Deputy Shoots Family's Terrier; Complains About Cost Of The Bullet

from the stay-classy dept

In disturbing, but sadly unsurprising news, a law enforcement officer is being accused of killing a family pet — one that very likely did not need to be killed. Kelli Sullivan’s dog was shot by a sheriff’s deputy when the deputy responded to Sullivan’s call about being harassed by a neighbor. Sullivan soon learned why you’re taking the lives of everyone and everything into your own hands by asking for law enforcement assistance.

The dog was 12 pounds, and Sullivan says about ankle height on most people. She said the dog did not seem like a threat to the officer. She said after the deputy had taken care of a neighborhood disturbance, her son’s dog escaped from their house.

“The dog got out. I walked to the end of the driveway to try to catch her. My daughter was running around trying to catch her. I thought we were going to go back in the house. I walked back to the house opened the door, turned around, (and) boom, he shot her,” Sullivan said. “It was a horrific event. He shot the dog up close and blew her skull apart in front of my children. Like her eyeballs were out of her head.”

According to Sullivan, the dog had no history of biting and was behaving normally for a dog of her breed.

Sullivan’s dog was a rat terrier — a breed not really known for aggressive behavior. Nonetheless, the deputy’s report said the dog posed enough of a threat he had no choice but to shoot it in the head.

In his official report, the deputy said, “…alone [sic] came the house dog charging at me in an aggressive manner and grabbing at my leg and my boots. I swung my baton at the dog to scare it away. The house dog then charge [sic] at me again in an aggressive manner and once swung my baton. The [sic] Mr. Sullivan couldn’t contain the dog. For a third time the house dog charged at me in an aggressive manner I then fire one shot with my hand gun and killing the dog [sic].”

But that’s not the end of it, although that would probably be more than enough. A deputy unable to handle the “aggressive manner” of a 12-lb. dog is going to have severe difficulties handling aggressive behavior by full-grown humans. Nope, the deputy then allegedly had the audacity to:

A. Claim his killing of the dog was in the family’s best interest, and

B. Complain about the cost of the bullet.

According to Kelli Sullivan, after killing Leia, the deputy told her that if she had bitten him, he’d have to sue, and that shooting her was the better option. He then told her, “It was a shame I had to waste that bullet, it was a really expensive hollow-point bullet.”

At this point, all we have is the family’s story. There’s no video of the incident and the sheriff’s department has yet to respond to calls for comments and/or statements. But the allegations are far from unusual. This is something that happens dozens of times per day in the US.

The exact number of dogs killed by law enforcement officers is difficult to quantify because there is no official record of these deaths across American agencies. Laurel Matthews, a program specialist with the US Department of Justice’s community-oriented policing services office, says fatal encounters are an “epidemic” and estimates that 25 to 30 pet dogs are killed daily by police.

If there’s ever going to be a downturn in this number, it starts with the police departments and runs right through the court systems. Police departments can provide better training, equipping officers with knowledge and techniques to better ensure animals make it out of these “interactions” alive.

But the bigger step towards lowering this number (and, consequently, the number of humans killed by police officers) has to be taken by the nation’s courts. At this point, pretty much all officers have to do to justify killings is claim they feared for their safety. In cases involving humans and their pets, this is usually enough to allow them to escape civil liability, if not criminal liability. Unless there’s plenty of evidence stating otherwise — something that usually includes recordings of officers’ statements and accidents during these incidents — the courts will usually find it impossible to discount the subjective feelings of the involved officers.

The silver lining at this point is more and more courts are viewing the killing of people’s pets by law enforcement officers as something potentially in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

[A]ccording to Charlotte-based attorney Scott MacLatchie, who represents law enforcement agencies and officers in civil suits. “Six (out of 11) federal circuit courts of appeal have ruled that the killing of a pet does represent a Fourth Amendment seizure,” he says.

Let’s not forget another basic fact: pets aren’t instantly cowed by uniforms and waved weapons. Animals respond to certain stimuli and having strangers invading their territory seldom makes them comfortable. Owners can do whatever’s possible to restrain pets, but what owners see as normal, non-threatening behavior by their pets is often seen as potentially harmful by people trained specifically to see potential danger in almost every interaction. And for most pets, the more aggressive the stranger is — especially one using every physical tool available to “secure the scene” — the more defensive they’ll be.

The problem is no one can “cop-proof” their home. It’s impossible. What seems normal to them seems suspicious or threatening to law enforcement officers. They can’t stop pets from running to greet the new person in the house in whatever fashion the pet normally greets strangers. They can’t stop people from walking out of rooms or through doors unexpectedly. All they can do is hope everything goes as uneventfully as possible. That completely skews these interactions. Those with the hours and years of specialized training are expected to be treated like heavily-armed babies — shielded from surprises, loud noises, or unexpected movements. And, for the most part, the courts have treated these completely backwards rules of engagement as completely normal expectations.

That’s how you end up with dead 12-lb. terriers and cops complaining about the cost of bullets: the constant shifting of responsibility back on the untrained citizens who thought they might end up with some help, rather than a dead pet, when they called the police.

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Comments on “Deputy Shoots Family's Terrier; Complains About Cost Of The Bullet”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

The brave boys in blue

Even assuming the dog was rabid, the fact that it was twelve-pounds means any potential harm would have been minimal at best, so basically he killed a dog either because he could, or because he was terrified of an animal about as threatening as an angry toddler. That he had the utter gall to whine about the cost of the bullet he used has me strongly suspecting the former.

