Humane Society offers HPD training to improve how animals cases are handled

The Humane Society of the United States has offered its training services to the Honolulu Police Department after an incident involving an officer.

A week ago, a dog was shot by Honolulu Police, and was left to bleed for an hour.

HPD says denying immediate help for the dog was a mistake.

The dog named “Bruce” was shot at a home in Kalihi, and has since recovered.

Police did not allow the dog’s owners to get him help, until police finished their investigation, which took about an hour.

An HPD spokeswoman says the officers made a mistake and should have allowed the family to get medical help for the dog.

KHON wanted to know if HPD is equipped to handle cases when animals are involved.

The Humane Society of the United States has offered a program that will help train police officers when they face this kind of situation and it comes up more often than you might think.

The shooting of a dog by a Honolulu police officer is not an isolated incident.

“HPD is not alone. There have been dozens of very similar incidents across the nation in the past few years. The one thing that all of these incidents have in common is the lack of training,” said Inga Gibson, Hawaii state Director with the Humane Society of the United States.

Police are being called to scenes where dogs are causing a nuisance or a threat because the Hawaiian Humane Society’s budget has been cut back.

Gibson says there are some misconceptions about dogs.

“No, we do not believe that it is dependent upon the breed. Any dog if not properly trained or socialized or mistreated or trained to be aggressive, can be a threat to the community,” said Gibson.

Police officers may have received months of training in the past but that may not include dealing with animals, dogs in particular. Gibson says, that could be a problem.

“There’s no way that officers are going to be able to avoid interacting with animals. Here in Hawaii, 60 percent of households have a pet. So there’s a chance that they’re going to interact with a dog almost every day while performing their routine duties,” said Gibson.

Gibson would like to see the budget for the Hawaiian Humane Society increased so that police would not be called on to deal with situations where a dog might be involved.

“None of our animal control officers in the state carry any firearms, nor does the majority of animal control officers on the mainland. And obviously this demonstrates how critical training and the necessary tools are in preventing these kind of negative encounters,” said Gibson.

KHON is still waiting to hear back from the police department if they accept or decline the training offer from the Humane Society of the United States.

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