At the request of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) is training 245 investigators from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation in techniques that address the specific needs of law enforcement when encountering dogs in the course of their duties. The course, “Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement,” is presented by spcaLA Director of Animal Cruelty Investigations, Captain Cesar Perea who is also the course’s creator.
“Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement” presents the most current and credible information available from an array of recognized and respected leaders in animal science fields, including data compiled by the National Canine Research Council and the National Police Foundation. “Teaching investigators to assess a credible threat by recognizing dog behaviors can result in positive outcomes for officers who may come face to face with the family pet,” said Captain Perea. “The goal is to avoid the need for force and thereby reduce the number of deadly force incidents.”
As an officer in the field, Captain Perea is uniquely qualified to present this information. Captain Perea and fellow spcaLA Humane Officers routinely execute search warrants in partnership with law enforcement agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, California Highway Patrol (CHP), California Department of Insurance and United States Postal Inspectors, and Los Angeles County Sheriffs’ Department. Recently, spcaLA, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation, and the Downey Police Department worked together to bring Gustavo Gonzalez into custody. Gonzalez is charged with 73 criminal counts for selling sick puppies to more than two dozen victims, and remains in custody with $1,055,000 bail.
spcaLA’s “Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement” is the first course of its kind, and the only science-based course on this topic certified by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST). The course is also approved by the California Animal Welfare Association (CalAnimals).
Since 2015, “Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement” has been taught to several groups of law enforcement personnel and animal welfare experts, including officers from the Los Angeles and San Francisco Police Departments; representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office; National Canine Research Council; investigators from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office; and Hawthorne Police Department.
“Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement” was created after an incident in Los Angeles County involving the deadly shooting of a dog named Max by law enforcement.