In Ogden, Utah dogs need to watch their "p's and q's" because some citizens believe the officers of the Ogden Police Department are just too cavalier when it comes to shooting the dogs of private citizens. On Monday, however an internal investigation within the department declared an officer justified in shooting a dog earlier in March. Now a second investigation into the shooting of a dog is underway.
Last Friday, Michelle Merila called police to report hearing suspicious noises in her home. When authorities arrived at her home at 597 Seventh St., Merila was outside on her porch with her three dogs; two bulldogs and a German shepherd named Jesse.
According to fox13news.com, Merila stated the officer was unjustified in shooting Jesse. She said her dog stopped moving towards the officer when she ordered Jesse to stop. The officer stated the dog tried to attack him, and he shot the dog in self defense.
On Mar. 3, Dan Marocchi's two-year-old German shepherd named Max was shot and killed when an officer stated the dog lunged at him. Marocchi disagrees.
There are no statewide laws or particular protocols police are required to follow, but opinions become contentious when private citizens witness the death of their dogs shot by police. Dogs commonly are a big part of a family's life, and pet owners have a difficult time dealing with the emotional stress of such a profound loss.
On the other side however, police officers risk their lives to protect citizens, and if there is a lethal threat against their lives, doesn't it become justifiable to protect their own safety?
Probably the biggest question posed by citizens and police departments are whether officers should be trained in understanding dogs and their behaviors. Don't dogs typically defend their own territory when a stranger approaches? Other jurisdictions have been studying a plan to require officers to take a two-hour course in animal behavior and the more conservative methods for animal control should a situation occur. Tasers, pepper spray, and other dog deterrents become options over shooting an animal.
In case of emergencies, dog owners should take extra care to secure their dogs in an area where they will be safe. Keep the dog in a back room or at the very least, make sure a dog is leashed whenever a stranger approaches. Owners have the ultimate responsibility to keep their pets safe.
If you would like to continue receiving the latest news on pet issues and how we can help those who cannot speak, please click the "Subscribe" icon.
Follow the National Pet Rescue Examiner on Facebook by clicking here. Please visit and "like" my page. You are welcome to submit story ideas by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.