Charity Calls For Non-Lethal Police Tactics After Pet Dogs Killed

The law-enforcement shooting of two house pets during a controversial raid at the home of a suburban Maryland mayor has brought calls for improved law enforcement training, equipment and protocols for just such cases.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) urges chiefs of police, sheriffs and other law enforcement professionals nationwide to adopt strategies for animals similar to those used for humans during police encounters.

"We recognize that officers might feel threatened when they encounter animals inside homes or elsewhere in the commission of their duties. But there are tools and tactics for managing many situations before lethal force becomes necessary. Proper training will prevent tragic and needless deaths," said Michael Markarian, The HSUS’ executive vice president. "Millions of Americans view their dogs as cherished members of their families, and authorities should respect this."

In the Maryland case, the FBI is investigating a police raid on Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo’s home which resulted in the shooting deaths of his family’s two dogs by county deputies and narcotics officers. The mayor and his wife were interrogated about a package delivered to their home that police allege contained drugs. A deliveryman and another man have been charged in connection with the package. The shooting is the latest in a disturbing number of cases in which pets were the victims of police shootings. Indeed, too often dogs are the most frequent targets of law-enforcement gunfire.

Meanwhile, Mayor Calvo says he’s asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the raid in which his dogs were killed and may seek monetary damages.

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