The first nationwide database tracking police shootings of animals.
Puppycide Database Project Frequently Asked Questions
Below you'll find a list of the most commonoly asked questions and concerns from PuppycideDB users and volunteers. Check here first if you have a question about the project or have difficulties navigating the site, form or archives.
- email is one of the quickest ways to receive a response to any questions that have been left out of the FAQ. For more options to reach out, including public encryption key, live chat, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ feeds, visit the contact page.
Questions & Answers
I've never heard of The Puppycide Database Project. How can I be sure that your information is credible?
We are the first, and so far that we are away only, organization devoted to the complete compilation and statistical research of shootings of animals by police. This goal, and our execution of it, sets us apart from projects that deal with the same topic with the hopes of persuing political activism rather than research. For example, we include every shooting of every animal that meets basic reliability criteria: we do not curate the database to only include cases based upon whether the actions of police come across as justified or not justified.
We don't ask anyone to take our word for it. Anyone can access the records in our database using the search engine on our website. Copies of the database are made available in multiple formats on a regular basis through GitHub. The Puppycide Database Project may be among the first to research the complex issues involved in police violence toward animals, but we hope we are not the last. Our ultimate goal is to encourage other researchers to review and perhaps use our data for their own projects.
Has The Puppycide Database Project ever been mentioned by newspapers or magazines?
Yes. Our research, coverage of current events and interviews with our staff have appeared in: the Daily Dot, NewsMax, the Washington Post, Daily Kos, and Russia Today, among other sources.
How can I embed a map of US puppycides on my own websites?
What is a legitimate source for a submission?
Typically we are looking for an article from a recognized newspaper or journal, court documents, police report or internal affairs documentation. We mostly relied on newspapers, Justia, Document Cloud, PACER and LegalDockets.Com. When the details of your submission are based entirely on a police report or internal police documentation, it is preferable to note that within the summary section of your submission. Submissions based entirely on witness testimony are accepted provisionally pending further confirmation. If you or someone you know was involved in a Puppycide, please contact us.
How should I phrase the Summary section of my submission?
Regardless of your opinions about police shootings of animals, the topic is an almost always an emotionally charged one. People care about animals - almost all of us have had a pet at one time or another and almost all of us have had to deal with losing that pet. Many view their pet as a family member. Losing a pet to violence, regardless of the circumstances, is nightmarish. But the issue goes deeper than that. Not only do we care about our pets, we also care about our community. We need to feel safe in our homes. We want our neighbors to be safe; we want our children to be safe. Attempting to guarantee that safety sometimes requires tough decisions. It sometimes requires self-defense. Some feel it requires preemption. Does doing what is needed to safeguard our community make us bad guys?
The point is that its tough to retain a truly neutral tone when discussing this issue. Despite the difficulty, that neutral tone is one that we need to strive for in building the PuppycideDB. Dispassionately reviewing the data allows us to remain objective; its that objectivity that makes the project unique and valuable. Avoid placing blame on one party or another. Attempt to include both points of view when reports conflict. Highlight errors in testimony regardless of where it appears, and back up your conclusions with additional citations within your summary as opposed to a snide remark. Remember: our goal is not to "build awareness" of a political movement but rather to build consensus of facts that were previously unavailable.
Does the Puppycide Database contain a record of every animal that has ever been killed or wounded by police?
The Puppycide Database Project is a work in progress and does not at this time contain a record of every animal that has ever been killed or wounded. There are some 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, none of which are required to provide records of shootings or violence to a central repository or Federal authority. Each of those 18,000 law enforcement agencies have their own policies and procedures for public requests of information surrounding police use of force. Some states have transparency laws in place that require police to respond to requests for information in a timely fashion. Others do not. All police departments charge money to respond to requests to information. Some police departments charge more money to news organizations that are from out of town.
Filing records requests with all 18,000 law enforcement agencies for use of force records at the same time would cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in application fees, filing fees, research fees and copying fees. That cost assumes that the Puppycide Database Project has enough volunteers willing to work for free who are familiar with the FOIA request process to file and respond to each of those 18,000 requests. At this time we do not have anywhere close to those types of resources.
