Dog owners say losing their pet to natural causes is one thing, but losing a dog to a bullet is another.
Julian Reyes had a nine-year-old dog named Shiner Bock who was shot by an Austin police officer in April. He is among a growing group that wants the Austin Police Department to focus its training on how to relate to four-legged animals instead of just humans.
"The officers are obviously living in a fear of the unknown because they don't have adequate training," Reyes said.
Austin resident Zack Ingraham is also making the rounds with city leaders to make dog behavior education mandatory training for officers and cadets.
"It seems like most of the decision makers in this city are for it. It's a dog loving city," he said. "Things like reading dog body language, not assuming a dog's breed is going to make them more aggressive."
Ingraham says Fort Worth's program should provide the blueprint. That city used to have dozens of shootings each year. Since starting an education program, they haven't had any.
"To reduce that number all the way to zero obviously speaks volumes," Ingraham said. "Ultimately, we need to get the training approved to really see results.”
City leaders are paying attention, although nothing formal is in writing yet. Council member Mike Martinez thinks the program is a good idea.
Ingraham claims Austin police officers shot 21 dogs last year.
APD does make its officers take an online course in dog behavior. Critics say that half-hour PowerPoint presentation doesn't provide hands on experience.