***Some images below may offend sensitive readers. It's also a sensitive subject, so maybe hug your pup before and after reading.***
One of the worst case scenarios a pup parent can imagine is their dog being shot by the police in their line of duty. Unfortunately, sometimes this happens, and it's completely heartbreaking for everyone involved.
Though there are no national statistics available for such incidents, the only headlines that people seem to remember are those where the shooting of the dog was deemed unnecessary.
And Americans may be divided over their attitudes towards politics or the police, but it's safe to say that American dog lovers want to know their dogs are safe in their own homes and communities.
So one state in the Union has decided to put its best foot, er, paw, er... cowboy boot forward.
Texas lawmakers are proposing a bill which requires police to undergo training specifically for situations where police will be responding to properties housing dogs. Not pets. Dogs.
These classes will feature "an emphasis on canine-related incidents and the use of nonlethal methods and tools in handling an encounter," said House Rep. Nicole Collier.
The Austin Police Department has already instituted a similar program with encouraging results. "Quite frankly, we learned a lot from this process," Austin's Assistant Police Chief said
. "We learned a lot from the community, who had great concern about it."
As far back as 2011 the US Department of Justice issued statements regarding the apparent lack of training for police officers responding to scenes where dogs are present. The DoJ claimed that the unnecessary shootings of dogs "often do serious damage to community trust in the department and profession."
Given that the DoJ has been looking harder into police incidents, we wonder what they will have to say about legislation like that proposed in Texas. The proposed law has been passed through the Texas House and awaits the approval of the Senate.
We'll keep our paws crossed, but we'll also make sure we remember stories like this:
H/t to ChronFeatured image via CBS DC