Last night I was talking to my 4-year old niece. She told me Biscuit the Dog was missing. I told her, “You should call the police!”
“No, the police shoot dogs,” she told me.*
I was shocked to hear this because I have not done anything to educate her about police officer excesses. She learned of police officers shooting dogs from someone else. As near as I can tell, children’s television programming still portrays law enforcement officers in a glowing light. There are other places she could have picked up this tidbit, perhaps from news stories about the Salt Lake City police officer who shot a dog that was in its own yard. Unfortunately, there is nothing unique about that story and she could have heard similar stories anywhere.
*I, of course, asked her where she heard of police officers shooting dogs, but she was unable to tell me where she learned of this.