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Tag: drive

Idaho dog shooting leads to recall drive

If you think dogs don’t play a role in politics, consider Hooch.

Shot and killed by a police officer in February in the tiny town of Filer, Idaho, the seven-year-old black Lab is the force behind a petition to recall the town’s mayor and all four members of its city council.

Residents — and more than a few outsiders — are still angry over Officer Tarek Hassani’s shooting of the dog, recorded by his patrol car’s dashboard cam and since seen, thanks to the Internet, around the world.

In the video, he can be seen arriving to investigate a report of a dog on the loose, yelling and kicking at the barking animal, shooting it, and then confronting the dog’s owner in a belligerent (and that’s putting it nicely) manner.

An “outside” investigation found no wrongdoing on his part, and Hassani, on paid leave pending the results of the investigation, returned to regular duty this past Saturday.

recallOn Tuesday, the effort to recall the mayor and council started, the Twin Falls Times-News reported.

After the shooting, there were demonstrations, and officials in the city of just over 2,500 people held public hearings that led to some changes, including scheduling training sessions for officers on how to deal with dogs.

“I think they’re going to do their best to make the recall work,” said Mayor Rick Dunn. “They only needed 20 (signatures) to start the process, and they’ve gotten that far.”

Gathering 20 signatures for each city leader’s recall petition is only a first step. Organizers now have 75 days to gather 201 signatures for each official — 10 percent of the number of voters registered in the last city election – to bring about a recall election.

filerhearingAn investigation by the Nampa Police Department, about 150 miles northwest of Filer, found the shooting was justified, but it did question why the officer didn’t stay in his vehicle, call the owner of the dogs or call for backup.

Town officials have scheduled a mandatory eight-hour training session on how to deal with aggressive dogs for Filer’s police officers on May 3.

Mayor Dunn said fallout from the shooting has placed the town in a bad light.

“I hate to see that,” he said. “Filer is a nice town: We have good staff, good people here. Give Filer a little more credit than this.”

(Photos: Top, Mike Preston and his wife, Brenda, sign a recall petition, by Ashley Smith / Times-News; bottom, citizens who, because of the size of the crowd, couldn’t get into a town hearing on the case in February, by Drew Nash / Times-News)

Donations pour in for Barbara and Bowser

The Oklahoma tornado victim whose missing dog emerged from the rubble in the middle of a TV news interview may get another prayer answered.

Barbara Garcia’s Scottish terrier, Bowser, was spotted under a pile debris by the news team interviewing her after she lost her home in Moore.

“Well, I thought that God had just answered one prayer, to let me be OK,” Garcia said after freeing her dog. “But he answered both of them.”

Now, those touched by the scene, which went viral on the Internet, have donated enough money to make a new home a possibility.

A fund set up to help her get back on her feet and under a new roof was approaching $40,000 as of Monday night, just $10,000 short of its $50,000 goal.

“We’re still looking for a corporate sponsor who will match funds donated, so we can make the dream of building a new home for Barbara and Bowser a reality. Not only did Barbara lose her home, her daughter did as well,” said Erin DeRuggiero who’s spearheading the fund drive.

According to CBS News, the clip of Bowser emerging from the rubble has been viewed more than 3 million times.

“All of the other things … you know, one by one they can be replaced. A lot of it wasn’t even important, but I couldn’t replace him,” Garcia said in an interview.

Garcia didn’t have homeowner’s insurance.

“I was really just compelled, personally, to do something,” said DeRuggiero. In the first five days of the fundraiser, more than $35,000 was raised.

“Before the CBS piece aired, I didn’t know Barbara Garcia personally, but was incredibly moved by her story and of her reunion with her sweet dog,” DeRuggiero wrote on the Gofundme page. “… My goal is to ease her recovery, raise enough money to help her start to rebuild or relocate her life, and above all else, to show her that ‘life in the big city’ also means helping one another, even from 1500 miles away.”

Garcia says she’s overwhelmed by the support: “I didn’t know I was that important. Really, truly, I didn’t. I just thank everybody,” Garcia said in a follow-up interview with CBS News.

The “Build Barbara Garcia a Home” fundraising page can be found here.

Petition seeks to cancel Vick’s courage award

An online petition drive has been launched, asking the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation to rescind the award that Michael Vick’s Philadelphia Eagles teammates unanimously voted for him to receive.

The petition, being sent to Sam Lamantia, CEO of the foundation, reads:

Recently the Philadelphia Eagles have elected Michael Vick as their recipient for this year’s Courage Award. Given Mr. Vick’s crimes and felony conviction, we do not believe he is worthy of this honor. For several years, in addition to promoting dogfighting, Vick himself tortured, abused, and murdered innocent dogs for his own profit and apparent enjoyment. This is not courage. This is inhumanity, immorality, and sheer brutality and does not warrant giving Vick this or any other reward.

