Law Enforcement Officers Required to Take Training for Dog Encounters

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New training for Colorado law enforcement in the aftermath of deadly dog shootings will be a requirement under a bill signed into law.

The measure requires sheriff and police departments to offer three hours of online training on how to recognize dog behaviors and employ nonlethal methods to control the animals. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill Monday morning at the Denver animal shelter.

"Personally I think it's a great idea to keep themselves safe and probably keep the dogs safe too," said Jacie, a dog owner from Colorado Springs.

Dog owners who spoke to 11 News love their pets and respect the job officers have to do. Most said extra training sounds like a good plan.

"For as many dogs we have I don't have a problem with it, but putting more burdens on police is a different issue," said Eric, a dog owner. "Knowledge is always good."

Legislators introduced the proposal because of high-profile cases of questionable dog shootings during the last few years.

11 News asked local police departments about the extra training. All agreed the new training will be implemented. Pueblo police said officers already try to find a non-lethal solution to cases involving dogs.

"Our policy pretty much states that we have to take precautions ahead of time to neutralize that dog in some way to get it out of the way as opposed to just shooting it," said Sgt. Eric Gonzales.

Law enforcement offered guidance on the bill, which has exemptions for officers to exercise discretion during calls, and take into account their safety and the safety of others when dealing with dogs.

Hickenlooper says the idea is to keep officers and animals safe.

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