So to the officers that share the precinct with the dog-killer, hold your heads up high, you are either serving alongside someone who kills animals for kicks, or is so pants-wettingly terrified of tiny animals that lethal force is the only possible response they can think of.

Ben (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The brave boys in blue

The "traditional" carrier of rabies is a bat, so I feel rather certain that squirrels can also be worrisome.

I remember starting treatment for rabies after being bitten by a dog in the 60’s as a precaution until the dog was identified as not having rabies. It was not pleasant but there was a treatment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The brave boys in blue

I don’t think you understand what rabid means. Rabid means infected with Rabies. Rabies is a disease that causes inflammation of the brain in mammals and is passed between mammals most commonly through scratches or bites. The size of said mammal is completely irrelevant to the threat posed by rabies.

Rabies is treatable, provided that a two week series of immunizations is started within 10 days of infection. Notably, symptoms do not begin to show for 1-3 months, and diagnostic tests are generally inconclusive before then. The Milwaukee protocol can be used after onset of symptoms, but it has a less than 15% survival rate. Otherwise, Rabies is always fatal.

Long story short: If there is a rabid animal, it should be shot.
If it’s a small animal, it should be shot.
If it’s a large animal, it should be shot.
If it’s a pet….you guessed it, it should be shot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The brave boys in blue

I have said here (on TD) over and over and OVER again that most cops are cowards. It’s part of the reason they become cops: to cover up their deep-seated insecurity and fear. Giving them a badge and a gun doesn’t change that: it just makes them a coward with authority and the means to inflict violence at will.

It only takes the right circumstances to get them to put it on public display — as we see here and elsewhere, day after monotonous day.

It is time to completely disarm police. Doing so will immediately remove most of the cowards who should never have been police to begin with. It will also force those who remain to THINK about what they’re doing rather than just blindly deploying force as a first resort.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The brave boys in blue

“It is time to completely disarm police.”

Not with an armed society. Best for everyone to be armed or they won’t be enforcing much law.

The problem is not the police, it is the citizens sitting around bitching about them but never doing anything when the vote gets here. They look at stories on police brutality and then vote for the “tough on crime” candidates in a morbid way.

Sorry, this problem like many others are products of deep seated and often “rejected” realities. Better to live life in a fantasy where you don’t feel responsible for the people you help elect to run society. We like to call that stuff victim blaming despite the fact that in this case… the victims are guilty. Darwin will never be able to give out enough awards for the various blatant and subtle ways we humans will stop at JUST EXACTLY NOT A DAMN THING to spectacularly fuck ourselves over.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Unarmed police

Pinkertons and early feds often conducted their duties unarmed or under-armed when door-knocking to conduct an investigation or serve a warrant. When they needed backup, they’d call on the local precinct or even deputize a posse comitatus.

Generally, it was common knowledge that if you attacked a federal marshal your life was forfeit, and the (proverbial) Bolivian Army would come after you and hunt you down like a mad dog. The bandit gangs that rose from the Civil war knew to cooperate with Pinkertons and Feds, or at least run away, if they weren’t yet surrounded.

That changed (I believe — not sure) with Prohibition and the organization of Mafia here in the US, when enough of the police were on the take that the feds couldn’t count on locals to have their back.

So it is possible to create a police force with unarmed officers backed by armed tactical teams, and it can work even in an armed society.

It’s not likely here in the US without a massive reform of police and gun culture, thought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Unarmed police

Ah, gun culture is the problem. If “guns” were really the problem we would know it since there is probably 1 gun per person in this country and billions of rounds of ammo. So equating the bogus “gun culture” on cops shooting dogs is bat guano crazy.

I have not found any anti-gunner who can answer this question so I will ask you. Did making alcohol illegal get rid of it? Hint, it gave rise to the mob. Did making drugs illegal get rid of them. Hint, you can buy them on every street corner. Also, both those things being illegal have created a huge black market that is filled with violence.

So if making things illegal doesn’t get rid of them, why would making guns illegal get rid of them. Hint, it won’t.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Gun culture really does suck. So does police culture.

Actually I’d argue that the police murder culture is where they shoot dogs with impunity. You can call it the get home safe culture of you like. Our uniformed officers go to don’t hesitate classes rather than situation deescalation. And contemporary officers understand they can shoot anyone or beat anyone or kill a dog and there will be no consequences unless there’s a video. Even with a video they don’t go to jail, but may have to get fired and rehired in another precinct.

But I agree with you that our war on terror and our war on drugs have both failed to solve anything, including the terror / drug problems they were allegedly intended to solve.

I’m not an advocate for gun control though, and believe we shouldn’t ban anything to which the military and law enforcment have access. Incidents of police officers gunning down dogs demonstrates we cannot trust law enforcement with special privileges with which to police society, so either civvies get access, or agents of the state do not.

But our gun culture does suck. The hypermasculinity of gun advertising in the US, the partisanship of the NRA, open carry and coffee table guns as political statements all are offensive not just to the rest of the US but to the the gun enthusiast community, as is this good guy with a gun hypothesis. It suggests those that are advocating for gun ownership don’t use guns themselves.

I remember in the 70s and 80s when gun owners were encouraged to practice striping their weapons in the dark. I remember that they pride in perfect posture and safety protocols.

Coincidentally SWAT was only used for hostage/barricade situations and handled about 500 sorties a year nationwide in the 70s and 80s. Now it’s 50,000 and they do casual house raids for drugs and warrants.

Guns are dangerous, and it’s stupid to make a political statement by treating them as if they weren’t. And yet, that’s what pro-gun activists do today (again, not to be confused with gun enthusiasts at the range).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The brave boys in blue

The simple fact is, you’re 9 times more likely to get killed by the police then a Terrorist!!!

