Like gruesome villains in a horror story, police are carrying dangerous weapons into homes and performing bloody executions of family pets. Children often witnesses the terrible act, sometimes splattered with blood, always scarred and filled with distrust for those who claim to “serve and protect.”
The excuse that police usually give is that the dog attacked first. But the stories told by those on the other side of the barrel ? those whose homes have been raided by police ? are somewhat different.
James McMillan of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was asleep when police kicked in his door on June 5. According to McMillan, he had 8 grams of pot and a beer cap with some resin in it. He also had a dog, well-known by the community as a friendly and unaggressive pet.
“I called her ‘Squirt’ because if you raised your voice around her she would get nervous and squirt on the floor,” remembers James McMillan. “You didn’t even have to be yelling at her. Apparently she was abused before I got her.”
McMillan says that he cooperated with police to contain the dog at their request.
“They said ‘put the dog in the bedroom’ and I went into the bedroom with the dog by the scruff of the neck,” McMillan recalls. “The bedroom has a sliding door. I closed it to get dressed, but they shoved the door open and pulled me out. I caught my shoulder on the door and brought the door down. Then I hit the floor, and I heard ‘I’ll take care of that.’ Then I heard a ‘bang’.”
McMillan’s dog jumped up on his bed and died on top of the Canadian flag, which hung from the window and draped down and over his bed’s covers. A puddle of blood leaked from McMillan’s best friend, through the flag and into the mattress.
“I received a vicious kick to the ribs when I said, ‘you asshole you shot my dog!’ and was told to ‘shut up,'” McMillan says. “I have a bruise the size of a foot below the floating rib. It was a well-aimed kick to the liver.”
Later, the media repeated the police claim that the McMillan family pet was a “vicious attack dog” and that McMillan had been charged with trafficking, although the charge was actually possession.
Across North America, people subjected to marijuana raids have had experiences frighteningly similar to McMillan’s. Dogs who are contained or who are no threat to police are the repeated targets of police violence.
On January 3, police in Abbotsford, BC, shot a pet dog to death during a pot-raid on a home where 28 children were celebrating a birthday party. The dog was shot in front of the children, so close that blood spattered onto some of them (see CC#17). Police later claimed that they found illegal weapons and hard drugs on the premises, although no weapons-related charges were ever laid, and all other charges against the dog’s owner were eventually dropped in court.
In Kansas City, on July 6, police performed a marijuana raid on a house with a family dog chained to the front porch. Police shot the dog, wounding it. While a female resident answered the door, police shot the chained dog again, and the bullet ricocheted, striking the woman in the leg. Police found two more contained dogs in the basement and shot them dead as well.
According to police spokesperson Russ Dykstra, the execution of the dogs was designed to ensure “the safety of human life.” Yet ricocheting bullets were clearly not safe for the woman answering the door, nor for the three and eleven-year-old girls who were also in the house.
Dykstra also claimed that police found “large amounts of crack cocaine and marijuana” during the raid. Yet such police claims are common after the use of unnecessary violence. The media seldom checks the story, and so the public accepts the bloody horror inflicted upon their neighbours.
Dykstra’s spin-doctored tale, echoed by police across North America, is an unconvincing disguise for the dirty reality of police violence. Police might use a tranquilizer gun, mace or even a net to detain a dog. Instead, they choose to use weapons that are designed to kill, endangering human life and traumatizing families with the deaths of their most vulnerable members? their pets.
? James McMillan: (204) 633-8169