Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stretching a euphemism

When you are a police officer, and a dog at a suspect's home attacks you, I think most people would expect you to dispatch that dog quickly with your weapon.

See, I used a euphemism. I used dispatch rather than kill or slay. That seems more apt to me than what an SAPD sergeant said to explain one of his fellow officer's actions.

SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio police officer shot and killed a dog Thursday during a search for two robbery suspects on the city's west side.


When some other officers surrounded the home, the homeowner's dog came out and charged at one of the officers, said Sgt. Lloyd Jackel of the San Antonio Police Department.

"He hollered at the owner to secure the dog three times," Jackel said. "The owner was attempting to come out and do that, but the dog got too close and the officer felt threatened, (so) he had to come out and euthanize the dog." [emphasis added]

(from KSAT-12)

Euthanize normally means to put an animal out of its misery or to put it down in a painless manner. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't blame the police officer for shooting the dog, but I don't think euthanize is the right word to use here. The bullet probably hurt a bit, and I don't think the dog was suffering to begin with. So, if I were the sergeant, I would have just said, "He had to come out and kill the dog for the safety of everyone involved." I think that's a good enough word.

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