London’s Scotland Yard has issued a defense of its armed officers who shot two dogs dead and tased the animals’ owner in a tense public incident on Sunday.
Graphic video footage of the incident shared on social media shows several Metropolitan Police officers following a man along the side of a canal by a residential area in Limehouse, east London.
The officers can be seen pointing weapons at the man and his two dogs as residents look on from balconies above the scene of the standoff.
As the officers speak to the man, the owner appears to try and stop the dogs from barking at the police. Footage also appears to show the officers requesting that the man give his animals over to the police, which he refuses.
As one of the dogs moves toward an officer, another officer fires a single shot, apparently killing the animal.
Bystanders can be heard screaming as the owner then tries to move toward the officers himself. One of the police tases him, with the man then attempting to flee. Other officers wrestle him to the ground and, as the man’s second dog tries to run after him, the police shoot it dead.
“It didn’t seem proportionate. It is beyond belief,” one woman who filmed the incident, identifying herself only as “MB,” told the U.K.’s Mirror Online news site. “It was so shocking. I didn’t [realize] it was a proper gun until the dogs were just lying completely out on the ground. There was blood coming out of them.”
The woman, 25, also said her neighbors shouted “it’s disgusting” and “we’re not in America” during the incident. She also said the man appeared to be traumatized and said “you might as well kill me” to police after the dogs were killed.
In a statement Sunday night, Scotland Yard said it was aware of the video being shared online “showing part of an incident” where “two dogs were destroyed by police officers responding to a report of a woman being attacked” by a dog on Sunday evening.
“Officers attended the location where the aggressive [behavior] of two dogs was of considerable concern and posed a significant threat to them,” the statement read.
It added that the man was arrested “for having a dog dangerously out of control” along with assault offenses.
“No person was taken to hospital,” the Metropolitan Police added. “Both dogs were destroyed by police at the scene. This is never an easy decision for any officer to take, but police have a duty to act where necessary before any further injury is caused.”
The police force said its Directorate of Professional Standards will also “review the circumstances of the incident.”
In March, the BBC reported that cases of out-of-control dogs causing injury in England and Wales had risen by over by more than one-third in the past five years.
The increase came amid a 15 percent rise in Britain’s dog population over the same period. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reportedly recorded its highest ever rate of fatal dog attacks in 2021, with 81 fatalities in a single year.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
POLICE JUST TASERED A (POTENTIALLY UNHOUSED) MAN AND SHOT AND KILLED HIS TWO DOGS pic.twitter.com/gyNPh1NSCE— uyghur维吾尔 | 🗽 maria 🇵🇸 (@mariaalcoptia) May 7, 2023
Control your dogs and obey the police and this will never happen.