A deer spotted in Berkeley. Photo: Keoki Seu

It was recently reported that the Oakland Police Department is to undergo mandatory annual training in handling dogs and wildlife. This came in the wake of two cases in which officers shot respectively a fawn and a dog in the city.

Berkeleyside was curious to find out whether the Berkeley Police Department might choose to follow suit, given that wildlife has been something of an issue in our city’s streets over the past few months.

Back in May a lone deer attacked a woman and her two dogs one afternoon as they were walking at the intersection of Colusa and Capistrano. On August 30 a mountain lion was shot dead by the BPD after it was found wandering the streets of the Gourmet Ghetto in the early hours of the morning. And more recently there have been more cougar sightings, including near the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and on Park Hills Road.

Sergeant Mary Kusmiss, Public Information Officer for the Berkeley Police Department, said the BPD has yet to decide whether it needs to enhance its existing wildlife education program by introducing Oakland Police Department-style training. “All BPD personnel are currently in the process of reviewing a Fish & Game-produced DVD during briefings,” she said. “A representative from Fish & Game is doing a presentation for the command staff on Tuesday [26th] which City of Berkeley Animal Services will attend.”

The Oakland training, provided free by the East Bay SPCA, will include several hours of instruction on dog behavior, local wildlife habits and alternatives to shooting animals, according to the San Francisco Chronicle report.

In late September Oakland police officers shot Gloria, an 11-year-old arthritic yellow Lab who barked at police when they entered a family’s backyard in the Oakland hills. Police said Gloria growled and charged them as they attempted to investigate a possible burglary at the home. And, in May, officers shot a young deer several times in a backyard on 90th Avenue in East Oakland. Last year Oakland police shot a total of eight dogs.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...