Nevada Lawmaker to Police: Please Stop Killing Our Dogs

A state senator is pushing for a law to curb dog deaths at the hands of state police.

A K-9 keeps an eye on his City of Miami police department partner during the graduation ceremony of the Canine Academy October 17, 2007 in Miami, Florida. 
National Journal
Matt Berman
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Nov. 25, 2013, 6:35 a.m.

Nevada State Sen. Dav­id Parks wants justice for Freckles.

Freckles, an Aus­trali­an shep­herd, was killed after be­ing hit by a Las Ve­gas po­lice cruis­er in May when an of­ficer thought the dog was an im­pend­ing threat to a group of chil­dren. Freckles isn’t alone: State an­im­al act­iv­ists be­lieve that 30 dogs have been need­lessly killed by po­lice in the past five years, al­though the Las Ve­gas Met­ro­pol­it­an Po­lice De­part­ment dis­putes that num­ber.

So now, Parks, armed with act­iv­ist sup­port, is look­ing to in­tro­duce le­gis­la­tion dur­ing the next le­gis­lat­ive ses­sion to help solve the prob­lem. While the bill is still in its in­fancy, the idea is to help train po­lice of­ficers to handle dogs without re­sort­ing to vi­ol­ence. “In many in­stances, a dog is be­ing ter­rit­ori­al, not vi­cious,” Parks told the Las Ve­gas Re­view-Journ­al. “It would help if po­lice knew what cat­egory of dog they were deal­ing with.”

Po­lice vi­ol­ence against dogs isn’t just pe­cu­li­ar to Nevada. On Sunday, dog own­ers in Com­merce City, Colo., marked the an­niversary of the shoot­ing death of a dog named Chloe by po­lice. Parks is look­ing at the fal­lout from that shoot­ing as a guide for his state. After that death, Col­or­ado passed the Dog Pro­tec­tion Act, which was signed in­to law this May.

The act, which was the first le­gis­la­tion na­tion­wide to ad­dress po­lice vi­ol­ence against dogs, re­quires sher­iff’s of­fices and po­lice de­part­ments to give three hours of on­line train­ing on dog be­ha­vi­or, and to in­struct of­ficers on non­vi­ol­ent ways to deal with the an­im­als. The bill passed the Col­or­ado Le­gis­lature with no op­pos­i­tion. “This is a bi­par­tis­an day for dogs,” a Re­pub­lic­an spon­sor of the bill said upon its sign­ing in­to law.

As strange as it may sound, this kind of le­gis­la­tion, while cur­rently rare, could be on its way to na­tion­al ac­cept­ance. Patrick Reas­onover, an act­iv­ist film­maker, con­tends that a pet dog is killed by po­lice every 98 minutes — very little pub­lic data on na­tion­wide deaths is cur­rently avail­able to back that num­ber up or knock it down. It may be dif­fi­cult to get le­gis­la­tion passed any­where in Amer­ica right now. But if there’s one is­sue that can unite politi­cians of all stripes, it may be that every­one is against dead dogs.

What We're Following See More »
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
2 days ago

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
2 days ago

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
2 days ago

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
2 days ago

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
1 days ago

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.