MARC CHASE: Cops don't belong in doghouse over husky shootings

2013-07-23T00:00:00Z 2013-07-23T10:10:05Z MARC CHASE: Cops don't belong in doghouse over husky shootingsMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330 nwitimes.com
July 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Maybe Elton John should be re-writing one of his signature songs for a couple of dearly departed souls in Crown Point. For those who don't remember, his famous ballad, "Candle in the Wind," was rewritten upon the 1997 death of England's Princess Diana.

If he can do it for fake royalty, he might as well descend on the region and rewrite the tune for another frivolous purpose: the two coyotes -- er, huskies -- killed last week by Crown Point police.

Don't misunderstand me. I mean no disrespect to the Brits and their silly notion of placing fake royals upon a pedestal. I also mean no disrespect to pet owners -- particularly dog owners. I'm a dog owner of a genuine designer mutt, and my family loves the little guy.

We love him so much that he always goes outside on a leash or a long cable leading into the backyard. It's an issue of responsibility, really.

On the surface, I can understand why the owners of the two huskies in the news last week would be upset their pets were shot dead by police, who had at first mistaken the dogs for large coyotes. I guess I can even understand -- though not agree with -- the feelings that led the owners to organize a candlelight vigil for the huskies this past weekend.

But let's take a look at why the shootings occurred and apply a little logic before we bare our canines at the cops.

Police said they responded to a July 17 complaint from a Crown Point woman, who said her cat had been dragged by the dogs, which she described as "wolves," to a nearby creek bank. The woman also told police the dogs had cornered her husband.

Officers arrived and pepper-sprayed what they first thought were two large, aggressive coyotes, trying to scare them off. But the dogs continued to circle officers and the cat owner. The last card the police believe they had to play was shooting the dogs before the safety of a human was jeopardized.

Keep in mind, these dogs were running around free. They were not on leashes, and they were not wearing collars.

I've seen some pretty outlandish criticism hurled at the officers since the incident occurred.

And about 40 people took to the the Crown Point streets with candles Sunday, remembering the dogs and in some cases criticizing the police for using deadly force against the animals.

I wonder, though, what sort of outcry we would have if police stood by and watched the circling huskies sink their fangs into the cat owner.

It's sad two dogs are dead. No one wants that. But had the cops showed up for a couple of big dogs aggresively circling my dog -- or worse yet, my wife or my children -- I think I would have obliged them to take careful aim and fire.

Investigative Editor Marc Chase can be reached at (219) 662-5330 or marc.chase@nwi.com. The opinions are the writer's.

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