A bill recently introduced in the Texas legislature would require police officers to undergo additional training in non-lethal ways to deal with domesticated animal encounters while on duty.
House Bill 593 would mandate a minimum of eight hours in an “animal encounter training program” to educate officers on animal behavior, specifically in dealing with unplanned encounters with dogs, The Houston Chronicle reported. The training would consist of classroom instruction, practical application and may include the use of live animals, according to the bill text.
Introduced by Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth, the bill comes after hundreds of incidences of police shooting dogs, many of which were caught on police video.
Officers from the Houston Police Department shot at least 228 dogs between 2010 and 2013, a KHOU investigation found. A police spokesman told reporters departmental policy authorized its officers to use deadly force to protect themselves or someone else from a dog attack.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services in 2011 produced a set of guidelines offering strategies officers can use when encountering dogs. Read the report below.