Ivan, a 3-year-old Belgian malinois, was shot and killed two weeks ago while trying to protect officers from an armed carjacking suspect.
The dog park at Purple Heart Park on East Rita Road, which officially opened over the summer, is where Ivan would go with his handler to unwind after his shift.
“(He) would allow him to run the energy off for the night before taking him home,” TPOA secretary, Officer Paul Sheldon, told the Arizona Daily Star.
Sheldon, at the request of Ivan’s handler, Officer Chris Fenoglio, is spearheading an effort to have the park named after Ivan. Last week, he took petitions to the park, seeking signatures in support of the idea.
The petition will be presented to Tucson’s Parks and Recreation department for approval at its next board meeting, after which it would head to the city council for a vote.
Sheldon said he hopes the approval process can be completed by February.
Ivan was shot on Dec. 13 by a carjacking suspect who pulled out a gun when officers encountered him. Released by Fenoglio the dog ran to the suspect and managed to bite his left arm before he was shot.
Sheldon said Fenoglio has received dozens of letters of support from the community.
If the dog park is named after the hero police dog, it won’t be the first time.
In 2006, a Tucson Police Department dog named Miko died after jumping off an overpass in pursuit of a carjacking suspect.
The dog park at Reid Park was named in his honor — Miko’s Corner Playground.
(Photo of Ivan courtesy of Tucson Police Department)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, belgian malinois, bit, carjacking, department, dog park, dogs, honor, ivan, K-9, k9, killed, line of duty, memorial, miko, name, parks, petition, pets, police, police dogs, purple heart park, shot, suspect, tucson
Dogs Deserve Better — the rescue organization that took over Michael Vick’s old house — has won state approval to reopen its shelter in Surry County, Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said that, based on an inspection last week, DDD’s Good Newz Rehab Center can begin providing shelter again to chained and abused dogs. It had been operating without the required state permit since June 2011.
“The state’s approval on her facility doesn’t have any bearing on the local charges,” Surry County’s Chief Animal Control Officer Tracy Terry told the Daily Press in Hampton Roads. ”They are not going to be dropped … If she is found guilty on the local charges, the state will have to revisit its decision to let her have dogs.”
Thayne was charged with one count each of animal cruelty and inadequate care of animals days after a state veterinarian and Surry Animal Control made an unannounced visit in August.
Surry County deputies removed nine cans of pepper spray from the house, along with two Tasers. They also seized a 1-year-old pit bull. Ten days later, the courts awarded custody of the dog, named Jada, back to Dogs Deserve Better.
Dogs Deserve Better, which seeks to helps dogs living lives on chains, is based out of the house on Moonlight Road where quarterback Michael Vick ran a dogfighting operation, known as Bad Newz Kennels.
Attorney Fred Taylor, who was representing Thayne on the permit matter, said Dogs Deserve Better initially believed it was in compliance with state regulations. The organization was not assessed any penalty for lacking a permit.
“I would argue that the state’s not filing any civil penalties … speaks volumes for the services that Dogs Deserve Better provides,” said Taylor, who is not representing Thayne on the criminal charges.
(Photo of former Vick estate by ohmidog!; photo of Tamira Thayne, from WAVY.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, agriculture, animal cruelty, bad newz kennels, chained, charges, department, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs deserve better, good newz rehab center, house, inspection, michael vick, moonlight road, property, rescue, shelter, state, surry county, tamira thayne, virginia
Kos, rescued from an RSPCA shelter 18 months ago, is trained to detect drugs, currency and firearms.
On his first day on the job, with the Avon and Somerset Police, Kos found a lump of heroin in a car.
The 2-1/2-half-year-old dog was being cared for at the RSPCA’s West Hatch Animal Rescue Centre near Taunton before he was taken on by police, according to SWNS.com
“What is nice for ourselves and the RSPCA is Staffordshire Terriers get such a bad name but this dog is so lovely with people and other dogs,” said his handler, Lee Webb, with whom Kos lives. “There are other dogs out there that have potential we could use and it is a shame that people do not give them a chance sometimes.”
