The city has some of the highest rates of dog shootings by police, and lawsuits are costing the city thousands of dollars. But Assistant Chief James White defended the killing of dogs, saying they are an unfortunate causality of routine drug raids.
"This isn't Fluffy the family pet in many instances," White told WDIV. "Door comes off the hinges. There's pandemonium. People are running. Perpetrator, in many instances, has a weapon himself, can start shooting. Sometimes the dog is used as a tactic to get the advantage over the officers, and I just don't think it would be acceptable to an officer to put their life at risk to try to stop a dog from attacking them during a drug raid."
However, lawsuits against the city argue in many cases the shootings are completely unnecessary. In one case, dashcam footage shows police shoot a dog that was chained to the side of a house. Its owner was not part of the raid.
Another suit accuses officers of shooting a dog through a bathroom door during a raid on a house where squatters were selling marijuana. The city recently filed a motion to appeal, arguing that unlicensed dogs are contraband and not protected by the Fourth Amendment.
Watch the WDIV segment below: