Police Shooting of Dog in Pacific Beach Leads to Petition Calling for Better Animal Training for Cops

by on March 20, 2015 · 37 comments

in California, Culture, Life Events, Media, Ocean Beach

Burberry dog killed SDPD 3-15-15

Anderson and Burberry during better days.

The recent fatal shooting of a “Burberry”, a dog in Pacific Beach by San Diego police officers on Sunday, March 15th has led to an outcry against current police practices in dealing with pet animals.  Thousands of San Diegans and people elsewhere have signed the petition demanding changes for better animal training for law enforcement in San Diego and elsewhere after Anderson’s pit bull was killed.

Addressed to Mayor Faulconer, at this writing, nearly 18,000 people have “liked” the  “Justice for Burberry” facebook page, and nearly 22,600 have signed the petition at Change.org .

Here’s the video of the incident between 2 police officers, Burberry and his owner – obtained by HuffPost:


Here is the text from the Petition:

 Please provide SDPD and all law enforcement across America with the same or similar training to The Colorado Dog Protection Act. Training will teach law enforcement to read a dog’s body language/animal behaviors to better understand them and differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, as well as to employ non-lethal means whenever possible.

It’s estimated that about 70-80 million dogs are owned in America. Approximately 37-47% of households in the United States have a dog. As a species, dogs have become so domesticated that most of them would not be able survive in the wilderness alone. As a result of being domesticated over hundreds of years, dogs have learned to react and understand human body language. They have even learned to look us in the eye- something we thought was unique only to humans. In return, we as humans have learned animal behaviors and most of us can determine if a dog is hostile or friendly.

Why are FedEx and UPS employees required to undergo animal training courses, but law enforcement is not? Both FedEx and UPS drivers face many more encounters with barking, charging, scared, and yes- even aggressive dogs than law enforcement is and are able to successfully deliver mail unharmed and without the use of lethal weapons. As stated above, many Americans have pets in their families. Yet why is it that so few police officers know how to react when they encounter an animal, resorting to the use deadly force? It needs to stop.

On March 15, 2015, an officer from SDPD shot and killed a beloved family pet, named Burberry. It all started when police received a call for a domestic disturbance around 5:30 a.m. Burberry began barking, like any normal does when banging on the door occurs. Once Burberry was outside, he stopped barking. Surveillance footage showed one officer bent down and petted the pitbull, then the second officer reacted to seeing the dog. The second officer began to yell and screamed at Burberry to get inside, which startled the dog. The officer proceeded to draw his weapon and shot Burberry in the head. This unnecessary action killed the dog and put others in the area at risk. The police knocked on the wrong door for the domestic disturbance call- no charges were filed.

Burberry was both very loved and very well known to the community. His docile demeanor helped Ian deal with the loss of his father. He was even a registered service dog who worked along side children with down syndrome. Unfortunately, hundreds of tragic cases similar to this one have been reported across America.

Why is is that some officers feel like a barking, scared, or charging dog is such an extreme life encounter where they need to use a lethal weapon? A scenario so dangerous that officers feel entitled and appropriate to open fire in a residential neighborhood, to wound a dog while putting civilians at risk? Aside from being absolutely unnecessary and dangerous, it is simply the lack of proper training in how to deal with dogs.

States such as Colorado have passed bills pertaining to this same issue. A law titled The Colorado Dog Protection Act, taking place this year (2015), mandates training in dog encounters and changes in procedure for all Colorado police officers to avoid these tragedies. “Specifically this statute aims to assist in training officers to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, as well as to employ non-lethal means whenever possible” (animallaw.info, 2014).

Please sign this petition in support to raise awareness in hopes of SDPD and law enforcement across America in implementing animal training courses, similar to the one in Colorado. The Colorado Dog Protection Act should be a required course for all law enforcement persons so another tragic story such as Burberry’s does not happen again.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

John March 20, 2015 at 5:38 pm

If your dog is really good, restrain it, when outside. If the dog was so scared, why was it running towards the officer? It should run away. You try to do the same thing to the officer, he would have shot you too.


Bill Fortune March 22, 2015 at 5:26 pm

It’s ignorant people like you that need to be restrained or put in a cage.
The dog greeted the first officer and after the officer acknowledged the dog it went to see the second officer. That second idiot started yelling so the dog started barking. Then the idiot started to back away, so the dog followed. Note that the dog did not jump on or bite the idiot. But born killers will use any excuse to kill any human or animal.
Come into my yard without being on a leash and I will kill you.


