I see this is going to be twisted into a discussion of colloquial expressions rather than a discussion about the cops' readiness to shoot two dogs.
Not going to discuss colloquial expressions other than to say I don't prefer labels.
Here is a good piece on the issues: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/files/RIC/...idents-508.pdf
Some nuggets from that piece follow:
1. Cops shoot at animals more than anything else.
"the majority of shooting incidents involve animals, most frequently dogs. For example, nearly three-fourths of the shooting incidents in Milwaukee from January 2000–September 2002 involved shots fired at dogs, with 44 dogs killed by officers during that period.6 Information furnished by various California law enforcement agencies indicated that at least one-half of all intentional discharges of a firearm by an officer from 2000–2005 involved animals.7"
2. When cops do shoot they sometimes miss and injure humans.
"For example, in Detroit in 2010, an animal-control officer was injured when a police officer fired at two dogs that were running at large.8
An even more dramatic incident occurred on July 23, 2006, when NYPD officers were called to mediate a tenant–landlord dispute. When a dog at the building began biting the leg of an officer, 26 shots were fired at the dog, and three officers were grazed by bullets.9"
3. If force is absolutely necessary, use a taser. They are effective.
"A video of a real-time example of a safe,
effective use of the Taser®—which
ensures the safety of the officers,
bystanders, and dogs, and provides an
opportunity for effective community
policing as well—can be viewed at www.
4. "The use of a weapon is seldom required in dog-related incidents or
encounters." Amen to that.
IMHO, guns are an absolute last resort to solving a problem. If a cop is afraid of dogs then the cop needs to be better socialized with dogs--failing that they shouldn't be a cop since encounters with dogs are common and the fear aggressive cop is a danger to himself and others. There are many non-lethal options such as tasers, pepper spray, etc. Start with using your head and diffusing the situation as the OP did. Don't come out guns blazing and ask questions later.