09:46 – The morning paper says the Winston-Salem cops shot another dog. Apparently, the cops responded to a home alarm and three dogs came rushing out of the garage. The cops say at least two of the dogs bit one of the cops. The dogs then ran around the house and disappeared. One dog apparently returned and approached the cops to within 15 feet (~ 5 meters) while growling. The cops shot it.
As Barbara said, the cops have a right to protect themselves from being bitten, even though the dogs were just doing their jobs, protecting against intruders. But I have to wonder if our cops haven’t gotten trigger-happy. Presumably they carry pepper spray, which would be at least as effective as small arms fire against an aggressive dog. Cops are notoriously rotten shots, and discharging their pistols in a residential neighborhood presents very real dangers to innocent civilians. To drive that point home, a month or so ago the newly-appointed Chief of Police of Winston-Salem shot a dog. He grazed the dog and wounded a woman who was in his line of fire.
I didn’t witness either incident, but my impression based on the news reports and police statements is that in both cases the cops acted irresponsibly. Their firearms should be their last choice against aggressive dogs, not their first. In the first incident, the woman suffered only minor wounds from spattering bullet fragments, and apparently no person was injured by police bullets in the recent incident. But that’s just luck. In either incident the results might instead have been tragic.