The National Canine Research Council says its training videos on police and dog encounters could reduce the amount of fatal dog shootings like the one that occurred in Santa Fe April 9.
In that incident, a police officer responding to a complaint of dogs barking in a storage unit arrived to find a woman living inside the unit with two adult pit bulls and seven puppies. When the officer went to talk to the woman, "the female pit attacked, clamping on to his forearm. He shot and killed the dog," according to KTRK.
It's just this type of thing that the NCRC hopes to eliminate, or at least reduce, with its series of videos made in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
The five ten-minute videos are made to help officers "learn how to recognize the signs a dog may be present, how to avoid unnecessary encounters with dogs, and how to distinguish between warning signals and signs of friendliness when they must enter a dog's space," according to the NCRC.
Janis Bradley, the NCRC's director of communications and publications, says at least 24 police departments across the country have incorporated the videos in their training, including departments in New York City and Midland, Texas.
"The feedback that we've gotten [from the departments] has been uniformly positive, and...they're grateful to have this information," Bradley says.
So what can a pet-owner do to maximize their dog's safety in the event of an unannounced visit from a police officer?
"The safest thing that...pet owners can do for everyone's safety is to make sure that they have humane custody and control of their animals," Bradley says.
We hope Santa Fe PD takes a look at these videos -- actually, it sounds like just about every police department should take a look.