Webb says Kos seems as pleased with the arrangement as police are: “Kos was very excitable on his first day on the job – he absolutely loves it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, avon, breeds, britain, currency, department, dog, dogs, drugs, firearms, heroin, K-9, k9, kos, law enforcement, pets, pit bulls, police, rescue, rspca, shelter, somerset, staffordshire, staffordshire bull terrier, stereotypes, stigma, terrier, trained, uk
After enrolling fewer than two dozen of a planned 230 dogs in the study — all paired with vets with PTSD — the VA has announced that the study has been suspended, and that, from now on, service dogs will only be paired with veterans with visible disabilities.
The new policy goes into effect today.
For the 400,000 veterans diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder, that means dogs — despite all the positive effects that have been reported — will no longer be part of their treatment and recovery.
Among those blasting the decision is the American Humane Association.
Just days before its second annual celebration of hero dogs, the organization took time to put together a petition, calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to reverse the new policy.
“Our focus on animal-assisted therapy dates back to 1945 when we promoted therapy dogs as a means to help World War II veterans recover from the effects of war,” the AHA said. ”We know from years of experience that the human-animal bond is a source of powerful healing, whether they are children suffering from cancer or military men and women who have suffered the stress of battle.
“Service dogs, in particular, are an amazing, positive resource for assisting our nation’s best and bravest though their physical pain and mental anguish. We call on the VA and the United States Congress to stand up for our veterans…”
Specifically, the new VA policy ends the program that reimbursed veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder for their use of service dogs while in recovery.
“It’s of the utmost importance that we provide our vets with every option available to treat service related ailments,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), who was also shocked to learn of the new policy.
“Especially as the wars are winding down, and more and more soldiers are returning home with mental trauma, the VA must continue to allow their doctors and mental health professionals to provide benefits to veterans who need mental health service dogs,” he said.
Congress mandated that additional scientific study be conducted on the impact of service dogs paired with PTSD vets several years ago. But apparently that study never got off the ground — at least not as ambitiously as planned.
Launched in June 2011, the study planned to follow 230 PTSD vets and their service dogs, tracking them and their families through 2014. Only about a tenth of that number were registered for the study, though.
The study was halted, according to reports, because of concerns about dogs biting children, dirty and cramped living conditions, and faulty record-keeping.
According to the VA, there are about 400,000 veterans currently in treatment for PTSD, and that group has higher than normal rates of divorce, substance abuse, unemployment and suicide. There are 32 to 39 suicide attempts daily among vets with PTSD, about half of which result in death, according to a column by the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Dale.
Dale’s column looks at the benefits of programs such as those provided by Paws for Purple Hearts – an improved quality of life, fewer flashbacks and nightmares. Vets paired with dogs are said to be more likely to find jobs; less likely to become recluses.
“One hallmark of PTSD is avoidance (of going outdoors and socializing with others),” says Robert Porter, executive director 0f Paws for Purple Hearts. “That’s hard to do with a 60-pound dog who just wants to go out and play.”
The study was a chance to prove, beyond the anecdotal, just how much therapy dogs could help vets with PTSD. But, for reasons that make little sense, both the study and the concept were canned.
Most of the dogs in the study were from Guardian Angel Medical Services of Williston, Fla., and its founder and director, Carol Borden, says there were no biting incidents reported.
Borden says that in the organization’s history, veterans with PTSD nearly always benefit from having a dog. Some patients have been able to cut their medication in half, or stop taking it altogether, she said.
That has raised questions among some about whether pharmaceutical companies lobbied for the new VA policy. That’s conjecture, of course — conjecture being something that tends to occur when no logical explanation is given.
The VA owes vets, not to mention Congress, an explanation.