Even if we did have the resources to file all of the requests simultaneously, transparency requests frequently take years to process - and a request for a public record is not a guarantee that a record will be provided. In one extreme case, we have seen a FOIA request take 5 years to receive a response to the filing of the FOIA request. The response stated simply that the FOIA request had been received and was being reviewed.
In the fortunate event that a public record request is responded to with actual records, the Puppycide Database Project's job is not over. Our job begins when we receive records. Records are not facts. These are documents that are frequently redacted of critical inforation, with little context and absolutely no evidence confirming the claims made in the documents - claims which are frequently one-sided. A police record of an officer killing a dog is strong evidence that an officer killed a dog; however, it is frequently the case that very few additional details can be confirmed using only government records. Ideally, government records should be supplemented by independent reporting and statements or interviews with witnesses and victims.
Because our database is not comprehensive, it is critical that readers do not use the database to make erroneous deductions based on the content of our research. Below is a brief, non-conprehensive list of trends that cannot be determined using Puppycide Database Project data without either further information, more specific samples or the aid of statistical modeling techniques. We dohave more specific samples available for those who need such information - for example, comprehensive listings of animal killings per-police department going back over many years have been compiled for a significant number of police departments. This is list is a precaution for those using our Search Engine or a complete copy of our database without further context as a research tool:
- Annual rate of animals killed or wounded by police across the US
- Average rates of animals killed or wounded by police per State
- Average rates of animals killed or wounded per police officer
- Average rates of animals killed or wounded per police department
What does "Encoding a record" mean?
The Puppycide Database Project does more than compile a list of every animal shot by police in the United States. Using statistical analysis, our researchers can determine trends in police behavior that have important policy implications: Which types of dogs are most likely to be killed by police? How many bystanders are hurt during "puppycides"? Are police who kill large numbers of dogs more likely to hurt people, as well? Does canine encounter training have any impact on rates of police violence toward animals? With access to the data compiled by Puppycide Database Project, these questions can be answered objectively for the first time.
However, in order to ensure that the data collected by the Project is accurate and reliable, we must perform a content analysis of our work. For our purposes, that means having volunteers read the documents that serves as the source for a Puppycide record and filling out a short multiple-choice questionairre. Encoding a record usually takes from 2 to 5 minutes. You can begin encoding a record right away by following this link, or you can read more about content analysis and why it is so important to the Puppycide Database Project on our blog.
I have received a copy of the database. What do all of the fields and values mean?
When first reviewing the database, the format can be a little confusing. There are a lot of numbers where it looks like there should be words. Some of those numbers are specific to the PuppycideDB database (and the crazed mind that created it). Eventually we will publish an indepth explanation of all of the columns as time permits. For now, we will briefly note that the columns correspond to the questions in the Puppycide Database Submissions Form. The columns appear in the database (or spreadsheet if you requested it in that format) in the same order that questions appear in the submission form, so you can easily tell which column corresponds to which question by comparing the database to the form. However, that won't help you understand the strange numbers.
For Yes or No questions (referred to as in computer programming as Boolean), the answer is stored in the database as a single digit with a value between 0 and 3. Those digits correspond to the following answers:
|No||Yes||Not Sure||Not Applicable||Null Value*|
*Note: The single integer '9' is used to represent a null value for database values having the table type 'tinyint(1)'. If, somehow, a record is created that does not contain a valid value, this is represented with '9'
What do you mean by "Pit Bull"?
There is somewhat of a controversy surrounding what is and is not a Pit Bull. For example, as of 9/13/2014, Wikipedia makes the incredible claim that the term includes any pure-bred or mix of a dozen different breeds, including dogs as varied in appearance and pedigree as Dogo Canarios, Cane Corsos, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and even the Pug-like Boston Terrier (with a commanding average stature of 15 pounds). We do not agree with Wikipedia's take on the subject on this site.
For our purposes a Pit Bull is the breed Pit Bull Terrier. Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshires and American/English Bull Dogs should be labelled as such. When we publish our findings, we consistently make clear the problematic nature of the term "Pit Bull", and make it easy for those with alternate interpretations of the Pit Bull term to adjust our findings as required. We make every effort to achieve consistency and specificity in labelling dog breeds, and we ask all volunteers to do the same.
