APD launching new dog policy - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD launching new dog policy

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APD has announced a new policy concerning use of force on dogs beginning on July 1. The new policy is in response to the April 14, 2012 shooting of the dog Cisco by APD Officer Thomas Griffin.

Officer Griffin was found to have acted in accordance with the APD's current policy and was cleared of all violations.

According to APD, all new cadets will be trained about every breed of dog and their different demeanors by a designated dog trainer. During the two-hour course, cadets will learn new force options that can be deployed in situations involving dogs or other animals, as well as methods for approaching and retreating from hostile animal situations.

Existing officers will be trained through online courses and daily training techniques.

Under the new policy, if an officer responds to an animal call, the dispatcher must provide the officer with a history of the residence and any information about animals on the premises. Animal Control will also be alerted, and will respond to the scene of the call as well.

In the situation that force is used against a dog or other animal, the officer's supervisor must immediately respond to the scene. Under the current policy officers only need to compose a memo to their supervisor telling them about the situation.

The Austin Police Department's new policy was crafted based on observation of other departments around the country and how they were responding to animal threat situations.

"This is good news overall. APD has made these statements twice before after local high-profile dog shootings, so I am still a bit skeptical. Once I have seen the amended policy I will be much happier," said owner of Cisco, Michael Paxton.

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