Adan Salazar
June 20, 2012

Police officers in Austin, Texas are changing policies and training procedures after an APD officer fatally shot a man’s dog in April.

“I just couldn’t stop saying ‘I can’t believe you just killed my dog.’ I was in a state of shock. It was all very surreal,” Michael Paxton told local news station KVUE. “I told the officer with my hands in the air, “Please don’t shoot my dog. He won’t bite you.”

Paxton was playing frisbee with his dog Cisco on a Saturday afternoon when an officer walked up to his property, drew his gun, and told him to put his hands in the air.

The officer was responding to a domestic violence call made by one of Paxton’s neighbors stating that a man and woman were fighting. Only after the shooting did officer Thomas Griffin begin asking questions. “I told him ‘No, I don’t have a girlfriend. I live here alone. I’m here with my dog that you just shot,” Paxton told KVUE.

Since then Michael Paxton started the Facebook page Justice for Cisco, where to date more than 100,000 people have shown their support by liking the page.

According to the Austin American Statesman, Officer Griffin received no discipline.

Starting July 1st, officers will begin training in alternate methods of force that can be applied to dogs. If an officer does use lethal force against a dog, that officer will be required to explain the events leading up to the incident, which will then be reviewed by the entire chain of command, not just the officer’s supervisor, according to a statement obtained by the Statesman from Assistant Police Chief David Carter.

Unfortunately, dog shootings by police is an epidemic that is placing fear into dog owners whenever they see a patrol car ride down the street.

Earlier this month, we reported another Texas dog shooting, this one in Florence, Texas.

In another report by KVUE, Caren Vybrial was violently summoned when she heard a gunshot and came outside to see the police chief standing over her dead dog. The police chief Julie Elliott-Abshire next walked around the house and shot her other dog that was chained up.

Visibly disturbed, Vybrial explains, “That’s when I asked her what is going on?” The police chief allegedly responded, “Bitch! Did you not hear me knocking on the front door?”

According to NewsCore, Police Chief Elliott-Abshire has not commented.

To list all the times dogs have been unjustly killed by authorities would take all day. What we need is more cities following Austin’s example to train their police officers and hold them accountable.

With the police’s murdering of dogs is getting out of hand, training measures like this will have to be considered before other incidents, like the one in Virginia where a man shot an officer for pointing a taser at his two dogs, begin taking place around America.

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