That said, this project relies on the records of third parties to compile our data. Few of the dogs recorded in our database have been identified by a trained breeder or veterinarian. Worse than that, the data collected so far has demonstrated a trend among the police and press to mislabel as Pit Bulls animals bearing absolutely no resemblance to the breed, even to the complete layman. Labradors and Golden Retrievers, for example, have both been mislabelled as pit bulls by police and the media. Our records include one police report that claimed an elderly Labrador with hip dysplasia was a Pit Bull who viciously attacked multiple police officers. The testimony of an eyewitness should never be confused with fact.
That is not to say that all of such incorrect identifications are the result of malfeasance. A 2009 study conducted by Western University and published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science used DNA identification to show that even adoption agencies incorrectly identify 87.5% of mixed-breed dogs.
While there is no perfect solution to this problem that is available to PuppycideDB, we do our best to limit the worst misidentifications by requiring multiple sources of identification to label a breed. If the only identification source for a dog breed is the police report, note that breed in the summary and in the "Did the police or media report that the injured animal was a pit bull?" question, but label the Dog Breed field as Unconfirmed. Only specify the dog breed if confirmation is received from the police and owner or a licensed veterinarian.
Its a common misunderstanding that it is simple to identify a dog's breed from that dog's appearance. People unfamiliar with dogs might misidentify breeds, the thinking goes, but those who have spent their life around dogs should be able to visually identify just about any dog breed, particularly well-known breeds (like pit bulls).
The National Canine Research Council has produced a damning counter-argument for a such a common misconception. For those of you not familiar with the group, the NCRC conducts and publishes research on dog-related topics, like what causes dogs to bite and statistics relating to fatal dog attacks. NCRC research is among the most comprehensive and thought-provoking in the field of canine study.
A brief but ingenious NCRC poster will convince even those most confident in their breed-spotting abilities. The poster is framed like an FBI wanted poster, with mugshots of sixteen different dogs. The headline lets the reader know that only three of those dogs have any Pit Bull DNA. For all of the tens of thousands of pictures of dogs we have seen here at the Puppycide Database Project, the thousands of dog attack reports we have poured over and all the combined years we have spent with dogs as an owner and friend to owners, we were stumped.
If you are like we were, and find the idea that you can't spot a Pit Bull to be ridiculous, then we urge you to take a look at the NCRC poster yourself. DNA tests conducted by independent veterinarians are the only objective way to determine breed; and such results are only available to us in the handful of occasions in PuppycideDB research where a necropsy is performed or the owner has papers from their vet or the American Kennel Club.
Does the Puppycide Database Project redact information from documents?
At this time, the Puppycide Database Project does not have a PACER account and does not directly file for documents directly from courts or Clerks of Court. Where court documents appear on our website, those documents have been downloaded directly from releases made publicly availble by the relevant government agency. As such, we depend upon the government agencies who originally publicly released those documents to abide by Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2 and Fed. R. Crim. P. 49.1. If in the future the Puppycide Database Project volunteers were to procure documents through filings with the court, we would make a best effort to abide by the strictest best practices for the securing of personal information by redacting social security numbers, financial account information, home addresses and the names of minors.
Please keep in mind that the Puppycide Database Project database hosts information and content that is produced by anonymous third-parties for whose contributions we cannot be held responsible. If information provided by such a third party fails to meet the information guidelines outlined above, please contact us so that we can review the data and ensure it conforms to Puppycide Database privacy policies.
How do I have a record or my name removed from the database?
The information published by The Puppycide Database Project is entirely based on public records and news reports and relate to events that occurred within the United States. We do not publish any personal information about police officers involved with puppycides, apart from their name, rank, employer and any lawsuits or criminal investigations they have been involved with - all of which are a matter of public record. If you are a police officer and your name appears in our database, it is almost certain that your name was included because it was already made public because of a lawsuit in which you were a defendant or because your name was reported by the press in previous coverage.
We will consider requests for updating and/or removing records based on factually incorrect information. For example, if a name has been mis-spelled or if a quote has been mis-attributed or if an individual has been mis-identified.
