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Aggressive or Dangerous Dogs

On May 18, 2015, the San Diego County Grand Jury released a report including its findings on how law enforcement agencies in the county handle aggressive and dangerous dogs during police operations.  The report recommended that all law enforcement agencies educate the public about the department’s plan to handle an aggressive or dangerous dog during a police operation.  

Here are some facts:

  • Any person owning or having custody or control of a dog must at all times prevent the dog from attacking, biting, or injuring any person engaged in a lawful act, and from damaging or interfering with the lawful use of property (SDCC Section 62.669.1) 
  • As listed in the report, in the five years prior to May 19, 2015 the City of Carlsbad Police Department had not shot or injured a dog as a result of a police operation.
  • The City of Carlsbad Police Department includes in its policy manual a section that informs officers how they are expected to handle aggressive or dangerous dogs.
  • When the City of Carlsbad Police Department conducts an operation and has sufficient advanced notice that a dog might be present, officers are to include a reasonable contingency plan for dealing with an aggressive or dangerous dog.  The plan generally includes:
    • A number of options available in the event an officer encounters an aggressive or dangerous dog.  The plan can include options like pepper spray, a TASER device, fire extinguishers or including a County Animal Control Officer in the operation.
    • Officer instruction to use the best control and containment method for the evolving situation.
    • The goal to preserve the public’s safety, ensure the officer’s safety and to do the least amount of harm while controlling the situation.
    • The consideration to shoot an aggressive or dangerous as a last resort. 

Review the Grand Jury Report “Officer Involved Shootings of Aggressive Dogs