Chokepoles are one of the most misused tools in our broken animal shelter system, thus my chosen moniker for the things. While they have the potential to be used safely in rare instances when a regular leash won’t work, too many ACOs seem to use them instead of leashes and sometimes, as torture devices. Because of the widespread misuse of chokepoles, I am generally opposed to their use, especially by anyone not trained in how and when to use them humanely and safely.
On May 5, 2014, the Danville police department in VA says it responded to a report of a loose dog who had nipped at a person’s pants leg. The officer cornered the border collie mix and called AC for assistance. When the ACO arrived, she used a chokepole on the dog, who had been barking. It sounds like the cornered dog became frightened at having a metal noose tightened around his neck and began biting at the chokepole.
Rather than defusing the situation at hand – dog freaking out on a chokepole – the police officer then put a second chokepole on the dog. The pair chokepoled “the struggling dog up the ramp and into the cage on the truck” where he collapsed and died while still ensnared in both nooses. A veterinarian performed a necropsy and determined the dog “died of strangulation due to the combination of the pressure of the catchpoles and the confined space of the cage that restricted the air flow in the dog’s trachea and the blood flow to the dog’s brain.”
The dog was named Broody. He was 7 years old, in good health and loved by owners Beth and Edward Warren. The owners are heartbroken:
“I just didn’t know why he had to go like that,” said Edward Warren.
The Danville police department stands by its use of chokepoles and intends to continue using them. Because tasers might kill loose dogs. And those are the only two tools in the toolkit.
Danville Police apologize but say they did everything that they’re trained to do.
See, that’s your problem right there.
And I hate to have to resort to the A word but where is the accountability? Public servants paid by taxpayers strangled a family’s pet to death. Because he was loose and barking. Any charges forthcoming? Suspensions? Reprimands? Sort of stern glances?
The Danville Area Humane Society is going to give the police department some tips on basic chokepole use. Yay for a day late and a dollar short. How about training them how to catch scared dogs without use of a chokepole (or taser)? Because that is an actual thing, too.
(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)