The last thing you want to do is call the police as they’ll turn something simple and easy into death for someone or something. The police these days are scared of their own shadow.

Shooting a 12-pound dog, really??? Keep him away from any kids, they might bite him and get shot in the head. Watching a lot of video on youtube, the police LIE, and LIE big time. They make up laws. They throw out B.S. things like Disorderly Conduct when you’ve done nothing wrong. Just to get you over anything. They LIE, LIE, LIE, and then use anything you say against you!!!

I’m sure that dog was going after that dirty cop and that is why it was shot. It sure as hell was no threat. This is just another example of why they’re called PIGS.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The brave boys in blue

Human rabies cases in the United States are rare, with only 1 to 3 cases reported annually. Twenty-three cases of human rabies have been reported in the United States in the past decade (2008-2017). Eight of these were contracted outside of the U.S. and its territories.

The number of human rabies deaths in the United States attributed to rabies has been steadily declining since the 1970’s thanks to animal control and vaccination programs, successful outreach programs, and the availability of modern rabies biologics. Dog rabies vaccination programs have halted the natural spread of rabies among domestic dogs, which are no longer considered a rabies reservoir in the United States. Nonetheless, each year between 60 to 70 dogs and more than 250 cats are reported rabid. Nearly all these animals were unvaccinated and became infected from rabid wildlife (such as bats, raccoons, and skunks).

Despite the control of rabies in domestic dogs in the United States, each year interactions with suspect animals result in the need to observe or test hundreds of thousands of animals and to administer rabies postexposure prophylaxis to 30,000 to 60,000 persons.

IN ALL my life, Iv loved animals, and 99% of them, are NOT ATTACK DOGS.. If you pay alittle attention to them, and the OWNER introduces you TO THE ANIMAL…there is generally NO PROBLEM.. MOST dogs are Large Door bells..they BARK to tell you something is happening or someone/something is At the door, or around the house.. most LOVE THE PROTECTION OF A fence..AND run AND bark IF ITS NOT THERE..

GET the Dog catcher, and the other Animal protection groups involved…and this person will PROBABLY LOOSE HIS JOB..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Nov 8th, 2017 @ 8:57pm

You need to log back in instead of using your mobile phone.

That aside, looking at the history of posts from MyNameHere/Whatever/horse with no name/Just Sayin’, it’s pretty accurate. Considering that video game controllers can be mistaken for guns and tea leaves for weed…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Nov 8th, 2017 @ 8:57pm

I think what’s funnier is that if the original reference was so bad an inaccurate MyNameHere would actually correct this by, you know, actually posting under his logged in account instead of trying to concern-troll by an obvious online browser. But he’d rather not. It’s almost like the satire is too close to home for him to admit.

jyjon says:

It's all about the feelz

For a long time now the courts have been worse than college campuses about feelz.
Some cops are worse than the average sjw, but that’s only because the Lawyers and Judges look the other way and let them be ‘touchy-feely’ instead of accountable.
Stop letting them game the system and the pendulum will swing closer to sane.

freedomfan (profile) says:

Attitudes incompatible with good policing

Two things. First, someone sincerely claiming that he feared for his safety when "attacked" by a twelve-pound rat terrier isn’t suited for police work. Full stop. Policing is a job where officers need to respond with restraint to serious threats. Responding with deadly force to a minuscule (in every since) threat like this shows a disqualifying inability to assess threats.

[Some would doubt that the tiny-dog-killing cop was sincere. Perhaps so. There are certainly people with an irrational fear of dogs. But, it’s also true that cops are trained to put certain words in a police report when they have discharged a weapon. Either way (irrationally fearful of commonplace things or lying in a police report), they should be fired.]

Second, what attitude did this cop have when he did this? For certain, his attitude was not, "I work for these people and this is their pet." In other words, the "Serve" part of Protect and Serve was missing from his attitude.

This I’m-in-charge attitude is too commonplace at all levels of government, from law enforcement to politicians. They forget our fundamental civics: In America, we elect our servants, not our rulers. The same is true for non-elected public servants; we are paying these people to serve us, not to be our bosses. They think that the badge signifies that they are in charge in any situation and that everyone else is supposed to obey them, making with the yessirs and nosirs. Except in cases where a serious threat exists (which was not the case here), those servants have it reversed. Until people wake up and demand that their servants act the part, the dog-killings, the beatings, the forced cavity searches, the head stompings, etc. will continue.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Attitudes incompatible with good policing

If someone opens fire near a little kid at a 12 pound dog, I’m going to feel that my life and that kid’s life is endangered by that cop.

Since that’s what self-defense laws turn upon, feeling endangered, it would then be perfectly legal to put a bullet in that cop’s head.

By the by, that’s why corrupt prosecutors always charge cop killers with first degree murder — courts don’t allow self-defense pleas to be made against that charge.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Attitudes incompatible with good policing

I was with you until you decided to pull out the “serve” argument.

Police officers serve the public good, not people. This is why a police officer is justified in punching you in the face if you order him or her to get you a glass of water. They aren’t those kinds of servants.


freedomfan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Attitudes incompatible with good policing

And… the strawman cometh.

No one said they were the bring-me-a-glass-of-water kind servant. And, frankly, it’s difficult to believe anyone reading is biased enough to think that is what was meant. The idea that public servants should understand that they serve the public simply cannot be that hard to grasp.

