Student activist: Cops should draw Tasers first on Fido

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Having changed Oregon law once, with some help from friends in the Oregon Legislature, Ryan Ripp has his sights set on changing the way law enforcement officers interact with pets. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Having changed Oregon law once, with some help from friends in the Oregon Legislature, Ryan Ripp has his sights set on changing the way law enforcement officers interact with pets. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes 

A few weeks ago, a friend sent Ryan Ripp a link to a video that showed police officers in Hawthorne, Calif., arresting a man and then shooting and killing the man’s dog, a rottweiler, after it shimmied out of a car window.

Ripp watched the video on his phone and felt he had to do something about it.

“I have a rottweiler. They’re great, big, loving dogs and I couldn’t believe the cops shot that dog in the video,” Ripp said. “I started asking myself how they were permitted to do that.”

Fortunately, Ripp, 18, has friends in high places. He called one of them, Oregon Sen. Greg Matthews, D-Gresham, to inquire about what might be done. Matthews, a former police officer, said he would make some calls and get back to him.

Ripp’s name and face might be familiar to some. In 2011, as a sophomore at McNary High School, Ripp took up the cause of prohibiting picketing at military funerals in Oregon. He testified on behalf of the proposed bill in front of the Oregon Legislature and the bill became law in 2012. He graduated from McNary in June and will continue his education at Western Oregon University this fall where he plans to study political science. Ripp garnered local, statewide and national headlines for his efforts to limit protests within 200 feet of a funeral and Matthews was one of the friends he made along the way.


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