'Surely public safety has to come first?' - reader reaction to vigil for shot dog in Hartlepool

A vigil for the dog took place in Hartlepool.
A vigil for the dog took place in Hartlepool.

Thousands of people have put their names to a petition demanding justice for a "defenceless" dog killed by police.

Since the weekend, hundreds of you have shared your views with us following the shooting of an abandoned and reportedly "aggressive" dog in Hartlepool.

Lynn Williamson (left) and Joan Twizell organised the vigil.

Lynn Williamson (left) and Joan Twizell organised the vigil.

Cleveland Police confirmed that the animal, thought to be a Caucasian Shepherd, was destroyed after a six-hour multi-agency operation, which also included the RSPCA, vets and an animal re-homing charity. They said it was "aggressive" and efforts to calm it down failed.

Following the news, members of the public launched a petition and organised a peaceful vigil, which took place yesterday in the town, in the dog's memory.

To date, more than 126,000 people have signed the petition, which calls for justice for the dog and aims to "not letting this happen again".

Our deputy editor Richard Ord put pen to paper on the issue in his weekly column to share his view on the incident - and you have had plenty to say in response.

Dozens of people attended.

Dozens of people attended.

Read more: Richard Ord's view - are we overreacting slightly over police shooting a dog?

Here are some of your comments from social media:

Tracey Connolly: "It will have been terrified no one knows how long the poor the thing was tied up for and just because it’s got a thick coat doesn’t mean to say it wouldn’t of been cold.

"So no, we are not overreacting about the dog getting shot it deserved a chance and a professional dog handler would’ve known that."

Marc Hope: "Unless the dog was actually harming anybody then I don’t really see the need to kill."

Ronnie Quinn: "People are the main issue, mistreating animals and dumping them when they can't handle them anymore.

"It's too easy to own a dog and not train it. There should be an annual fee for dog ownership and a register of ownership."

Sarah Cook: "I'm a dog lover. I adore dogs. Mine are my number one(s). However. Unpopular or not. I agree with the dog being destroyed.

"Yes it may seem heartless. Yes it may have been frightened but dogs are not destroyed lightly and it wasn't the decision of one professional but a fair few."

Angela Campbell: "Dogs are sentient beings just like all creatures we have the honour of sharing our planet with.

"So can you tell me, if that had been a human being aggressive, would they be treated the same, and be shot dead?

"No, they wouldn’t. Why do humans think they have a right to end the life of any creature, just because they cannot speak their minds?"

Tania Brown: "Was it not bad enough that this beautiful animal was tied to a telegraph pole and left, then to be shot. Disgusting, no excuses!"

Read more: Police defend decision to destroy 'extremely aggressive and unapproachable' Hartlepool dog

Kathleen Foster: "Time the saga was brought to an end. Let sleeping dogs lie."

Alison Sharp: "Poor police can't do owt right ... what would have happened if the dog had gotten loose and hurt a kid in the process or even an adult?

"That dog, if [it] hadn't of been shot, would have been taking up a place in a shelter [where] a dog could have been re-homed.

"Yes it's sad a dog has been shot but at the end of the day it was an animal that was out of control police done what they thought was best."

John Davis: "I'm with the police on this one. Surely public safety has to come first. This poor dog was already doomed.

"It would never be [re-homed] due to its aggressive nature. It would have to be put down. Sad as it is.

"And for the people slating the police over this. They didn't just pull a gun and empty a magazine. They acted on professional advice from animal welfare groups and vets. The police I don't believe made the decision."

Graeme Scott: "This is a sad case, however it is above a public safety concern ... the killing of this dog was the only rational outcome ... out of all the good-intentioned folk who signed the petition (which is ludicrous in the first instance) how many offered to re-home this animal.this dog would if been euthanised after a brief period in custody?"

Gill Griffith: "Thousands of dogs killed today in shelters cos no one wants them. Only difference being they’re not killed in public. Where are the vigils for those poor souls?"

Lauren Bell: "As much as it's awful what happened the dog didn't deserve to be killed the way it did, lethal injection would of been a lot kinder, if they must put it down.

"But it's over with now people need to move on yes it was awful but you're all looking for answers you will never find."

Christine Smith: "Dogs haven’t got a voice we humans [are] supposed to be a dog's best friend. RIP."