Target: Governor John Hickenlooper
Goal: Stop fatal dog shootings by police in Colorado.
Colorado recently passed legislation requiring specialized police training in recognizing dog behaviors and using non-lethal control methods. The bill also directs police to allow dog owners the option to control or remove their dogs during nonviolent calls. Please sign this petition in support of specialized police training to protect dogs from unnecessary police brutality.
Colorado police have been under a lot of fire in the past year for shooting domesticated dogs, some say unnecessarily. In response to those controversies, lawmakers recently passed the Dog Protection Act. The legislation requires sheriffs’ offices and police departments to offer three hours of online training on recognizing dog behaviors and employing nonlethal control methods. The law also directs authorities to give dog owners the option to control or remove their dogs during a nonviolent call. All 100 lawmakers supported the bill that was signed on the same day that shelter dogs and cats were officially designated the Colorado state pet.
The law was inspired by dog lovers worried about recent deadly pet shootings by police. In most of those cases, owners insisted their dogs did not pose a threat to law enforcement. Brittany Moore’s German shepherd, Ava, was shot by an Erie police officer in 2011. Ava had a rawhide treat in her mouth when the officer shot her responding to Moore’s call about someone harassing her by phone. Jeff Fisher’s blue heeler/boarder collie mix was shot three times by an Adams Country sheriff’s deputy in January, 2013. Police had forced their way into Fisher’s business, later finding out they were responding to the wrong address of a call. In November, 2012, a Commerce City policeman shot Gary Branson’s therapy dog Chloe. Even after police had placed a noose around the chocolate lab mix’s neck, she was shot five times. These murders should never have occurred.
Please sign this petition applauding Colorado’s efforts to protect our four-legged family members from police brutality.
Dear Governor Hickenlooper,
Thank you for passing the Dog Protection Act after so many unfortunate murders have taken place over the past couple years. As the first state to pass such legislation, it is commendable that the issue of police brutality on dogs was addressed so quickly and with so much cooperation among lawmakers. The legislation will hopefully serve as an inspiration to other states that want to protect their family members as much as Colorado does.
Specialized training in recognizing dog behaviors is necessary for officers to appropriately distinguish between an out-of-control dog and one that is responding to a strange situation like a dog would. Dogs are territorial and that is just one reason many people get dogs. We like the protection they provide by serving as an alarm system to intruders. Police need to recognize their purpose and intent prior to unleashing unnecessary fire and killing a family member in the very house they are meant to protect.
The legislation also directs police authority to give dog owners the option to control or remove their dogs during nonviolent calls. This common sense provision should have been in place as a no-nonsense way to avoid killing an animal. Despite the late legitimacy, it is nice to see it in black and white and know that it is a provision afforded to dogs and their owners. This will undoubtedly save the lives of many dogs that may be perceived as aggressive by authorities but normal by dog owners.
Thank you for signing this landmark law and protecting citizens and their four-legged family members from unnecessary police brutality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: elizabeth tersigni via Flickr