BTW, if someone tells an officer to get him a glass of water and the officer responds by punching that person in the face, the officer should be arrested for assault and fired, just as would be appropriate for anyone else who reacted that way. I certainly hope that any poster here who thinks that sort of violent response to a minor verbal indignity is appropriate for a police officer doesn’t have a badge.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Attitudes incompatible with good policing

"This is why a police officer is justified in punching you in the face if you order him or her to get you a glass of water."

And this is why I seriously doubt you’re an actual LEO. I doubt even real cops would be so crass and ignorant to make this claim in seriousness. Just another wannabe thug I think.

Dan (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hollow-point ammunition is standard police issue, and is most commonly carried by private citizens for self defense as well. The main reason is that it’s more effective on the target, and “maximiz[ing] the amount of damage made to the target” is almost exactly the point of shooting that target (more accurately, the point is to stop the threat posed by that target, but the two overlap almost exactly). The second is the reason you identified–they reduce the risk to bystanders, because the bullet expends more energy in the target.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That was my FIRST reaction – Good lord!! They allow their officers to use HOLLOW POINTS!!! The only reason to use a hollow point bullet is you expect to meet enemies without any armor AND you want them to die in the most horrific manner possible. Hollow points aren’t meant for wounding someone; they’re meant to kill, full stop.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

When you say “stop the threat” you are deliberately obscuring that you mean kill or wound to the point of incapacitation of a a person.

Hollow point bullets are very good at what they are designed to do, and are probably the best thing to have in police weapons. However we shouldn’t gloss over the fact that they are designed to do massive damage causing a wound channel that causes rapid bleeding and internal trauma.

Dan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’m not trying to obscure anything. When you shoot a person, the odds are very good that you will seriously injure, and possibly kill, that person. But the objective is important. The objective is not “kill the target.” The objective is not “wound the target.” The objective is “stop the threat.” The wounding/killing are unfortunately-necessary means toward that objective, not the objective itself.

The “OMG hollow-points!!1!!” reactions are surprisingly numerous and ignorant.

David says:

With that logic

officers should be free to take a sledge hammer to any car with a running motor.

Because they could pose a threat. Definitely more so than a small dog.

So why don’t we hear about dogs routinely getting shot by mailmen? If they were reasonably fearing for their life, they certainly would be allowed to act in self-defense.

The answer is that a single dog almost always never poses a life-threatening danger to an adult. In the situation of an ongoing hideout raid, dogs provide distraction, warning and engagement: in that case shooting an attacking dog in order to be able to fully focus on the more dangerous humans again is a justifiable measure.

For police, but not for mailmen. Most shootings of family dogs are not anywhere near that scenario however, and police act in situations that otherwise are as dangerous to them as to mailmen. So why are policemen excused from recognizing situations that are as dangerous as to warrant lethal force?

You’d think that this would be a prerequisite to being allowed to carry a weapon, not just for non-police citizens but particularly so for people carrying a weapon as part of their job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: With that logic

When I was a process server, I had to go to strange people’s houses, and some of them had dogs that ran up to me… and some of them were well over 12 pounds. There were certainly times I had some fear of being bitten, but none of them actually bit me, and I certainly didn’t try to shoot them.

“… grabbing at my leg and my boots.”

Was he grabbing at the boots with his teeth? If not, he hasn’t bitten you yet when given the opportunity, so why do you think he’s going to bite you later? How big are these boots? Can this dog, which is probably all of 12 inches tall, even reach high enough to get past your boots and actually bite you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Intended to intimidate population

… estimates that 25 to 30 pet dogs are killed daily by police.

Officers have been trained to kill pets as part of a program to intimidate and control the human population.

Killing dogs sends the message, “Next we’ll kill you!”. This message is coldly calculated to subdue people by fear.

Daydream says:

Re: Re:

Unfortunately, there are only two possible outcomes to a lawsuit against the police:

1. You don’t succeed, and a whole lot of legal fees have been spent for nothing.

2. You get a settlement for a ton of money; the city pays the settlement (not the police, the city), and typically borrows from one of the major banks to pay for it. Taxpayer money is subsequently used to pay off that borrowing with its extortionate interest rate over the next couple of decades, instead of going to public works and welfare.

I don’t know of any lawsuits that have actually ended with money coming out of the police’s paychecks.

KGWagner (profile) says:

As much as I hate to defend such behavior, I can’t help but point out that dogs cannot be reasoned with, nor do they recognize any authority other than instinct when it comes to defending their pack (family, owners, whatever you wanna call them).

I used to be a paperboy back when there was such a thing, and even after long experience/exposure some of the customer’s dogs never caught on that I was not a marauding invader out to destroy their families and annex their territory as my own. I was just an ongoing, continuing threat that some day, they were going to deal with in a manner such an interloper deserved: grisly, bloody, painful death, starting with whatever body part they could get their teeth into first.

I’m sure mail carriers and other delivery people have the same stories. Of course, most of us didn’t carry guns, nor would we have been justified in using them on dogs if we did. You can always just stay away.

But, the police don’t have that option. They’re sorta like the dogs, in that they only recognize their duty to protect and serve. Unfortunately for any dogs that get in the way of that mission, they’re the bigger dogs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Can you stop prefixing all of your comments with these pussy-ass disclaimers? You’re obviously defending cops, just own it, man.

Also, you’re wrong. If dogs were so incapable of being controlled, cops wouldn’t depend on them. The deaf/blind community wouldn’t depend on them. Farmers wouldn’t depend on them. We’d just shoot them on sight because they’d be seen as dangerous pests or vermin.

It’s called train your damn dog. It’s actually very easy, fun and creates a wonderful emotional bond that can’t even be described in words.

