Humane society calls for arrest of probation officer after family dog shot in head

Persace (Source: Humane Society of Louisiana)
Persace (Source: Humane Society of Louisiana)

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - The Humane Society of Louisiana is calling for the arrest of a female probation officer after reports say she shot a dog in the head.

The Humane Society reports that two officers with the Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole visited a home in Denham Springs searching for a woman, but quickly learned the woman they were searching for did not live there.

During the visit, the 9-year-old pit bull named Persace, the family dog, got out of the back door and ran past one officer. The owner of the dog began chasing after him to get him back inside. The other officer, according to reports, was in the front seat of the vehicle when she saw the dog approaching.

According to the news release from the Humane Society of Louisiana, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office report says the officer exited her car, saw the dog approaching in what she believed to be a "menacing manner," withdrew her sidearm and shot the dog in the head. The dog died on the scene.

"This type of scenario is played out far too often, in our opinion," says Jeff Dorson, Humane Society of Louisiana Director. "Officers visit a home that has pets, a dog comes near them, as all dogs will, and instead of taking a defensive action, such as standing still, giving the dog a command to stop, using pepper spray, or in this case - simply getting back inside the car and closing the door of the vehicle and allowing the owner to retain custody of Persace - the officers over-react and shoot the family dog, which should be the last, rather than first, choice of action."

"We feel that [the agent] completely over-reacted and was poorly trained to handle these types of interactions with family pets. She devastated a family that dearly loved this dog..." said Dorson.

"We hope that the Livingston District Attorney's Office or another entity will charge [the agent] with the crime of cruelty to animals since her actions were completely unwarranted. [She] was neither bitten nor attacked. The dog was friendly and showed no signs of aggression. [She] was simply rattled by Persace's sudden presence, which we do not think are affirmative defenses to killing a family pet. Humane officers answer thousands of calls reporting loose animals every year, and none of them end up being shot to death," adds Dorson.

The Humane Society of Louisiana will turn over its findings to another organization documenting the shooting of family pets by law enforcement personnel, and the Louisiana State Police, which recently prepared a training seminar on dog bite prevention called "Defensive Tactics: Canine Encounters."

The training seminar, hosted by LSP, LA-SAFE, and the LA Animal Welfare Commission, is designed to offer officers who come across dogs on their daily duties (including SWAT and other special teams who may be involved in search warrants, etc.) a better understanding of how to correctly contend with canine encounters.

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