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Protesters Say Training Needed

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — About 50 protesters gathered outside the Springfield Police Department Thursday afternoon in response to a recent shooting of a dog.

The crowd says this situation emphasizes the need for more officer training when it comes to dealing with animal control calls. They aren’t the only ones saying more education regarding situations with dogs like this is needed.

The National Canine Research Council created a series of training videos regarding situations like this week’s shooting of a pit bull by a Springfield police officer. It says that more than half of intentional police shootings nationwide involve animals, most often dogs.

“As human beings we’ve learned our entire lives to be extremely skilled at body language and communication with human beings, but not necessarily with members of another species,” said Janis Bradley, NCRC Director of Communications.

And while the NCRC couldn’t say whether these incidents have grown over time, they say the growing access to media attention definitely makes it more apparent.

“Very often people misinterpret dog behavior as aggressive, but it’s really social behaviors. It’s a problem in communities, so police need more information on how to respond,” Bradley said.

The Springfield Police Department says while it doesn’t have as specific training as seen in the videos, they are trained to some extent.

“Officers go through use of force training, which often applies to human beings, but really that’s a big picture thing. It’s the use of discretion,” said Chief Tim Doney, Springfield Police Department.

In this case, while SPD has an animal control unit, it was after hours, so it actually took multiple calls to get an officer to the scene. And police say the dog chased down several people, including a 12-year-old boy. They say a complete stranger saved him, by driving his car in between the dog and the boy so the boy could get in the car.

SPD believes the officer made what he felt was the best decision based on the circumstances he was presented with at the scene.

“This is unfortunate for the animal and for the family and for the owners of the animal. I understand they’re emotionally upset about this, because if it was my family, I would be too. But I also understand that if I was the victim that was chased by the dog or fearful that you’re going to be attacked, there’s probably an equally emotional reaction on the opposite end of the spectrum,” Doney said.

The Springfield Police Department says it also works very closely with its K-9 and animal control units to familiarize themselves with these types of situations.

As for the current condition of the dog. The vet who saw Kiki says the bullet didn’t appear to go into the brain cavity, and that it’s best in this case to leave the bullet alone and not have it surgically removed.

4 comments

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  1. John H. Richardson says:

    Any dog running free without a lease should be shot. The officer is correct, his actions proper.

    I was eight years old when a dog attacked me. There is still a mark on my left arm.

    I remember the dog running for me and sitting in the back of a police car, this happened in Portland. I’m now 87 years old.

    The owners of that dog should be in jail, they are letting a potential killer wander the streets.

  2. Rob says:

    I think we should get a protest against the people putting down and blaming our police force. Ban there stupidity…. A protest needs to be against the dog/home owners period. If there dog was well taken care for in the first place not tied up to a tree (Very Cruel) or allowed to get loose from its property then it would not be an issue. I see dogs of all breeds (yes including pit bulls) running lose all the time in neighbor hoods here in Springfield; Keep track of the police call log and you will see dog at at large called in every day. Tell me how many pets are shot by the Springfield police department ? You protesters are barking up the wrong tree.. Irresponsible pet owners are to blame.. They should be cited and fined for there dog running at large, assault, neglect, (tying it to a tree in summer heat) Really!!
    LETS PROTEST THE PROTESTER FOR BLAMING OUR PROTECTORS…
    If your animal runs wild than its to be treated as wild.. If you like your pet then keep it safe from harm and from harming anyone else. Plain and simple. If you can not do that then dont expect special rights because your a poor irresponsible pet owner.
    Its sad the dog had to be shot but its the pet owners fault not the police officer… The police officer is trained to serve and protect in many times split second actions are needed. (KEEP YOUR PETS SECURED AND THEY WILL NOT GET SHOT) Thank goodness we have police that can respond quickly because the great neighbors that are for the dog are hypocrites; Where were you/they and the home owners before the police had to show up. Not protecting the innocent people being attacked. (Young boy, elderly person, 2 bicyclist and more I’m sure). Nor secure Kiki the dog. Why were you all hiding in your houses as people screamed in the street? Not one person came out until the police arrived. Except the kind gentleman in the vehicle saving the boy from harm.
    I’m a pet owner of dogs and love them dearly as apart of my family but if they were to get out and are malicious in public, threatening the well being of others I would expect the same possible out come. My dogs are well trained, registered, cared for (NOT TIED TO A TREE) secured dogs. If you can not be responsible pet owners then you should not have pets.
    I say PROTEST THE PROTESTER FOR BLAMING OUR PROTECTORS!!!!
    Maybe KEEP GUNS HOLSTERED AND KEEP YOUR HOT DOGS BUNS SECURED!!!
    On the lighter side haha that is funny and true..

  3. Pit Owner says:

    Training is also needed for the owners on how to properly care for and socialize breeds that have been bred for aggression. The owner normally kept the dog in a crate or tethered to a tree; I don’t know many “family members” who are treated that way. People should be properly trained and have to obtain a license to get a dog. If you can’t exercise the dog daily and give it proper socialization from a very young age, please don’t get a dog. This is the owner’s fault, not the police officer’s and not the dog’s. What of the 12-year-old boy? Is anyone protesting the fact that he had a severely traumatic experience that will likely affect him for life? The callousness here is insane. I am a pitbull owner. My pitbull is easygoing, affectionate, and very loving. He is never tethered or crated or out on the street unleashed. However, if his behavior was that of this dog, and he was running loose on the street terrorizing people, though I would be devastated, I would certainly understand if the Police shot him, and I would have extreme empathy for all of the traumatized victims. Perhaps owners should have an empathy test too before they get that license to be a dog owner. Geesh.

    1. Rob says:

      Pit Owner

      I would like to see the owners charged. In fact I am shocked they have not been.. It would be a great reminder to those people who can not keep there animals under control. That would help put some more money into animal control agencies.

      I think maybe the owners should also pay for counseling for the traumatized boy. I might contribute to that instead of funding the owners vet bill that they also can not care for.

      I agree the owners also need training on how to care for an animal. They should definitely should not breeding them.

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