The San Diego Police Department's shooting of a 6-year-old pit bull named Burberry in Pacific Beach early Sunday morning has thousands of people demanding increased animal training for law enforcement in San Diego and elsewhere.
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More than 17,000 people so far have demanded "Justice For Burberry" on Facebook by liking a page with that name, and 20,000-plus people have signed a Change petition directed at San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other politicians to teach officers about animals across the country.
The petition, posted Monday by a woman from Tempe, Ariz., eclipsed 10,000 signatures Thursday and shows no sign of losing momentum as stories pop up across the country and pond. Both the Facebook and Change pages have twice as many supporters as they did late Wednesday afternoon.
Police Lt. Scott Wahl told U-T San Diego Wednesday that SDPD does offer dog training, but he was not clear on the extent of the training. It's unclear what training the two officers involved in this incident had.
"We understand the depth of emotion involved in this situation," Wahl said. "The preservation of life is our top priority and this includes the lives of animals. As this is being investigated as an officer-involved shooting, a thorough investigation is under way to ensure proper procedures were followed."
Police told U-T San Diego they responded to a report of domestic violence in the area of Felspar Street and Garnet Avenue at about 5:15 a.m. Sunday and were pointed by a resident to a home on Garnet near Bayard Street, where a dog ran past the owner who was trying to keep him inside as the police addressed him. Police say the shooting occurred within two minutes of the officers' arrival.
U-T San Diego's news headline read, "SDPD calls fatal dog shooting 'last resort.'" Other headlines have focused on dog owner Ian Anderson's heartache.
NBC San Diego: Man Heartbroken After SDPD Kills His Dog
Huffington Post: Man's 'World Destroyed' After San Diego Cop Kills Burberry The Service Dog
The Huffington Post obtained video of the incident. It shows two officers approaching Anderson's house and the first officer appears to put his hand up to calm or pet the dog as it emerges. The dog then approaches the second officer, who backs up quickly, and moves off camera before the shooting. Anderson told the Huffington Post the second officer "yelled" at the dog to "get aside."
Anderson has channeled his grief into a cause as the likes mount on "Justice For Burberry." One post reads: "There's no reason you had to go so soon. All we want in this world is to make it a better place, and I am going to make sure I do so in your honor. Rest easy Burberry, I'd give anything for a kiss from you today."
Hailey Orsini said in her Change petition she wants all law enforcement to follow training protocols laid out in the Colorado Dog Protection Act. She wrote: "Training will teach law enforcement to read a dog's body language/animal behaviors to better understand them and differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, as well as to employ non-lethal means whenever possible." On the Change petition, outrage is being expressed in San Diego...