New law designed to protect pets from getting shot by police

DENVER — A new law in Colorado is aimed at protecting dogs from being killed by law enforcement officers. 50 dogs have been killed in the last five years.

Some have been videotaped and seen on the news recently.

One such incident happened in May 2011 when a German shepherd with a bone in her mouth walked toward an officer in Erie who was in the neighborhood on an unrelated call.

He shot the dog to death.

Brittany Moore still has the shock burned into her memory. “It’s an awful experience. It’s the fact that Ava was shot but it’s the after effect… it’s my three daughters. I’m doing this for my three daughters.”

Moore is now part of a task force that is made up from experts in several fields. The people on the task force are formulating the new training regimen required under Colorado’s Dog Protection Law. The Legislature passed it just a few months ago.

“The first of its kind in the United States and we’re actually leading the country on this issue and we anticipate that other police departments around the country are going to be able to take advantage of this training as well,” says Sen. David Balmer, (R) Centennial.

Moore’s daughters watched the Erie police officer shoot and kill their dog, Ava. The whole thing was captured on a neighbor’s cell phone video camera.

Colorado police officers will now have to learn to diffuse the situation instead of shooting.

“It’s been a long journey to get this into law and now we sit here today to change the paradigm the way law enforcement handles dog encounters,” says Jennifer Edwards of the Animal Law Center.

The Erie officer who shot Moore’s dog was cleared. He also killed another family’s pet four years before the spring 2011 incident.

“I think this is going to be the first step to bringing trust back into police officers to get them the training that they need,” Moore says.

She’s hopeful her involvement will help other families avoid the pain that her family felt after the killing of their pet.