Since January of 2010, Houston police have gunned down 187 dogs, killing 121 of them.
And last year alone, law enforcement officers in Houston and Harris County shot more dogs than New York City police officers shot in 2010 and 2011 combined.
All of those shooting were deemed by police to have been justified, but it’s not too hard to find families that disgree with that.
The KHOU 11 News I-Team did, and its report this week is more evidence that, across the country, requiring police to be trained in dealing with dogs could save dogs, and their families, a lot of pain.
Colorado passed a law requiring that, and it was signed by the governor this week.
The KHOU report, when it looked at the police-involved dog shootings for all of Harris County found at least 228 dogs had been shot by officers and deputies since 2010, 142 of them fatally.
“If the dog turns and comes at a citizen, or the deputy, they have all right to use lethal force,” explained Dpt. Thomas Gilliland of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Records show Harris County deputies shot 38 canines in the last three-and-a-half years.
When asked if all those shootings were justified, Gilliland said: “The justification is, in that matter, and at that moment the deputy had to choose the decision to use lethal force against that animal.”
Sgt. Joseph Guerra, who works as a cruelty investigator for the Houston Humane Society, said it teaches some officers how to safety interact with threatening dogs. But the training isn’t mandated for all officers.
“A lot of times, officers are not sent to training to get that type of certification to feel comfortable enough to deal with these animals,” he said. “We need to get those officers involved in some mandated training in how to defend before going to deadly force.”
The Arlington and Fort Worth Police Departments started mandatory dog training for officers last fall, and state lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the training for officers across Texas.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggressive, animals, arlington, behavior, canines, colorado, dangerous, deputies, dogs, fatal, fort worth, harris county, houston, interact, killed, law enforcement, new york, officers, pets, police, police shooting dogs, shoot, shot, texas, threatening, training
As medical marijuana grows in popularity, so too does the chance that the dog is going to get into it.
It’s always been something that happens – dogs have been chowing down on their owner’s illegal stashes for decades, sometimes with fatal results.
But with the increasing use of medical marijuana, dogs are more likely to both have access to it and be tempted by it. For one thing, it doesn’t have to be hidden anymore. It can be kept in higher quantities. And, increasingly, those taking it for medical reasons are eating it instead of smoking it.
As a result, instead of a well-hidden bag of green leafy buds, dogs must resist the temptation of such things as rice crispy marijuana treats, cannabis oreo cookie cake, medical snickerdoodles and ganja lasagna.
In Colorado, there has been a spike in the number of cases of dogs getting sick from cannabis since medical marijuana was legalized.
Vets say they used to see dogs who had ingested marijuana a few times a year. Now pet owners bring in doped-up dogs as many as five times a week, CBS4 in Denver reports.
“There are huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion in places where it’s become legal,” veterinarian Dr. Debbie Van Pelt said.
Most of the time dogs get the medical marijuana by eating food laced with it — either that which their owners have prepared, or pre-laced foods purchased from dispensaries selling the products.
Dr. Stacy Meola, a veterinarian who coordinated a study looking at the numbers, say four times as many dogs have been getting treatment for ingesting marijuana since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado.
It’s not always fatal, but it can be.
Most dogs survive, experiencing symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, staggering and sensitivity to sound and light.
In addition to accidental cases, veterinarians say some dog owners think it’s funny to get their dogs stoned– and even post videos of it.
“We need people to realize it is potentially toxic and potentially fatal to their pets,” Van Pelt said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baking, brownies, butter, coma, cookies, cooking, deaths, dispensaries, dog, dogs, eating, fatal, ganja lasagna, grass, health, ill, lethargy, marijuana, medical, medical marijuana, pets, pot, recipes, rice crispy treats, safety, sickness, smoking, snickerdoodles, survival, toxic, treatment, veterinarians, vomiting, warning, weed
My dog Ace likes to forage — to graze on grass, cruise for crumbs under the backyard grill, and gobble up any leftover vegetables my neighbor puts out for the squirrels and rabbits.
It’s not that he’s a glutton, constantly in search of food, but when no one is around to visit it’s generally how he passes the time. I attribute it to him spending his formative early months as a stray — scavenging meals where he could find them.
