ONTD Political

Cops shoot dogs in front of Pennsylvania high school

4:45 pm - 01/29/2013
A dog fight ended with a hail of bullets in a Philadelphia suburb, leaving residents shocked and looking for answers.

The incident started on Friday at around noon when a stray dog got into a pickup truck at a red light in Chester, Pa., and began fighting with another pooch, NBCPhiladelphia.com reported.

Cops were called when the dogs couldn't be separated, and when they arrived, witnesses were stunned at the reaction. One officer shot at the dogs five times with a pistol, then another fired one blast from a shotgun. Both dogs were killed.

And this all went down right in front of Chester High School.

Tehran Freeman, a dog owner himself who lives down the block from the shooting, captured the incident on video with his cell phone and was outraged at the handling of the situation.

"I don't care how bad they try to make Chester seem, this is not a war zone, you don't do things like that," he told NBCPhiladelphia.com.

"I thought them as the police should be held to a higher standard and would have some type of procedure for breaking it up than actually pulling out your pistols in front of the high school."

Freeman told NBCNews.com that the bigger, more aggressive dog seemed to be a pit bull and had a leash, but the other smaller dog didn't. It was unclear who the owners were.

He said when he saw the police the "last thing that I thought would happen" is that they would open fire with their guns.

"It wasn't secure at all, I know bullets can ricochet and anything else -- you're trying to shoot two animals in the back of a metal vehicle, that bullet can go anywhere."

Chester police told NBCPhiladelphia.com that the incident was under investigation and at the time the animal control officer in the city was unavailable.

Freeman added that some of the cops involved seemed as upset as anyone.

"One of the officers actually looked very, very shaken up about it," he said.

By Hasani Gittens, News Editor, NBC News.

There's a video of the shooting at the Source. You can't see the dogs being shot, just the cops doing the shooting. Even so, trigger warning is advised.
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chaya 30th-Jan-2013 03:49 am (UTC)
The video's not working for me - can someone tell me if one or both of the dogs even came near the cops?
sweetwaterpink 30th-Jan-2013 04:01 am (UTC)
From the video, the dogs never left the bed of the truck. Five shots were fired at the dogs from close range by one cop. A few seconds later, a second cop fired a shotgun at close range.
schexyschteve 30th-Jan-2013 03:51 am (UTC)
Horrifying, but are people actually expecting a human to get in between two animals fighting?
dixiedolphin 30th-Jan-2013 04:04 am (UTC)
With a little common sense, two people ought to be able to break up a dog fight without resorting to firearms and without stupidly jumping in the middle of it.

My first thought would be for each of the two folks to loop a leash/rope/belt around a dog's neck and pull it out. Tie them off someplace far apart.

But, shit... as mentioned below, just freakin' mace the dogs if there ain't no rope. No reason to shoot them!

Or, worst case, let them keep fighting until someone qualified can show up and handle it (what? Is there no canine division on their force? No local animal control?)
dixiedolphin 30th-Jan-2013 03:57 am (UTC)
Seriously. Mace works pretty well on dispersing wild animals (aka bear spray), it ought to work just as well on two damn domestic dogs.

Or, shit, use the old standby of throwing freakin' water on them or something.

WTF were these cops thinking?! Horrifying,
sweetwaterpink 30th-Jan-2013 03:57 am (UTC)
This was extremely reckless behavior by the cops. They won't have responded this carelessly if it was in an affluent neighborhood.
hawkward 30th-Jan-2013 03:58 am (UTC)
There's only ONE animal control officer? never mind, I know animal control officers are a rare breed. Was there not a veterinarian, a vet tech, a K-9 officer, an animal rescuer, or ANYONE else in that whole area just slightly more knowledgeable about dealing with fighting animals? Who was on duty when the one animal control officer was unavailable?

Another question: If the stray got into a pickup truck at a red light and started fighting with the dog in the truck, doesn't it stand to reason that the owner of the dog is in the truck? What's this about "it was unclear who the owners were"? Could the truck have been driven to a safer location?

In my mind, I'm picturing several alternate scenarios for dealing with the dogs. Even a Taser would have been less risky.
lolahead 30th-Jan-2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
Chester is a very poor area (they make it sound like it was a tree lined, rich suburb of Philly) and they have laid off a lot of public servants such as cops and animal control in recent years. And honestly, people get shot frequently in Chester because cops initiate gunfire in almost every situation. I'm saddened by this but not surprised.
chasingtides 30th-Jan-2013 04:05 am (UTC)
Use some goddamned bear spray why don't you.
dixiedolphin 30th-Jan-2013 04:10 am (UTC)
Fucking this.
mollywobbles867 30th-Jan-2013 04:22 am (UTC)
I'll bet anything that they were just play fighting, unless they were actually drawing blood.
omgangiepants 30th-Jan-2013 04:47 am (UTC)
Wouldn't simply firing the guns in the air be enough to snap the dogs out of it? For fuck's sake. Trigger-happy cops make me sick in a way that few other things do, even when their victims are nonhuman.
stainedfeathers 30th-Jan-2013 05:12 am (UTC)
If the dogs were fighting to kill one another, they wouldn't notice outside noises and there's a good chance they wouldn't even notice people hitting them to try and break their focus on one another. (My dad's had dogs before in that state...)

