AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo police say an officer was forced to shoot a dog yesterday. Now the APD is explaining the extensive training officers receive for canine encounters.
If you were an officer on the job and had an aggressive dog coming at you, what would you do? This is a situation many APD officers deal with regularly, the latest just yesterday.
An officer was responding to a routine call, and as he was leaving, APD says the dog began to run toward him, and the officer feared for his safety.
"He felt like it was an immediate threat," says APD Sgt. Brent Barbee. "It was at that time that he fired his service weapon. One time. The dog was hit."
But Barbee says the officer didn't shoot before he exhausted all options. He tells us officers are trained in canine encounter classes to learn how to handle these situations.
They look for things like "beware of dog" signs and dog bowls, and learn to put their arm up if the dog is going in for a bite.
"Sometimes we're able to use (like this officer used) make noises and stomped his foot and things to try and get the dog to back away," says Barbee. I don't think that's things that we would have necessarily thought of before these classes."
Both the officer and dog are okay, though the dog did need to be taken to the veterinarian for treatment. In fact, the officer went with the family to the vet to make sure all was well.
But Barbee says, not all cases end like this.
"The dogs can certainly present the threat of a serious injury and we don't expect the officers, nor would we expect citizens to accept being seriously injured. It's tough because everybody has dogs, everybody loves dogs. I promise even policeman have dogs and we don't want to have to shoot a dog either, we don't like it and we're glad that in this case the dog didn't die."
If you would like to read up on the law requiring this canine training, click here.