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Milwaukee cops involved in dog deaths fall in past decade

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Animals are the most likely to be killed by U.S. police officers -- and dog advocates are putting out a new series of videos to reduce quick shooting decisions based on fear.

Milwaukee is one of the few cities where dog deaths by officers are tallied. That was after a lawsuit accusing officers of killing a woman's dog in 2004 while looking for an unrelated man with a pit bull.

The city found that an average of 48 dogs a year were killed by Milwaukee Police from 2000 through '08. But after officers received training, the number of deaths dropped.  

They fell to 28 in 2012, but an official of the National Canine Research Council says that's still too many.

Her group took part in a study in 2011 which resulted in new videos that give police a better understanding of relationships with dogs. Connecticut dog behaviorist Brian Kilcommons is featured in the videos, which show officers how to interpret dogs' body language and other traits -- and to detect warning signs of an aggressive dog before deciding to use force.  

Rich Roberts of the International Union of Police Associations says the videos are good on the job training that can be shown at short daily police briefings. He said that in hostile situations, officers are better off the more they know about a dog.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)