Just recently, a homeless man appeared in headlines around the world after his two dogs were brutally killed by members of the Metropolitan police in Limehouse Cut in Tower Hamlets, east London.
Eyewitnesses countered the police officers’ claim that the dogs — bull terrier types or pit bulls — were aggressive. Another witness denied the story that the dogs had attacked a woman earlier, leading to the police report.
“I can tell you for a fact that the dog didn’t attack the woman, it attacked another dog. A little brown dog. Me and another woman came out when we heard what was going on and took the dog away. I was scared we were going to get it, but they didn’t attack me or the woman. I don’t think the woman who owned the dog got attacked by the dogs, but she did get tangled in the lead and fell over,” the witness, who wanted to be referred to as Zee K related to the Mirror.
But Met was steadfast in its claim that the dogs posed a threat to the police officers at the scene. This was why they had to taser its owner and destroy the dogs before the animals could cause further injury.
Nonetheless, the public is in an uproar, and a petition with more than 1 million signatures is calling for the Metropolitan Police to be held criminally accountable for the brutal dog-killing. According to Change.org, who initiated the petition, “In a statement, the Met Police claim the ‘aggressive behaviour of two dogs was of considerable concern and posed a significant threat to them.’ And yet, concrete video evidence all over social media shows these dogs to be under control and on leads with their owner. Yes, these dogs are barking and reacting to the police, but any normal dog would do the same when being approached by multiple armed, vocal people in uniform, surrounding them in such a threatening manner.”
Renowned vet and clinical animal behaviourist Kendal Shepherd has also reviewed the video and made the following remark on VetTimes in support of her recommendation for police training in handling a similar situation: “The way police normally approach the arrest of a suspect cannot be used if a person is accompanied by a dog. They must recognise the dog‑human bond and how their own behaviour can impact upon it. Asking a person to hand over a dog can be akin to taking a child away, so it is not just canine behaviour that must be taken into account, but human as well.”
“From [the] video I have watched, the dogs were relaxed and ‘happy’ to begin with, despite the shouting and being followed,” added Shepherd. “There is no reason they could not have remained so if they and the owner had not been being treated as criminals already and the officers had carried dog treats instead of guns.”
Due to the public outrage, the Independent Office for Police Conduct has announced its decision to conduct an independent investigation on the incident based on the complaints that they have received from witnesses.
Meanwhile, the homeless owner of the two pit bulls made his appearance at the Thames magistrates court in Bow and denied the possession of a dog that was out of control and thereby posed danger to others. What he confessed before the magistrates was his having a dog while disqualified to have such a pet.
This story of a rescue pit bull is almost as sad, but many people around the world are thankful that she is still alive. The puppy’s name is Boo, and she was found on the roadside with a broken jaw and seriously impaired ears. Her critical condition required surgery, and her new foster family did not hesitate to provide her with the veterinary treatment that she needed.
After several days, the family welcomed Boo to her new home. She had to wear a cone and a feeding tube that was attached to her neck. Her humans showered Boo with love and everything else she had missed in life. Her family were also in prayers that the deaf pit bull puppy would survive.
She did! And they didn’t expect her to be full of vigor, running and playing everywhere with the other dogs at home.
And then came Melissa, a friend of her foster family. Upon meeting her, Boo immediately attached herself to Melissa, who’s the owner of a couple of dogs. Though, unfortunately, one of them died a week before Boo was rescued.
Maybe it was the loneliness that they have both experienced in life that drew Melissa and Boo to each other. Boo’s foster family was willing to let go of her, so Boo could have a forever home with a kind-hearted friend they trust, and their door would remain open for another dog who needs rescuing.
In a sense, they are one big family — bound by friendship and selfless love for one another! Maybe UK’s Met police can learn something from this about compassion for animals and the humans who care for them with their whole heart.