In Merced, Calif., it is perfectly legal for a police officer to take a critically wounded animal to the police shooting range in order to "humanely destroy" it, reported Wednesday's Merced Sun-Star.
Thanks to a decades old penal code, it is legal for officers to transport wounded animals for "humane" disposal at their shooting range.
Many animal lovers who are just learning about this practice are shocked that a police officer would transport a wounded animal to their shooting range, rather than to a veterinary clinic, for humane euthanasia or treatment.
According to Merced Police Chief Norm Andrade, the practice of transporting animals to the Gove Road shooting range is "rare," and the officers dread having to do it.
One Merced resident, 21-year-old Kathleen Emerson, heard about the shootings firsthand from city police officer.
She recounted the conversation to the Merced Sun-Star:
The police officer said, ‘We get calls about dogs that are hit (by vehicles) and still alive, and if they don’t have a tag, we take them out to the range and shoot them,
Officials with the Humane Society of the United States are none-too-pleased with the way that the Merced police department has chosen to interpret the penal code.
Eric Sakach, senior law enforcement specialist with Humane Society of the United States, stated:
The law does not permit the officer to move the animal to the shooting range to be put down,”
“If they find an injured animal that can be moved, they’re only allowed to transport the animal to a veterinarian and they make the determination.
Kim Herzog, an animal control officer for Merced, reiterated the fact that the police officers do not like "dispatching," injured animals, but noted that one or two dogs each month are destroyed with a gun.
Unfortunately, when it comes to saving an injured animal's life, cost is considered to be a huge factor.
The city’s not going to pay to do all of this extensive medical treatment.”
Continue reading: Mystery continues as another dog with missing rear leg is found in Texas
If you would like to continue receiving the latest dog related news, tips and advice, please click the "Subscribe" icon which is located at the top of this column.
I am human; if you see a typo, please let me know. Questions, comments or story ideas can be emailed to Eims1@live.com.