Effective immediately, the Merced police department in CA will no longer drive injured stray animals to the shooting range for killing. The change was announced by Lt. Bimley West during a news conference on Tuesday.
“Our citizens have stated the times have changed and it’s time that we make a change,” West said Tuesday. “They have spoken. We have heard them clearly, and we have made a change in our policy.”
While this policy change is welcome news, there are some remaining concerns.
The only time officers will shoot animals is if they are being attacked, West said.
Historically, police officers nationwide have used questionable judgment in determining when lethal force is required against a pet. And I’m being generous with the term questionable judgment.
I am also concerned that the new policy is impractical in that it requires officers to call a local vet to come to the scene of every injured animal, evaluate the pet and euthanize by injection if warranted. The city has no vet contracted for this work and finances are a concern.
“I hope we can get vets to do that and work out an agreement to minimize costs,” [Merced Mayor Stan] Thurston said.
He hopes. Isn’t this the sort of thing that should have been worked out before the policy was changed? It seems far more realistic to my mind that vets might be willing to help if the injured animal is transported to their clinic, where they will have access to the equipment, staff and supplies needed for evaluation. I can’t help but wonder if the Merced police department is setting itself up for failure with this policy change which would give them an opening to return to the decades-old practice of driving pets to the shooting range for killing. Hey, we tried to stop shooting pets to death but we couldn’t get vets to drive out in the rain in the middle of the night to examine injured pets in the road.
I would rather they apply (the dreaded) common sense and figure that since their officers have been driving injured pets to the shooting range all these years, they are capable of driving them to the vet for evaluation. Vets will surely charge less for services rendered at their own clinics than those rendered in the field on an emergency on-call basis. And it would seem to be a far more reliable method of obtaining veterinary services in a timely manner.
(Thanks Arlene for the link.)