Last year, the city of Lakewood, OH enacted a ban on 'pit bulls' in the city -- and the city's police department appears woefully prepared to enforce the ordinance -- and the residents and dog owners are getting pretty upset about the whole thing.
Last month, I did a follow up on a story about a military veteran, Leonard Shelton, who was run out of town by the badgering by animal control and the police about his dog being a 'pit bull'. Shelton had the DNA test done on his dog, which noted that it had no trace amounts of any of the 'pit bull' breeds in it -- but had already moved out of the city so he and his dog Roscoe could live in peace.
Now, police are up a creek again. This time, police used a taser multiple times on a barking dog. Yip, that's right, a barking dog. And in spite of police's insistence, that the dog was acting aggressively and lunging at them, they even supplied the video from the taser itself, which has spurred a fire storm on controversy. What's even "better" about the story, is that the police officer that tased the dog, as well as the spokesman for the police department, are still calling the dog a pit bull. "In our opinion, the dog is a pit bull" said the spokesperson in one video. And in spite of mulitple headlines by the media calling it a pit bull, at least one media outlet has noted that the owner and several experts in the community say the dog is really a white Boxer, in spite of the police officer's insistence. And one quick viewing of the video from anyone who knows anything about dogs will confirm that the dog, indeed, looks very much like a white Boxer.
Which then leads us back to, would the police officer have tased the dog if he believed the dog to be a Boxer instead of a 'pit bull'? Did the police interpret the dog barking at the officers as aggressive because of the breed they perceived it to be?
We'll likely never know -- but we do know that once again the police failed in an effort to identify a 'pit bull' - -and yet another dog and dog owner in this community of 54,000 people have been victims of false breed mis-identification by a clearly untrained group of officers.
And yes, in some cases, police officers need to taser dogs to subdue them. But this pretty clearly wasn't one of them as the dog could have been subdued very easily by someone with even minimal training. And yes, tasers can be dangerous to dogs - as earlier this year, animal control officers in Toledo, OH killed a dog when they used unnecessary force on a 10 lbs dog that was on its front porch. What may be even worse about this, is that the officer admitted in his police report of the incident thatthe reason he didn't draw his gun, was not because it was unnecessary force, but because he feared the bullet might ricochet and injure a bystander.
The best videos are captured at this link, including some good footage of the dog in the shelter so you can see for yourself what breed of dog he is and also a good interview with a dog trainer that is fired up over the police officer's mistreatment of the animal.
BSL doesn't work. In this case, the law was passed and the local officers didn't even get the training in order to enforce the law. This lack of training puts all dog owners and dogs at risk, even if their dog is not one of the affected breeds. And officers using an irrational fear of dogs, a lack of even basic knowledge on handling dogs, and a breed ban as an excuse to use cruel force on a dog should not be tolerated.
Nice job Lakewood...once again, your ban is making your police force look like a group of keystone cops who are tasering dogs unnecessarily and running military veterans out of town. You should be proud.