Two Texas police departments are training their officers to properly deal with dogs they encounter while on the job. Radley Balko welcomes the news:
Without training, the cop who fears dogs will continue to fear them, will continue to interpret benign gestures from dogs he encounters as a threat, will continue to shoot dogs, and will continue to be excused for it. With training, he gets over his fear, or at least learns how to deal with. He doesn't panic when a dog gets territorial, because he's been given instruction on how to recognize and distinguish that from aggression, and now has the know-how to deescalate the situation and put the dog ease.
Without training, the sadisitc or power-tripping cop can continue to kill dogs for whatever reasons might motivate a sadistic or power-tripping cop to do so. He'll continue to falsely claim he feared for his safety, and he'll continue to get away with it. With training, there's now some accountability. Now, the next time he kills a dog, he can be asked why he didn't resort to the other options he learned in his training. If it's a small or docile breed, he no longer has an excuse, and the police department no longer has an excuse not to discipline him. (Okay, so at least in theory.)
Balko's earlier coverage of puppycide is rounded-up here.