Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Police officer shoots, kills pit bull in Lowell, Mass.

This is a sad story out of Lowell Massachusettes. Another pit bull shot and killed by police. The pit bull wasn't registered thus the police (why not Animal Control?) were there to take the dog. 

(NECN: Ally Donnelly, Lowell, Mass.) - 16 year old Jane Marie Marbert is sad and angry. "I don't understand why you want to take my dog, my dog didn't do nuthin' my dog never bit no one," she fumed Friday outside her Lilley Avenue house.

The Lowell Massachusetts teen says a Lowell Police officer shot and killed her 2-year-old pit bull Ashes -- unprovoked and as children played nearby. "He didn't even say sorry," she fumed. "He didn't have a heart."

The city says an animal control officer came to take the dog from the house on Thursday because the pit bull was not properly registered -- but when animal control got there, they say, the family became confrontational, so the officer called police for backup.

Marbert says Ashes -- who was barking in an upstairs window -- came down the stairs, across the patio and through an open gate toward the police officer. "My dog, he sees a gun, he goes crazy," she said. Marbert says the unidentified officer then shot Ashes twice in the hip area and the dog went down. "My brother's like yo stop, stop, stop and he didn't listen." Marbert says the officer then got closer and shot Ashes once in the head with a small crowd of people and children just a few feet away.

Roberto Cantrez says his 4 year old son is traumatized by the shooting -- and demands to know why the officer couldn't have used something short of deadly force when so many people were close by. "He could of shot, missed the fire and hit my son and the what?" he questioned..

Lowell Police Deputy Superintendent Arthur Ryan says the dog lunged at the officer growling, teeth gnashing and that the officer followed protocol to protect himself and people nearby. "The force used was reasonable and necessary," he said.

Ryan says after the officer initially shot the pit bull the dog was wailing and writhing in pain and the final shot to the head was the most humane thing to do. He also warned that a wounded animal is the most dangerous kind. "Had he not used his firearm to protect himself we would not be talking about an animal that was shot, we'd be talking about officer that was mauled," he said.

Ryan insists no private citizens were in harm's way, but the policy of the police department is to conduct an internal investigation any time an officer fires his weapon. 

From reading the article it seems that, the dog wasn't anywhere close to the officer. I truly believe that police officers need better training when it comes to dealing with animals. They have tasers and pepper spray and I would think that would have sufficed in dealing with this dog in particular; this dog was probably scared and confused about the confrontation at the house. While the dog should have been registered, I find it unnecessary for a police officer to confiscate a dog and I think the family should have been given an opportunity to register their pet. I don’t know the history though and the family might have been given a chance to comply and failed to do so. 

My heart goes out to the family in the tragic loss of a family member.
Whenever someone unexpectedly knocks on my door, I always make sure Kangol is locked in a room he can’t get out of for reasons such as this and I urge all dog owners to do the same because you just never know what someone else will do, whether it is police, solicitor, neighbor, etc.

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