Within the last few weeks, we've had a near daily rash of fatal dog-shootings. There is the inevitable backlash, the outrage, the fury--that an armed, trained, intelligent human ... would be so "extreme". Would respond with "excessive" force.
"Surely there must be another way!"
"Shooting a dog, nonetheless family dogs?? How sadistic/lazy/cruel/other-negative-character-traits-here!! I mean, who can't handle a dog, right? Throw it a steak or get over a fence or talk real nice and sweet to it or rope it with a harness, or just kick it away, right?"
The problem is... these 'common-sense' assumptions saddle a breed with uncommon aggressive habits and attack style. Brutal attacks by pit bull type dog breeds are a daily occurrence. Every 12-14 days (some years more, some years less, but the trend over the last 30 years is a steady incline...) they kill another American--this doesn't count the fatalities occurring in the UK, NSW, Brazil, etc.. Every six days someone loses a BODY PART to these dogs--even if they were loved and spoiled family pets, raised from puppy-hood and bonded over years and years of uneventful cohabitation.
Trying to warn anyone about these crucial and life-altering differences typically gets a person assaulted and threatened, and called a 'hater', 'racist', 'ignorant', among other ugly ad hominem toss-outs. This onslaught of harassment is so steady and prolific that it often is effective in silencing a truth-sayer.
Ergo, the majority of the community plods on, oblivious to the danger roaming around on four legs. But law enforcement knows. Their experience far out-classes that of the average joe-schmoe, even those who claim to be animal rescuers and the like. These men and women of the law regularly face "when-things-go-wrong" scenarios. The average pet owners' experience is tempered by the fact that their own sphere of exposure is relatively small, and experience with crisis situations may be non-existent... until it's too late.
I'm not claiming no police officer has ever done wrong or exercised bad judgement... they're fallible and human mortals like the rest of us. What they do have, though, is training and experience with crisis situations in abundance. They must follow protocol. That protocol is based on a precedent of history. That history shows it is far too reckless to let a pit bull type dog roam at large--especially when it's aggressive. What these animals do to people is not like the fearful, quick bite-and-release snap of an ordinary domestic dog.
Additionally, law enforcement must act with prevention in mind. Preservation of the peace. "Prevent "the deed." This breed is infamous for sustaining attacks even after being beaten, gouged, stabbed, hit by a car, tazed, maced, and even shot REPEATEDLY. It's important to keep in mind the damage that could be wrought upon the officers or innocent bystanders.
It's important to keep in mind the unique horrors these animals can visit upon a body with no warning, and in seconds.
THIS is what the officer must keep in mind when making that split-second decision on how to handle the animal;
(WARNING: graphic and disturbing images below--these are included for educational purposes only. These are a pictorial representation of the 'side effects' of a pitbull attack, much like how manufacturers of medicines and products are obligated to be responsible and must include warning labels listing all known dangers--no matter how remote the chances are.)