A woman extends her arm, pointing down at the ground as if holding a gun, and describes how it happened: “He pulled out his gun and shot her right in the head.”
“They hunted him down from behind and killed him,” another says.
As many as half of intentional police shootings involve dogs, according to the National Canine Research Council, a group that provides online resources for police training. Yet, there’s never been a documented case of a dog killing an officer.
A new documentary, Of Dogs And Men, seeks to explore the trend of police killing pets. “From SWAT raids to simple calls and even visits to the wrong addresses, we are seeing more and more incidents of officers using lethal force against a family pet they deem a threat,” Michael Ozias, the director, wrote on the film’s Facebook.
A trailer for Of Dogs And Men was recently released and a website is expected to be up soon at ofdogsandmen.net.
“Are these rash reactions by officers in a system with little regard for our four-legged family members, or are they true peace officers doing their best in a dangerous job? Of Dogs And Men investigates the issue from all angles, interviewing law enforcement officers and experts, and taking a journey with pet owners through the tragedy of loss and pursuit of change in a legal system in which the very officers they challenge are an integral part.”
One cause believed responsible for the high number of police-involved dog deaths in the U.S. is the now-routine practice of no-knock raids, that is, when an officer obtains a warrant that allows him or her to forcefully enter a home without first notifying the residents by knocking or ringing a doorbell.
And it’s not always animals either that are killed when no-knock raids go wrong.
In May 2011, an Arizona SWAT team busted unannounced into the home of Jose Guerena, an Iraq War veteran, and shot him 22 times while wife and son hid in a closet. The former Marine had grabbed his rifle, presumably unaware the home invaders were actually the police. Nothing illegal was found in the home.
Screencap via PUPPYCIDE doc/Youtube