Dog Owners Want Police Trained To Use Bullets As Last Resort
DENVER (CBS4)– Some dog owners want police officers to go through mandatory training so shooting at pets is a last resort. It’s the subject of a bill making its way through the state legislature.
Supporters of the bill said this measure isn’t meant to go after law enforcement but to better prepare them when they come face to face with a dog.
Gary Branson’s dog Chloe was shot and killed by a Commerce City police officer. The incident caught a lot of attention after it was captured on cell phone video and broadcast on CBS4 News.
Branson still hasn’t been able to watch the video, “I’m working up to watching it. It’s not something I wanted to do at the beginning.”
Branson said what happened to him can be prevented.
“This would have never happened and Chloe would still be here with me,” said Branson.
Branson testified in favor of a proposed bill that would require law enforcement to receive training on how to deal with dogs.
Sen. David Balmer, a Republican representing Centennial, is sponsoring the bill. He believes the training would be web based and would be paid for by private donations not tax payer money.
“There’s been more than 30 law enforcement shootings of dogs in Colorado in the last five years,” said Balmer.
Three recent cases in Colorado include the shooting deaths of Ava in May of 2011, Chloe in November of 2012, and Ziggy this past January. In all the cases, Ava’s owner, Brittany Moore, says police are using excessive force.
Supporters were thrilled when the bill made it out of committee on Wednesday with a 5-0 vote.
“I started crying. It’s so big. This is a step in the right direction to save a family from the trauma my family’s gone through,” said Moore.
The bill still needs to go through the House and Senate. It is expected to be introduced on the Senate floor by Friday. If it passes it will become the first bill of its kind in the nation.
The introduction of the bill is giving pet owners like Branson some hope, “It’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully it passes, hopefully the officers out there will get the training they need.”