HALTOM CITY — An internal investigation is under way after a Haltom City police officer fatally shot a Jack Russell terrier Monday afternoon while officers were serving a search warrant.
The officer, who was not identified, remained on duty, police said Friday.
But family members at the house where the shooting occurred said Friday that Willy, the 40-pound terrier, never attacked the officer. [Ft. Worth Star-Telegram]
Ok, obviously there’s some sort of major misunderstanding going on here, because the number of household pets being killed by police has gone from alarming to inconceivably, mindblowingly outrageous and intolerable. Of course, police are heroes who would never kill animals just to be mean (only sociopaths are cruel to animals), so the answer must be that police are disproportionately terrified of dogs.
Cynophobia is the clinical name for an abnormal fear of dogs, i.e., a specific phobia related to dogs. The dog is a domesticated superpredator; this in combination with increasing media coverage of dog attacks could be contributing factors for development of this fear.A 1992 study of cynophobia among children and adults  reported that actually experiencing dog attacks does contribute to cynophobia. [Wikipedia]
So if your job often involves going around yelling and stomping your way into people’s houses, you’re disproportionately at risk for unpleasant dog encounters. Horror stories of rookies getting their nuts bit off are surely passed down within the ranks, resulting in a climate of hostility towards the canine species.
So, at the risk of sounding condescending, let’s just clarify a few things:
1. Dogs bark at everyone. It doesn’t mean they’re challenging your authority.
2. Many species of dogs are really weak. These can usually be identified by their small size. Don’t assume that all dogs are as vicious as the ones at the police station.
3. No police officer has ever been killed by a dog (I tried googling it and mostly just found stories of dogs being killed by police).
4. Dog bites can be effectively treated through the miracles of modern science. Shooting guns indoors is generally much more dangerous.
I apologize to the many brave men and women in law enforcement who aren’t terrified of small dogs. This is embarrassing, I know, but we’ve got to get this out in the open so we can move on.