Still making the rounds in email inboxes everywhere is a link to the University of Florida student who was “tased” while protesting vociferously at a political event. But if you think this electrical charge-imparting weapon is reserved only for the would-be violent humans among us, you’re dead wrong.


Yesterday’s Miami Herald ran a short piece on a Miami cop’s use of a Taser stun gun on a bulldog. Yep—you read that right—an English bulldog, as a matter of fact.


A police officer in Miami was attracted to the scene of a possible crime by what he interpreted as “screaming.” Upon investigation he discovered a pack of dogs in the outdoor enclosure of an auto shop. When he first came upon the scene, he thought a pack of dogs was attacking an intruding human. Instead, the subject of the three-on-one dog violence turned out to be an English bulldog.


The cop came close enough to douse the quartet with pepper spray, thus dispersing two of the attackers. The third offender was one English bulldog named Butch. And, true to his breed, he was undeterred by something so trivial as a dose of aerosolized cayenne.


Still “mauling” his victim, Butch then received a jolt of Taser power, enough to give him a good limp after the fact, according to his owner. Apparently, it was also enough to get him off Mariah, his also-bulldog quarry, who escaped to the vet’s with puncture wounds and is reported to be recovering well.


Anytime a Taser gets activated, special note is taken of the event for police purposes, which explains the media leak that led to this strange news report. It’s the kind of story that finds you staring at the page or computer screen, mouth agape, wondering exactly how this scene must have gone down.


In my case, it also left me contemplating what poor Mariah must have gone through. First the attack, then the caustic spray and finally, the tase. Because there’s no way she didn’t get a significant dose of both the remedies—unless the officer was capable of separating the dogs during the fight (an unlikely occurrence, as anyone who’s been unlucky to witness an all-out canine brawl knows).


Because I read the report in an online format, I was privy to the comments solicited by the site. Most were rather juvenile rejoinders along the lines of, “Don’t ‘tase’ me bro.” Who knew the Herald’s readership could be so sensitive?


It was registering this public reaction that imparted its own jolt: How stupid is America that this kind of story can run as a human-interest piece so that sick @#$%s can get their jollies? Next thing you know, Tasers will be used by cops and yahoos alike (yes, I charitably distinguish between the two) whenever animals are acting out (as they will) or whenever Joe six-pack think it might be fun to watch Fido get what he deserves after defecating on the rug.


Maybe I’m overreacting, but let me be clear: this is not a weapon that’s been tested on fifty-pound animals in a controlled setting. Its safety has not yet been established on dogs. That obvious fact alone should make us think twice when we read about a well-meaning officer tasing anyone under 100 pounds.


Granted, I’m grateful to see that a Miami cop cares enough about dogs to want to break up a violent fight, but the reactions to this news report gives me enough pause to wonder whether more dogs might have been better served by letting Mariah get another dose of pepper spray before this cop reached for his Taser. I’m just saying…