You talk about instinct — the instinct of a dog is to obey its pack leader. Protection is part of that, but obedience comes first. If it doesn’t have a leader, it becomes the leader by default. Dogs are socially hierarchical by nature. When they see a lack of leadership qualities in everyone around them, they assume the role of leader. That’s their instinct. They don’t see things in terms of “Oh, they’re the humans and I’m the dog.” They look at qualities of character, that’s how their psychology is wired to judge. Within a pack, dogs are species-blind. No, that squirrel is not part of the pack, hence chase it.

That’s where you get asshole dogs who don’t listen to anyone, even their owners, because those dogs are the masters of their families. Owners and masters are different concepts that few people understand these days. Sad, when you realize dog training is an art form that’s been refined over many millennia of our history, we have classes and books galore dedicated to the subject, and people still treat dog ownership like some sort of game or status symbol, as well as regarding training as something that’s somehow difficult, tedious or even impossible.

And yes, the dogs you encountered as a paperboy weren’t trained properly. If they had good masters, they would be obedient. They would follow the rules, they would know their boundaries, they would know not to attack the paperboy, even if the master isn’t home. Sucks to be you in that situation, but hey, it’s a shit job with shit pay, you probably knew what you were in for, and I just hope you’re doing something better now that doesn’t involve such risk.

Training dogs is like magic. Once they reach max level, they won’t even steal food off a table if left alone unsupervised. Yes, even the little ankle biters. You’d actually be surprised how much intellectual potential they have if given a chance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Just want to poke my head in here and say that while you’re right that you can train dogs very reliably, you could not be more wrong in your reasoning. Dogs’ psychology is not like that and serious work on the subject has shown that for years. No recent research supports pretty much anything you just wrote. Those theories are woefully out of date, and far too general.

Dogs are not wolves. They’re not that similar to wolves. They probably aren’t even that similar to the average ancient wolf, since they likely evolved from outliers in the ancient wolf population and have continued evolving for millennia. They’re complex and varied. Socially, it’s more complicated than a strict hierarchy with archetypal alphas and such. You can train a dog based on that premise and it will likely even work, but because dogs have adapted socially so well, not because it’s an accurate understanding of those adaptations.

There’s a lot of fascinating, quality research out there you should look into if you’re interested in dogs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hollowpoint? WTH?

I absolutely loathe the fact that I am about to say anything in defense of this piece of shit, but I feel the need to correct this misconception. Yes, hollow-point rounds do increase the damage done to the target, but there are two very large upsides to their use in the sorts of situations in which LEOs are generally deployed, both having to do with the physics of why hollow points increase the damage done to the target, which is that such rounds decrease penetration power by forcing the bullet to expand laterally from the point of impact. This is made even more relevant when considering the head-scratching fact that most LEOs and their respective departments favor 9mm rounds to .45 ACP rounds.

1. They significantly increase stopping power. The likelihood of needing to fire your weapon again at a target after hitting with one of these rounds is dramatically reduced, not because they are necessarily more lethal, but because the bullet is much more likely to still be in the target. Which tends to put the target on the ground. Contrariwise, a bullet that passes cleanly through, barring a direct shot on the heart, brain, or kidney, may be ignored by the target in the adrenaline-fueled heat of the moment and allow a legitimate threat to continue for several moments (note that legitimate threats do not include the overwhelming majority of household pets). Lowering the chance that you will have to fire again lowers the chance that you’ll miss and hit a bystander.

2. The fact that the bullet is much more likely to stop inside the target significantly reduces the chance that it will pass cleanly through and hit someone else.

I’m not saying either of these factors were motivations for this particular cop, or even most of his fellows. That probably does have more to do with making his dick hard. That said, I’d rather cops carry hollow points for the wrong reason and reduce the chance of a mishap than carry rounds with greater likelihood of over-penetration.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hollowpoint? WTH?

//"They significantly increase stopping power. The likelihood of needing to fire your weapon again at a target after hitting with one of these rounds is dramatically reduced, not because they are necessarily more lethal, but because the bullet is much more likely to still be in the target."//

Actually, the wound is more likely to be lethal if the bullet (or in this case, bullet fragments) are still inside the body. A penetrating wound is more easy to treat, medically speaking.

Also, if you want stopping power with standard rounds, just fire two of them in quick succession. We’re mostly water, and when we’re shot, shockwaves ripple through our bodies. Making two of those water shockwaves collide with each other creates a stunning effect, causing the target to drop.

You don’t need hollow points when a basic knowledge of body physics will suffice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Hollowpoint? WTH?

You’re not wrong. Hydrostatic shock is a bitch, and they are more lethal. My point, however, remains. Hollowpoints achieve the same end (putting the target on the ground, whether dead or alive) without the increased chance of hitting a bystander through either over-penetration or requiring the two shots and one misses and hits someone else.

The lethality issue of HP rounds is irrelevant across the board. You should never, ever point a gun at someone, let alone pull the trigger unless your intent is to kill them. I’m nearly universally displeased with police officers’ decision-making in that regard. I think, as this story suggests, they do it too often and for flimsy reasons. However, for good reasons or bad, if you draw down on someone and fire, killing the target should be seen as a foregone conclusion. If they survive, so long as the threat is neutralized, that’s just gravy on top.

Cops use force both lethal and non-lethal far too often, for trivial reasons, and without fear of reprisal. I don’t think many people here dispute that. I’m just arguing that, regardless of their frequency of use of force, the ammunition selection is the correct one for a variety of entirely logical reasons.

In more derogatory terms, HP rounds don’t kill family pets. Assholes with badges do. 😉

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Hollowpoint? WTH?

