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Filer police officer who shot dog at child's birthday party will keep his job

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A Filer, Idaho police officer will remain on city payroll, Magic Valley News reported March 19.

Nampa Police Department Officer Tarek Hassani, gained national attention after the February 8 shooting of a black lab named Hooch while the owner's 9-year-old son was having a birthday party inside.

Examiner writer Penny Eims covered the story here.

It was decided Tuesday night that Hassani will remain on city payroll, pending training in dog behavior.

A City Council meeting was held Tuesday evening, where it was decided Hassani wouldn't lose his job, despite protests over the past months. Filer Mayor Rick Dunn said public opinion was considered into the final decision to allow Hassani to keep his job stating

“I got a great education on how to handle animals."

Mayor Dunn, you may have received a great education, but apparently your officer's are in need of a refresher course. The dashcam video is graphic, especially the part where Officer Hassani kicks at the barking dog, then fires several shots at the animal.

Afterward, Tassani knocked on the door of Hooch's owner Rick Clubb, where he proceeded to curse, yell and threaten the owner of the slain dog with arrest.

Filer plans to provide animal control training to its police force, as well as how to carry on a civil conversation with residents of the Filer community. Dunn confirmed animal behavior training is needed, but it may be too little for the residents.

All but three out of 27 who spoke up against the dog shooting say they still feel safe in Filer. Now their town has joined countless others where police are cleared for killing the family dog.

A police investigation found Hassani justified in killing Hooch, but was concerned about his actions before and after the shooting. This isn't the first time Hassani has been cleared of a police matter. Back in August 2010, Hassani was cleared after shooting a man following a pursuit.

Dunn couldn't comment on Hassani's future in the Nampa Police Department, stating it was a personal matter.

Rich has hired attorney Nate Peterson to represent him. The case will be based on violation of Fourth Amendment rights and the protection from unreasonable search and seizure, which were allegedly violated when the officer shot Hooch.

Hooch supporter Tami Scarpella commented in an interview with The Christian Post

"I was convinced this man should not be a cop when he talked about being bit by another dog and getting stitches. He has an issue with dogs. Watching how calm he was about shooting the dog and continuing up the driveway like nothing happened. He shouldn't be a cop, maybe a rent a cop without a gun."

A Facebook page set up to have Officer Hassani fired now has more than 12,000 supporters.

Listen to the audio from the video attached to this article. Hassani possibly has PTSD resulting from a dog attack that required emergency treatment. Is it really a good idea to hire officers who are afraid of dogs in a position that requires that officer to "protect and to serve?"

Rest in peace, Hooch. You barked and you jumped as the officer came near you. No one wants to see a police officer injured by a dog, but was it really necessary for you to be shot down instead of the officer using a non-lethal defense? Shouldn't officers have an alternative to deadly force? Especially when they are called out on dog-at-large issues.

Your comments are welcome.

For more of Elisa's articles on dogs shot by police, click here.

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