With that said, we will typically not consider requests for updating and/or removing records that are factually correct. There are a few important provisos to this policy. If you are a family member of a dog that has been killed or injured by police and would like your name removed from our records we will remove your name and other identifying information such as your address. Please bare in mind that it is not our policy to report the names of family members or victims, but that information can be included in our database when it has already been widely reported If you are a victim, and your address has been included in one of our records, it is very likely there because it has been printed in a newspaper article which was added to our database, rather than as part of an editorial decision by Puppycide Database Project.
Absolutely no anonymous requests for edits that are not based on factual corrections will be considered.
We receive a variety of requests for database edits, removals and correction from police officers and police departments. All such requests will be reviewed, provided that the requester has verified their identity and/or employment with the relevant police department. We are happy to make factual corrections at the request of police. We are also happy to include "all sides of the story" - including formal police statements, disciplinary hearing results and firearm discharge reports.
The Puppycide Database Project abides by all laws in the jurisdiction of our ownership. Like all news organizations, we retain the right to publish any and all correspondence we receive.
Does the PuppycideDB just track incidents involving dogs?
No! Every event where a police officer acts violently toward an animal is included, regardless of the circumstances. A focus on dog shootings for the website was chosen because of the public interest surrounding dog shootings, not because of a plan to focus on a single species. Unfortunately, the more the database grows the more clear it becomes that the police do not discriminate, either. Records are currently included involving cats, squirrels, birds, elephants, tigers, emu, apes and mountain lions, just to name a few. It is worth pointing out that events involving species other than dogs tend to be more extreme in their circumstances. On the one hand, these records include animals that can be incredibly dangerous to humans. In one such event, a tiger escaped from a zoo and was shot to death after it had killed a young man and was in the midst of mauling another. On the other hand, this group also includes some of the most senseless acts of violence - like the parakeet in New York whose skull was crushed by a SWAT officer's jack boot during a raid on the home of a family of twelve for illegally placing an orange cone in a parking spot in front of the family business. Even hard to forget is the crowded Dollar General store in Tennessee where a police officer fired three rounds from his service revolver and sprayed mace throughout the unventilated building, forcing customers outside choking and gasping for air, in pursuit of a squirrel.
Those cases are outliers. With your help, we can assemble enough data to decipher the trends between shootings involving all sorts of animals. Doing your part just takes a few minutes to research an event and add it to the online form!
Does The Puppycide Database Project only track incidents involving intentional deadly force? What about incidents of negligence that
result in death or could result in death?
The Puppycide Database Project also collects information about negligent behavior on the part of police and other government employees that result or could result in death. There are no hard and fast rules about entries that are appropriate and those that are not, so long as incidents are clearly explained in the Summary field in our Online Form.
Most of the incidents of negligence that are included are circumstances in which police dog handlers leave K9 officers in a car overnight. There are a substantial number of such incidents that we did not expect to find given the esteem in which police departments hold their K9 officers. Another frequent scenario involves police seizing dogs, tying them to the back of police cars, and driving the car - resulting in catastrophic injuries or death. Without independent witnesses on the scene of such events, it is difficult to demonstrate that police had the intent to injure the dog. We have also seen multiple reports of police seizing dogs and then leaving them on the side of the road, which frequently results in death when the lost & confused victim dog is hit by a car.
In such circumstances it is not the role of the Puppycide Database Project to determine criminal intent on the part of police officers involved However, it is our role to record all these events and analyze trends in behavior where they exist.
Do you cherry pick the data to publish inflammatory and deceptive trends?
The goal of the project is to attract as many volunteers as possible to submit as much data as possible. Anyone can add to the database, regardless of their opinions about the police, animals or politics in general. In fact, submissions from police are highly encouraged. The goal is to compile enough data to make cherry-picking impossible. Ideally this database will over time grow to include every police shooting of every animal in the United States. However, before that ideal is reached we can make interesting conclusions about the dataset using statistical analysis. In addition to allowing anyone to make a submission, the database itself is available upon request. Any individual, news organization, research group or charity is welcome to review the data for errors and to publish their own conclusions based on the database. Conclusions of value can only be made when based on facts. It is our hope this database will make such a conclusion possible, though it remains unclear where the data will take us.
I receive an error when using the site, can you help?