I have bunches of pictures off Twitter from the 2015 Ferguson unrest that showed lines of police officers with their weapons trained on the crowd.

And yeah, every Marine witnessing the event was probably facepalming what was a massive display of poor fire discipline.

The police have demonstrated time and again they are too dim or too apathetic to be trusted with guns or badges.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Hollowpoints sound like a conspicuous personal preference.

The standard in the FBI is Glasier Safety Rounds, which are expensive. Glasers are franging, so like hollowpoints they tend to shred unarmored persons they impact.

But they’re used in law enforcement and anti-terror specifically for their tendency not to penetrate after impact. Where standard rounds can often penetrate through bodies and walls and take down unintended victims, flanging rounds will stop shortly after initial impact.

I’m not sure if the FBI issues Glasiers to their special agents or expects them to buy them out-of-pocket but it is FBI policy to use the rounds either way.

Maybe hollowpoints are a cheap substitute accepted in low-budget precincts?

KGWagner (profile) says:

Actually, bats very rarely carry rabies. Not sure where that idea ever came from. The animals you have to worry about for rabies are raccoons, and then primarily only in the Appalachian Mountain areas. Rabies is pretty well controlled any more. It’s not quite wiped out, but much of the fear of contracting it is unfounded.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vaccinate your pets against it – it’s like Measles/Mumps/Rubella – prevention is a large part of preventing its re-emergence and spread.

steell (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Indiana is not part of Appalachia, but rabies is common here.
My mother got bit by a rabid dog as she was opening the door to enter the house, and twice in the last five years I’ve had to kill rabid raccoons on my property (1/2 rural acre). I even saw a rabid coyote when I lived in California. It’s not unusual to see a rabid raccoon here.
My little Bichon is a member of my family (and helped me deal with chemo) and no cop is going to shoot him as long as I’m here.

Anonymous Coward says:

We once called the police...

We once called the police because an angry neighbor, who has been convicted for numerous acts of violence in the past, was threatening violence against us and threatening to shoot another neighbors dog.

The police informed us that our town has an ordinance about shooting dogs. If the dog is not leashed and you are in fear of your life then you can legally shoot it dead. They said it does not matter if the dog is always friendly, or if the shooter previously threatened to do it, if the shooter claims they feared it and it was not on a leash then the shooter has every right to kill it.

They also informed us that they told the angry neighbor the same thing. Gee, thanks for giving him the courage to actually kill the dog and outlining the specific circumstances he can legally kill the pet.

Also, a police officer, from a neighboring jurisdiction, shoot and killed a family pet when serving a warrant on the next street over. I wonder if that pussy officer pissed his pants in fear of his life or if he got a boner from the thrill of killing a familys pet.

Police serve and protect their own interests, don’t forget that.

scotts13 (profile) says:

Borderline illiterate or not, the wording used in the officers statement is telling: “grabbing AT my leg” not actually grabbing, which might leave a mark. “swung my baton AT the dog”, not actually hitting it, which might leave evidence as well.

I find it extremely unlikely one would go from ineffectually waving a baton in the air, a weapon already in hand, to holstering same and unholstering a different weapon. Any rational person would have tried hitting the dog, and then only after it’s teeth had made contact.

The report is an utter fabrication.

KGWagner (profile) says:

I don’t know if it’s a “fabrication”; it’s more likely he’s a product of the public school system. Most police departments only require a high school diploma to apply, and we all know what those are worth these days. Most kids graduate unable to make change for a dollar without a full graphic display on the cash register. To ask that they can write a coherent report on anything they can’t cut and paste from Wikipedia is perhaps asking a bit much.

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t think the “high school diploma” education makes a different in this case.
Where was this guy’s police training? Isn’t there a class or two at the police academy about how to write reports… and how to write reports that won’t be taken apart by lawyers?
Or is the training for writing reports to simply write “I feared for my life” and not worry if the sentences are coherent or the actions make sense.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Riot-control pepper spray

I had this very same question. When my roommate had a stalker I wanted her to have something to take with her on the street (concealed carry permits in San Francisco are super hard to get, or keep) and found bear-caliber pepper spray (essentially a riot control gun with a smaller cannister), which are reputed to have better takedown with handguns, and leave your target alive so you can laugh at them.

It would have ruined the pooch’s day and left him bright orange, but he would have lived.

I’m pretty sure this is common issue in the precincts, and don’t understand why this wasn’t the officer’s go-to solution.

That is, unless he just wanted to watch that-there dog’s head fall apart.

KGWagner (profile) says:

I wonder if the issue here is more about sensitivity to cops using their guns, or losing a dog.

I’d hate like hell to lose my dog. I love her dearly, and she acts like she loves me, but I suspect it has more to do with her survival interests.

One thing I do know is if an animal is coming after me, no matter its size, and I have a gun, chances are pretty good I’m winning that fight before I take any damage at all.

I’m not a cop, but I’ve known a few and they’re as human as the rest of us. They react the same way to threats as any animal would – you look preserve your well-being using the most effective methods at your disposal. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to kill your attacker, but the option should never be off the table.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That’s the thing — you’re not a cop. If you freak out and shoot someone’s dog if it starts attacking you, that’s what you do, I guess, but don’t be surprised if that dog’s owner shoots you in the head afterwards. In this situation, what’s that dog’s owner supposed to do, shoot a cop? Even if they were successful… yeah, that feeling probably wouldn’t last long, realistically. Oh, who’s that? The entire force? Eep.

