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Tag: burglary

One very brave piece of “property”

mickNormally, we would call Mick, a Portland, Oregon, police dog killed in the line of duty this week, a hero.

Or maybe even a life-saver, which is how his partner, Officer Jeff Dorn, referred to him while recuperating in a hospital  from two gunshot wounds fired by the same burglary suspect who fatally gunned down Mick.

But according, at least, to an Oregon Court of Appeals decision — issued the very same day Mick died while trying to apprehend the fleeing, gun-firing suspect – Mick, being a dog, was merely “property.”

The court ruling wasn’t about Mick — instead it stemmed from an abuse case — but the timing and juxtaposition of the two stories serve to make a point that society, and lawmakers, and law enforcers, and courts, ought to start heeding.

Dogs aren’t toasters.

Mick joined the Portland Police Bureau K-9 Unit in March. After only a few days on the job, police, he captured three suspects within a 10-hour period. On Wednesday, he was with Dorn, chasing down a fleeing burglary suspect, when he was shot.

“Officer Dorn would like the community to know that ‘Mick saved my life,’ ” Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said in a press release.

“The dog was doing its job. He was out there protecting our community, and it’s tragic that we lost the dog,” said Portland Police Chief Mike Reese.

dornandmickAfter Mick’s body was recovered, a procession of police cars followed him to a veterinarian’s office, according to a report in Wednesday’s Oregonian, but it was too late.

On the same day Mick died, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a ruling declaring — in line with what all the law books say — that dogs are “property.”

As such, the three-judge panel ruled, dogs can’t be seized and examined without a warrant, even if the purpose is to save a dog’s life.

The legal view of dogs as — above all else — property both degrades and endangers man’s best friend, and can make it difficult for animal-cruelty investigators to provide help to beaten, starved or neglected pets.

Changing that age-old view would require throwing away a lot of law books, and it would require judges to finally start showing half the backbone Mick did.

It’s time to make a legal distinction between inanimate ”property” that has no soul, and “property” (if we must call them that) that does have a soul.

The Court of Appeals Wednesday did the opposite, throwing out the conviction of a 28-year-old woman who, based on evidence from a veterinarian who tested and treated the animal without a warrant, was found guilty of starving her dog, the Oregonian reported.

After an informant told the Oregon Humane Society that Amanda L. Newcomb was beating her dog and failing to properly feed it, an animal-cruelty investigator went to Newcomb’s apartment in December 2010 and saw the dog in the yard “in a near emaciated condition.”

Newcomb told the investigator she was out of dog food and that she was going to get some more, but the investigator  determined the dog likely needed medical care and brought the dog to a Humane Society vet for an examination.

That exam, according to the appeals court ruling, constituted unreasonable search and seizure of property — namely, Newcomb’s dog.

While the investigator had probable cause to seize the dog without a warrant, the court said, the “search” — i.e. medical exam — of the dog violated Newcomb’s privacy rights because the authorities hadn’t obtained a warrant.

The ruling effectively overturns her conviction on charges of second-degree animal neglect, and the original judge’s orders for her to serve one year of probation and not possess animals for five years.

It could also serve to hamper animal cruelty investigations across the state.

Maybe worst of all, it confirms the foolish concept that dogs — despite their heroics, despite their loyalty, despite their having character traits that we humans can only envy — are, first and foremost, property, a wrongful designation that legally, if not in reality, seems to trump all else.

Did burglar run over dog during getaway?

Police in Tampa are considering filing animal cruelty charges against a 23-year-old Tampa man accused of breaking into a home and apparently running over the owner’s dog during his getaway.

Jerome Lewter has been charged with three counts of burglary, three counts of grand theft and a probation violation. A police spokesman said Lewter, who denies running over the dog, may be charged with animal cruelty.

A 40-inch Sony television was stolen during the April 19 burglary. After the incident the homeowner’s Jack Russell terrier, named Jackie, was found dead in the driveway.

“It’s kind of a shock that something like that happened,” homeowner Bill Hand said this week. “You feel violated.” Hand said his father, John Hand, got Jackie five years ago as a puppy. The dog was his dad’s companion until John Hand died at the age of 92. He asked his son to take care of Jackie.

Bill Hand told the Tampa Tribune he hopes animal cruelty charges are filed.

“I’m looking forward to him getting his day in court,” Hand said.

(Photo: John Hand and Jackie)

Partner remembers his police dog, Blek

Harris County Deputy Constable Ted Dahlin, whose police dog, Blek, was strangled by a burglary suspect last week, says he shared a special bond with the five-year-old shepherd and considered him both his partner and best friend.

