Puppycide is rampant because police lack the proper incentives. Police departments, sheriff’s offices, and federal agencies are built on double standards. They claim “legal” rights to do things considered wrong for you or me.
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About half of households in the USSA have a dog. For many of us, our four-legged friends are part of the family. When they pass, it can be a tough adjustment. That is especially true when their lives are cut short through acts of violence.
The killing of other peoples’ dogs by police employees happens so regularly that a word - puppycide - has been coined to describe it.
Maps, databases, Facebook pages, and media content provide a voice for those wronged and give us some idea of the scale.
A duo of documentarians focusing on this issue has raised tens of thousands via their Kickstarter campaign. They state that every 98 minutes a dog is shot by a police employee, which equates to over 5,000 dogs annually.
Almost without exception, police employees who shoot unarmed people claim “I felt threatened” - that same mantra is put-forth by those who shoot dogs under dubious circumstances.
In the injustice system, the phrase “I felt threatened” acts as a get out of jail free card for police. They must get home safely, after all.
Yet if its believed that police take a paycheck to protect others, wouldn’t they put their own safety second to those they serve? And never shoot a person or a dog unless it was to protect someone else?
But that’s not how the injustice system is structured. It is set up not to foster justice or accountability, but to protect its own actors and its perceived legitimacy.
So what’s to be done?
Some suggest that more lawsuits are needed, as it would act as a deterrent. Yet how could that be if the individual responsible never personally faces any consequences? Even if someone “wins” in legaland, it’s not the offending police employee on the hook for the settlement, but hardworking people in the community. Remember—“settlements” are paid by tax money, not police employee salaries. If anything, this solidifies that police employee and their colleagues can shoot and kill with impunity.
Others recommend that new policies and training be implemented, to give police employees more options in their toolbox instead of their firearm, to go to during encounters with dogs.
Yet just like the lawsuit tactic, the training avenue neglects to start the conversation where it begins.
Puppycide is rampant because police lack the proper incentives.
Police departments, sheriff’s offices, and federal agencies are built on double standards. They claim “legal” rights to do things considered wrong for you or me.
If I went to your property, jumped your fence, broke into your house, put you and your family in handcuffs, shot your dog in front of you, then trashed your house, would my actions be justified if I claimed that I were looking for marijuana?
Of course not. Yet that same scenario is happening time and time again.
Consider the fact that while dogs owned by non police employees are killed without recourse, legalese exists that proscribes five-figure fines and years in a cage for anyone who even harms a dog owned by a police employee.
While it is impossible to be made whole when the loss of life happens, trying to remedy a coercive monopoly is fruitless and serves only to reinforce their claimed legitimacy.
If you really want to end puppycide, strike the root. If someone kills your dog, or the dog of another family in your community, treat the situation the same whether they wear a badge or not.
Make the incident known to others. Share a recount online in text or video form. Link to it from your area Craigslist, Topix or other online community board. Connect with your local police accountability groups and collaborate to focus attention on the aggressor. And, inform the neighbors of the shooter about the incident - after all, wouldn’t you want to know if you lived next to someone who engaged in such predatory actions? Ostracism is a powerful and peaceful tactic.