The video attached to this story may be very disturbing to some viewers. Almost 200,000 people have signed this petition, asking for ‘Justice for Dukey’, another case of ‘dog shot by cop’, this time in Canada. This original video link was originally posted in 2014, and according to Global News, it has gone viral after being re-posted on August 18 of this year. Justine O’Soup, Dukey’s owner and the girlfriend of Adam Cote, the man being hauled off and arrested, is petitioning the Ministry of Justice of Saskatchewan and the RCMP, asking for justice in the killing of her dog. Ms. O’Soup recorded the video during the arrest and shooting.
Though ‘dog shot by cop’ is an occurrence many believe to be rarely seen outside the U.S., this video reveals that the problem reaches across our borders. The Youtube video, entitled ‘The arrest of Adam Cote and the Execution of Dukey’ has struck a chord with viewers around the world.
In reply to the petition and the growing discontent, the RCMP posted a statement on their Facebook page on August 20, detailing their official findings on what occurred in July 2014, which led to the shooting of Dukey, a 12-year-old black lab, by members of the RCMP, and the subsequent arrest of Adam Cote. According to reports, suspect Adam Cote was being sought per a warrant in relation to the aggravated assault of a 19-year-old female. He was found in the residence of Ms. O’Soup, and removed from that residence by the RCMP. Unable to stand on his own, the video shows the RCMP dragging his half-naked body down the driveway into their vehicle.
In the activity before the arrest, the RCMP claim that a “Police Service Dog was attacked by a dog at the residence. Fearing for the safety of the Police Service Dog, an RCMP officer discharged their firearm at the dog. After the initial firearm discharge, the wounded dog was lying in the grass injured and out of compassion was euthanized by the RCMP member.”
When you watch the video, it is unclear as to why Ms. O’Soup was not initially allowed to bring her dog into her residence, though you can hear her say, “you didn’t have to shoot my dog, you could have put that dog in there.” It is also unknown if Dukey was outside the residence when the RCMP and K9 unit first arrived, or if he ran out the door following their arrival, while Cote was being dragged down the drive.
After Dukey was shot the first time, Ms. O’Soup’s petition states that ‘Dukey should have been brought to the veterinarian. He was in a submissive state there was no need to shoot him dead.’ The first time you see Dukey, you can see the dog wagging its tail, obviously still alive, but lying incapacitated on the ground. However, there is no way to ascertain the seriousness of the first shot, no way to know if Dukey would have survived, had he been immediately transported to a veterinarian. Further, there is no way to ascertain if the killshot was, in fact, done “out of compassion” as the RCMP claim.
For the actions leading to his arrest, Cote received a 22 month sentence. Dukey received a death sentence, carried out in his own front yard. There is mounting dissatisfaction with the police response in these situations. Wherever the truth of the matter regarding the death of Dukey, there must be a better way for officers throughout the world to respond to confrontations with people’s pets.
According to Police Magazine, Laurel Matthews, a supervisory program specialist with the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (DOJ COPS) office, estimates that 25 to 30 pet dogs are killed each day by law enforcement officers. However, no organization keeps records on how many privately owned dogs are shot and killed each year by American law enforcement officers so there are no hard figures.
There are multiple Facebook pages devoted to cases of dogs shot by cops, some with graphic images, such as this page, with multiple petitions and court cases currently in progress. There are also a number of documentaries on the subject in production, including this one, which does contain graphic images, entitled Puppycide.
There are training tool available on sites such as these that provide materials that will aid police in learning how to deal with these situations. These official sites also debunk the myth of there being a dog bite ‘epidemic’. Texas is one of the states that has begun instituting training for officers regarding confrontations with canines; hopefully many more states will follow suit.
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