The headlines seem common. Family pet, shot by police officer. The family is upset about losing their family pet and the police are painted as uncaring, uncompassionate people.
Being a police officer is tough work. By definition, they're often dealing with the criminal element. And often, find themselves caught in the situations where they have to make split-second, life or death decisions.
A new program in Kansas City is helping to minimize the number of times these life-or-death decisions involve shooting, and killing, a pet.
For a couple of years, Anthony Barnett has been traveling with the city's SWAT teams when the go to serve warrants. It is not uncommon for the SWAT officers to encounter dogs when they serve these warrants. Sometimes the dogs are aggressive. Sometimes they are fearful -- which is understandable when a house is being raided by a group of uniformed officers.
Barnett has been working with the officers to help them better understand situations from the dog's perspective -- to help them difuse more issues without using violent force. The police force has also purchased four dog-specific tasers -- designed specifically for dogs -- that can help them control a dog without using their guns.
Since the program was put in place, the number of dogs that have been killed by police has dropped 80%.
A tip of the hat to the KCMO police department for working more compassion into their highly-challenging jobs and coming up with solutions that protect officers, and pets.
Read more at KCTV5 -- including a 2 minute video.
Edit: Note that it sounds like Austin has put in place a similar program to help control police shootings of dogs. Great news.