- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - A southwest Ohio police department is implementing mandatory training for its officers to reduce lethal force used on dogs.

Dayton’s 300 police officers are receiving the training on how to approach and handle dogs as the weather warms up and calls regarding loose or aggressive dogs increase.

Forty-nine dogs have been shot by Dayton police since 2011, the Dayton Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/1PfuuaL ). The shootings occurred during a variety of calls, including domestic violence incidents, drug raids and reports of loose or aggressive dogs.

The training teaches officers ways to calmly approach dogs and identify temperament cues signaling that a dog may attack, said Robert Sexton, an animal control supervisor with the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center. Officers are instructed to approach a dog from the side, using calming tones and without looking the animal directly in the eyes, he added.

Sexton said owners can also help by warning responding officers that they have a dog and by confining the animal.

Still, dogs can pose a serious threat. Thirty-two people in the United States were killed by a dog in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some state lawmakers are seeking legislation on vicious dogs after a 57-year-old Dayton woman was killed last year by two mixed-mastiffs she had made complaints about to police.

It’s not that officers should never use lethal force on a dog, Sexton said, but they can take steps to minimize it.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, https://www.daytondailynews.com

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