On Monday, May 13, 2013, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a measure requiring police to undergo training in order to help prevent animals from being shot.
The training legislation labeled the “Dog Protection Act,” received support from all 100 Colorado legislators, and appears to be the first law of its kind. The legislation requires sheriffs’ offices and police departments to offer three hours of online training on recognizing dog behaviors and employing nonlethal control methods. The training must be in place by September 1, 2014.
The law also directs authorities to give dog owners the option to control or remove their dogs during a nonviolent call.
While Colorado lawmakers said they recognize the majority of law enforcement officers handle dog encounters appropriately, they do believe additional training is necessary in an effort to reduce dog shootings which are skyrocketing in Colorado, as well as across the country. The law is ultimately intended to ensure the safety of law enforcement officers and animals.
Dog lovers pushed for the law after several needless deadly pet shootings by authorities demonstrated that law enforcement officers needed help in identifying threats.
We salute Colorado legislators for understanding the need for and enacting a law that will serve to protect ALL members in communities and educate law enforcement officers on understanding and responding to dog behavior appropriately, without lethal force. It is our hope that many more states follow suit.