A silver lining has been found in the tragic loss of a treasured pet

Last May, a Fort Worth police officer who turned up at the wrong address to investigate a theft  shot and killed Lily, a 5 year old border collie who was running toward him.  Lily was a friendly dog, and not a threat, but the officer did not know that and his defensive instincts took over.  Lily and her owners, Mark and Cindy Boling, are the victims in this unfortunate tale.

Now, police are learning from this experience, in the hopes of protecting themselves and innocent animals from harm.   Officers in Fort Worth will now take part in an 8 hour training course designed to provide education about alternative ways to subdue dogs during the course of police investigations and the use of lethal force only as a last resort.  The Bolings, though devastated about the loss of Lily, are very happy that her death has resulted in this positive step.  They opted to push for this training instead of suing the police department in order to protect other pets.

Trainer Jim Osorio conducted the training, and was assisted by his own dog Coral.  “I’m going to train them whatever they carry can be used on an animal,” Osario explained. “Clipboard, flare… whatever.”  As well, Osorio is showing the officers that the way they approach the situation will affect the dogs reaction. “That firm tone of voice works a lot better than yelling and screaming,” Osorio said. “And trying not to show fear… that’s the biggest thing.”

“It was the right thing to do,” Fort Worth police Chief Halstead said. “The nightmare the Bolings have to live through is one I would not want for any of our residents. But I respect that they’re taking this to the state and national level because it needs to be done.”  The Bolings participated in the production of a video to be used in the class, and attended the first class with the officers.  “It’s tremendous,” Cindy Boling said. “It’s tremendous.”

13 thoughts on “A silver lining has been found in the tragic loss of a treasured pet”

  1. Perhaps the police could also provide literacy training to their officers so that they don’t turn up at the wrong address.

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  2. Hope the “police officer” got fired

    People, animals what have you, cops nowadays reaction is to shoot first and ask for union protection to cover their incompetent butts later.

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    • I’ll tell you what is wrong with the badge-wearing murderous thugs. Police work attracts the 20 percent of the population that is either sociopathic or downright psychopathic. Violence loving zombies who are desperately seeking the opportunity to tase or shoot anything for any reason or even no reason whatsoever. And they do not stop at dogs – they go after elderly, children, homeless and mentally ill. Does anyone with a grain of intelligence believe for one minute that the Texas cops are going to actually take seriously a paid, one-day (“8 hours”) training session on how to deal with dogs? Seriously enough to change their violence-prone behavior and stop the killing? Probably what is going to happen is this: first, a lot of PR to try to convince a skeptical public that cops really are warm and fuzzy folks who just want to serve and protect (IMO – observe and extort). Followed by a vast amount of departmental whining about taking some goddam dog class. Third – determination to ignore what they just learned and go back to the same old same old.

      It’s what happened in my state only with the required training on how to deal with problems involving a mental health 9-1-1 call.

      To paraphrase a line from a popular comedian some years back that is still relevant today: “they don’t care because they don’t HAVE TO.”

      In short, there are ZERO consequences for police abuse. Zero. And federal and state laws support the zero consequences for police abuse whether that is against dogs or against other humans.

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  3. This type of training should be mandatory in EVERY police department in every village, town, city. I don’t know if any organization tracks the number of family dogs killed by police every year, simply because they don’t have the first clue how to read dogs’ body language or how to handle an unfamiliar dog.

    Even if it was the right address – shooting a dog should be the LAST resort, not the first thing the cop does. I hope the policeman who did this is required to do a lot more than just 8 hours of training.

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    • There are several blogs which make a strong effort to track dog killings by cops (google “puppycide” for some of these). What you will see over and over are stories of cops going to wrong addresses and killing dogs, wrongly arresting owners, shooting dogs who are running AWAY from them, shooting puppies cowering in shrubbery (read about Rosie, the Newfie puppy in Des Moines, Washington who after being relentlessly pursued by a murderous cop was shot while she hid under a bush) – and on and on AND ON.