And we all owe veterans afflicted with PSTD a chance to get past it, or at least cope with it. Ruling out dogs and dropping the study is an oath broken, a promising avenue bypassed, and a slap in the face to veterans.
“We’ve not experienced a single suicide attempt as far as we know,” Borden said of vets paired with dogs under the Guardian Angels program. “I have letters from wives thanking us because the husband has returned, and it all happens because of a dog who provides unconditional love.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aha, american humane association, animals, benefits, ceased, charles schumer, congress, department, disabilities, divorce, dog, dogs, dropped, drug abuse, employment, funding, guardian angel medical services, halted, paws for purple hearts, petition, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, programs, promised, ptsd, ptsd dogs, reimburse, reimbursement, senator, service, study, suicide, terminated, therapy, va, vet, veterans, veterans affairs
As the only certified officer in the New Mexico town, it appears, on paper anyway, that Nikka’s in charge.
Police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo stepped down Wednesday after news stories reported that he wasn’t allowed to carry a gun because of his criminal background.
Vaughn’s only other human officer isn’t certified as a result of pleading guilty to charges of assault and battery last year, according to the Associated Press.
Non-certified officers aren’t allowed to make arrests or carry firearms.
That leaves law enforcement in the small eastern New Mexico town up to Nikka, a drug-sniffing dog who apparently lives with the former chief.
State officials said Chief Armijo couldn’t carry a gun because he owes tens of thousands of dollars in child support payments in Texas. He also faces felony charges after being accused of selling a town-owned rifle and keeping the cash.
Town attorney Dave Romero says Armijo is trying to clear up the latest case and hasn’t ruled out returning to the position.
Romero said not having an officer qualified to carry a gun didn’t put the small town at risk, and added that town officials are looking at hiring another officer. He said it’s unclear whether the town will keep the police dog, which had been in Armijo’s care.
Letting Nikka serve as chief — though we think it’s a good idea — apparently hasn’t been discussed.
Guadalupe County Sheriff Michael Lucero said his department has helped patrol Vaughn, a town of about 450 people located 104 miles east of Albuquerque. But he said that has put a strain on his short-staffed department.
When approached by an Associated Press reporter, Armijo said he had no comment, and he declined to allow Nikka to be photographed.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, certified, chief, child support, department, dog, dogs, drug, drug-sniffing, Ernest Armijo, firearms, K-9, k9, law enforcement, new mexico, nikka, officers, one, pets, police, police dog, remaining, resignation, sniffing, vaughn, weapons
Austin, Texas, is on the verge of becoming a lot dog friendlier — and in a way much more important than most of those measured by websites and magazines in assessing dog friendliness.
The Austin Police Department announced Tuesday that, effective July 1, there will be several changes to policies and training concerning how officers deal with dogs.
The new rules clarify that lethal force can be used only if there is “imminent danger of bodily harm” to officers or another human, not when a dog is simply acting aggressively.
It also suggests alternatives to deadly force, including firing a Taser or using pepper spray, or simply yelling at a dog.
Assistant Police Chief David Carter said dog shootings by officers will get increased scrutiny, and any officer using deadly force against a dog will have to explain why lesser force was not used. Each incident will be reviewed by the entire chain of command, as opposed to just the officer’s sergeant.
Other improvements include having dispatchers inform officers when they are going to homes that have histories of dangerous dogs being present. In those cases, city animal control officers will also be sent there.
In addition, cadets at the training academy will undergo a two-hour session on how to deal with dogs, including how to read a dog’s body language and judge whether it is dangerous. Current officers will complete training sessions online and before shifts, he said.
“It raises the stature” of dog shootings, Carter said. “We need to be as accountable for the shooting of a dog as any other force.”
The changes in Austin come in the wake of a backlash over the fatal shooting of a man’s dog in East Austin in April, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Officer Thomas Griffin was dispatched to a domestic disturbance in late April but was sent to the wrong address, where he shot a blue heeler named Cisco after the dog, according to his account, charged at him. Cisco’s owner, Michael Paxton, has denied that the dog was being aggressive.
