Law would require police training in handling dogs

Blue the dogA lawmaker representing part of Oak Cliff is sponsoring a bill in the Texas Legislature to require training for police officers on how to deal with dogs they perceive as dangerous.

While your postal carrier is equipped with pepper spray to avoid dog bites, police officers are more likely to shoot and kill if a dog comes after them.

There have been several incidents over the past few years of police officers in the Dallas area shooting dogs whose owners later said posed no threat.

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Rep. Helen Giddings authored a bill in the Texas House of Representatives that would require training on nonlethal methods of dealing with loose dogs. Nicole Collier and Charlie Geren of Fort Worth are sponsoring similar bills.

Without such training, some officers react quickly by shooting dogs without thinking of other options, such as using a catchpole or pepper spray.

Sen. Wendy Davis proposed a similar bill in 2013, but it did not make it out of committee for a vote by the full senate.

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About 2,800 police officers in Texas already have received training on how to deal with dogs, but this bill would make it mandatory for every police department. If one of the bills becomes law, training likely would be implemented in the police academies.

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