Feel free to send an email with a brief description of the error you receive and what you were trying to accomplish when you received the error. While we do our best to thoroughly test the site, your mileage may vary when using older browsers or operating systems.
I have a friend who can't see normal websites. Can she still help?
While the Project remains a work in progress, we have begun implementing accessibility features in our code. Specifically, we are in the process of introducing WAI-ARIA features. We will notify our users of implementation milestones through the Updates page. Until ARIA is fully introduced, if someone you know would like to help the project but has trouble viewing websites, please contact us and we can work out an alternative means of data transfer. Providing us with further information about the specific obstacles to easily using the site could greatly help us to expedite a solution.
How do I know if my submission has been included in the database?
There is at most a 24 hour delay between record submission, confirmation and publication. You can check for your record by using our Puppycide Search Engine. Try searching by the name of the victim animal, the officer involved, or the name of the source you used to narrow the results down to just a few results. This delay is in place to help prevent hackers from attempting to bring our web page down by submitting many new records at one time, and also allows our staff enough time to review new entries manually to prevent vandalism.
Are complete copies of the database available?
Copies of the database in a variety of formats (CSV, Excel, Open Office) are available for direct download from our Github repository. Copies on Github have only one column redacted in order to prevent the circulation of the names and addresses of victims. You do not need to be familiar with Git in order to download the database copy - after following the link click the button in the bottom right hand corner of your screen that says Download ZIP to copy the files to your computer.
Can I scrape your site, or do you provide an API or RESTful means of querying your data so I can use it elsewhere?
Email us. If there is enough interest we will implement an API. Because no one has specifically expressed a need for an API, its currently not at the front of the To Do list. Until an API is implemented, please don't try scraping as you will likely end up getting blacklisted from the site. Just ask and we will give you the entire database.
Do you accept donations?
The Puppycide Database Project does not currently accept donations. The Puppycide Database Project is not a 501(c) charitable organization, so if we did accept contributions they would not be tax deductible. We have always had concerns that fund-raising would distract from our primary mission. The best way to help is to simply add a record. There are other ways to help, too. Tell your friends about the project, and ask them to add a record as well. Adding a record takes just a few minutes. Another way you can help is by submitting public record requests and sending those records in to the project to add to the database. You can also answer a few brief questions about an existing record to help us analyze our database.
As the Puppycide Database Project continues to grow, our needs for volunteers with special and varied skills grows as well. Do you know a thing or two about statistics, computer programming, graphic design, journalism or law? You are in a position to help us make a huge difference! Whatever your unique skills might be, you can be of assistance to the Puppycide Database Project. Take a moment to contact us or take a look at our guide for new volunteers.
At some point, it may be necessary for us to begin accepting contributions to help defray our server hosting costs. Recently, we asked our readers and volunteers to offer us feedback about incorporation and nonprofit registration. However, we have made no changes to our policy and continue to weigh our options and accept advice of our volunteers and readers.
Why do you ask for the name of the police officer?
The purpose of this site is to identify trends related to violence against animals caused by police. Determining whether specific officers account for a disproportionate number of animal shootings or whether there is a correlation between animal shootings and other behaviors is vital to that project. If most domestic pets are shot by a small number of officers who are involved in many such shootings during their career, that is strong evidence that Puppycide is an HR issue - the solution would be to identify and remove "bad apple" officers who repeatedly kill dogs. Conversely, is the data shows that incidents of animal killings by police are evenly distributed across officers, that would be strong evidence that Puppycide is a problem of departmental policy, culture and training. Just this one bit of data is critical to understanding both the issue and how to resolve it!
Unfortunately, police agencies refuse to publicize the names of officers involved in these incidents and reporters commonly fail to research and publish them independently. In situations like this, PuppycideDB relies on FOIA, leaks, witness statements and documentation retained by the owner of the victim, for example shooters frequently write tickets and summons to the owners of victims immediately following Puppycide killings. Such tickets include identifying information like names and badge numbers. We are in desperate need of competent researchers to help us with this work. Volunteers familiar with the FOIA process specifically are in a position to provide a huge benefit to the PuppycideDB Project.
