After a judge recently ruled that police in Michigan were allowed to utilize deadly force against two dogs who were inside of a Battle Creek home (which was being searched for evidence of drugs), social media and beyond erupted in outrage over the implication that the police had been given the green light to enter homes and kill pets. According to KSPR News, pet owners can relax – nothing had changed to give the authorities the right to arbitrarily shoot pets who are inside of homes. There has been no “new” federal law giving the police the right to shoot a dog just for barking at an officer.
Corporal Cathy Ussery with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office stated, “We don’t go around, arbitrarily shooting at any defenseless animal.” In the case of the two dogs who were fatally shot in Battle Creek, the dogs’ owners failed to prove that their pets were not being aggressive in that particular situation. Ussery explained that an officer’s decision to use deadly force depends on what is encountered inside of a home – she stated, “If we are being attacked by an animal we have to do what is needed to protect ourselves and other people.”
Ussery reminded concerned individuals that many police officers are pet owners themselves and they realize that pets are family to many people – adding that shooting a pet would usually be a “last resort.”