Petition calling for investigation after police shot dog dead in Hartlepool nears 40,000 signatures
Almost 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for 'justice' after police shot what they described as an 'extremely aggressive and unapproachable' dog.
People from all over the world have had their say after the distressed German Shepherd was destroyed in Hartlepool.
The dog was found tied to a poll on Mainsforth Terrace in the town at 10.07am on Sunday.
Cleveland Police said that after efforts to calm the animal and trace its owner proved unsuccessful, the decision was taken to destroy it.
The petition calls for justice for the dog with regard to the way the incident was handled, and is requesting that the Independent Police Complaints Commission look into the case.
So far, over 37,000 people have added their names to the petition, which was originally targeting 40,000 signatures.
A statement attached to the petition said: "This dog should not have been killed.
"A dog's behaviour in an extremely stressful situation such as this, with unknown events leading up to it being found, should not be used to determine suitability for adoption.
"The police decided the dog was too aggressive - but she had just been abandoned and who knows how long she had been outside, alone in the cold?
"Please sign the petition to demand the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigate if proper procedure was followed to give the order to destroy the dog, and if so, to demand that procedure is changed to allow a suitable time of rehabilitation for abandoned dogs before assessment for adoption."
Of those who have signed the petition, just over 13,500 are from the UK.
Meanwhile, a vigil has been planned by protesters to take place in Mainsforth Terrace at 6pm tomorrow.
Organisers say the vigil will be a 'peaceful protest' as to the authorities' handling of the incident.
Cleveland Police yesterday issued a further statement outlining the reasons for the decision to destroy the dog.
A spokesman said: "Throughout the operation police worked together with a number of veterinary professionals, the RSPCA and a re-homing charity.
"This led to the decision to destroy the dog, which was extremely aggressive and unapproachable."
Attempts to trace the dog's owner have so far proved unsuccessful.
Police have revealed that the animal was microchipped, but not registered.