London Police Shoot Civilian Pets to Death as Britain’s Animal Welfare Standards Fade

The World Dog Alliance (WDA) condemned a police officer shooting two pet dogs to death in London on 7 May 2023.

Police explained that one of the dogs had attacked a woman, and that officers who arrived at the scene found a man dragging two dogs and refusing to be investigated, during which the dogs attacked the officer, who had no choice but to shoot to protect himself and his colleagues.

The WDA cannot agree with the police’s explanation. Firstly, the police threatened the man with a gun and the dogs reacted naturally to protect their owner. If the police had handled the case properly, the dog would never have committed what the police call an ‘aggressive threat’. This shows that the police were the ones who made the situation worse.

The WDA has the following three demands.

1. An apology from the police and a punishment on the police officer

The WDA cannot agree that police officers were seriously threatened and that the officer “chose” to shoot the dogs to death, not “were forced” to do so. The police must make a public apology and punish the officer who fired the shot as a criminal offence.

2. Inclusion of dog training in basic police programme

From the footage of the incident, it is clear that police officers on the scene failed to control the dogs and judge their behaviour and reactions. The WDA recommends that dog training be incorporated into basic police programmes so that police officers can learn dog handling skills and how to observe dog behaviour, which allows them to be more confident in handling dog cases, both for their own protection and for the safety of their dogs.

3. Prohibition on lethal weapons against dogs and cats in law enforcement 

The WDA believes that law enforcement officers have many tools to control dogs, such as tranquilliser guns, stun guns, shields… Police officers can also wear protective clothing to protect their lives when dealing with dogs. Dogs and cats are the most loyal of human companions and, if properly trained, pose no threat to humans at all, let alone attack them. The right to life of dogs and cats must be legally protected in the UK by legislation that prohibits law enforcement officers from using lethal weapons against dogs and cats.

‘The police officers could have handled the dog in a number of ways, but they chose the most stupid and cruel one,’ said Genlin, founder of the WDA, ‘It’s disappointing that this happened in broad daylight, in the world’s number one animal-friendly country!’

The WDA has been campaigning for the rights of dogs and cats in the UK since 2018, including an explicit legislation to ban dog and cat meat and the International Agreement to Prohibit the Eating of Dogs and Cats, and over the years has seen the hypocrisy of the UK as an animal welfare leader. The WDA is deeply concerned about the deteriorating standards of animal protection in the UK. The UK government should humble itself and take a serious look at its mistakes and failures, otherwise the world will no longer recognise it as the leader in animal welfare.