“Officer Why Did You Shoot My Dog?” The Dynamics of Officer Involved Shootings of Dogs

“Officer Why Did You Shoot My Dog?” The Dynamics of Officer Involved Shootings of Dogs
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded on: 2018-09-11
Unit 1 Workbook: Officer Why Did You Shoot My Dog?
Unit 2 Slide Deck: Officer Why Did You Shoot My Dog
Unit 3 Recording: Officer Why Did You Shoot My Dog

72.9 million US households report to having at least one pet – that means one in every 5 American has a dog, cat or other pets. These days, more and more household treat pets like a family, and a pet’s death is just as devastating as losing a family member.

Today’s esteemed speaker is John Thompson from the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA). He is NSA’s Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. John’s been involved in public safety for almost five decades. Most currently, his advocacy led him to spearhead a movement within public safety to prevent animal abuse. This led to the creation of the National Coalition on Violence Against Animals and the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse.

On today’s course, John will talk about the horrible reality when dogs become victims and casualties to crimes or law enforcement operations. Some of the specifics he tackled on the webinar are:

  • Statistics on pet population within the US, the costs of having them and dog deaths involving law enforcement.
  • The reasons why officers shoot dogs and videos that demonstrate how each of these happen in real life.
    • Shootings due to culture and department policy where entrenched societal beliefs and culture causes police officers to view dogs as property and easily dispensable.
    • Shootings due to a lack of training and understanding of the behavior of dogs, their importance to the family, and logistics planning for raids, searches or arrests when dogs are present.
    • Shootings due to inherently nefarious individuals who become part of law enforcement.
    • Shootings due to fear – whether real, perceived, or brought about by a phobia that causes a police officer to be defensive around dogs.
  • Consequences of bad dog shootings like:
    • Financial damages paid to the family of the dogs shot that becomes costly for the agency and the community.
    • Human casualties when a person is accidentally shot instead of a dog.
  • The efforts and initiatives of the public safety field on dog shooting and animal abuse in general.
    • The establishment of The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse (NLECAA) that seeks to raise awareness and train law enforcement officers.
    • The creation of the Law Enforcement Dog Encounters Training (LEDET) virtual reality simulator that assists law enforcement officers to better handle encounters with dogs.
  • John clarified the audience’s inquiries and comments related to:
    • Raising the issue of animal abuse to the leadership
    • Animal control officers
    • Training dispatchers to confirm the presence of animals
    • Partnering with local dog trainers for the law enforcement training
    • Including catch poles in officers’ standard equipment
    • The effect of pepper spray on dogs
    • The behavior of officers who shot dogs
    • Including working with dogs to the basic Academy training


View our Animal Welfare Webinar  Schedule and Recordings



This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.





** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
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