Protest after police agitate two dogs and then shoot them dead

NEWS AND VIEWS: The point of this article is that the police did not have to shoot these dogs. I’m not saying the dogs weren’t difficult but it seems to me that they were not out of control because they were on leads and see the video immediately below – they were behaving normally. It also seems to me that it was the police who created the incident but agitating the dogs at which point they deemed them to be out-of-control and they had to shoot them. I would argue that they created the scenario upon which they justified their violent actions. This is not uncommon for the police in the UK.

One dog dead and the other being shot
One dog dead and the other being shot. Image: Social media

Dominic Dyer (an animal advocate on Twitter) said:

My social media has reached over 7 million people in the last 3 days on this terrible shooting of two dogs by the Metropolitan police in East London. I have never seen this level engagement on an animal welfare issue since Nowzad evacuation in August 2021. Public anger off the scale. I will discuss with
@TVKev on @TalkTV at 5.15pm tune in

This video has come to light. It is on Twitter. It shows the police harassing the dog’s owner. This happened shortly before the police shot the dogs.

Police create fictional crimes

For example, when they want to arrest somebody but they’ve got no reason to arrest them, they agitate that person by their intimidating presence and then they argue that the person was in ‘breach of the peace’, a generic crime which can be used against anybody minding their own business until the police turn up. That’s the kind of argument I am presenting here.

In this story, protesters have held a vigil outside Scotland Yard last night for the two dogs that the police shot dead in a stand-off in which the dogs’ owner was tasered.

Police shoot 2 dogs
Police shoot 2 dogs and there was no need to. Image: MikeB.

Dogs were not inherently dangerous

What is remarkable about the story is that there is a video on Instagram of the dogs’ owner, Louis Turnbull, 46, on the London Underground kissing one of his dogs. The other dog is on a seat nearby. This points to the dogs being normal and not inherently dangerous and aggressive. The image on this page includes a screenshot from that video.

Labelling breeds dangerous is dangerous

Of course, they look as if they are dangerous dogs because we tend to label dogs of a certain appearance with being dangerous. This in itself is dangerous! It’s a dangerous attitude to take. Nathan Winograd, one of America’s greatest animal advocates, says that you should not label certain dog breeds as dangerous and persecute them as a result. You should take each dog individually and assess their behaviour and decide whether that dog is dangerous or not.

Dog’s owner was foolish

Louis Turnbull was arrested after the incident on Monday night. He’s been charged with owning a dog dangerously out of control. Apparently, he had been disqualified from owning or keeping dogs and therefore he was also charged with being in possession of a dog.

There is no doubt that Louis Turnbull was stupid and you could argue that he was the author of his own problems and the demise of the dogs but that is irrelevant in a strict sense. The question is whether these dogs had to be shot and I say they did not.

The police have been foolish too. Perhaps this is an example of humans being stupid and animals paying the price with their lives. That’s how I see it.

The incident – police’s response

The police said they had to shoot them after they were called to an area of East London called Poplar. They had received reports that a woman had been attacked by a dog. The woman said the two dogs had attacked her dog and that she had suffered a leg injury which did not require hospital treatment.

The Metropolitan Police said that its Directorate of Professional Standards had reviewed the incident from footage from body cameras and said that they had no concerns about the officers’ conduct. They say that the “aggressive behaviour of two dogs was of considerable concern and posed a significant threat to them.”

Yes, the dogs probably did pose a threat to the police. But the argument is that the police posed a threat to the dogs which is why the dogs became aggressive. If they’d backed off and put their guns away and been passive the dogs would have calmed down. That is the argument that the animal advocates put forward.

Sadie Geoghagen-Dann, who is the organiser of a petition against the police’s actions, described those actions as “barbaric” and said that the video of the incident suggests that the dogs were not posing an immediate danger to officers and were under control.

She wrote:

Yes, these dogs are barking and reacting to the police, but any normal dog would do the same when being approached by multiple arms, vocal people in uniform, surrounding them in such a threatening manner.”

The animal rights group, Animal Rising, organised the vigil outside the Scotland Yard building (Met Police headquarters).

Google’s Bard (AI chat bot) has this to say about labelling certain dog breeds as dangerous

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that certain dog breeds are inherently more dangerous than others. In fact, studies have shown that the breed of a dog is not a reliable predictor of its aggression. More important factors include the dog’s individual temperament, socialization, and training.

Labeling certain dog breeds as dangerous can have a number of negative consequences. It can lead to discrimination against these breeds, making it more difficult for them to find homes. It can also lead to the unnecessary euthanization of dogs who are simply misunderstood.

Instead of focusing on the breed of a dog, it is more important to focus on the individual dog and its behavior. If you are considering getting a dog, it is important to do your research and find a breed that is a good fit for your lifestyle and personality. You should also make sure to socialize and train your dog from a young age. With proper care and training, any dog can be a loving and loyal companion.

Here are some additional points to consider:

Any dog can bite. It is important to remember that any dog, regardless of breed, can bite if it feels threatened or scared. It is important to be aware of your dog’s body language and to avoid situations that could make it feel threatened.

Proper socialization and training are essential. All dogs need to be properly socialized and trained from a young age. This will help them to learn how to interact with people and other animals in a safe and positive way.

Responsible dog ownership is key. It is important to be a responsible dog owner by providing your dog with proper care, training, and socialization. You should also be aware of your local laws and regulations regarding dog ownership.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your dog is a safe and well-behaved member of your family and community.

Dominic Dyer (animal advocate) on Twitter chipped in:

This brings tears to my eyes he just wanted to get his dogs away to safety yet they hunted him down in the most aggressive & intimidating way. I don’t believe any of these police has officers had any intention to spare the dogs this was a seek & destroy mission.

Shelter staff bragged about taking surrender fee and killing dogs

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