Animal advocates are urging Americans to be more proactive when it comes to animal welfare, with the Humane Society of the United States calling for police officers to use deadly force when necessary to protect animals.
The group, which is also an animal protection organization, is urging Americans, including police officers, to follow the law when responding to calls of animal cruelty and calls of abuse, especially when a law enforcement officer is acting in the course of his or her official duties.
“The police department needs to understand that this is the job, and we are not going to put our lives on the line to protect these animals,” said Jessica Hovland, the organization’s executive director.
“The police officer who responds to an animal cruelty call must be fully trained in how to deescalate the situation.
Officers who fail to respond appropriately can be guilty of civil rights violations.”
Hovland noted that police officers who have used force in the past have faced significant consequences.
“These officers are not only trained in the use of deadly force, but also in the necessity of deescalating situations when responding, if necessary, to an emergency situation,” she said.
“While many officers use their own resources to de-escalate situations when interacting with the public, the fact remains that the vast majority of officers are trained to use lethal force when dealing with people who use dangerous or illegal tactics.”HVSS also urges the police department to adopt a policy requiring officers to wear body cameras during their work shifts.
“Body cameras are a critical tool that will give citizens and the public at large a better understanding of police officers and their use of force, as well as their response times to calls for service,” Hovlson said.
“In addition, body cameras will help police departments better identify officers who are in dangerous situations or who use abusive or intimidating language to get their way.
The use of body cameras by police officers will also help them identify other incidents of police misconduct, and help them develop better training and policies.”
While HovLsson pointed out that the group believes in a strong and independent police force, she said, “there are too many police officers out there who don’t care about animals.”HIVSS has been working on animal welfare reforms for more than a decade and has worked to reduce police violence and animal cruelty.
In addition to the organization, HVSS is also a member of the Humane League of Greater Cleveland, a national organization of animal welfare organizations.