Houston County latest agency to offer class on handling animals in tense situations

Houston County latest agency to offer class on handling animals in tense situations

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Numerous animal shootings by law enforcement over the last year have many agencies looking at new training techniques.

Houston County is the latest agency to undertake this training.

"You can't watch the news and not see what other agencies are facing and have faced," Houston County Sheriff Darrel Bobbitt said. "It does come to our mind that we should probably train in these areas."

The class is taught by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the instructors have years of experience in law enforcement. The class walks officers through past incidents and lets them talk out what did or did not go right. The class also explains the officers' rights when dealing with animals.

The class was started after a 2014 shooting that left the Middeltons, a Rains County family, without their dog, Candi. Deputy Jarrod Dooley faced cruelty to animal charges but they were dropped after Dooley agreed to end his law enforcement career. The Middeltons have started a movement in Austin to have Candi's Law become reality that would require agencies to have mandatory training in animal situations.

Bobbitt said he is not waiting for the state to react.

"We believe in training," Bobbitt said. "We believe when there is an obstacle out there that we face, we should train for it and correct policies for it."

Officers that attended the training also feel like they can work.

"Understanding from other experiences and learning from the training being proposed today would benefit law enforcement," Lt. Justin Killough said. "It helps us be ready for anything."

Bobbitt said this will be the first of many animal trainings that his office will offer because he hopes to not have any past incidents repeated.

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