police could learn defense tactics using actual dogs?
Your comments are welcome.
For more of Elisa’s articles on dogs shot by police, click here.