COEUR d'ALENE - People in the community are talking about the recent officer-involved shooting of the black Lab, Arfee. They're commenting on social media and have posted nearly 200 comments on this newspaper's website.
The animal, originally reported to be a "vicious pit bull" by police, was inside a van parked outside the Java on Sherman coffee house Wednesday when it was shot and killed by a Coeur d'Alene police officer.
The officer was responding to a call about a suspicious van.
The Press discussed the issue with some Kootenai County residents spending time in downtown Coeur d'Alene Friday.
Here are some of their thoughts about the way law enforcement officers have recently handled intense situations throughout the region.
Traci Stluka, Coeur d'Alene: "I read last night about the Java incident and thought that was pretty shocking. I feel pretty bad for that guy. It's pretty sad, and confusing. It feels like there's some missing pieces to that story ... you would just hope that police officers use their best judgment. That would be your hope, in an ideal world, I guess."
Billy-Ray Fields, Post Falls: "Bullcrap ... There's no way that dog could have came all the way out that window. It's just wrong. If the officer gets a report of a suspicious van somewhere, he should walk up, yeah, and see if there's somebody in it, otherwise stick around and wait. There's no reason to shoot a dog, unless it comes out the window and actually comes at you. If it's still in the vehicle barking at you, it's just doing its job."
Do you have any thoughts on how we could rectify the situation?
"Give all police officers non-lethal firearms. Rubber bullets. Why does the officer have to shoot to kill? Why can't he shoot to wound? ... I think it's just the cops are overusing their power ... who do they think they are, judge and jury?"
Alyx Guy, Coeur d'Alene: "About the Java one, I thought that was pretty interesting because a lot of people do leave their dogs in their cars and dogs can be protective over their cars. I have a little one and she's pretty protective over it. It just seems really odd that the officer thought it was a pit bull and it didn't look anything like a pit bull. I saw that on the news today, I was like, that's so sad, you know. Judgment, as well.
Do you have any thoughts on how to better the situation?
Maybe they should realize what kind of dogs there are, like what are more vicious compared to other ones. That would help, too.
Jeff Dickenson, Dalton Gardens: "The thought of having somebody's dog die... if someone was to harm my dog, I mean, I don't have any kids, this is my kid, so I can really appreciate the bond that somebody might have with a dog, but I'm also thinking of personal responsibility... I watched the video of that cop when he had to shoot that kid, you could hear it in their voice, like, 'Hey, dude, I don't want to do this, but I am the line you do not cross' ... we need to have line to where we have to respect the law and order, and they are the police ... This cop probably has a dog of his own, probably has kids, his kids probably love the dog, I guarantee you, if he was sitting right here, we'd probably sit back, have a beer and kick back together. I don't want to see him made out to be a villain, but if he did something wrong, if he was overzealous and they can prove that, then he should be punished as well, because he is a police officer and he should be, as an authority, held to a higher standard. I believe that our system works."
Randi Holecek, Rathdrum: "It's a little ridiculous. To me, they seem trigger-happy, especially growing up here and right outside of Spokane ... The black Lab that they said was a 'vicious pit bull.' Yeah, that's dumb."
Jeff Block, Coeur d'Alene: "The emotional reaction is to blame the police officers, cops gone wild ... I think there is an underlying issue of crime in this community that has these peace officers on edge, they're stressed out. People forget that it is a very stressful career, a lot more stress than you and I have in our careers. They have to confront the worst stuff that they see ... I get both sides, and I get the reactionary part to blame the rogue cops and what have you. ... The last thing we want to do is create a bunch of hysteria on the police officers without getting the facts in order."