Bill Fortune March 20, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Too many cops, too many are bullies and too many are not capable of being trained.
People will give all their money to the government and expect the government to take care of them so people got what they asked for.
In the last 30 – 50 years you were called a mechanic if you could hold a wrench or a carpenter if you could hold a hammer or an engineer if you could add 2+2 to make 5.
It appeared that the dog got excited and thought that the cop wanted to play when he started yelling. The dog could be trained but the cop can’t.


Bill Fortune March 20, 2015 at 8:37 pm

They say that military people are trained killers, but it’s obvious that some cops are born killers.


Goatskull March 23, 2015 at 9:16 am
Emm Schur March 21, 2015 at 2:47 am

Stop killing people’s pets!


wally March 21, 2015 at 8:35 am

I would have downed that thing in a heat beat too. Take care of your pets or lose them.


Bill Fortune March 22, 2015 at 5:32 pm

It’s people like you that Obama needs to send to “negotiate” with ISIS.
If I could find any way to put you down I would; 12 feet under.


Pamela Sudul March 21, 2015 at 8:42 am

Unnecessary violence against innocent animals should never be tolerated by citizens or LEO offenders. Regardless of your position, it is a total disregard for life.


Morgan March 21, 2015 at 10:25 am

This story honestly made me sick to my stomach…I hope that the dog gets justice and that cops get better training in the future!


Bill Fortune March 22, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Too many cops are born killers, they can’t be trained. They need to be sent to visit ISIS.


Shannon Stevens March 21, 2015 at 10:34 am

Training is a must. I feel so sorry for Burburry’s family. What an unnecessary crime!


Jacqueline Garden March 21, 2015 at 10:44 am

More training needed.


Lexy Scott March 21, 2015 at 12:40 pm

This police officer needs to be held accountable! That was not an appropriate reaction to a family member nor an appropriate use of force. My heart goes out to the family for this tragic loss of a beloved pet.


Suzanne Gilbert March 21, 2015 at 1:07 pm

The unnecessary murder of innocent pets had to stop!


Judith Flanagan March 21, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Dogs are members of the family and should be treated as such.


Fran March 21, 2015 at 2:58 pm

justice for Burberry


mike March 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

I agree with this article. I also agree that DOG OWNERS NEED TO KEEP CONTROL OF THEIR DOGS. If the police are nearby and your dog is not on a leash, keep it far away from the cops. Keep your hand on its collar. Don’t open the door until the dog is secured by leash or a locked door. Assume that the cops will shoot dogs and people.


Kim Meredith March 22, 2015 at 1:52 am

Disgusted with the police on this stance


Tracey Lane March 22, 2015 at 9:13 am

How very sad that a stunning dog has lost its life. Police officers definitely need to be trained in how to deal with animals.


Rufus March 23, 2015 at 6:42 am

When a pit bull injures or kills a person, people call for outlawing of the dog breed.

But when a pit bull goes after a cop and is killed in the process, people condemn the cop.

People can be so inconsistent.


Bill Fortune March 23, 2015 at 7:05 am

If you looked closely at the video, the dog DID NOT “go after” the cope in an aggressive way ! The cop started yelling so the dog started barking. So the cop should have been shot for being AGITATED. Any person or animal that is AGITATED gets shot. The cop was AGITATED, not the dog.
And besides, the cops were trespassing (they were at the wrong house) so they should have been shot.
More than likely some woman called 911 and one of the cops lost his mind trying to get to her to “protect” her ; in that attempt they are ready to kill any one or anything that gets in their way. It’s a problem most males have with the way their brains are wired.
Fathers United for Equal Justice


Christo March 23, 2015 at 7:30 am

The dog’s owner had a responsibility to maintain control of his animal. He failed to do so.


Bill Fortune March 23, 2015 at 9:00 am

The cops had the first responsibility to go to the correct house ! Therefore they were out of control and one was agitated, so they should have been shot.


Christo March 23, 2015 at 10:20 am

Your distortion of facts and lack of logic are not helping your cause.

Now you are advocating the murder of Police Officers.


