Los Angeles, CA — Yesterday, it was reported that on March 29th a Garden Grove police officer shot and killed Jax, a 2-year-old Pit Bull Terrier, the family pet of Steve Pudiquet, while serving a search warrant. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) believes that all police officers should be given tools and training to minimize the use of deadly force when encountering companion animals.
According to details from media sources, officers were armed with a fire extinguisher and a catch pole (a pole with round loop at one end) to subdue Jax in a bedroom. After being sprayed with the extinguisher, Jax escaped the room and is reported to have charged an officer outside. That was when he was killed.
“In a situation, such as serving a warrant, when there is time to plan, why not call upon animal control or spcaLA humane officers to assist,” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein. “A fire extinguisher is not an effective tool to use on a dog, agitated or otherwise. It can make a dog more aggressive and further enrage him, which is likely what happened in this incident. Fire extinguishers are meant to put out fires, not subdue dogs — let’s give officers the tools they need to avoid the use of lethal force, when possible.”
It is in everyone’s best interest for members of law enforcement to be properly trained, which is why spcaLA created “Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement.” The course was developed specifically with law enforcement in mind, and offers real-life scenarios to meet the needs of officers. “Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement” is certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) which gives participants continuing education credits for course completion. The course is reinforced with the most current and credible information available from an array of recognized, respected leaders in animal science fields.
As both a law enforcement agency and an animal welfare organization, spcaLA is uniquely qualified to understand the needs of officers and companion animals. Lt. Cesar Perea, spcaLA’s Director of Animal Cruelty Investigations, is one of the course creators and its instructor. “My experience as both a police officer and a humane officer gives me a singular perspective. I am familiar with officer training and therefore am able to bridge the knowledge gap.”
spcaLA has taught the course to the Hawthorne Police Department, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officers, Los Angeles County District Attorney Investigators, members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Torrance Police Department, and Hermosa Beach Police Department.