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Following High-Profile Shootings, CA Police to Take Course On Dogs, Wildlife

San Francisco Chronicle via YellowBrix

October 13, 2010

OAKLAND – Oakland police will undergo mandatory training in handling dogs and wildlife beginning next month, officials announced after two high-profile cases in which officers shot a confused fawn and a barking yellow Labrador.

The training, provided free by the East Bay SPCA, will include several hours of instruction on dog behavior, local wildlife habits and alternatives to shooting animals. The department’s entire staff of 679 officers will be required to undergo the training once a year.

“The goal is to give officers new skills and show them what a crucial role animals play in this community,” said Oakland’s animal control director, Megan Webb. “We need to make sure animals are treated humanely, and show that animals are important to the Oakland Police Department.”

The training comes two weeks after officers shot Gloria, an 11-year-old arthritic yellow Lab that barked at police when they entered a family’s backyard in the Oakland hills. Police said Gloria growled and charged them as they attempted to investigate a possible burglary at the home.

In May, officers shot a young deer several times in a backyard on 90th Avenue in East Oakland, causing an uproar from residents.

In 2009, Oakland police shot eight dogs, according to police spokeswoman Holly Joshi. By comparison, Contra Costa County animal control officers shot one dog in seven years, East Bay SPCA director Allison Lindquist said. Even the three pit bulls that mauled to death a 2-year-old boy in Concord in July were not shot, she said. Those dogs were euthanized at the animal shelter.

“This is fantastic for the Oakland Police Department,” said Lindquist, who is creating the curriculum for the police. “Any dog is going to bark if you enter its territory. We just want to make sure officers are armed with enough information so they can do their job safely and animals don’t get hurt unnecessarily.”

The training will also cover signs of animal abuse and neglect, in hopes of increasing the number of those prosecuted for mistreating animals, Webb said. The department’s canine officers will also help in the training.

Wildlife education will be part of the course. Officers will learn what to expect from deer, raccoons, possums and other animals at different times of the year, and how to determine if an animal is a safety threat. The ill-fated deer on 90th Avenue should have been left alone to find its way back to the hills, Lindquist said.

Gloria’s case remains under investigation, but in general officers can use pepper spray, batons or “catch poles” – 5-foot metal poles affixed with looped collars – to restrain an aggressive dog, Lindquist said.

The training will cost $40,000 to $50,000 annually, to be covered by the nonprofit SPCA. The course will be part of the mandatory advanced officer training, which police undergo annually.

In addition to the 679 officers, Oakland has one part-time and nine full-time animal control officers who handle abuse, neglect and other animal problems.

“That’s just not enough for a city this size,” Webb said. “That’s why we have to train the rest of the staff in how to handle animals, which are obviously such an important part of this community.”


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  • Sfa_iv_max50

    revCCBeasley

    over 3 years ago

    2944 Comments

    Where does stupid idea end....I love animals, but an error is an error...What training....

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    almost 4 years ago

    16726 Comments

    I all ready said enough on the original article when this hit the press............

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    almost 4 years ago

    19382 Comments

    Officers shot the Gorilla at the Dallas Zoo several years back. They had never taken the gorilla training course and were severely criticized for the shoot. No crystal balls are issued with an officer's equipment. It's a difficult call and maybe KING KONG would turn out differently today simply protecting the girl he loved.

  • Tbl_max50

    cjbs2003

    almost 4 years ago

    26 Comments

    Having been bit by by dogs trying to be Mr. nice cop and not shooting them... I learned my lesson. I have dogs of my own. There are times cops need to use common sense. Other times, common sense says the dog needs to be shot. As to why a fawn had to be shot? Who knows, but we put deer down in deer car collisions all the time. A deer with broken legs and internal injuries needs put out of its misery!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    As a animal lover and the up-most respect for the Police Officers I would like to say I understand all sides.I have my own babies that are really called dogs.I would love to get in on this as being a animal lover then knowing the fear of a Police Officers life.In the middle you have to have compassion.Oakland has taught these dogs to be mean.I have come upon pit bulls who liked me fighting or no fighting dogs.I just have this thing with animals.Don't think I'm not scarred sometimes because I am.I just love animals.You just have to know how to come upon on them.It is a little scary.I'm sure the Police have come upon on dogs ready to hurt them so instead of them they shoot.Which way you go.I had a dog called Moe this is an example of showing you police are not for just shooting a animal.It has to be their life or the dogs.OK this guy was running over my fence and Moe who was a pit and Lab about 150 pds just wanted to get petted.Well the guy the police were chasing was trying to hop on my garage and Moe wanted to play or get petted.The guy fell as being scared of Moe for no reason.The Police got their guy and Moe was rewarded with a pat on the head and not being shot.If you look at my profile you'll see Moe.You can't miss him.There are two sides of a story.I heard from so called people good for the lamb and I got all over them.I'm sure the lamb was scarred.Who knows what happened.Only the police as they were there, not us.Until your in someones shoes do not judge them.When you walk in a Policeman's shoes maybe you will understand reasons.We don't know why something has happened.I'm glad for the training not all dogs are bad.I wish I could be there.Of course I'm not the Police.Oh well good luck to all of you in learning.

  • 1051193310_l_max50

    95Zcar

    almost 4 years ago

    3992 Comments

    Ummm, oh nevermind

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    too little too late

  • Th_detective_max50

    Retleo

    almost 4 years ago

    5524 Comments

    "High Profile" shootings of a deer and a dog, REALLY???? Things must be pretty quiet and crime-free in Oakland if these rate as being :High Profile".

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