Bill Fortune March 23, 2015 at 3:11 pm

And what FACTS have I distorted ???
I know of no animal that has the proclivity to violence that comes close to that of the two legged animal they call humans. Except for those dogs that have rabies they usually have to be trained or abused to be violent. (My female pit bull was upset for hours after a cop yelled at her as she, wagging her tail, went toward the cop as she and the other pit bull do, to meet and greet. Once they see that the two legged animal is friendly they go about their business of taking in the smells in the area)
It is apparent is that too many of those that have a tendency to be violent or a need to control become cops. We need to put them on a leash or have them take a Personality Inventory. Those who have violent tendencies or are angry need to be sent to the military and into combat.
There is a larger problem. The police are part of the government and are paid as government employees. As we have seen throughout history those that have a loyalty to the establishment are easily used by the controlling class (like the Officials) against the people (“follow the money”). This is why We The People have to keep the police from becoming too powerful by whatever means necessary.


Christo March 23, 2015 at 3:46 pm

The fact is the animal was not under control of it’s owner. The animal jumped on the Police Officer multiple times while he backed away.

In a similar manner, you have threatened 2 individuals on this board with violence and advocated the murder of Police officers.


Bill Fortune March 23, 2015 at 5:57 pm

Jumping is not an act of violence ! I will have to check to see if the dog did in fact bite the authority.

I have to conclude that you are one of those that tend to look for an excuse to kill. and maybe a control freak. And who are you to control me or anyone else ?

And I find that I may have to defend myself against those prone to violence. I have been threatened by a man with a gun (I call them mussel – heads) on a public road for walking the dogs. Another demanded that I not allow the dogs to RUN; walk only !
Looks like another civil war has begun. The government against the people and the Libs against corporations and Republicans. And the Conservatives so agitated that they are ready to kill. Lack of meaningful work, high taxes and the destruction of the traditional family are the root causes.


Goatskull March 23, 2015 at 6:53 pm

OMG Dude, you are priceless.


Rufus March 23, 2015 at 7:56 am

Ms. Fortune, your ten minutes is up. Somebody else needs to use the library’s computer.


Bill Fortune March 23, 2015 at 8:37 am

Funny Ruf us. The taxpayers put enough computers in the Library so no one has to wait in line. Just make sure you pay your taxes or just donate to the government. Hillary Clinton says that people have more than they need, so I guess that means that we can raise taxes on people.


Frank Gormlie March 23, 2015 at 9:01 am

Monday 9am: 29,917 have signed the petition.


rick callejon March 23, 2015 at 9:07 am

There, but for fortune, go you and I—–Phil Ochs


Geoff Page March 23, 2015 at 10:32 am

Phil Ochs! So great to see some of us haven’t forgotten this terrific talent, thanks for the memories Rick.


Bill Fortune March 23, 2015 at 9:26 am

The operative word that police uses is AGITATED; an excuse to kill.


Dan Shay March 24, 2015 at 5:26 pm

Condolences to the owner. Cesar Millan would probably say yes, the dog should have been restrained before opening the door and should not have been allowed to rush past the owner. But its was 5 am, perhaps the owner was “sleepy”. Cesar would probably also say the first cop acted the right way, not backing away or yelling, exuding confidence – I think Cesar calls it “calm and assertive”. However the 2nd cop did everything wrong – backing away, yelling, totally exacerbated the situation and made things much much worse. I know many people feel strongly that pit bulls are lovable family pets, but they do intimidate some people – like the second cop. Cops shoot when they feel threatened – look at the countless examples around the country including Mike Brown in Ferguson (I went to that crime scene by the way). Is it right? No way, not at all. Do they need training – yes, certainly. I agree that if the USPS, FedEx and UPS can deal with dogs – why cant cops? How about using pepper spray or even a taser if they feel threatened? It seems like some cops are just dying to use their weapons. Something less lethal is more in order for sure.


Bully babe August 28, 2015 at 4:58 pm

I’m getting my petition submitted to train people into becoming responsible dog owners.
Every other Pit Bull owner (myself being one) I know are always trying to prove how wonderful and well behaved their dogs are. To show society that these dogs aren’t so deserving of the bad rap that the media has portrayed of them.
Come on folks, it is what it is. I worked for animal control for 10 years, have been the proud owner of my bully’s, but there is still an inherent sense of caution &/or fear when confronted face to face with these animals.
I know that I’ve had my share of near death panic attacks when some strange pit has run up on me or just even won’t leave me alone. And before all of you start, let me also say that it’s any breed, not just pit bulls. But you don’t really ever read the article or see on the news about someone’s Golden or Pomeranian mauling the next door neighbor. Not saying it’s never happened, just saying the odds aren’t quite the same.
You want to do this breed a favor? Stop blaming the cops, put your dog on a leash and show that animal’s obedience to you, the handler…


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