Video sometimes shows the worst of the actions of our folks in blue, but sometimes, what video captures is pure magic. And in this video, watchers see the efforts — and emotion — that went into the capture of two stray German shepherds who were in extreme danger roaming on a busy intersection in Austin, Texas.
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) November 20, 2016
What the video doesn’t show is that two other German shepherds, probably from the same home, were rescued before the two in the video were seen. Officer Heather McClendon told Shelter Me:
“Originally there was no call. I was going to my sub station. We have a wall outside the station, and I saw two German shepherds on the wall. There is a gate into the parking lot. They followed me into the gate, and we closed it. Another detective saw me and the two dogs in the parking lot. We called animal control to pick them up because they had no tags.”
Then the call about the two German shepherds came in. It was from a man who said that two or three German shepherds were on his front lawn and acting aggressive. McClendon commented, “Typically, when a call comes in, they say it’s aggressive. I don’t think we’ve had a call where they don’t say that the dog is aggressive. It might just be barking. I had a feeling that those dogs belong with the other two. How weird to have a call with more German shepherds.”
No one in the neighborhood knew or claimed the four shepherds. After a fruitless search for possible owners of the dogs, McClendon headed to where Officer Rosie Perez had gone in search of the other stray dogs. But Officer Perez had not located the two loose German shepherds. Finally, they found the dogs running down South Congress Avenue and Foremost.
Officer McClendon related how they caught the frightened dogs, “We start blocking the street on Circle S Road and Foremost. (Officer Perez) gets there, and we start trying to get them. Cars were stopping; our lights were on. Eight guys on mopeds tried to help block S. Congress Avenue. They tried to herd the dogs, but the mopeds scared the dogs, so they backed off. They did keep their mopeds in the road to make the cars slow down.
Another good Samaritan stepped in. “A lady stopped with bag of treats – jerky treats – she had just been at PetSmart. She offered her dog leashes, too.” It was this lady who mentioned “a trick where if you throw the treats in the back of the car, the dogs will jump in.” McClendon said, “I made a trail of treats and tried it. We’ve had training and they have told us that uniforms do sometimes scare dogs because they are dark, so I started throwing treats in the street and one-by-one getting them in the patrol car. One dog got in halfway with the other dog behind him. Then they got spooked. I threw a few more and it worked.”
McClendon shared that those in the police department have received training on dealing with dogs. After a dog was shot after charging an officer, the department provided training to avoid officers’ not knowing a dog’s intentions.
“They trained us on the behavior of a dog. Like when a dog displays a certain behavior, back off – it’s not friendly. We learned how to read a dog. It was taught by an officer with K9 dog. It was a good class; there were things about dogs I didn’t realize. For example, if a dog’s tail is straight up and ears forward, it’s in attack mode. You find out how dogs interact a little bit better. Now I feel like I can read a dog better – it might be skittish but probably not going to bite.”
This training came in handy with the four rescued German shepherds. Of the four, one was friendly as soon as the rope was on her. One of them was very scared and felt cornered. As a result of the training, each police station has a catch pole. Animal control trained the officers on the proper use of them. “Instead of going hands-on, we can use the pole. I was able to catch him with the pole. He was not freaked out but still skittish. He was scared.”
The joy both officers felt after getting the two dogs safely in the patrol car can be felt by viewers seeing their emotional high-five at the end of the video. McClendon wanted to leave readers with this thought:
“It was good to see the positivity that rescuing the dogs brought to the police department. We don’t go out there and shoot people and shoot animals — we have a heart. The majority of police officers have a good heart.”
There are four German shepherds that would agree wholeheartedly. They are all safely adopted thanks to the outpouring of support from the video of their rescue.