TX bill passes to require cop canine training

Published: Apr. 21, 2015 at 9:18 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2015 at 11:17 PM CDT
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In recent years, there have been stories of shootings by police officers in Texas and across the country.

A House Bill 593 has the potential to keep that from happening to your pet and it's already moving through Texas legislature.

House members gave preliminary approval to the bill that would make it mandatory for Texas officers to go through canine encounter training.

This comes after a young Fort Worth officer fatally shot a border collie last year, the officer was afraid of dogs and never had training to deal with one out in the field.

"I know how my dogs behave, other people can be intimidated if they aren't familiar with my dog specifically or dogs in general and I'd hate for something to happen to my dog because somebody didn't know," says dog owner, Kat Lowry.

Under the bill, officers would have to complete at least four hours of dog encounter training, including knowing body language of a dog, types of aggression, and how to approach a dog.

The bill is gaining approval from several dog owners.

"I think it would benefit the officers as well as the public that they serve because our dogs are part of our family, they're important to us," says Lowry.

"I think there's a whole range of reasons that people need to be trained more about animals and dogs," says dog owner, JoAn Walton.

With some departments anticipating the change, our local law enforcement is ahead of the game.

"In police work, you kind of keep a breast of those kind of things and you can see where things may be headed for more training. So, one of the things that we did is contact a guy that does that kind of training for law enforcement," says Potter County Sheriff, Brian Thomas.

The Randall County Sheriff's office as well as The Amarillo Police Department went through the same training.

"We did go ahead and start training to allow the officers to get this type of training before it was required. The Administration anticipated something like this would be necessary or mandated. The public needs to know that we do everything we can to try to avoid a lethal confrontation with a dog," says Sgt. Brent Barbee with the Amarillo Police Department. 

The training would come from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. At least once every four years, the commission will review the content to make updates.