No one keeps records on how many privately owned dogs are shot and killed each year by American law enforcement officers so there are no hard figures. But a perusal of the Web and social media will tell you it’s a lot.
Laurel Matthews, a supervisory program specialist with the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (DOJ COPS) office, says it’s an awful lot. She calls fatal police vs. dogs encounters an “epidemic” and estimates that 25 to 30 pet dogs are killed each day by law enforcement officers.
If that estimate is even close to accurate, that’s nearly 10,000 dogs killed by cops per year. While it’s true a number of these dogs may be strays, there’s no ignoring the fact that dogs make cops act like bunnies with handguns whenever they’re anywhere nearby. If a dog acts like a dog around a cop (i.e., barking at someone it doesn’t recognize, etc.), it has a good chance of ending up dead.
Six of eleven circuits have declared the unjustified killing of a family dog is a violation of Fourth Amendment rights. People are protected against “unreasonable seizures” of their property, and the ultimate “seizing” is the summary execution of pets they own.