Are Police Officers Sufficiently Animal Orientated?

Is the personality of the typical policeman suitable for dealing with animal cruelty cases? How seriously are cases concerning crimes against animals taken by the police? In the UK, the RSPCA investigate and bring prosecutions, in animal welfare cases, which resulted in 2441 convictions on 2012. The employees of the RSCPA are very much animal orientated people. They have been hired for that reason. Although, perhaps, the organisation has become too political.

Nice Cat
Nice Cat. Photo by cwwycoff1
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

As I understand it, in the USA and all other countries, the standard police force investigate, arrest and charge people who are suspected of having committed criminal acts against an animal. To me that seems less good than the UK system. I really don’t have an axe to grind here. I am taking a totally neutral stance on this.

What made me question the temperament of the typical police offer is a case in the USA of a Texas policeman who shot a cat with a crossbow, while off duty. The cat suffered a punctured lung and a broken leg but is recovering. I will presume that he shot the cat for sport and that he dislikes cats. That is the usual reason. I realise that one bad officer does not mean that they are all cat-haters or whatever but it does make one think. In addition, I have another story on PoC about a Sheriff whose pastime appears to have been shooting cats.

Elisa Black-Taylor, writing for the Examiner when reporting the above story says:

“..Pet owners are fed up with police injuring and killing their four-legged family members.”

Is that a fair comment? Is there a weakness in the way policemen deal with animals, in general, in the course of carrying out their duties?

Each state has its own animal welfare laws. In Texas crimes against animals is two-tier based. The more serious offences are a felony, while lesser offences are called misdemeanors. Shooting a cat with a crossbow falls under TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 42.092 (2008) section (b)(1) it seems (unless the law has changed since I published it on PoC about 4 years ago). It is a felony and it carries a maximum sentence of $10k and/or 2 years imprisonment.

So, this police officer is likely to be prosecuted and tried for this horrible crime. For me that is a good thing, if it happens. I congratulate the police force for treating their own in the same way they would treat anyone else. Although it appears that the police were called out to a disturbance and the animal cruelty matter came to light later.

In the UK the police always protect their own. You rarely see successful prosecutions against police or even sackings and disciplinary action. They often carry on as if nothing happened. The quality of the individual policeman and woman in the UK, with respect to integrity, appears to have deteriorated over the past 50 years.

I happen to think that the average policeman is not that sympathetic towards animals. It takes a tender mentality to be tender towards cats, which is not an ideal characteristic for a policeman. What percentage of policemen do you imagine are going to be sympathetic towards a crime against a cat?

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30 thoughts on “Are Police Officers Sufficiently Animal Orientated?”

  1. I keep telling people it’s not ok for your dog to escape on occasion because that one time could be the time it gets shot. People here are more upset that police don’t use Tasers or catch poles as a first resort. Even the DOJ has issued a report stating police who shoot dogs as a first defense are improperly trained. Cats are more likely to be shot by the average citizen who doesn’t like the cat pooping in their garden or killing birds on their property. Still a fence neither dog nor cat can climb over would eliminate the problem completely. Unless police shoot their way in through the fence.

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  2. Unfortunately, in the USA, their are far too many pet parents who don’t take proper responsibility for their pets and cry foul when the animal is injured/killed…Case in point: A Pitbull is running toward a police officer…is the dog friendly or not? Since the officer doesn’t have a clue to the personality of the dog and has reasonable fear of being harmed by the dog ~ shoots in self-defense…the dog owner cries foul, but was at fault for the dog and officer being in the uncertain situation by not keeping the dog sufficiently contained. Cats, on the other hand, are free roaming and rarely pose any threat (excepting snakes, rats, mice, large bugs, and the occasional bird), but are killed for a multitude of ridiculous and inexcusable reasons. Most real crimes against animals in the USA are committed by people who should be “committed” to mental institutions (President Reagan shut down public access mental institutions and only for-profit institutions now exist), but our laws are lax and only enforced when it’s profitable to the authorities (some laws exist only for the purpose of government profit) or by pressure of public outcry. And far too many people engage in animal guardianship without knowing fully the responsibilities and commitment required for the sake of the animals, resulting in great hardship for the animals and animal shelters. I am a volunteer foster parent for a local cat rescue, saving those I can and crying for those I cannot.

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    • Love your comment. I encapsulates the problem nicely. There is a lot of work to do to improve cat welfare and all the problems are human generated. We are a bit of a failure, aren’t we?

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    • My response would be Yes. Dogs should be free to roam around the garden. Obvious. But when outside the confines of the family home they should be on a lead. If that scenario was always adhered to, religiously, across the country, there would be no dogs shot by police or anyone else.

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