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Family’s Loss Of ‘Lily’ Leads To Animal Training For Officers

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Cindy Boling and her husband Mark say they were unloading groceries at their Fort worth home when a police officer walked up to their porch back in May of 2012.

Mark was securing one of their dogs, Gracie, in the back yard. Their other dog, a 5-year old collie mix named Lily, ran up to the officer on the porch. Cindy Boling says the officer drew his weapon for no reason.  “He looks at me, turns his gun on my Lilly who is wagging her tail standing a good four to five feet away from him, and shoots her in the back between the shoulder blades,” Boling recounted.

Boling said Lily ran to the back yard and collapsed on a pile of leaves bleeding profusely and gasping for air. “I cradled her and begged her not to die,” Boling said as she cried. “I said, ‘God, please don’t let my baby die!’ And I started screaming and screaming. I screamed, ‘Mark! He shot our baby! He shot our baby!'”

Lily died. And the Boling’s set out on a crusade to force police departments to hold special animal training for officers statewide. Boling decided to start a petition asking the State of Texas for help. They went online hoping for about five thousand digital signatures. What they got was something they never expected.  “We have 91-thousand signatures,” said Boling.

As a result, the state agency in charge of police training has begun the process of asking lawmakers to require animal training for officers. Boling is confident a state senator or representative will sponsor a bill requiring the change.  “I cannot imagine the kind of person who would not want mandatory police training to keep our animal, pet children from being shot like our lily was,” Boling said.

Boling says she hopes to the training requirements will be in place by next summer.  As a direct result of the shooting, the Fort Worth Police Department began training officers to recognize which dogs were a threat and which weren’t.

Arlington’s police department followed suit after a similar shooting late in 2011.

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