The notion that it is acceptable common practice for police to shoot guns during the course of their workday and hide their identities following such incidents is a shocking issue that has ramifications beyond animal killings. The names of police officers who have publicly discharged their firearm is always a matter of public record and interest. Imagine for a moment a regular citizen, just an average Joe, were to fire a gun in the middle of a public place. That person's name and photo (and likely his entire life story) would be the topic of front page news - and rightfully so. A person's place of employment does not reduce the public importance of acts of violence committed in public. People have a right to know who puts their lives, their neighbors lives and their communities in danger. Perhaps there are good reasons for such violence; there very well may be. But such good reasons are not an excuse for keeping such critical public information secret.
The Puppycide Database Project is not a political group. As such we take very few stances on topics of political relevance. This is one stance that the Puppycide Database does take: Acts of violence demand transparency, regardless of who is involved in the violence.
Can you help me submit an FOIA request?
Absolutely! Bear in mind that the FOIA process can be quite an undertaking. That said, we have resources available to help. To get started, contact us, we may be able to help get you in touch with journalists or lawyers in your area with specialized knowledge of your state's regulations. Also, take a look at the Fatal Encounters project. Fatal Encounters is currently the largest database of police shootings (of people) in the world. They have put together a very useful public records request tool that lets you search by state and county to find a list of contacts to mail your requests to. You're not alone! Public records remain in the dark because the beaurocracy protecting them is designed to frustrate you, give you every excuse to give up - they want to make it easy for you to fail. By helping each other we can accomplish more than we ever could on our own.
I already have my own site to track related types of information. Can we share data?
YES!!! Please contact us if you are already involved with a similar project. We can easily convert this database to alternate table types to easily merge it with your own database. We also welcome submissions of larger data sets. Such submissions are invaluable. If you have such a dataset please let us know; larger amounts of data can be submitted without using the form. No technical experience is required. Even if you just have a regular text file or spreadsheet we can easily merge whatever you have with existing records. The ability to upload using Excel, OSF, CSV, KML and SQL files is another feature planned for addition to the site.
I submitted a record, but I can no longer find it in the database. What happened?
From time to time, we manually review the records in our database and remove duplicate entries. Where this occurs - don't worry, your work has not gone to waste! When multiple entries occur, we compile all of the information from those entries into a single, improved entry with all of the data. If you still suspect that your records are disappearing due to technical issues rather than because of duplicates, you can always contact us and we will be happy to take a closer look.
How much data do you have?
The number of records in the database is published on the Updates Page and updated in real time.
Can I search the database on your site?
Yes! Check out our Puppycide Search Engine - its very straight forward and easy to use. If you can use Google, you can use our search tool. You can use * as a wildcard, for example, searching for "flo*" will return results containing the word "florida" and the word "flower", among others. We are in the process of building additional features into the search tool. Typo correction is the next feature on the horizon.
Why build your own search engine, why not just use Google?
Google allows web developers to copy and paste a little snippet of code onto their sites that works like an "internal" Google. The code uses the Google search engine to provide results from a specific website. There are a number of reasons why this would be inappropriate for the Puppycide Database Project. First and foremost is that relying on such tools endangers the privacy of our users and sources. Google allows developers to use such tools for free in order to provide more discrete monitoring of users; this data in turn is sold to advertisers. It is also stored by Google for a long period of time, during which government agencies commonly peruse and subpoena that personal information.
The Puppycide Database Project relies on our sources; and so, we do everything in our power to protect them and ensure their privacy.
How do you pay for this? Does the Puppycide Database Project sell data about its users to advertisers, or plan on charging
for access to the database?
Currently this project is hosted using Amazon AWS. This website does not now and never will collect information on its users to sell to advertisers. This website does not now and never will host ads. This includes Google Adwords and Google Analytics; neither of which will be used for this site. We will never charge any individual, charity or NGO who requests data. Charges may apply for government organizations requesting the data set, or for news organizations or other companies who wish to purchase tools that have been built in order to research and sort data for this project.
Is the Puppycide Database Project an "Animal Rights" Organization?
This is a suprisingly complex question. The short answer is no - the Puppycide Database Project is a research organization.
However, we make our research available to anyone who asks for it, including a number of animal rights groups. And quite a few of our members are themselves vegans, vegatarians and supporters of PETA. That said, just of many of our members are carnivores. Our project crosses normal political boundaries. We've devoted entire post on our blog to this topic that is worth a read for those interested: you can read more by following this link.
