Target: Merced, California Chief of Police Norm Andrade
Goal: Stop the Merced Police Department from killing injured stray dogs and cats, and encourage the department to partner with rescue organizations
The Merced, California Police Department has developed a diabolical way of dealing with injured stray cats and dogs: police officers are instructed to shoot and kill them. This law has been in practice for decades; it is now surfacing as an incredibly inhumane and unnecessary way to deal with injured strays. There are many alternatives to killing these animals; the Merced Police Department must adapt these alternatives in order to treat stray animals humanely.
Sergeant Jason Ramos of the Merced Police Department defends this penal code by saying that if death is inevitable for the injured animal the most humane thing to do is kill it. However, the officer that finds an injured animal is allowed to decide, after notifying their superior, whether or not to kill the animal; they do not acquire the opinion of a trained animal doctor. Not to mention, officers are instructed to take injured animals to a shooting range; if they have time to drive to a shooting range, they have time to drive to a veterinarian.
All of the excuses used by the Merced Police Department entail a situation that is not realistic: being too far from a veterinarian or any organization that has the ability to save an injured animal. There are so many utilizable outlets to ensure that the animals will always get medical attention. The department could partner with a humane organization that would be on call and available to come retrieve the animal; locate, and utilize, all of the twenty-four-hour emergency animal hospitals in Merced and employ trained animal doctors to ride along with police officers in rural areas.
Many cities in California do not allow law enforcement to kill injured animals; the officers in these cities are instructed to take the animal to an organization that can potentially save them. To give an injured animal a chance to live, rather than make an uninformed executive decision to kill it, is the most humane decision. Urge Merced’s Chief of Police to research proactive, and humane, ways to deal with injured stray animals.
Dear Norm Andrade, Merced’s Chief of Police,
I am shocked to learn that the Merced Police Department encourages its employees to kill stray animals that appear to be fatally wounded. There are many cities in California that require injured stray animals to be brought to veterinarians, or humane organizations for treatment. Determining whether or not an animal has a chance of survival should be at the jurisdiction of a trained animal doctor, not a police officer.
There are countless incidents where animals that appear to be fatally wounded have made a full recovery, with the help of medical professionals. I urge you to reconsider this penal code, and advocate for truly humane ways to deal with injured stray cats and dogs. Some options include partnering with an animal rights organization that can be on call to pick up stray animals, locating and utilizing all of the twenty-four-hour emergency veterinarians and employing an animal medical professional to ride along when patrolling very rural areas.
Please re-evaluate your department’s options when dealing with injured stray animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Francois Proulx via Flickr