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No guns required: How an Arlington police officer rescued an 'aggressive' dog

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The inspirational story of a young white pit bull, now named Chance, and Arlington police Sgt. Gary Carter who adopted the dog, went viral a few weeks ago, but the sizzle hasn't worn off of the Texas saga.

On the Arlington Police Department Facebook, hundreds of animal lovers continue to ask for updates, and over the weekend Chance and Sgt. Carter were caught in a precious moment:

"Update to Chance a.k.a. "Jeffrey" that Sgt. Gary Carter adopted after the original owner said he couldn't take care of him. We have had hundreds of questions from around the world seeking an update so here it is:

Chance is doing great and made himself right at home with Gary's family including other pets. He even got an icy flavored treat yesterday."

For those who are unfamiliar with this unusual liaison, the relationship between Sgt. Carter and Chance began on June 27 when officers were called by neighbors about a dog on the loose people deemed aggressive. One woman yelled, "this dog is so vicious, please get him," just as the officers arrived, but instead of drawing their guns, Sgt. Carter observed the frightened animal for a few minutes and assessed the dog's posture and actions. At that point, Sgt. Carter and the accompanying officer, lured the white pit bull into the back of their squad car with a protein bar. As it turned out, Chance was afraid, hungry, thirsty and lost.

Because the dog was micro-chipped, Animal Control was able to reunite the dog and his owner, and one would have thought the story might have ended right there; a community happy that an innocent dog wasn't shot and the dog happily back in his own yard, but as fate would have it, and hopefully a message to be passed on to other police departments, the saga continued. Chance escaped again; and again Sgt. Carter captured him, but this time his owner didn't want him back, and the dog was surrendered to Animal Control.

The day before Chance was due to be euthanized, Sgt. Carter headed over to Arlington Animal Control and adopted Chance stating, "this dog keeps crossing my path, so it must be meant to be."

Every time a dog is shot by a police officer, it creates civilian outrage; the most asked question is why are lethal means so often the answer for police officers? Why don't they use batons or pepper spray? The answer is that few police departments offer appropriate training for officers to teach them how to deal with dogs encountered in the line of duty. Few departments offer any special procedures for dealing with dogs. Unfortunately police officers lack the training to determine if a dog's intentions are aggressive or if the dog is simply bounding towards them in a canine greeting.

Such a tragedy happened just a few days ago when a Minneapolis police officer shot an owner's beloved Cane Corso when the dog accidentally escaped from his yard into an alley where the officer had been pursuing a car thief. It only took a moment to shoot the two-year-old dog in the head killing him; the officer told the owner the dog had lunged at him. The owner stated, although his dog was huge, the dog didn't have a mean bone in his body, and he simply was bounding over to say hello.

It's time to change the policies. Why not take a lesson from the Arlington Police Department in northern Texas? These police officers rock!

For more information on this topic, The Problem of Dog Related Incidents and Encounters provides interesting and helpful advice and suggestions.

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