Update: The black lab involved in this story found his forever home and was adopted from our shelter!

On September 2, 2022, we were called to the scene of a shooting at a house in Fort Collins. Animal Protection & Control (APC) officer Sydney was dispatched to the home. On her arrival, police officers explained that they found a black lab closed in one of the rooms while searching the house for additional suspects. They needed Sydney’s expertise to safely remove him, but there was a catch – the house had not been officially cleared and it was still considered an active scene.

Most of the suspects had been removed but they still needed to account for rooms that had not yet been checked, including the room the dog was in. Shielded by four S.W.A.T. officers, Sydney made her way to the back of the home toward the apprehensive dog.

“We weren’t sure if he would be aggressive, but he was more scared than anything,” said Sydney. “When he saw me and four large men in tactical gear approach the room, he became more fearful.” In case another suspect was hiding in the room, S.W.A.T. shielded Sydney’s body and head in the doorway as she blindly reached underneath the barrier and toward the dog with a catch pole.

“The dog was cautious and wouldn’t move,” said Sydney. “We tried to get him closer with kibble which kind of worked, but couldn’t quite get him.” Since the dog was not demonstrating aggressive behavior, S.W.A.T. decided they could clear the room before removing the dog. One officer used his shield to guide the dog into an adjacent room while the other officers searched and cleared the room. Soon after, Sydney returned to the dog and safely escorted him out of the house and to the vehicle. Loading him up, he was brought to Larimer Humane Society and is now being cared for at the shelter.

“If S.W.A.T. had tried to retain the dog on their own, they probably would have been bitten because he was so scared,” said Sydney, reflecting on the importance of partnering with APC in times like these. Surrounded by intimidating strangers dawning unfamiliar gear, a dog’s natural reaction could include both fear and aggression, paving the way for conflict escalation. For the safety of both the officers and the animal, this dog needed to be approached with caution and care, which is exactly what Sydney and her fellow APC officers are trained to do.

Ensuring a high standard of animal welfare in the community requires strategy, proper training, and collaboration between community partners. Larimer Humane Society is honored to facilitate and advocate for a standard of animal welfare that furthers the safe, compassionate, and responsible relationship between animals and humans.