Spend a few months in this career, and you quickly learn an enduring truth about the American public: it cares way more about animals than people. Quadruple murder, who gives a shit? Bodies on the sidewalk…meh, keep walking. But, if a dog ever dies—with even the slightest hint of foul play—people go ballistic. Debates ensue. Accusations are hurled. Judgments are set in stone.

On that note, listserv e-mails have been pouring into my mailbox nonstop about the dog killed by an MPD officer on Christmas Eve. Fox 5 News originally reported the story on Dec. 26. As Amanda Hess wrote yesterday, “An internal investigation into the incident is pending: The officer claims Scooby lunged, while the dog’s owner says Scooby was sitting still.”

But, that was only the beginning.

A Police District 3 yahoo listserv writer kicked off the conversation with this post:

“The officer’s behavior indicative of recent pressure from within MPD to increase enforcement of leash laws in DC. This is the second time an officer has shot a dog under questionable circumstances, plus there have been senseless arrests of individuals walking their dogs off leash. However, killing a dog in such a manner is not only cruel, but inhumane. I hope the ASPCA or the American Humane Society will conduct their own investigations as to the officer’s actions, as I believe it will be more credible than any MPD internal investigation.”

Soon after came this post:

“I was and continue to be outraged at the situation… …I wonder why there have been no comments yet from [Assistant Chief of Police Diane Groomes]….. the owner of the dog (Scooby) and witnesses in the immediate area all say the same thing: the dog was not aggressive and wasn’t threatening the officer….. what a shame!”

Oh no you didn’t just pounce on Groomes! Ask for some of this woman’s attention and you’ll get a tidal wave of it. Since this e-mail, not one, not two, but seven e-mails from her have landed in my mailbox. Here’s the first:

“I posted this shooting on the 2d listserv since it occurred there…I would also like to correct the statement that we are “arresting” dog owners for unleashed dogs… a citizen is subject to a fine of $50.00 which they would pay at the Police Districts…. We do not arrest for this type of infraction…. We can query 2d and 3d on the number of citizens cited for this violation (CO SOLBERG and CO MCCOY –pls forward your statistics on citations issued for unleashed dog please for 2007 so we can get this out to the public.”