Irmo (SC) Police Chief Brian Buck has announced the officer to shoot a German Shepherd mix was justified in shooting the family dog, WLTX News reported September 10.
In an interview with WLTX, Buck stated
"If the officer is defending himself or another person, he is allowed to use force to defend that person. And in this case, he was authorized to use deadly force."
This Examiner article tells the story of Kenya, a German Shepherd mix who was shot and killed on Labor Day by Irmo Police Department officers. The day after the shooting, Kenya's owner, Karen Counts, was issued a citation for almost $1100 for having a vicious dog. She's scheduled to appear in court on September 30.
The 9-1-1 call made to police by a jogger, who later filed a report with police, said in an audio recording obtained by News 19
"a black German-Shepard [is] prowling the neighborhood and just chased me while I was running. He was well out of his yard. I was across the street. I went down about three houses and he was still chasing me."
Chief Buck defended his officers saying they were trying to make it back to their car when Kenya attacked.
Now two men who saw the story have started a petition asking that officer Riley Null, who allegedly killed Kenya, be removed from duty. Derrick Owens and Zach Smith believe the police could have taken non-lethal methods to subdue Kenya.
Smith and Owens plan to have 1000 signatures to present at the next Irmo Town Council meeting on September 17. At the time of this article, there are 733 who have already signed.
Instead of subduing dogs using Tasers or catch poles, which officers should be equipped with when going on a dog-at-large call, many police departments are negligent in going into dog calls unprepared for what should have been a part of their training. Instead, officers are taught to use as much force as necessary to stop the threat.
Officers tend to ignore the fact that these dogs are members of someone's family, and should be treated with respect. To place a tarp over a dying dog, and refuse a neighbors offer to transport a dying Kenya to a vet, should be considered animal negligence resulting in death. If a private citizen had done this, that person would be in jail facing charges.
The Irmo Police Department Facebook page has been quite active since the shooting.
No one is asking for an officer to take a bite from a supposedly aggressive dog. Only to be better trained and arrive prepared. The public is tired of hearing the same excuses of an officer being threatened, with Colorado and Illinois already demanding change in the form of dog protection laws.
Readers, how do you feel about this shooting? The officer may be defended by the chief for the actual shooting, but how can you defend someone who covers a dog clinging for life with a tarp, leaving it to die alone and in agony?
Your comments are welcome.