Many of us have protested Vick’s reinstatement to the NFL. There has been strong media and PR influence in trying to diminish his past actions and erase the public’s memory of his sadistic behavior. We encourage you to stand up for the rights of animals everywhere and the memory of the dogs who endured Vick’s cruelty…

The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, based in Baltimore, is dedicated to promoting awareness and assisting in the prevention of child abuse. Vick’s promotion and financing of dogfighting activities and his conviction in 2007 of felony dogfighting charges run counter to that mission, petition backers say.

PETA, meanwhile, has also come out against Vick receiving the honor — one Vick says he deserves because of what he has “been through.”

“In no way does Michael Vick represent courage and inspiration,” the petition’s organizer said. “Rather, he exemplifies cruelty and inhumanity, and is not deserving of reward or recognition. We the undersigned strongly encourage the Ed Block Foundation to demonstrate the true substance of bravery, morals, and ethics. Deny Michael Vick the honor of the Courage Award.”

Bullet-proof logic: Vests protect police dogs

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Of the 139 police dogs killed by guns in the line of duty in the last 40 years, 29 of those deaths were – euphemism alert! — due to “friendly fire.”

That’s according to statistics compiled by the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association, and cited in a Baltimore Sun article yesterday.

vestThe figures weren’t broken down into how many of those ”friendly fire” deaths were a result of dogs being caught up in the middle of a gunfight, as opposed to cases of mistaken identity — like the one that led to a Baltimore police dog being shot by an officer he jumped on during a pursuit this week.

But either way, even without adding in the number of injuries, the figures show society could be doing a better job of protecting its police dogs.

On top of the nationwide toll of friendly-fire deaths, and far more common, are police dogs being killed by suspects — as has happened 110 times (with guns) and 25 times (with knives).

So there are really two issues here. One, as evidenced by the case of Baltimore police dog Blade, is whether all police dogs should be distinctly marked as such, by virtue of a vest, collar or other means.

The other, larger one is whether police dogs (and the dogs of the FBI) should be outfitted — like their human counterparts — in bullet-proof vests, something that hasn’t been a priority with municipal officials in Baltimore and lots of other financially-strapped cities.

Read more »

Police dog Nitro gets his job back

nitroNitro, a police dog in Aberdeen, Washington whose job was eliminated in a series of budget cuts, will be back on the beat next week.

Police Chief Bob Torgerson said a community fund-raising drive netted $57,000 — enough to rehire Nitro and also pay for a car, kennel and equipment for the department’s K-9 program.

Nitro’s job was eliminated in May, amid growing unemployment in Grays Harbor County and the closing of a Weyerhaeuser plant, which left the city with fewer tax dollars.

Officer Steve Timmons, Nitro’s partner, said the dog didn’t understand what was happening when he was first laid off.

“When I go to work, he runs to the door like we’re leaving and I have to leave him there. So it’s tough,” Timmons told TV station KOMO.

When members of the community heard about Nitro’s layoff, they raised enough money through private donations to reinstate the program.

In his four years on the force, 6-year-old Nitro has helped bring nearly 40 suspects to justice.

How your dog can help other dogs

The Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank is experiencing a blood shortage and has scheduled a series of blood drives to replenish its supply.

To be a blood donor, a dog must weigh at least 35 pounds, be in good health and be between the ages of 9 months and 7.5 years. Dogs weighing 55 pounds or less give a half pint of blood, while dogs that weigh more than 55 pounds give a full pint. Technicians draw blood from the jugular vein, and do not muzzle or sedate donor dogs.

EVBB is one of a few of private blood banks for dogs in the country.

If you and your dog are interested in donating, call the blood bank staff at 1-800-949-3822, or drop by one of the drives. Here’s the schedule:

Read more »

Why you shouldn’t leave your dog in idling car

A dog left in his master’s idling van somehow shifted the vehicle into gear and wound up crashing into a  Long Island coffee shop last week.

Bentley, a 50-pound boxer-Sharpei mix that musician Bryan Maher rescued from a shelter about a month ago, “drove” the vehicle through the front window of Cool Beanz in St. James, Long Island, according to the New York Daily News.

“I ran inside the coffee house to sign up for open-mike night, and I left my car running because it’s cold outside and I didn’t want my dog to freeze,” said Maher, 60. “The next thing I knew, I looked up to see my van coming at me in the window, with Bentley in the driver’s seat grinning at me.”

The crash left the shop’s glass front window cracked, some patio furniture busted and the van with minor damage, but there were no injuries.

Maher said he’d learned his lesson, and wouldn’t leave the dog in an idling vehicle again — even if it is cold outside. Instead, he plans to get him “a nice doggie coat for Christmas.”