State lawmakers pass bill to reduce police/dog confrontations - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

State lawmakers pass bill to reduce police/dog confrontations

Lt. Rob Rodriguez, Moultrie Police Department Lt. Rob Rodriguez, Moultrie Police Department
MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) -

The state house passes a bill that would require police officers to go through training to reduce the likelihood of them shooting a dog.    

A dog is a man's best friend and state lawmakers want to protect our friends from dangerous encounters between pets and police officers. State lawmakers passed a bill aimed at cutting down the number of cases where a dog is shot by a police officer.  

"We're in the process of developing that training or participating in the training that the bill has enumerated that police officers must comply with and we're going to adjust our policies so that it mirrors what the state law is now," said Lt. Rob Rodriguez.  

The bill would require police agencies to develop policies with animal encounters that use the least amount of force to the animal if it becomes aggressive. The Moultrie Police Department already has policies in place.  

"We have steps in place and mechanisms in place to prevent us from actually causing serious injury to that animal and only would we come to the last resort if we had to euthanize that animal. That would only be in the defense of ourselves or anybody else that was present at the time," said Rodriguez.  

A dog owner himself, Lt. Rodriguez has only had to euthanize a deer that was involved in an accident in his 20 year career in law enforcement.  

"As a manager I have been involved in the review of incidents where dogs have either tried to attack one of the officers or even tried to attack a citizen," said Lt. Rodriguez.  

Rodriguez says he's in favor of the bill and understands the aggressive nature a dog can have when a police officer approaches their owner.  

"In a guardian variety sense the dogs are just doing what they believe to be is in the best interest of their family and that is to protect them," said Lt. Rodriguez.  

The bill would require police agencies to come up with policies by July 1st.

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