Colorado legislators to introduce bill requiring cops to take dog encounter training

First step after series of dog shootings

CENNTENIAL, Colo. - Next week,  two State Senators will introduce a bill requiring all law enforcement to take dog encounter training.  The bill is sponsored by Senators Lucia Guzman, a Denver Democrat, and David Balmer, a Centennial Republican. 

"Shipping companies, delivery companies, landscaping companies, they deal with dogs all the time and they don't shoot dogs," said Senator Balmer.

The bill would require law enforcement to take a two-hour initial class as well as an hour long refresher course every year.  The courses would be given by a vet or may be viewed online.

The legislation comes after a series of shootings involving dogs that caused public outcry.  In November of last year, Commerce City Police shot and killed Chloe, a pit-bull mix outside her home.  Video showed police tase the dog then shoot her five times while she was on a catch-pole.
 
"It's like losing a family member," said owner, Gary Branson.

In January, an Adam's County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed Ziggy, and 8-year-old Blue Heeler-Border Collie mix, after the deputy responded to the wrong address.

"All he wanted to do was play, that's it," Ziggy's owner, Jeff Fisher told 7NEWS.

Brittany Moore said she still hasn't recovered after Erie Police shot and killed her German Shepard, Ava, outside her home in 2011.

"It's hard, it's hard.  My three daughters, they don't trust police officers anymore.  They will always remember that a police officer shot their dog," Moore said.

7NEWS asked Senator Balmer why the legislation is needed considering some police departments already have policies and training implemented.

"There are some police departments that have been out in front of this issue.  These are the police departments that haven't had any dog shootings.  It's the other departments that need to work harder on it," said Senator Balmer.

7NEWS checked and that's not exactly true.  In the case of Chloe, Commerce City Police went through canine training two years earlier.  Boulder and Brighton police also put their officers through dog encounter training.

Senator Balmer said they have been working with law enforcement while drafting the bill.  He expects it should be introduced to the Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.

 

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