This week Crawford County, Georgia Police killed a couple's dog, forced them to decapitate it and then take the severed head to the local Health department. Police were concerned the dog, named Big Boy, had rabies.
Rabies is a disease that infects 1 to 3 human beings in the US (out of over 300 million) a year. Cases of rabies among Domestic Animals is likewise vanishingly rare - 420 confirmed cases out of a domestic population that includes tens of millions of dogs, cats and livestock. Shooting a non-stray dog in the US under the pretense it has rabies is roughly as reasonable as shooting a teenager in the US under the pretence her acne could have been small pox.
Officers shot the dog immediately upon stepping onto the owner's property. Three children live at this property. Puppycide Database Project has not yet confirmed whether those children were on the property at the time of the shooting. Of course, the police officer who opened fire on the dog could not have known whether those children were present, either.
Puppycide Database Project has found that children are immediately present or in the line of fire in over 20% of police shootings of dogs for which we have records.
Since the inception of Puppycide Database Project, we have recorded thousands of acts of extreme violence committed by police toward domestic animals, most of which was reported publicly. There have been multi-million dollar settlements over police shootings of dogs. Legislation mandating animal training has been passed in states across the country.
To date, we have found no evidence that these efforts have resulted in any statistically significant reduction in the rate at which law enforcement kill domestic animals.