Until time permits a more formal document, we will explain specifically what is collected from you when you come to this site, and what is not. This site does not force your browser or computer to download any software whatsoever. However, depending on your browser's configuration, a PHP session ID may be stored in a cookie. This cookie is only used to identify users during the period it takes to complete the online form. A new session ID is provided on each visit, and these ID's are not saved or tracked in any way whatsoever.
When you visit this site, a record of your Internet Service Providers IP Address, the type of browser you use, pages you view and the website that referred you here are all saved on the site's server in a logfile. Those logfiles are reviewed automatically by a number of applications that run on the server to provide security for you and the project and for NO other purpose whatsoever. This software prevents a number of different types of attacks that hackers use to break into or simply break websites, like SQL injection, XSS scripting and Denial of Service. Occassionally those logs are reviewed manually in order to troubleshoot a problem with the site, or if there is evidence that a user of the site is engaged in malicious activity (like trying to break into the server). Over time, those logs are rotated, compressed, and have identifying information removed from them. Over the long term, these stripped-down log files will allow us to compute statistics related to traffic and load on the server. This is neccessary in order to determine how many servers must be purchased to support the Project. All of these measures meet or exceed industry standard best practices. As time permits and the application codebase is more stable our plan is to refine logging policies to reduce the amount of information stored without sacrificing security.
What about all of the police encounters with animals where they do not open fire? Doesn't just focusing on the negative stories - the killings -
skew the statistics?
There are of course many circumstances when police encounter animals and the animal is not harmed. The problem is collecting such information in a way that is statistically significant. US police departments are fiercely secretive. Most of the data about police interactions that is public has been made available by news organizations. News organizations select issues for publication based on a variety of factors, among them "news worthiness". An event where a police officer encounters an animal and does not harm the animal is almost never considered "news worthy". As a result, such events are almost never published, and so the event is never made public. Depending on departmental rules, the officer may not file a report on such an event, leaving no paper trail available to confirm the event happened. Even where documentation exists, without news coverage, Freedom of Information Act requests must be filed to free such data. FOIA requests are expensive, complex and time consuming.
As a result of these circumstances, the choice available to PuppycideDB is as follows. One choice is to include very sporadic coverage of non-violent events that are too narrowly collected to provide insight into trends. The other choice is to decline publishing such data. We have opted for the latter.
That said, in no way is this decision some kind of organizational decree that must always be heeded. We welcome comment from users and volunteers who disagree with this policy and have ideas on how to overcome the issues listed above. For the time being, we collect basic data on such events as we come across them in the hopes that circumstances may change.
UPDATE: The PuppycideDB Project has come into possession of a number of records that could allow us to better explore these types of statistics. Specifically, we have received access to large databases of 911 call logs, police call reports and incident reports. Currently we are in the process of writing custom software to review these documents for information relevant to the project. It is our hope that we will be able to publish entries in these reports specifically related to animals, and provide analysis of the documents including the likelihood of which a police call relating to an animal results in the killing of that animal.
Negatively. Amazon is one of a number of service providers that participates in online surveillance dragnets, as are a number of Internet Service Providers that sell Amazon the bandwidth that makes up their backbone internet connection. Additionally, Amazon has a poor track record of fighting subpoenas and other government record requests on behalf of their customers. Finally, Amazon has provided next to no transparency regarding employee access to VPS data within their EC2 architecture. That said, their platform is fairly secure against independent hackers when configured correctly by end users. Why host with them? Because they provide the project with free infrastructure and because we can rapidly move to another provider. As currently deployed the project can be migrated to a completely different server in minutes. This is a high priority but also the most expensive consideration currently planned.
Can I submit a photo along with the information I provided?
Yes! Our Faces of Puppycide feature now allows us to publish the photographs of animals killed or injured by police. To have your photo published, send us the photo via email, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and indicate the name of the animal, the city and state that he or she last lived in, and the date of their encounter with police. Your submission will not only be published on the Faces of Puppycide page, but will also be linked in our database to the entry for that particular animal. Soon you will be able to automatically upload such photos as part of the record submission form.
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