I’ve never encountered a yellow Labrador that wasn’t full of play, a kind of goofy dedication to effusing all of the simple gifts given to dogs. Yellow Labs are people dogs, cuddlers extraordinaire, most I’ve known even love cats, other dogs, certainly children. You gotta love a Lab, tongue hanging out the side of its mouth, chasing the Frisbee, the ball nonstop until the human parent collapses from the effort. I’ve never seen a hint of menace in a yellow Lab’s eyes; only love, joy. Once again, yellow Labs communicate through their eyes the simple gifts given to dogs. The only thing I’ve ever seen that could be considered threatening or dangerous in a yellow Lab is the, at times, dangerous wag of their tails–fine crystal should never be left on the coffee table where a Lab lives.
So, comes the story that a Denver cop fired two slugs into Rocky, a three-year-old yellow Lab who apparently, from an eye-witness account, was frolicking unattended through a north Denver neighborhood. Yes, allegedly, police received a report of a “vicious” dog in the neighborhood near Horace Mann School. And, yes, the brave, oh so brave officer reported that when he approached the dog, the dog turned and, consequently, the officer felt his life was “threatened,” and therefore shot and killed it.
Not so, says the eyewitness, Serferino Qunitana. Serefino related (Rocky Mtn. News – Tilli Fong) that he never saw the dog turn on the officer, that the dog was running into a side yard of a home when it got shot. “Bam, bam–that was it,” Quintana said. “The dog was running for his life.”
Apparently, the dog was fifteen feet or so away from the cop when the shots were fired.
You may remember another story about a Denver cop killing a “vicious” dog, a Dalmatian, in 2004.
Excerpting from that prior post:
The story in the Denver Post this morning reported that Denver Police spokesman John White said, “The dog bit the officer on his wristwatch, likely saving the officer from serious injury … The officer fired once, striking the dog … but it returned and attacked a second time. That’s when the dog was put down.” (Five slugs total in what was probably a forty to fifty pound dog!)
Well, no shit Sherlock! A Chihuahua could cause serious injury if backed against the wall; if it’s territory had been invaded and if it had already been wounded.
This cowboy mentality on the part of Denver police officers; this absurd state-of-mind fed by some notion that if it’s police business anything is justified; anything goes; any damned violence or humiliation or — for Christ’s sake! — the outright murder of a family pet is just okeydokey, no problem, just one of those unfortunate things that happens when the cowboys ride, has just got to be reined in.
Mayor Hickenlooper, Manager of Safety LaCabe and Police Chief Gerry Whitman were recently handed a mandate by the people of Denver via the ballot box to get a handle on police behavior; to restructure and certainly reexamine police policy in cases similar to this; most of which have involved the deaths of human beings.
The Mayor and his minions had best get moving on this one. ‘Cause, Denver may be known as a fanatical sports town, but don’t even try to get us started on how we feel about our animals; our dogs!
Okay. I guess a little “here we go again” is in order. As I’ve written before, the cop who is able to protect and preserve his or her own humanity in spite of the unkind world he or she is expected to confront and tame; calm and pacify day after day after day is, indeed, a lucky cop.
Yes, and after having said that, there is that acknowledgment that there’s more than a few beefed-up, hard-as-nails (or scared shit-less, masquerading as hard-ass), trigger-happy half-wits who never, ever should have been given the blue and the badge and the gun; I’m thinking there’s more than a few of these guys and gals puffing up their chests and gritting their teeth who never, ever give a second thought to preserving and protecting their own humanity much less that of whom they serve. These are dangerous people.
You shoot a three-year-old yellow Lab to death who is running away from you, but you shoot anyway, because you know you can get away with it by simply reporting you felt “threatened,” is a cowardly act by someone who has lost their humanity. Period. You, mister Officer–whoever you are–should be ashamed of yourself, should turn in your badge. Next time it might be my dog, or, hell my next door neighbor who you, mister Officer–fuckin’ cowboy that you are–would surely feel justified in murdering because, um, you felt “threatened.”
Let me end this by saying there is a difference between “feeling” threatened and actually being threatened. ‘Course, I guess that’s a concept a little to deep, a little too vague for a Denver cop to figure out.