Carter said the investigation into the case found no policy violations and Griffin received no discipline.
Since then, though, the department has been looking at the policies of other law enforcement agencies around the country to determine the best practices when it comes to dog encounters, Carter said.
“Quite frankly, we learned a lot from this process,” he said. “We learned a lot from the community, who had great concern about it.”
Paxton, meanwhile, has filed a complaint against Griffin with the police monitor’s office and has retained a lawyer.
“It’s sad that my dog had to die for this to happen,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggresive, animal control, animals, austin, behavior, cisco, dangerous, deadly force, department, dog friendly, dog killings, dogs, firearms, force, killings, law enforcement, lethal force, pets, police, policies, practices, review, shooting, texas, training
Nearly a year after the latest regulations governing commercial breeding kennels in Pennsylvania went into effect, there’s little evidence that they are being enforced, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Regulations governing temperature, lighting, ammonia levels and ventilation aren’t being closely monitored by the Department of Agriculture, and the agency is failing to cite repeat violators, animal advocates say.
“The regulations were to aid living beings and meant to get them out of abusive and squalid conditions,” said Karen Overall, a veterinarian and principal author of the regulations. “This was not just an academic exercise. This was about humane welfare of animals … and they are being completely ignored.”
In 2008, then-Gov. Ed Rendell signed legislation that, in stages, toughened the state’s puppy mills law and promised to end its reputation as as the “puppy mill” capital of the East.
Some animal welfare advocates are questioning Gov. Corbett’s commitment to improving conditions for tens of thousands of dogs housed in breeding kennels. The governor’s Dog Law Advisory Board, created by Gov. Rendell, is meeting today for the first time since Corbett took office 15 months ago.
Agriculture Secretary George Greig has blamed the delay in inspections on difficulties in getting equipment to monitor the climate in kennels installed and staff trained. But he assured legislators the inspections would be completed by March 1.
The Inquirer reports that inspection records indicate only a handful of the 60 remaining commercial kennels have received the minimum twice-a-year inspections. There were than 300 commercial kennels before the law took effect .
“Gov. Corbett is committed to ensuring that the dog laws in Pennsylvania are enforced. Any reasonable person who has followed the governor’s career knows that he will not tolerate kennels that don’t follow the law,” his spokesperson said.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, animal welfare, animals, breeders, breeding, commercial, department, dog law, dog law advisory board, dogs, ed rendell, enforcement, governor corbett, health, karen overall, kennels, laws, lighting, pennsylvania, pets, puppy mills, regulations, temperature, ventilation
This one’s a lot like the story we told you last this week — about a German shepherd in Baltimore named Jerry Lee — but in our view it’s the sort of thing that can’t happen often enough.
Bear, a two-year-old Labrador retriever mix who months ago was just another mutt in a Kentucky animal shelter, is the newest addition to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama.
Dustain Vance, head trainer for Advance Canine Academy in Scottsville, Ky., adopted Bear from the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society. Bear had been adopted earlier, but returned by a family who had difficulty controlling the dog’s energetic behavior.
“For a drug dog, that’s what we actually look for,” Sheriff Ted Sexton, who swore in Bear as a deputy Wednesday, told Al.com. “We’re looking for a dog that has drives and instincts primarily in play and prey and hunt, and he excels in this particular area.”
The Sheriff’s Office purchased the dog from the training center, and he’s been assigned to a partner, a deputy attached to the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force.
Bear has been trained to sniff out marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Last week, Bear and his new handler returned from training to Tuscaloosa, where the dog immediately found a pound of marijuana in a FedEx package. He has since made another bust.
Deputy Nick Lolley said he and Bear are getting along well in their first week on the job. “He has to trust you and you have to trust him,” Lolley said. “That’s — I say 50 percent of it, because if a dog trusts you, then he’ll work for you.”