However, if you’re a cop, you’re being fucking PAID to take damage. You’re being paid very well, at that. You’re supposed to at least be made of stuff that’s tough enough to take on a rat terrier without needing your gun. That gun is for saving your life and the lives of others, not to stop your precious uniform from getting a rip in its stitching.

What would you do if an autistic 5-year-old started biting, kicking and scratching at you in the same situation? Shoot the little potato between the eyes, because you don’t want to wreck your manicure?

Think about what you’re saying. You sound like a scumbag.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: cowardly cop

They’ll probably never name the cop.

Even though there’s evidence and a report of it happening and everything, we have to protect the cop’s identity, even though they carry guns when they’re off-duty, because someone sensitive to animals might want to hurt him.

Don’t worry though, the next time some ex-slut born-again washed-out celebrity has a dubious hole-filled story about a sexual assault that happened 30 years ago that she’s reporting to Twitter instead of the police, they’ll be sure to print the bastard’s full name, hometown and alma mater, because the people have a right to know.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I didn’t realize it’s common practice in the U.S. for police to use hollow-points. They don’t do that here but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

I can’t find any reference claiming hollow point ammunition is designed for police use. Do you have a reference? As far as I can tell they were designed for hunting when regular bullets weren’t as effective at killing stuff

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I made the point earlier in another branch of the comments. Despite what Hollywood and the media fear-peddlers would have you believe, hollow point rounds are not designed to inflict extraneous, grievous injury on the target. They are designed to neutralize the threat (usually by killing them) with as few shots fired as possible while simultaneously reducing the risk of passing through the target and into some innocent bystander.

Society’s weird fear of hollow point ammunition stems almost entirely from the Geneva Convention rules banning them (and basically all other modified ammo) from military conflict, but the history of why they were banned has been lost to most people. In WW I & II soldiers on all sides used rounds called dum-dums. They are designed to inflict unnecessary injury because it’s more costly all around to severely wound an enemy soldier than kill one. However, they were hand modified in the field. The crudest examples were standard FMJ rounds that someone modified by etching an X on the top of the round with a knife, causing the round to fragment more and tumble more upon impact, inside the body, thereby creating additional wound channels and more soft tissue damage. However, the significant downside was that they were much more likely to result in a disastrous misfire, either jamming the weapon (never good in a fire-fight) or occasionally fragmenting or tumbling before leaving the barrel, which could severely damage the soldier using the round or his nearby comrades.

This was also during a point in the history of warfare where battles (or at least gun battles rather than bombing runs) were conducted largely in open fields away from civilians – the classic each side lines up facing the other and shoots until one group is either out of bullets or out of guys to shoot them. Also, like in nearly every military engagement since their invention, these battles involved rifles (rather than pistols) fired at distant targets. In such a scenario, even a professionally crafted hollow point round is contrary to purpose. They are less accurate at long ranges and the damage done is based on yaw or tumble (upon impact with a target the narrow tipped cone shape of the long projectile begins to spin end over end creating a larger wound tract) and the grain weight of the round. Penetrating through the target was a good thing, since there was a decent chance there was an enemy behind him.

In close quarters with pistols, the situation police are most likely to find themselves in, professionally crafted hollow points are ideal. The loss of accuracy at short ranges is negligible, there’s usually only one “enemy” so over-penetration serves no purpose, pistol rounds are much shorter and have a broader cone at the tip as well as considerably less grain weight meaning a through-and-through shot is more likely with a standard round, and there are often bystanders nearby which actually makes over-penetration a bad thing. Honestly, based on our military engagements in the last several decades, we should probably revisit that section of the Geneva convention. More and more frequently, our military actions happen in situations and environments like the ones LEOs face. They enemy numbers are generally smaller, combat occurs in civilian occupied areas more frequently, and the distances between the opposing forces is shorter. Hell, the US hasn’t issued actual battle rifles to standard troops since Vietnam. We use assault rifles for those exact reasons.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, the logic used makes certain assumptions that I would never have jumped to.

– Basically 0 value is placed on stopping a threat without harming them more than necessary, since the chance of doing more harm than necessary to stop a threat with hollow points is way higher than the chance of hitting anyone with pass-through or not being able to stop a threat in time with regular bullets.

– you don’t have to worry about cops ever shooting anything either intentionally or unintentionally (in all the other ways that this can happen other than pass-through) that isn’t a threat, or the extra harm that happens to them when this happens is not weighted very heavily either

Dan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Basically 0 value is placed on stopping a threat without harming them more than necessary

That’s correct. Once you’re shooting a gun at someone, you’ve already made the decision that lethal force is warranted–which means that (you reasonably believe that) you, or someone else, is facing an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm, and that lethal force is necessary to stop that. Under those circumstances, you’re right–I place zero value on minimizing harm to the person I’m shooting at. Further, any value I do place on that is offset by the fact that minimizing harm to that person directly means that effectiveness is reduced. Guns are effective for self-defense because they seriously hurt, and often kill, people. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be effective.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Deciding to use lethal force means deciding you must risk killing someone to stop the threat. It shouldn’t mean that you have decided they must die or that their life suddenly holds no value and you don’t care whether that risk is high or low.

We are basically talking about planning ahead of time to do more harm than necessary to stop threats.

Dan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Find an alternative technology that will stop a threat as quickly and reliably as a 9mm hollow-point, with significantly less danger of permanent harm to the target, and is as portable as a compact pistol, and the discussion can meaningfully continue. Tasers don’t do it. Pepper spray doesn’t do it. Other lethal weapons can do it, but fail the “significantly less danger” test and/or the “as portable as a compact pistol” test. I’m not aware of anything that meets all four requirements.

