Colorado Senate Approves “Don’t Shoot My Dog” Bill

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Maggie Couch holds her sign during the rally.

Newspapers littered with stories of police officers shooting innocent dogs have outraged many dog lovers, but now there is reason to rejoice:  a Colorado senate committee has unanimously passed a bill that aims to limit these kinds of tragedies.

Senate bill 226, dubbed the “Don’t Shoot My Dog” bill, will require police and sheriff departments to provide online training courses for officers and deputies so they can learn to understand dog behaviors and recognize body language.  This will allow them to better determine if a dog poses a threat and to control dogs using nonlethal means.

The hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was preceded by a rally on the Capitol steps.  Supporters cheered and blasted the song “Who Let the Dogs Out?”  Sponsors of the bill, Senators Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) and David Balmer (R-Centennial), were among those who brought their dogs to the rally.  Signs were held bearing the messages “Protect our Furr-kids” and “Pro dogs, pro cops, pro 226.”



Senator Balmer with his dog Digby, a German shorthaired pointer, and Senator Guzman with her rescue beagle, Lula.


At the rally Balmer asked, “Why do we have slobber marks all over the sliding glass doors?” and “Why do we say yes to whatever the vet says it will cost for a procedure?” and “Why have we spent so much time writing this bill?”

The answer, which crowd members chanted, was “Because we love our dogs.”

The atmosphere turned somber when a weepy Brittany Moore spoke about how a police officer killed her dog, Ava, and how painful it has been for her daughters, who were five, six and seven at the time.  She believes this bill, had it been in place earlier, might have saved her German shepherd.  The officer might have understood that Ava, who was shot in the back, was not a threat.

“The only threat was an officer discharging his weapon,” Moore said.




20 thoughts on “Colorado Senate Approves “Don’t Shoot My Dog” Bill”

  1. This should be enacted across the country. I really fear for the safety of my dogs around police officers.

  2. Yes…because we all learn so much from the online training courses we all have to take for work.

    LOUSY idea. They should have real classes with professional dog trainers.

  3. So happy to see this law. It is time officers are accountable for taking the lives of our family members. The irony is those who are supposed to protect us shooting the very animals who do! And the dogs don’t even get paid to do it, they do it out of love and loyalty. Postmen manage without guns and they travel to many more doors than these officers. Use mace, use stun guns, but don’t kill our loved ones. This is against our rights and when the officers repond out of “fear”, they are the animals. We trust them to use their heads in these situations, not their guns.

    • Not to rain on your parade, but I didn’t see anything listed about accountability. There are no consequences for them shooting a dog, they just have to take a class first now.

  4. I agree with Kipling Kat – who can even say they will pay attention to an online course. Real hands on training with professionals.

    I probably will get some negative comments for this but I would also like to see a codicil that officers who do shoot a dog will be subject to a full investigation that could lead to suspension without pay and even dismissal should the shooting prove unjustified. That alone might make them a little less trigger happy.

    • I agree with you-the classes should be w/ a professional dog handler, but this is at least a start! I also agree officers should be investigated when they DO shoot a dog. Several stories I’ve read where the cops shot a dog, their attitude was, “Oh well…go get another dog”. That’s like telling someone to go buy another child in my book. NO regards for the fact dogs ARE family members.
      And instead of shooting dogs, just pepper spray them.

  5. I agree whole heartedly with Furkid mom, there needs to be investigation of these incidents. Lack of training is only one piece of the puzzle, I think trigger happy cops is another piece and unless there are consequences to these shooting then they won’t stop.

  6. I’ll take Furkid Mom’s a step further and say that police should have far less immunity than they do. Shooting dogs indiscriminately is only one way they abuse their authority.


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