(Photo: Chris Pow / al.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: academy, adopted, advance canine academy, alabama, animals, bear, bowling green, canine, county, department, detection, dog, dogs, drug, drug-sniffing, humane society, k9, kentucky, labrador retriever, mix, narcotics, pets, shelter, sheriff, task force, training, tuscaloosa, warren county, west
One dog came to the aid of another last week, leading rescuers to a drainage pipe where a 15-year-old miniature schnauzer named Casper had been stuck for up to three days.
The hero? A rat terrier named Rowdy, who belongs to a neighbor.
“He caught the scent and he just started barking, barking, barking,” said Rowdy’s owner, Patty Monk, whose dog led her to the 8-inch wide storm drain pipe in which Casper was stuck.
Seeing Casper inside, Monk, who is friends with Casper’s owners, ran a block to their home and notified them. They sought help from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department.
Firefighters, not wanting to injure the dog, wrapped a teddy bear around the end of a fire hose to push him out the end of the pipe.
Casper’s owners, who had searched for days and put up posters after Casper went missing, took him to a nearby animal hospital to have him checked out.
“We have one of these storm drains right in front of our house. He may have fallen in that one and crawled all the way here, we don’t know,” said Wayne Hernandez.
“We’ve been kind of taking him for granted, he’s been around for so long,” Hernandez told News 10 in Sacramento. “But we’re going to have to try and pamper him a little more. He deserves it after this.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, casper, department, dog, dogs, drainage, drainpipe, fire, firefighters, metro, miniature, patty monk, pets, pipe, rat, rescue, rescued, rowdy, sacramento, saved, schnauzer, stuck, terrier, wayne hernandez
Investigators say the Department of Agriculture often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn’t adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs, the Associated Press reported.
In one case cited by the department’s inspector general, 27 dogs died at an Oklahoma breeding facility– after inspectors had visited the facility repeatedly and cited it for violations.
The review, conducted between 2006 and 2008, found that more than half of those breeders who had already been cited for violations flouted the law again.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that USDA will take immediate action. “USDA will reinforce its efforts under its animal welfare responsibilities, including tougher penalties for repeat offenders and greater consistent action to strongly enforce the law,” he said.
Federal investigators uncovered grisly conditions at puppy mills around the country where dogs were infested with ticks, living with gaping wounds and in pools of feces, according to the report.
The report recommends that the animal care unit at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service immediately confiscate animals that are dying or seriously suffering, and better train its inspectors to document, report and penalize wrongdoing.
The investigators visited 68 dog breeders and dog brokers in eight states that had been cited for at least one violation in the previous three years. They found that first-time violators and even repeat offenders were rarely penalized.
“The agency believed that compliance achieved through education and cooperation would result in long-term dealer compliance and, accordingly, it chose to take little or no enforcement action against most violators,” the report said.
In the case of the Oklahoma breeding facility, the breeder had been cited for 29 violations, including nine repeated violations, from February 2006 to January 2007. The inspector returned in November 2007 before any enforcement action had taken place, according to the report, and found five dead dogs and “other starving dogs that had resorted to cannibalism.”
Despite these conditions, the inspectors did not immediately confiscate the surviving dogs and, the report says, 22 additional dogs died before the breeder’s license was revoked.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the report confirms what animal rights groups have been pointing out for for years.
“Enforcement is flaccid, the laws are weak and reform needs to happen,” he said. “We have long criticized having the animal welfare enforcement functions within a bureaucracy dedicated to promoting American agriculture. There’s a built-in conflict of interest.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, animals, breeders, breeding, cannibalism, conditions, deaths, department, dogs, dying, enforcement, feces, federal, government, humane society of the united states, inspector general, lax, news, offenders, offenses, ohmidog!, pets, puppy mills, repeat, report, usda, wayne pacelle