Montrose Police Department Taking Heat for Shooting Dog
The Montrose Police Department is taking heat on social media after one of its officers was forced to shoot "attacking" dog.
Monday (April 4) an officer with the Montrose Police Department spotted a German Shepherd dog at large with its leash attached to its collar. Not seeing anyone around who could claim the dog, the officer called dispatch requesting support from Animal Control.
While waiting for Animal Control to respond, the officer decided to approach the animal to secure it from any danger.
After grabbing the dog's leash, the dog turned and "charged" the officer, barking, growling and showing its teeth. The officer backed away, trying to keep space between him and the approaching dog. It is at this point the officer shot the dog to protect himself.
The Montrose Police Department shared a Facebook update retelling the incident, offering their condolences to the family, officer and those who saw this happen.
Since the post, there have been 56+ comments either praising the officer and police department, scolding them for shooting the dog and the dog's owner makes a few comments of her own.
Here's where my opinion comes in. Let me preface this by saying I was not there, I didn't see the incident, so I don't know the full circumstances.
I hate hearing about dogs being shot by the police for apparent attacks.
I own a German Shepherd (GSD) and have raised GSDs since I was about 5 years old. So this hits a bit closer to home for me. I was recently stopped by the cops in Grand Junction with my dog in the back of my car. The officer approached with apprehension because I have this "monster" in the back of my car. Sheps can be "scary," but as the office quickly learned the only attack he had to worry about was my dog's tongue.
But this isn't about me or my dogs, it's about the actions as protector of the community, as well as a good dog owner. Not that either party, the officer or the dog's human, are totally at fault, stuff happens, especially with dogs.
In my opinion, the officer should have stayed away from the dog, and let Animal Control take over the situation. Animal Control is more equipped with wrangling a loose animal and understands the actions of a scared, stressed and confused dog.
Was the officer doing his job by protecting the citizens of Montrose? Absolutely. He did what he felt best for the situation. (Even if I feel shooting the animal was wrong.) In my opinion, though, if you're not trained to handle -- and by "handle" I mean truly making a dog do what you want it to do -- then don't approach any dog you don't know. As a kid, you're told not to approach strange dogs, and that should stand true for adults as well.
Could the dog's owner have stopped this from happening by better securing their animal? Probably. It's a matter of circumstance. Dogs get out, they jump the fence, they get distracted by things around them and can take off -- even while on-leash. Even the best-trained dogs have their days, they're dogs. Just like we're humans and have off days. Dogs are not infallible.
I'm not pointing any fingers here. Mistakes happen, albeit, this is a mistake no one wants to see happen.
My thoughts to the officer, I know making that split-second decision isn't an easy one, and living with taking any life can't be easy.
Extra thoughts to the dog's human for losing a member of the family. I know how much our furry kids mean to us.