      The people who morph into cops – those IMO satanic entities were raised on media violence and violent toys and games and are completely influenced by the glorification of violence in the media, by increasingly violent computer games, and by “violence rewarded” stories such as the those of the financial rewards heaped on MIchael Vick after his pathetic minimal “punishment” for his violent crimes against dogs when he was allowed to return to a highly paid high glamour career as a professional thug. And it’s not just “real” cops it is also rent-a-cops (private security firms) and park rangers (like the rogue park ranger who tasered a man walking his dog in the SNRA).

      My daughter lives in England and reports for the BBC. She tells me that Americans are viewed by the rest of the world as incredibly violent and “stupid with it.”

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  4. WHile I support a program like this it is long overdue and hardly compensates the family for the loss of Lily,

    If it were me it would be NO consolation losing my beloved companion because of the panic and stupidity of a public servant. I would sue – the department and the officer – even if I couldnt get anything I would make his life as miserable as I could for as long as I could. I would also post his name, picture and what he did EVERYWHERE.

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    • I do think that the only realistic approach to these things is to hit municipalities very, very hard where it hurts and that is by hitting them first in the budget by suing. Admittedly it is hard to find an attorney who will take cases like these against police departments. Most won’t do it on contingency (fees only if a “win”) for the simple reason that they are gambling on recovering against a city’s insurance company which has literally millions of dollars available to pay their own lawyers to drag a case on forever and a day to wear out the plaintiffs. It’s mostly a case of deep pockets (city) versus shallow pockets – dog parents who just don’t have the finances to underwrite litigation, contingency or not. Attorney fees are one thing, but the owners would still have to pay out of pocket costs of litigation and a single expert witness reviewing a case, preparing an opinion, having their deposition taken at least once, and testifying at a trial could run into the high five figures. STILL – if owners are able to do so, and able to find counsel who can do so or is willing to do so, the owners should sue because it sends such a strong message to police departments everywhere. Don’t think that these things do not get noticed by police departments because the recent settlements and large cash awards in dog-killing cases are making national media and everyone is sitting up and taking notice.

      The other thing is PUBLIC EMBARRASSMENT and an ongoing effort in the media, in proposed legislation, in involving elected representatives, to bring attention to the problem. When police departments are having to deal frequently with bad press and negative pr, and the cities they are part of are being held accountable in the public eye if not legally, they are more likely to take steps to change their behavior.

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  5. I can understand that people may be upset over an animal’s untimely death at the hands of the police. I am as well, but what I can’t understand is why there isn’t more support for training LEO’s to handle animals on scene, instead of shooting them. One post gets 16 thumbs up for literacy training in learning to read addresses, while another’s about dealing with the actual situation get’s 1 thumb up. Perhaps it’s because people had already lost interest in the topic by then, as I’ve noted happens a lot on this page. You folks seem to have an extremely short span of attention. An article comes out you read it you post and you are done with the topic, you never seem to pay attention to what anyone else has to say in the comments. Which means I am simply wasting my time?

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    • @JohnQ I don’t think it is a matter of short attention spans. I understand your frustration and believe me your frustration is shared by all of us who work in any form of animal welfare and animal rescue issues. What it is is the same thing that happens when we are long at war in other countries. People become absolutely overwhelmed with the sadness, craziness, “never-endingness” of it. At some point being bombarded daily or even hourly with stories upon stories upon stories of horrific abuses even by our own government agencies on citizens, thousands of stories of thousands of war casualties, endless recountings of murdered, abused and tortured and neglected animals – what happens is that people become overwhelmed. The military often tells the media they don’t believe Americans care anymore about our troops. People who work in animal rescue and animal welfare report that they just don’t see the follow-up or attention to ongoing issues. It’s all part of the same thing – people get so overwhelmed with sadness and feelings of uselessness that they just shut down. I work in equine rescue and I have seen this over and over. People don’t “lose interest” they just become exhausted by the endless stories about suffering and loss whether human or animal. Those of us who do pay attention and who do keep on keeping on are somehow able to do so despite the “overwhelm.” Not everyone can, however, and it’s something every long-time rescue worker has to learn to accept – never condone, but understand.

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