Sides, firing bullets into the air is a rather dangerous thing to do.
lickety_split 30th-Jan-2013 06:06 am (UTC)
Okay, so you separate the dogs........ then what? Hold them in the back of the squad car until help arrives? Most shelters would put the dogs down immediately for being violent. They're crowded enough with normal dogs crowded together, and just don't have to space to individually house multiple animals that have a documented history of fighting in hopes someone that doesn't mind the risk of being mauled will adopt and rehabilitate the animal. Oh, yeah send them to a No-kill shelter or an animal rehab facility, but again, where are the dogs supposed to stay while this is all arranged? The shelter is out. They can't be kept in the police dog kennel, not with all of those very EXPENSIVE animals living in there. Who will pay for the veterinary care they'd definitely need (and forget it if they need surgery from their injuries)? Charity?? Oh boy, I'll bet the community can't wait to raise tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the vet care of violent dogs.

And police officers don't get Violent Animal Separation training in the Academy. And most people don't know all the fancy tricks to separating two fighting animals (cuz I'm sure every officer has a bucket of water handy) and frankly, fuck that. What if that just makes it angrier?? Or what if the animal turns of you?? Ain't nobody gettin' paid enough for that.
alexvdl 30th-Jan-2013 06:34 am (UTC)
layweed 30th-Jan-2013 12:08 pm (UTC)
really. i mean, really.

ETA: and really, I'm a huge animal lover and absolutely hate when dogs have to be put down for some reason or other, but in this case, is the danger from the dogs fighting to the public really so serious that you have to start shooting at them? in a truck bed where bullets/shrapnel may ricochet in front of a school? idgi.

Edited at 2013-01-30 12:23 pm (UTC)
lurkerwisp 30th-Jan-2013 04:17 pm (UTC)
Just FYI, shooting into a truck bed is more likely to put a hole in the truck bed than risk a ricochet. Hollywood's treatment of bullets vs. cars is abysmally incorrect.
louisiane_fille 30th-Jan-2013 03:16 pm (UTC)
I read this from a different source and one of the dogs had a leash on. Why couldn't someone grab the leash?

Why does it seem like police officers immediately start shooting at everything these days? (I'm thinking of the case a few months back where the officer shot a double-amputee because he wouldn't put down a pen. A pen, for the love of God. You can't tell me this officer couldn't have gotten the pen away from this man and that firing his weapon was necessary.)

It seems to me that officers aren't receiving proper training in how to de-escalate a situation and instead are resorting to using their guns. The fact that they started shooting in front of a school, and that bystanders could have been seriously injured had a bullet ricocheted, really makes me question both their training and their judgement.
jettakd 30th-Jan-2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
Please don't compare the shooting of humans to the shooting of animals. I know you don't mean anything by it, but it is an entirely different situation and especially bringing in a comparison involving a disabled person (and yes that story is really horrifying and the officer should definitely be jailed) is really problematic.
oddityangel 30th-Jan-2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
So you think it was more humane to fatally shoot both animals? That's an earnest question, btw, as I can definitely see a case for it, though I've yet to see anyway actually say it was in the best interest of the dogs rather than out of concern for bystanders and/or the police.
jettakd 30th-Jan-2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
Most officers aren't trained to deal with violent animals. As sad as this is--made worse by the fact it happened in front of kids--I really don't blame their reactions. Hell for all they knew one of them had something like rabies.
lickety_split 30th-Jan-2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
And I really wanna know how many people in here have legitimately broken up a fight between a Pit Bull (whose owner apparently has no control over it) and a stray by pulling on the dog's legs or heaving water at them or spraying Mace at the animal. A lot of these suggestions just sound like some nonsense that they either read on the Internet or heard a zookeeper say while ignoring the part where they added, "BUT YOU SHOULD NOT DO THIS YOURSELF, AS THERE IS A CHANCE THAT THE ANIMAL MAY REDIRECT THEIR RAGE AT YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE NEARBY". I mean, there's a reason people who work with animals usually work in teams, with at least one person standing at a distance with a rifle.
myrrhmade 30th-Jan-2013 10:16 pm (UTC)
This makes me want to throw up.
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