The Last Meow

The Last Meow is dedicated to all the pets who died or became seriously ill due to the Menu Foods Pet Food Recall.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How can we get Justice for Melmo?

I was saddened to read that Melmo had been murdered in Gulfport, MS and likely her killer will not be held accountable for Melmo’s death. Why? Because Melmo was a dog, an eleven year old dog who was properly chained in her own yard when a police officer shot her six times. Melmo joins a long line of victims of police shootings of pets.

Perhaps the most well-known shooting of a family’s pets was when Mayor Cheye Calvo’s dogs were shot and killed by police officers in Maryland.

Radley Balko a journalist whose beat includes police misconduct has noticed

an increase in media accounts of police officers shooting the family pet—with a notable lack of remorse or disciplinary consequences. This sad trend appears to be a side effect of the new SWAT, paramilitary focus in many police departments, which has supplanted the idea of being an “officer of the peace.””

Think it can’t happen to your pet Mr. Balko states
“Last year, for example, a local news station in Oklahoma aired security-camera footage of a police officer pulling into driveway of dog owner Tammy Christopher—just to ask for directions. In the video, Christopher's wheaten terrier runs out from the house, and it's difficult to tell whether the dog is charging the officer or bounding out to greet him. But the officer was on the dog's property. And instead of merely getting back into his car, he pulled out his gun and shot the dog dead. The officer was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Police have recently killed pets while merely questioning neighbors about a crime in the area, cutting across private property while in pursuit of a suspect, and after responding to a false burglar alarm. It doesn't matter if your dog is loose or leashed, or if you've posted "Beware of Dog Warnings." Last August in Colorado Springs, police entered a woman's house after her children let them in to look for a fugitive. The children locked the family dog in the bathroom with their mother, who was showering, and warned the police that the dog was defensive. The police opened the bathroom door anyway, the dog bit one of them, and they shot and killed it, inches from where the woman was showering. The fugitive wasn't in the home, and the owner said she's never heard of him.”

What can we do to protect our pets from trigger happy police officers? How do we get laws enacted to protect our pets from deadly force? How can we get Justice for Melmo.

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