Bixby Police conduct dog aggression training

Tuesday, June 29th 2004, 4:08 pm
By: News On 6

Bixby Police officers attend a training course Tuesday on how to assess which dogs are dangerous. The Bixby Police chief decided every officer in the department had to take the class after an officer shot a family's golden retriever.

The chief says Officer Cory Forister used deadly force without considering other available options earlier this month; the dog had to be put down.

Fluppy had been tied to a fence in the family's backyard when Officer Forister shot him three times while investigating an alarm call. Officer Forister says he shot to protect himself.

Police officers generally only have a split second to make a decision when confronted by a dog. The Bixby officers who attended Tuesday's mandatory dog aggression course, learned how to make those decisions with considering all levels of force.

The Humane Society put on the class and News on Six Reporter Patrina Adger was there. Most, if not all of the Bixby Police officers at some point in their career, have come in contact with a dog, especially, officer Cory Forister.

Jay Sabatucci with the Humane Society taught the officers how to better recognize and respond to situations where dogs are present. "Dogs bark. Don't think because a dog is barking at you it's gonna attack you." Sabatucci gave tips on what to look for when approaching unfamiliar territory and gave alternatives on what actions to take if they feel their life is in danger, like using a nightstick or pepper spray, instead of using their guns. "Really it's judgment, it's a judgment call."

We asked Cory Forister if the class was helpful. Adger: “Officer Forister, do you want to talk about what you're learning from the class? Forister: "No, thank you." Adger: “Are you learning anything from the class?" Forister: "I just told you, I don't want an interview."

Since the News on 6 broke the story three weeks ago, we've asked Forister several times to give his side of what happened and why he shot Fluppy and each time he has refused to comment.

“He has still refused to call us and issue an apology!" John Benzinger says they're still considering a civil lawsuit to cover Fluppy's outstanding veterinary and cremation bills worth over a thousand dollars which he feels the Bixby's police department should pay.

But Bixby Police Chief Anthony Stephens says that decision is in the city's hands. “I don't' know what the status of that is with the city attorney and city manager at this time."