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Pelham-Windham News June 10, 2011 - 5

More Letters to our Editor continued from page 3

“don’t tell me how to do my job.” Clearly, these officers did not have

the knowledge or mental wherewithal to understand that animals react differently to taser firearms than do humans. Because you cannot speak to an animal and expect it to adhere to your demands, the use of a taser is ineffective and unwarranted due to the risk of an animal reacting badly and charging into the road or into a person. The shock of a taser can trigger aggression in animals, which could have resulted in a very dangerous effect. Police were only worsening the situation, after being warned by the animal owners and those in the group who actually did know how to do this job, that if they used the taser it would only serve to further aggravate the animal. Further, not only do they not possess any knowledge of traditional animal control methods, they have no foresight when utilizing the violent or extreme methods they do have at their disposal. What if the taser that was shot at the cow just before it was about to cross the road had worked? Did these officers have a plan on moving a 600- to 700-pound immobile animal across the street and up a hill into its pen area? Obviously, using a taser requires less skill or competence on the part of the officer than using efforts or methods that require the officer to think about other options that are safer and less stressful to the animal. These officers need to be trained that the criteria for use of the taser is not “convenience,” but rather what is least harmful to the animal while keeping people safe as well. This animal was not harming

anyone; no people were in imminent danger. And although there was risk of the animal crossing the road, there was still no immediate threat to the public since cruisers were on both sides of the road and traffic was stopped in both directions as the animal did cross heading back to its property.

What we are most upset about is the fact that even after the cow was back on the proper property, the police continued to taser the animal three more times against the direct orders of the owner of the cow and the property owner. This constitutes direct and blatant disregard of private property. This act not only constitutes unlawful entry upon private property, it constitutes temporary damage to private property (taser wounds to said cow). Because our cow was subjected to repeated and prolonged shock, I seriously question the competence of the Pelham Police Department and their indiscriminate and brutal use of their weapons. When choosing to become a police officer, there is a certain expectation that police officers are not only aware of the laws they enforce, but that they will be bound by those same laws. These officers were clearly not under that impression.

Upon contacting a prominent New Hampshire attorney who specializes in animal welfare issues, I found that this is not the first occurrence that this lawyer has been contacted about concerning improper treatment of animals perpetrated by the Pelham Police Department. These atrocities should not be tolerated. Police brutality should never be allowed, especially under the false guise of “protecting the public’s safety.” It is morally reprehensible that these officers would abuse an animal this way that is not causing any immediate harm to anyone. The motivation for writing this letter is not to cause any repercussions to the officers who responded that day. It is not their fault they were not trained properly in the handling of livestock. Being obviously inexperienced in how to safely guide a cow back to pasture, the officers can’t be to blame. Especially since one officer openly admitted he was “terrified of this thing.” I at least have to feel somewhat sympathetic that this officer’s downright fear of the cow, which caused him to act in such a way. The hope we have is that other animal owners in Pelham become aware of the Pelham Police Department’s poor history

with dealing with animal situations. We hope to warn any animal owner of pet or livestock to beware of the harm the Pelham Police could cause to you or your animal. We hope to prevent this from ever happening again to any other animals, and we hope to save the owners of pets and livestock the ordeal of going through something like this. We are taking all further reasonable

precautions to prevent this from happening again, including, but not limited to, adding two additional strands of electric fencing to the existing four strands of barbed wire. We hope that we will no longer be an issue for your department, since we cannot feel confident that you are providing the necessary training to your officers to protect all the lives of

Pelham, both human and animal. And that you are not training your officers in proper public relations, to be kind and courteous to the citizens of Pelham, who were, in this case, serving the same purpose that day as that of your officers, which was to safely guide the cow back to its residence. According to the Freedom of Information Act, I request a copy of

the incident report pertaining to this occurrence, and I further request computer printouts of the taser report, including how many times the taser was fired, how many seconds each interval lasted, and the voltage of each taser.

Wendy Bordeleau - Pelham

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