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Officers must be held accountable for cruelty to animals [Letter]

Speaking as an animal lover and a supporter of animal rights, this past week has been a nightmare for defenseless animals in Baltimore City ("Baltimore police suspend another officer in dog killing," June 19).

It has also been a nightmare for the citizens who love animals and care about their humane treatment. From the public execution of a steer running away from the slaughterhouse to the barbaric killing of a frightened pet dog, the Baltimore City Police Department has acted abominably.

Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez has no words to describe what happened with these officers. What happened to the animal control training that he states the police undergo? What happened to police officers showing some compassion and humanity when dealing with animals?

The dog whose throat was slashed was already under control; there was no need for that level of cruelty. The runaway steer could have been tranquilized and recaptured. The extreme reactions of police officers in these two incidents reflect poorly on the department's hiring and training practices.

These are the officers who are given guns and sworn to serve and protect? I shudder to think of the interactions they have with the public.

I hope that the police department takes the strongest action against all these officers and institutes new and better protocols on how police deal with animals. There is much more public awareness about the proper treatment of animals in society. It is not acceptable to mistreat them with impunity, and it must not be tolerated.

Ruth Fleishman, Baltimore

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