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Police shoot dog during a traffic stop.

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COOKEVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- Police video released Wednesday showed a North Carolina family kneeling and handcuffed, who shrieked as officers killed their dog -- which appeared to be playfully wagging its tail -- with a shotgun during a traffic stop.

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The video from a cruiser's "dash-cam" is now available as a link from another copy of the story here, overlaid with the TV station's commentary.

After watching it I'm inclined to believe that the officer fired without cause -- the dog had only just gotten out of the car before he shot it and didn't appear to be threatening him in any way although the officer claims otherwise. In a lot of ways I feel sorry for the officer at the center of this. I think on a certain level that he honestly did believe the dog was about to attack him. When officers are in stressful situations they're just like the rest of us -- they're on edge, they're nervous, they don't know what's about to happen and sometimes react to a perceived threat before getting a chance to fully evaluate things. They're trained for circumstances where they only have a split second to react if they want to save their lives. Sometimes when the adrenaline is pounding it's possible for the training to work too efficiently.

That being said I think he should have admitted he reacted to a situation that wasn't how it appeared, rather than trying to cover for himself by continuing to assert the dog was in fact threatening him.

Further updates indicate the officer has been put on administrative duty until the investigation is completed.

"We use them for divine retribution."

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When officers are in stressful situations they're just like the rest of us -- they're on edge, they're nervous, they don't know what's about to happen and sometimes react to a perceived threat before getting a chance to fully evaluate things.

Yes, but stressful situations in general tend to reveal, in those exposed to potential danger, the degree of experience as well as the severity of dumb-assedness involved.
To be fair, carjacking deserves a radical response, but most cops are ill-equipped, not trained, and/or unwilling to deal with uncooperative animals. In this case, the dumbass had a shotgun in his hands when the pooch came wagging up to him. When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

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If he had just closed the damned car door like the owners had pleaded with him to do, then this wouldn't have happened.

And really, a carjacking done by a husband, wife and teenage son, with their two dogs? I don't know about the rest of yall, but I think the officer in question needs to be pulled from duty all together and put into a job that doesn't require critical thinking, perhaps

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Having viewed the dashcam recording I have to conclude that the officer demonstrated exceedingly poor judgement.
I do agree with Feren, and I understand how in the heat of the moment one might consider such a situation to be tenuous, but if he honestly felt that dog to be a threat then he is not equipped for the rigors of his job - or at least isn't anymore.

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Having also viewed the dashcam video (which is really bad quality now) I have to say that IMHO there were judgement mistakes made all over the place in procedure. First, what officer in his right mind when hearing a "Dog" is involved would do anything other than minimizing the risks involved? And if he isn't in his right mind... what the heck is he doing in a car stop without backup, another backup, and a third backup? (Oh yeah, right, new years night and no one else to cover the evening. Wanna bet who had the "least time in on the job?") It appears, from what I know of police procedures, that someone didn't have the proper preparation and was dealing with a situation -untrained.- Second, I know of *many* cases where one person is taken at-a-time all the way to the back of the patrol car while the others wait in the car - under the watch of another officer. Assessments of threat? When did that happen? Third, what cop or other law enforcement individual in their right mind assumes a car jacking on the basis of a wallet? (That may be one of a set of facts that the media left out in order to sensationalize the story, but it sure seems fishy to me.) Still, these are supposed to be professionally trained officers of the peace. Car Jacking or not, this appears to be a clear use of some bad judgement calls by someone who appears to have been covering on a holiday. Excessive force? Maybe, maybe not. That might be a judgement call given incidents with vicious pitbulls and this one being a bull-dog/boxer mix. I give the officer a nod on that, but it doesn't appear like a *GOOD* shooting to me!
Lesson: Folks, when fido is in the car, put him in a travel carrier when driving somewhere... or have a leash on him and tie it down when pulled over by the cops. (Three people in the car, and no one thought of this either? Dumb and dumber come to mind.) And better yet, avoid Tennesse completely until this yutz is made an example of. He may not deserve to loose his badge, but he sure seems to need to go and work for the ASPCA for awhile cleaning dog cages imho.

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It's a good thing noone farted, otherwise everyone would have died while the stupid bastard called "shots fired, we have shots fired" over his radio.

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