Skip to comments.Government Goons Murder Puppies!The drug war goes to the dogs.
Posted on 04/05/2006 12:57:02 PM PDT by JTN
In the course of researching paramilitary drug raids, Ive found some pretty disturbing stuff. There was a case where a SWAT officer stepped on a babys head while looking for drugs in a drop ceiling. There was one where an 11-year-old boy was shot at point-blank range. Police have broken down doors, screamed obscenities, and held innocent people at gunpoint only to discover that what they thought were marijuana plants were really sunflowers, hibiscus, ragweed, tomatoes, or elderberry bushes. (Its happened with all five.)
Yet among hundreds of botched raids, the ones that get me most worked up are the ones where the SWAT officers shoot and kill the family dog.
I have two dogs, which may have something to do with it. But Im not alone. A colleague tells me that when he and other libertarian commentators speak about the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco many people tend to doubt the idea that the government was out of line when it invaded, demolished, and set fire to a home of peaceful and mostly innocent people. But when the speaker mentions that the government also slaughtered two dogs during the siege, eyes light up, the indifferent get angry, and skeptics come around. Puppycide, apparently, goes too far.
One of the most appalling cases occurred in Maricopa County, Arizona, the home of Joe Arpaio, self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America. In 2004 one of Arpaios SWAT teams conducted a bumbling raid in a Phoenix suburb. Among other weapons, it used tear gas and an armored personnel carrier that later rolled down the street and smashed into a car. The operation ended with the targeted home in flames and exactly one suspect in custodyfor outstanding traffic violations.
But for all that, the image that sticks in your head, as described by John Dougherty in the alternative weekly Phoenix New Times, is that of a puppy trying to escape the fire and a SWAT officer chasing him back into the burning building with puffs from a fire extinguisher. The dog burned to death.
In a massive 1998 raid at a San Francisco housing co-op, cops shot a family dog in front of its family, then dragged it outside and shot it again.
When police in Fremont, California, raided the home of medical marijuana patient Robert Filgo, they shot his pet Akita nine times. Filgo himself was never charged.
Last October police in Alabama raided a home on suspicion of marijuana possession, shot and killed both family dogs, then joked about the kill in front of the family. They seized eight grams of marijuana, equal in weight to a ketchup packet.
In January a cop en route to a drug raid in Tampa, Florida, took a short cut across a neighboring lawn and shot the neighbors two pooches on his way. And last May, an officer in Syracuse, New York, squeezed off several shots at a family dog during a drug raid, one of which ricocheted and struck a 13-year-old boy in the leg. The boy was handcuffed at gunpoint at the time.
There was a dog in the ragweed bust I mentioned, too. He got lucky: He was only kicked across the room.
I guess the P.R. lesson here for drug war opponents and civil libertarians is to emphasize the plight of the pooch. Americas law-and-order populace may not be ready to condemn the practice of busting up recreational pot smokers with ostentatiously armed paramilitary police squads, even when the SWAT team periodically breaks into the wrong house or accidentally shoots a kid. I mean, somebody was probably breaking the law, right?
But the dog? That loyal, slobbery, lovable, wide-eyed, fur-lined bag of unconditional love?
Dammit, he deserves better.
Radley Balko is a policy analyst with the Cato Institute.
Please focus your anger for those of us that can't bear to see little puppies hurt, in the right direction...to those horrible thugs that did this - and we'll BOTH win.
For the most part, the war on drugs is a local communities way of receiving extra cash and assets siezed in their raids.
Yea Man! Them cops are always haslin us honest citizens, just because we're cookin up a little meth, or enjoying a few rocks of crack. Why don't they concentrate on all those wild eyed robbers that will shoot a store clerk for $20, instead of picking on us (inhale) honest dudes. Anybody know where I can get $300 quick? I really need it.
Tell you what sparky...drive thru TX, MS, GA, FL, AR, MO with $3000 in cash in your pocket and see if you still have it when you exit the states. If you get pulled over...you won't
Although I'm sure to catch heck for my #18 post. I agree with you. In fact, after the Ruby Ridge incident, I have wondered many times about the act of preimptively shooting someone's dog. If my dog were shot in such a scenario I would consider it an attack on my life (why else kill the dog). If the police were to mistakely raid my house, I knew it was the police as they came in, and they shot my dog, I'd wait until charges had been dropped, reparations made, and then I'd go find the policemen, while he was off duty, and get my self arrested for assault.
I find this whole business of shooting dogs however, to be a completely separate issue from enforcing the laws against illegal drugs.
My face turned purple when I saw the "Penn & Teller's Bullsh!t" episode about the WOD, where this arrogant piece of crap was defending prohibition. What makes him "tough"? Is he a 10th-degree black belt, a Golden Gloves champion, a war hero -- or just a heavily armed government bully?
As for the dogs...I'm torn on who's more deserving of the label "dogs" - the family pets, or the psychotic WOD invaders who break in and kill those pets.
That'll teach you to obey traffic regulations.
Probably because the local crack houses are hardened to the point that you need one to make entry.
Or it could be watching the experience of the LAPD in the Hollywood shootout having officers down and no way to reach them.
No thanks... I love dogs and hate police mistakes and police misuse of force as much as anyone... but this is just an anti-cop hit piece.
How did you know my name was Sparky? I live in Florida, grew up in Missouri (return regularly), and drive through Georgia on a regular basis. I've never had money taken from me by the police. Nor have I been detained for a search.
I do however have to chase crack heads off of my investment properties though, and never work on one anymore without being armed.
A BATF agent testified before Congress that they shot the Branch Davidians' dog and her puppies. This was before the human to human gunfight started.
The MSM decided to ignore this.
You think the actions of the police in the situations described in the article were appropriate?
If crack and meth houses were not always guarded by pits and rots police would not be shooting them. Cops do not like to discharge their firearms as it results in hours of paperwork and potential liability.
Remember this story comes from Slate so you can assume that 90% of it is BS.
Yeah right. What he said is common knowledge. You have evidence to the contrary?
Sorry, make that "Reason" but it the same as Slate.
Um ... No, it doesn't.
I disagree. The article castigates the tactics of killing family dogs during drug raids. It happens so often that I suspect it is part of their training, part of securing the premises. Kill the dogs before they attack you for invading their territory. It's also a great way to shock people in the home you are invading, to cripple them emotionally, and make them more compliant during the "heat of battle" (so-to-speak).
If you are going to say this is an anti-cop piece, then any article highlighting the abuses of police during drug raids is an anti-cop hit piece. This story is not credible? Frankly, with the shift in policing from "keeping the peace" to paramilitarization, it's the police who lack credibility in our so-called free society.
Please add me to the libertarian list. Thanks!
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