LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — While the vast majority of encounters between dogs and police officers end well, the attention paid to ones that end badly is increasing, with more people recording and posting these encounters on social media.
But no agency actually keeps records on how many dogs are shot and killed each year by law enforcement.
A spokesman with the Department of Justice Community Oriented Program Services estimates 25 to 30 pet dogs are killed nationwide each day by law enforcement.
She calls fatal police-versus-dog encounters an epidemic, but it’s just based on an estimate since no agency tracks it.
The ASPCA also receives reports of fatal incidents involving dogs and police.
Some involve dogs considered dangerous, but others involve family pets.
The ASPCA says most instances of police officers shooting dogs are avoidable.
Recommended steps include establishing better communication between officers and animal control, providing better training on how to address potentially dangerous dogs, and enacting an escalating scale of options in which lethal force is considered a last resort.