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Upset over shootings, Colo. dog owners lobby for bill that would require training for police

Julie Hanan held Murphy and MacKenzie during a rally at the Capitol in Denver urging passage of the bill.

John Leyba/The Denver Post Via Associated Press

Julie Hanan held Murphy and MacKenzie during a rally at the Capitol in Denver urging passage of the bill.

DENVER — Scar was an 8-year-old bulldog mix who was fatally shot by a police officer pursuing a suspect, even though witnesses said he never left his yard. Kupa was a service dog who was shot and killed while a sheriff’s deputy was responding to a well-being check of her owner. And Ava was a German shepherd who was turning toward her owner when she was fatally shot by an officer responding to a call.

Dog lovers concerned about recent cases where law enforcement fatally shot people’s pets lobbied Colorado lawmakers on Wednesday on a bill that would require new training for law enforcement officers on how to handle canine encounters in the line of duty, a legislative idea that appears to be unique in the country.

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The bill unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be considered later by the full chamber.

The proposal would require sheriff and police departments to offer three hours of online training on how to recognize dog behaviors and employ nonlethal methods to control them when necessary. The legislation would also direct law enforcement to implement procedures to allow dog owners the option to control or remove their dogs during a nonviolent call.

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