The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (in Florida) will be implementing a policy that requires deputies who adopt their retired dogs to have them euthanized by a drug injection.
This policy change came after the shooting of Kozar, a police dog who served on the force for about seven years. His owner, an officer on the force, shot and killed the 13-year-old dog because he was sick. Deputy Tom Willcox, who grew up on a farm, thought that shooting a sick dog was an acceptable way of putting Kozar down.
The shooting has caused a stir among other K-9 officers and animal advocates. They said shooting the dog was not justified and this showed that Willcox had bad judgment as a dog handler.
“I am absolutely just appalled by it. Whether somebody wants to say there is no criminal violation, it is ethically and morally wrong,” said Pepe Peruyero, owner of J&K Canine Academy. “This is a dog that dedicated seven years of its life to the community. It is incumbent on that deputy that when the time comes to euthanize that dog, to do it in a manner which is dignified. I’ve talked to K-9 handlers and trainers from coast to coast since this thing happened and not one can even fathom doing this.”
Sheriff Sadie Darnell said Willcox put padding on his arm that is used in police dog training “because he wanted Kozar’s last memory to be one of doing what he loved and thrived on.”
The policy of euthanizing dogs is in effect now, and numerous local veterinary clinics have agreed to euthanize retired police dogs for free.
Willcox will not be charged as it is acceptable to euthanize a dog by shooting it and that he did not intend to commit a crime. He has since returned to the force.
Joy Drawdy,an animal rights activist, said this case should have been investigated as an animal cruelty case.
Drawdy added, “Shooting a dog is not humane euthanasia. This guy didn’t know that? It’s an unnecessary risk. If you miss, it can be a very horrible, painful death. There is no reason to take that chance.”
Source: The Gainesville Sun