Friday, August 21, 2009
Why video is helpful, dog tasered
The video depicts an animal control officer tasering a dog. Watch it. It's a bit disturbing.
In the video, we have an animal control officer talking on the phone while trying to taser a dog. Let me repeat, the guy is talking on his cell phone in the midst of a tense situation where accuracy is pretty important.
Maybe I'm sensitive to dog behavior and signals. But, to me, this dog is clearly saying "hey, I'm freaking scared, I'm just going to yell at you and back away every time you approach" and not saying "I WILL KILL YOU AND DRINK YOUR BLOOD MUHAHAH!!!" The dog is hunched over. His tail is between his legs, a confident dog isn't going to cover his privates. The dog continues to turn his back on the officer, swing around and bark in that high-pitched barking that you hear from fearful dogs. The dog backs away from the officer and never once exhibits any behavior that would indicate a charge or attempt at a bite. You can see the whites of his eyes. Every time the officer moves even an inch towards him, the dog backs up.
When the dog is inaccurately tasered in his rear leg, it appears both prongs fail to hit the dog. The dog starts to scream and bite at his leg. He does not charge. He just tries to run away on to the safety of the porch.
Yes, fearful dogs are dangerous. This dog, though, with a little bit of common sense could have been rounded up without tasering him. At the very least, the guy with the taser should have put down his phone (and not just down by his side) and handled the taser in an appropriate manner, respecting the fact that he's sending out a painful, potentially lethal pair of prongs into another living being. That seems like common sense.
And, by the poll results, it looks like most people agree that what they are seeing on video is the use of excessive force.
I have to wonder if all dog shootings and taserings were caught on video, would we start to see a trend in tougher rules regarding how officers deal with loose dogs? Every time I read stories, I'm getting two sides, often with two conflicting viewpoints. But certainly in at least two cases, because of video, this one and the one involving a boxer in Lakewood, OH, the public seems to find using a taser on a barking dog to be excessive and cruel.