Shoot…or don’t shoot? New rules, training proposed for police officers for when they come in contact with dogs

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Aggressive and vicious – or just being friendly? New rules are being proposed, and Milwaukee police officers are being trained on what they should do when they come across dogs in the field.

Quite often, when police officers go to homes — they are confronted by a dog. Often, the dog will bark or run towards them. Sometimes, the officer shoots. Sometimes he or she ends up killing a family pet.

Milwaukee police officers will soon have new training on how to avoid this.

“She just wants love and to play,” Lori Stelloh says of her pit bull, “Zoey.”

Zoey is a pit bull mix, and a perfect example of a dog police may come across while working in the city of Milwaukee. Stelloh says she knows what would happen if a police officer were to come to her door.

“She tries to jump on them,” Stelloh said.

Thirty to forty dogs are shot by Milwaukee police officers every year. Some pet owners try to sue the city after a pet is killed.

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission is discussing new rules and new training for the city’s officers. The goal: To quickly consider alternatives to killing an animal.

“This will include using a taser, using pepper spray, using a dog capture pole or even requesting the assistance of MADACC — the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Center,” Mike Tobin with the Fire and Police Commission said.

“She is just so babied and so loved. She’s part of the family. She IS the family,” Stelloh says of Zoey.

Officers will always have the right to shoot a vicious dog. Milwaukee police, however, don’t want to kill family pets who just do what dogs do. That can be a public trust issue that police are trying to avoid.

On Thursday, July 24th, the Citizen Board of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission will have a hearing on the rule changes.

The training would start in the fall.

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