LAS VEGAS — There are people in the valley who claim that Las Vegas police officers shoot and kill dogs without a good reason when responding to a call.
In 2008, Louisa Thurston watched her dogs die when a SWAT team descended upon her home to arrest her husband on armed robbery charges and shot her dogs, Bruno and Blue. Thurston said she begged the officers to allow her to bring her dogs outside or lock them in a room.
Instead, after police were in the home for 20 minutes, the dogs were killed. Recounting the painful death of her dogs, she said,
Why did they do it? None of them were bitten. They saw them wiggling their tails when they arrived. I begged them not to hurt my dogs.
Thurston has been in and out of court fighting the North Las Vegas PD because she doesn’t want the same thing to happen to someone else and recently won the right to continue with her lawsuit.
Victor Patino is upset that his furry companion Bubba was shot and killed by Las Vegas police when they entered his backyard while responding to a call about gunfire in the area. Patino said his dog, a pit bull, was friendly and like family. Patino also noted that Bubba was on his property so he cannot understand why police killed his dog.
Freckles, a 45 pound very much loved Australian Shepherd got out of the backyard in May 2013, and was heading to an area where children were, so an officer ran him over because he feared for the children and didn’t want to use his gun.
Other pets have been killed by police when they got out of their yard and were roaming or even when they were mistaken for a suspect.
And it’s disturbing. Very disturbing.
The Las Vegas Metro Police, North Las Vegas PD and Henderson PD all have very difficult jobs to perform each day.
Although there may be times that it is necessary to kill a pet in the line of duty, some think that the Las Vegas area police have gone overboard and will automatically reach for the gun and are in need of intensive training to better handle situations where animals are present.
When someone is arrested and the person has a dog, even a large one, why must the dog be shot dead? Why can’t the owner lock up the dog and call someone to take care of it?
Are the police trigger happy? They even shot one of their own dogs in 2012 when the dog mistook an officer for a bad guy. Police officer have also undergone retraining in the use of force since there is such a high incidence of Las Vegas police shooting and killing suspects.
State animal activists believe that at least 30 dogs have been needlessly killed by police in the past five years.
One vocal animal advocate, State Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, has requested legislation to require police to go through mandatory training.
When faced with a protective or aggressive dog, there may be times when Las Vegas police officers shoot and kill dogs because they have no other choice, however, that should be the exception and not the rule.