“It’s a big commitment, not just for the handler, but for the dog as well,” Dahlin said. “They say the dog picks the man. The personality of the handler is the dog’s and vice versa.”

Blek was trained to find people and sniff out explosives. Dahlin said his precinct spent about $13,000 for the dog and the training. Dahlin spent six weeks in Indiana learning how to handle the dog, including how to give commands in Czech.

Blek, on the job for more than three years, ran into a wooded marsh in North Houston in pursuit of a burglary suspect last week. When Blek did not come back, Dahlin and other officers began searching for him, according to a report in yesterday’s  Houston Chronicle.

“My lieutenant and sergeant found him,” said Dahlin, with whom the dog lived. “My sergeant met me before I got there, held me back, and gave me a hug. I knew at that point what happened.”

Cornelious Harrell, 17, is accused of choking the dog Dec. 22 after police interrupted a burglary. He has been charged with burglary and interference with a police service animal, a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

In court Monday, prosecutors said Harrell choked Blek from behind after the dog cornered his 15-year-old brother. Prosecutors said the brothers and three other suspects were fleeing the scene of a burglary.

Family hopes for return of stolen puppy

max2The Alioto family is still hoping for the safe return of Max, a four-month-old puppy that was apparently taken during a burglary of their Baltimore home.

The house, in the city’s Gardenville neighborhood, was broken into two days before Christmas, and thieves took electronic equipment, video games, several Christmas presents and the family’s new mixed breed puppy, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Keith Alioto, 41, of the 5700 block of Belle Vista Ave., said he, his wife and six children left the house about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and returned about 11 p.m. to find the house had been broken into through a rear window.

The dog is mostly black with brown and white chest and paws. He wasn’t wearing a collar. Alioto said fliers with a photo of the missing dog have been distributed throughout the area.

Update: For this story’s happy ending, view the comments.

Burglary suspect strangled dog, deputies say

Suspects in a Houston-area home burglary have confessed to choking to death a police dog who was pursuing them, FOX 26 in Houston reported.

Harris County deputies sent K-9 teams into a wooded area Tuesday night in  search of two of the three suspects, but one of the dogs — a five year old German shepherd mix named Bleck — never came back and was later found dead.

One of the suspects who was found in the woods confessed to fatally choking the dog, Fox26 reported. A third supect was found in a car trying to escape from authorities.

Members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office say a necropsy will be performed on the dog.

Police dog who attacked officer shot, killed

policedogAn Alameda police officer shot and killed one of her department’s own dogs when the dog attacked her and bit her arm.

Billy, a Belgian Malinois, and his handler were among those responding Thursday to a burglary at a Coast Guard recruiting center. The dog was being used to flush out a  suspect  when he bit a uniformed officer assisting on the call. The dog did not let go when his handler ordered him to do so.

The name of the officer who shot the dog was not released. She was treated for bite wounds to her left arm and released, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Billy had been with the department for more than three years.

On May 5, another police Belgian Malinois died after being left inside an Alameda officer’s personal sport utility vehicle as the officer attended a use-of-force training exercise.

The department has suspended the use of its two remaining police dogs pending a review of “all the facets” of the K-9 program, including the circumstances that led up to Billy being deployed and his death, Scott said.

Burglars take man’s 14-year-old dog

The burglars who hit Joey Graham’s home in Montgomery, Alabama can keep the digital camera.

But he wants his dog back.

Last week burglars ransacked his home, for the second time in six months, and took a digital camera and his 14-year-old schnauzer, Avery, who suffers from cataracts, TV station WSFA reported.

“This is the cruelest crime that I could ever imagine. They could’ve had anything in this house, but to take a person’s dog …He’s very old. He’s only of value to me,” said Graham, who has had the dog since college.

Graham is posting signs and advertisements to get Avery back home, and he’s offering a $500 reward for the dog’s safe return. “I’m willing to pay it. Not ask any questions. I just want the dog back.”

If Avery doesn’t return, he added, “There’s not going to be a Christmas here. Not this year.”

Update:

Two women who saw the TV news report called Graham Monday and said they had seen a dog matching Avery’s description in the neighborhood across the street from the Montgomery Regional Airport.

Graham was headed to the neighborhood when the women called him a second time to report that they had successfully enticed the dog to come to them and that they were holding him, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Graham got his dog back, and insisted on giving the women the $500, which he referred to as a “Christmas present from Avery.”