A dog's teeth are made to rip flesh and crush bone, and sometimes they do, even in the modern days of dog chow.
During a three-year period 2009-20011, 49 Fort Worth police officers were badly bitten during calls involving aggressive dogs. And an average of 36 dogs per year were shot by police during that period.
But although a dog is barking and snarling it may not necessarily be a threat.
Officers learned that Wednesday in a new training class aimed at helping them assess canine threats.
They also learned non-lethal ways to defend themselves if a dog does attack.
Police officials want to avoid outcomes like the May 26 shooting of Lily, a 5-year-old border collie-English setter mix, that was shot by an officer investigating a copper theft on the city's east side.
Her owners, Cindy and Mark Boling, say they'll work to see the training implemented in police departments across the nation.
"The loss was overwhelming," said Mark. He added that just as a K-9 officer grieves the loss of a dog, "we feel the same way."