How police can improve public perception of lethal force on domestic animals

Agencies need to acknowledge the public’s perception of puppycide and use it to educate the public about responsible pet ownership


By Mark Bond, American Military University
In Public Safety

Incidents of dogs being shot and killed by law enforcement officers continue to make national headlines. There’s even a term for it, “puppycide,” a term coined by investigative journalist Radley Balko, who reports on the dramatic increase of cases involving police officers killing family dogs.

Many Americans view pets as beloved members of their immediate family, therefore, the emotional reaction when a pet is killed by law enforcement officers is understandable. This all means that officers need to be aware of the public’s perception of the sharp increase in the use of deadly force to subdue animals.

Many citizens perceive the increase in domestic dog killings as over-aggressive officers who are not trained in nonlethal animal control techniques and who resort too quickly to deadly force. To gain the trust and respect of citizens, agencies need to acknowledge the public’s perception of puppycide and use it to educate the public about responsible pet ownership. In addition, agencies need to create training opportunities for officers about nonlethal animal control.

Full Story: Public Perception of Police Lethal Force on Domestic Animals

About the author

In Public Safety is an American Military University (AMU) sponsored blog that features analysis and commentary on issues relating to law enforcement, emergency management, fire services and national intelligence. This blog features in-depth discussions authored by leading experts with decades of experience in their field. To stay updated on blog posts and other news relevant to these sectors, please follow us on Facebook by "liking" AMU & APUS Public Safety Programs. You can also follow us on our sector-specific Twitter accounts: @AMUPoliceEd, @AMUFireEd, @AMUDisasterEd, @AMUIntelStudies

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