Dogs Were Shot During an Arrest by The Spanish National Police 


Valentina Marquez

During an arrest on March 29 of 2023 in the South of Tenerife, an island of Spain, two police officers were going to arrest a man who was with his three pitbulls. When the police officers had the man lying down in the street, the dogs were alarmed,and they came close to them. In response to that, the police decided to shoot them. 


What Happened?


The Canarian man was walking his three dogs, potentially dangerous breed dogs, like he normally used to, when the police officers approached him for being involved with an anti drug operation.  


The neighbors that witnessed what happened, recorded when the officers had the man on the floor and the dogs seemed protective with his master wanting to defend him from the cops. There is when one of them grabbed a stick and tried to attack the dog. He felt, and his coworker grabbed the gun and shot one of the dogs, then the other dogs approached him and he continued shooting them causing them serious injuries. 


The partner of the arrested man found what was happening outside and went directly to the place, taking the dogs with her and a neighbor to the vet. There is when they discover all the injuries that the dogs had; the first dog shot has a bullet on his head,  the second one a bullet got into his mouth and got out through his chest breaking his tongue in half, and the third one received the bullet in his paw. Their names are Canario, Dana and Chicote.


The videos recorded were shared all over the Internet and signatures were collected to help the dogs owners to pay for their operations at the vet. Many people criticized the police action, and the formation of these in situations with animals is questioned.


Abuse of Animals or Self Defense?


There are people who think that the police officers did what they did in self defense. A Spanish student named Wilfredo Perez said “I would shoot the dogs in self defense. Before they attack me, I attack them. If the dogs don’t do anything I wouldn’t shoot them, but if they do it, I’ll shoot them. The cops wanted to defend themselves at the moment that the dogs approached. They also could react differently but it wasn’t bad at all because that was the first thing that they thought.” In other words the student sees this moment as a difficult one to think about other than saving himself. The effect is making a choice that can be harmful for others. This is important because these police officers are criticized for their choice in a moment where they had to choose what to do rapidly, to not get themselves injured. 


However, others think that what they did is animal abuse, because the officers did not receive any injury, which means that they decided to shoot them when the dogs did not do anything to them. An islander from Tenerife named Pravin Valluche says, “Obviously I would try to defend my integrity, but never shoot the animal.” He also states, “In that case I would prioritize my safety, and as a police officer prioritize the safety of those who are there, including the dogs. I would try to get out without hurting us, nor the arrested person, nor the dogs. If I were to arrest the offender and I had to sacrifice the dogs, I would let him escape and we’d arrest him at another time.” To be clear this means that he personally would not hurt anybody if it is not necessary. This effect remorse of hurting someone, in this case the dogs, when the arrest could be postponed to prevent what actually happened. This is important because people like Pravin see this act as an atrocity that has to be punished for abusing the animals when they could easily do the arrest in another time.


Possible Solutions


To address the situation the authorities must create training in which every police officer must learn how to deal with animals during arrest situations. This includes techniques to control and contain the dogs safely without using weapons. Also include guidelines on how to assess the situation, how to interact safely with dogs, and how to get help from control services if it is needed. The officers must have non lethal equipment like batons, ultrasonic devices, or pepper sprays that allow them to repel the dogs safely without causing permanent or lethal damages. They also have to collaborate with animal welfare organizations in these situations where they have more knowledge. To end, review cases where dogs are shot during an arrest and include appropriate sanctions.