Animal lovers across the country are holding a silent vigil to pay a tribute to two dogs that were shot by armed police in East London.
The dogs were shot and their owner tasered after the Metropolitan Police were called to Limehouse in Tower Hamlets on Sunday, May 7, after a woman was reportedly attacked by a dog.
A police spokesperson said the aggressive behaviour of the dogs was found to be of “considerable concern” by officers and posed a “significant threat” to them.
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Videos from the incident were shared widely on social media and it triggered strong reactions among animal lovers across the country.
Mandy Stoten, 52, from High Barnet in north London, was so disturbed by how the dogs were killed she created a poster announcing a vigil on Facebook on Wednesday (May 17).
A “Justice for Marshall and Millions” movement was born after her post went viral and now people nationwide are organising their own neighbourhood vigils.
To give more prospective, this video records moments that lead up to when things escalated before police shot the dogs. #Limehouse #EastLondon #TowerHamlets pic.twitter.com/7SGZOKf4RL
— Dat Brown Skin Gal🐾🎸🇬🇩🇳🇬🇬🇧 (@missdemenor) May 7, 2023
Pet owner Mandy told the Recorder that she was “disgusted” by the incident and that the dog’s behaviour in the video clips seemed normal to her considering the police were chasing their owner.
She said: “They didn’t bite nobody. One wanted to get away and go to the owner, and it got shot because it was scared. I have two dogs, if someone comes after me they will probably be barking too”.
Even if the dogs did behave aggressively, Mandy believes there could have been alternatives to killing them.
She added: “The way they did it too was just wrong. The dogs didn’t know they were police. They didn’t know why they were after the owner, and this one police officer thought he could take control and take their lives.”
Susan Pinfold, a retired dog owner from High Barnet, echoed Mandy. She said the dogs were on lead, they should have been caught, contained and taken instead of being “murdered in the street”.
She added: “What has our country come to that a police officer can just pull out a firearm and shoot dogs in front of the public?”
She is now terrified that some day her dog could be shot likewise. She added: “I have a mastiff myself and she is big and boisterous. She is always on the lead but its scary now to think that if I go out and the police came along and if they thought she was acting badly, they would just shoot her.”
Facebook groups are now abuzz, with events taking place in Morecambe, Cardiff, Grimsby, Hull and Cambridge.
One person in Australia commented: “Would love to be there and support you. Unfortunately I am in Perth Australia I will light a candle at 2am.”
Dean Smith from Lancashire said in an email to the Recorder: “As a dog owner myself I have felt compelled to will to action in supporting our four-legged friends who have no voice. They serve in our forces, services, and communities across the nation, now it is our time to serve them.”
The two hope people come out with candles and banners in the memory of the dead dogs.
Mandy hopes the vigial will prevent any such incidents from happening in the future.
“The officer must be penalised for it”, she demanded.
Susan added: “We often hear about dogs from certain breeds who are said to do damage. Fair enough, maybe they do damage, and we don’t disagree. But they do so if they are in the wrong hands.”
The nationwide vigil will take place on June 4 at 1pm.
The circumstances of the incident will be reviewed by Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, the spokesperson added.