My intent isn’t to do more harm than necessary to an attacker, but I’m also not going to compromise protection of myself and my family in order to reduce the risk of harm to someone who’s trying to harm us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Pathetic Dog Consjumerism.

Yeah, a big, tough cop charged with protecting the public is afraid of a 12lb barking mop. And the dog is the problem.

Someone should’ve checked his pants to see if he shat himself, given his level of fear. I’m sure he’s the running joke in the precinct with that report.

What’s this useless pile of pig shit gonna do if he’s faced with a real threat, other than turn and run the other way?

Personanongrata says:

Power Concedes Nothing Without Demand*

If there’s ever going to be a downturn in this number, it starts with the police departments and runs right through the court systems. Police departments can provide better training, equipping officers with knowledge and techniques to better ensure animals make it out of these "interactions" alive.

But the bigger step towards lowering this number (and, consequently, the number of humans killed by police officers) has to be taken by the nation’s courts.

If there’s ever going to be a down turn in this number, it starts with citizens becoming outraged every time a law enforcement officer discharges his/her firearm unnecessarily and murders a human being or commits puppicide and every time a federal/state court jester allows them to hide behind the inane court pronounced legal theory of qualified immunity

Sitting on our keisters and waiting for law enforcement and/or the courts is to expect something that will never happen.

If it is change we desire we must demand it of law enforcement/courts/legislators. We must be knowledgeable in our demands. We must be persistent in our demands. We must hold those in authority accountable for their failure(s) to act on our demands.

Failure to act will allow for the continuation of these egregious acts and we will only have the face staring back in the mirror to blame.

Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reforms. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. . .

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its mighty waters.

The struggle may be a moral one or it may be a physical one, or it may both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. ~ Frederick Douglass This excerpt is from an address on West India Emancipation, delivered August 4, 1857.

THe baker says:

To serve and protect ... them selves.

It is a good thing that the kids weren’t running around uncontrolled at his feet!

I grew up respecting cops … even had a few as friends.
I know that we hear of the bad actors and the good ones go about their duties quietly. (abdicating their responsibility to call out the bad actors)
I haven’t had one positive interaction with a cop in the last 20 years and have grown to despise them, especially after hearing something like this. I can’t think of a more horrific thing to have happen in front of the kids.

cattress (profile) says:

Even if some how managed to wrap my head around the possibility of the officer sustaining an injury from such a small dog, with the owners in such close proximity, that would would be serious enough to warrant medical treatment, and support an actual lawsuit (as opposed to filing a claim against their homeowner’s insurance), I can’t find the slightest understanding as to why the cop didn’t warn the owner that he would kill the dog if she did not get control of it. The officer claims to have swung his baton at the dog twice- which the family must not have seen, or they would have seen him unholster his gun or at least been aware that officer was uncomfortable with allowing the dog freely “escort” them back to the house. How can the department defend discharging a firearm in such close proximity to children and innocent bystanders, against a non-deadly, questionable “threat”? I mean, if the dog was so aggressive, repeatedly charging him, that means the dog would be a moving target, and therefore more risky to fire upon with unpredictable bystanders, unaware of intentions, so close by. I just don’t see how the police department wouldn’t consider his actions as reckless. And the remarks the cop reportedly made to owners should be a huge red flag that he is sociopath or psychopath and thus a liability.

ECA (profile) says:


Human rabies cases in the United States are rare, with only 1 to 3 cases reported annually. Twenty-three cases of human rabies have been reported in the United States in the past decade (2008-2017). Eight of these were contracted outside of the U.S. and its territories.

The number of human rabies deaths in the United States attributed to rabies has been steadily declining since the 1970’s thanks to animal control and vaccination programs, successful outreach programs, and the availability of modern rabies biologics. Dog rabies vaccination programs have halted the natural spread of rabies among domestic dogs, which are no longer considered a rabies reservoir in the United States. Nonetheless, each year between 60 to 70 dogs and more than 250 cats are reported rabid. Nearly all these animals were unvaccinated and became infected from rabid wildlife (such as bats, raccoons, and skunks).

Despite the control of rabies in domestic dogs in the United States, each year interactions with suspect animals result in the need to observe or test hundreds of thousands of animals and to administer rabies postexposure prophylaxis to 30,000 to 60,000 persons.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is an unfortunate effect

on how many pet owners inadvertently “train” their pet to exhibit aggressive behavior.

I’m willing to bet that the dog has experienced strangers visiting their property and gets excited because the usual reaction that a stranger has is to pet and encourage the dog because it’s “friendly”. So the dog gets used to that, and when a new stranger visits, runs up to the stranger to get the attention that the dog has been rewarded with in the past. So this cycle repeats with more visitors and the dog exhibits more and more “aggressive” friendly behavior. And that is EXACTLY the behavior that the police interpret at aggressive and threatening. So they shoot the poor family pet. This inadvertent training happens all the time, all over the country.

An other example of inadvertent training is the cause for a lot of people believing that dogs hate mailmen. For that particular case, take a look at what happens from the dog’s point of view. A stranger (the mail) “invades” the dog’s territory. The dog then starts barking and the “invader” retreats and leaves the dog’s territory. The next day, the invader returns and once again, retreats. So the dog is getting a nearly daily reinforcement of the behavior that “barking will cause this annoying intruder to run away”.

Both of these cases are unfortunate reinforcement of undesirable behavior that all too many pet owners tolerate. “Oh, that’s just Fido being friendly. Don’t worry, he won’t bite” while Fido is running towards the visitor and perhaps even jumping up and down in excitement. Followed by petting and encouraging Fido as a means of introducing the stranger to the friendly pet.

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