Merced Police: Some Injured Animals Killed At Shooting Range - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Merced Police: Some Injured Animals Killed At Shooting Range

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MERCED, Calif. (KMPH) -

In California, it is legal for police officers to shoot and kill injured cats and dogs in the streets.

However, many living in Merced say they are outraged over police officers taking injured animals to the shooting range to be killed with a bullet instead of a needle.

Pet owner, Jessica Hamilton says, "Every animal regardless if it's injured, sick or hurt deserves the right to live. There is somebody out there, somebody willing to help them."

Merced Police Lt. Bimley West says, "Yes the severely injured we have to euthanize. The reason for it is because the animal is severely injured. Severely injured is defined as crush heads, broken backs, barely breathing."

Lt. West says officers use "common sense" and get approval from their supervisor before shooting any animal at the range.

He says according to California law, any peace officer can "humanely destroy any stray or abandoned animal" if it is too severely injured to move or where a veterinarian is not available.

Lt. West says the city has only one animal control officer certified to euthanize an animal by a needle.

He says, "This is one of the things part of the job that our officers don't like, but we have to do it."

Lt. West adds each time a stray dog from the city is placed in the Merced County facility, the department pays nearly $100.00.

He says in 2012, the Merced Police Department paid nearly $86,000 to the Merced County Animal Control.

The amount covered housing, disposal, euthanasia and other fees for the animals.

However, the city only took in $26,000 in revenue for animal licensing fees.

Lt. West says the remaining, $60,000 must come from somewhere.

He says it comes out of Merced's General Fund.

Lt. West says, "Whether our citizens pay or not we as the city of Merced still have to fulfill our obligations, and for that reason the bill was paid."

However, animal-rights advocates say the city of Merced should not look for ways to save money by sacrificing animals.

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