The Metropolitan Police Force is currently the subject of strong criticism and outrage following their actions in East London on May 7th, Sunday. A man was tasered and his two dogs were shot dead on Limehouse Cut, and many locals and social media users have called out the police force for the inhumane treatment of the animals and for making the area feel unsafe.
According to reports, the police force had received a call about a woman being attacked by a dog on Sunday evening. Six officers were dispatched to the scene to resolve the issue. Upon arriving, they encountered a man walking his two dogs, and attempted to persuade him to surrender them.
In a video of the event that has since gone viral, the man can be seen holding his two dogs, who were clearly barking in distress, whilst surrounded by six police officers armed with animal catcher poles, a riot shield and guns. In the video, the dogs are calmed down momentarily by their owner, but when the police begin to shout and escalate the situation, the dogs became agitated again, leading to their shooting.
The Metropolitan Police Force has defended their actions in a statement, with a spokesperson saying, “Officers attended the location where the aggressive behaviour of two dogs was of considerable concern and posed a significant threat to them.” The statement added that the owner was arrested for having “a dog dangerously out of control and assault offences,” and that no one was taken to the hospital.
However, many locals and social media users have criticised the police’s actions, calling them inhumane and unnecessary. One woman who witnessed the incident told the BBC, “The way of dealing with this with guns in the middle of the street, with us sitting on our balcony watching this, it just doesn’t feel safe.” Another woman added, “I don’t think the dogs looked aggressive, they were both wiggling their tails.”
As the public outcry against the Metropolitan Police Force continued to grow, a peaceful vigil was held on May 12 in front of the police headquarters in memory of the dogs named Marshall and Millions. A petition to hold the Met Police accountable for the shooting has garnered almost 900,000 signatures online.
The incident has brought to light the issue of police brutality against animals, and many have called for a review of the use of tasers and firearms in similar situations. There have also been demands for the police force to provide better training for dealing with animals.
Animal welfare campaigners have expressed their distress over the incident, with Dominic Dyer, wildlife protection and animal welfare campaigner, stating, “The dogs were very clearly in distress, and yet the police chose to escalate the situation instead of diffusing it. The use of firearms against animals, especially in a crowded public area, is totally unacceptable.”
It is hoped that the public outcry and the subsequent investigations will lead to greater accountability and better training for the police force, so that such incidents can be avoided in the future.