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Archive for November 1st, 2008

The K-9 kiss-off: Friends with no benefits

Izzy was a police dog in Longmont, Colorado until an on-the-job injury led to his retirement. Now, more than two years later, he’s in need of surgery — related to that injury — that could cost $6,000.

That the Fraternal Order of Police in Longmont is turning to the public to try and raise that money is noble.

That they are forced to is wrong.

“He worked for us for nine years and he did a lot of good work in those nine years,” Detective Steve Schulz, president of the Longmont FOP, told the Longmont Times-Call.

As I see it, Longmont owes Izzy for that.

A police dog that serves his city — like a soldier who serves his country — deserves to be taken care of by that city, especially when his injuries are related to that service.

And he deserves to be taken care of FOREVER.

Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Retired police dogs in some jurisdictions are euthanized when their service is complete. Others allow them to retire and remain in the care of their partner/handler.

At that point, as with Izzy, the city cuts off any assistance with care, feeding or veterinary bills.

As Izzy’s handler, Detective Bruce Vaughan pointed out, in the city’s view, dogs are “equipment.”

Izzy was injured while helping catch a suspect in April 2007.  After crashing his truck in a high-speed chase, the suspect ran. Izzy chased him down. In the fray that followed, the dog was flipped over and suffered an injury to his spine, which Vaughan said has been diagnosed as a ruptured disk.

The suspect, who had led police on two previous chases,and reportedly had pointed a gun at the head of two different women, was convicted in December 2007 on menacing and drug charges and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Other than the injury, which makes it difficult for the dog to use his hind legs, Vaughan said, Izzy is healthy. “He still has a puppy face. He’s got a lot of energy,” he said.

Donations for the surgery, estimated to cost $6,000, can be made to FOP No. 6 K9 Fund, in care of Guarantee Bank and Trust, P.O. Box 1159, Longmont, Colo. 80502.

Dog-lovers, I suspect, will likely come through for Izzy.

It’s a shame that city he served did not.

Albuquerque dog is registered, won’t vote

An Albuquerque man who gave his dog’s name when he was approached during a voter registration drive at a Wal-Mart two years ago didn’t think “Tuckup Koepke” would actually become a registered voter.

But he did.

Don Pizzolato says he filled out the paperwork with his dog’s name, and a fake birth date and social security number — not expecting he would end up registered to vote in Bernalillo County. A week later though, his dog received a voter registration card in the mail.

Pizzolato’s decision to go public with the story — on the website Duke City Fix — was in response to an op-ed piece in the Sunday Albuquerque Journal in which the county clerk said voter fraud would be “extremely rare.”

“In Tuckup’s case either name, address, Social Security number or species should have raised some sort of flag. Apparently none of this was a problem for the wizards charged with keeping the integrity of the electoral process somewhere north of Richard Daley’s Chicago,” Pizzolato wrote.

“Anyone want to take a guess as to how successful I would be if I repeated the experiment ten times (different pet names, of course).”

Pizzolato said his dog — you can look up Tuckup’s registration (voter, that is) here — isn’t really going to vote.

The county clerk he was attempting to refute, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, was less than amused with it all, and contacted law enforcement authorities after seeing the website contribution. Registration fraud is a fourth-degree felony.