Sometimes a dog can look threatening, but it’s not. Figuring out whether a dog can be dangerous is a tricky job for police officers. Earlier this month in Lancaster a city police officer shot and killed a pit bull that had gotten loose. The police said they were justified in the shooting, but protestors said it begs an important question. “Does our law enforcement need additional training on how to use non-lethal force with animals” said State Representative Kevin Schreiber.
In order to find the answer, Representative Schreiber has introduced a resolution that would create a panel consisting of animal advocates, politicians and law enforcement. “The fact that we’re hearing from constituents, we want to take a look at it and get a better understanding of if this is a problem and if it is what tools do we need to put in place to help solve it” said Schreiber.
The director of the Humane Society for Pennsylvania, Sarah Speed, said it is a problem. “It stems from a lack of education. although all of our police officers are charged with enforcing humane laws, there’s no curriculum for it in any of the police academies in Pennsylvania” said Speed. She said instead of using guns, that tasers can be affective and as for the training, she has a solution for that too. “The Humane Society of the United States is willing to offer it for free, we will train any police officer in recognizing dog behavior and find better ways to deal with stray and loose dogs” said Speed.
If Representative Schreiber’s resolution passes, it’s safe to say the Humane Society could be a crucial partner.