This is a news story which broke in the English media this week and has caused quite a lot of consternation.

I have turned the story into an English language lesson which can be used by students for debate, discussion and general writing.

The story happened on a motorway in North Wales in the dark of a February night.

It was 3am in the morning.  Of course it was dark and there was very little traffic about.  It was a cold night but weather conditions were calm.

Police had been alerted to a loose dog which had been seen wandering aimlessly both lanes of the motorway in both directions.

A police patrol car with two officers was called to the scene in order to apprehend the dog for reasons of public safety.

Thinking about it, there would appear to be a number of options available to the police.

First, having approached the dog, the police officers could either attempt to capture it or steer it away from the motorway completely.

Secondly, they could call for reinforcements and have the motorway closed at both ends and on both carriageway in order to prevent dangers occurring to passing motorists or indeed the dog itself.

A third option might have been to request police assistance in tracking the dog with a view to its capture and aprehension.

Dog lovers might think it prudent that the police officers could and should have contacted a Veterinary Surgeon (a Vet for short) who would have been able to suggest the most appropriate way to apprehend the dog.

This was 3am in a remote section of the motorway.

Notwithstanding that the police officers had radio communication plus their own mobile phone devices, it is perhaps unreasonable to think that those police officers could or would have been able to contact a Vet at that time and in those circumstances to respond quickly to the situation.

The police officers were not armed with a gun and could not, therefore, shoot the dog either with the intention of stunning the animal to stop its erratic movements across the two carriageways or to kill it.

Despite the 3am time, there was still a considerable risk that the erratic movement of the dog could and would cause an accident to a passing motorway.

In the circumstances, the police officers reluctantly took the decision to run the dog over.  The dog was killed as a result of the police officer’s actions.

Public opinion is split on whether the police officers took the right decision.

Protecting human safety should take precedence over that of an animal.

It should be said that the police officers were known to be dog lovers and they did not take the decision lightly of running the dog over in the road without considering all the other options available to them in the short period of time the events were unfolding.

People have asked – Well, what if the animal was a cow or a sheep or even a wild animal which had escaped from a safari park or zoo.  Would the police officers have made the same decision?

Also given the manner in which the animal was wandering between the two carriageway – confused, frightened and disorientated, the police officers themselves could not know if it posed a direct threat to them if the dog attacked or bit them.

If there had been a serious human accident on the carriageway of the motorway, as often there is, regardless of the time of day, then the police would have had the resources available to close the motorway as they saw fit.

Not only that but the police officers would have been held potentially accountable for any accident which may have occurred involving a vehicle and its passengers as a direct result of not taking preventative action about the dog in the manner in which they did.

The dog had been killed by the police vehicle and lay dead on the carriageway of the road.

The police officers, given the overall circumstances, were then able to responsibly act in the removal of the dog from the carriageway so that the dog no longer posed a threat to the safety of oncoming motorists.

This is certainly a very interesting story to relate.



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