While he seems willing to sample just about anything that might be distantly related to food, he has thankfully been avoiding the mushrooms that have been popping up all over in recent weeks.
The ones above seemed to sprout overnight. Ace went over to see what they were this past weekend but turned his nose up at them, almost as if he knew they were not to be messed with.
And they’re not. Certain species of wild mushrooms are fatal to dogs, but rather than bombard you with scientific names I might misspell — like Amanita Phalloides — I’ll keep it simple:
Keep your dog away from any mushrooms growing outdoors. Beautiful as they are, they can be deadly.
It’s the wisest course of action, even if you know a thing or two about fungi. You may know the difference between a toxic species and a non-toxic one, but likely your dog doesn’t. So if he or she gets anywhere close, or starts to sniffing, holler “No!” – in Ace’s case three times usually works, though sometimes I have to add, “I mean it.”
Mushroom poisoning in dogs can cause abdominal pain, drooling, liver and kidney damage, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma and death.
There have been several cases of mushroom poisoning reported in Arizona, including one woman who, in a letter to the editor of her newspaper, reported all three of her dogs became sick from eating them
Earlier this summer, a family in Buffalo lost a second dog to mushroom poisoning. After the first one died, the family got a new dog, gave it the same name, and watched as it too got sick from eating mushrooms in their yard and died.
The ASPCA and other organizations advise making sure your dog avoids all mushrooms growing in the yard.
You, too, no matter how pretty they are.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, avoid, damage, deadly, dog, dogs, fatal, fungi, fungus, health, kidney, liver, mushroom, mushrooms, pets, poison, poisonous, safety, sick, toxic, vomiting, warning
The New York Post described Ted Shuttleworth as “a 230-pound, washed-up TV screenwriter.”
Police said he hit his poodle, Lola, on May 29 because he was angry at the pup.
Later, he took the 5-year-old dog to a veterinarian, who, viewing the death as suspicious, notified the ASPCA.
A necropsy determined, “Lola sustained a traumatic brain injury secondary to the application of blunt force to the right side of her head at the hands of the suspect, her owner,” an ASPCA spokesman said.
Shuttleworth, 51, had a brief stint writing for “NYPD Blue” and has worked for Steven Spielberg. He’s now an administrative assistant at New York University.
His wife, Isadora Monk Shuttleworth, called Lola’s injuries ”a horrible accident, ” but didn’t elaborate.
Shuttleworth faces up to a year in prison.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, aspca, cruelty to animals, death, dog, dogs, fatal, investigation, killed, lola, miniature, necropsy, new york, nypd blue, pets, police, poodle, punched, queens, screenwriter, ted shuttleworth, writer
A DeKalb County police officer responding to a domestic dispute shot and killed a family’s dog Tuesday night.
That happens far too often, but this time there’s an even sadder twist — he was at the wrong address.
The officer went to Bobbie Currie’s home on Silva Court around 9 p.m. in response to a domestic dispute call that possibly involved an armed person, Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News reported.
When the family’s German shepherd lunged at the officer, he shot and killed the dog, even though it was on a chain in the garage. He then pointed his gun at Currie’s husband, Anthony.
“I said, ‘Why you shoot my dog?’ And he said, ‘Well, I’ll blow your brains out,’” Anthony Currie said.
A DeKalb police supervisor sent to the scene said the officer made an error.
“Subsequent investigation determined that the actual address that he was looking for was actually across the street,” DeKalb police Lt. Dane Cunningham said.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, atlanta, chained, dekalb county, dispute, dog, dogs, domestic, error, family, family dog, fatal, georgia, german shepherd, killed, law enforcment, mistake, pets, police, shoots, shot, wrong house
“I would almost like to see, and I know this is very controversial, to see the city take a stand where they try to prohibit specific breeds,” Chief Joe Massey said.
Massey told WABI that statistics show most attacks happen in victim’s homes and that “the top three biters according to their study are pit bulls, german shepherds and Rottweilers.”
Either Massey didn’t say — or WABI failed to report — whose study he was basing his statements on, as is often the case when breed bans start to blossom.
“In this particular case, where a two-year-old was bitten, a significant portion of his cheek is gone,” Massey said. “I mean gone! It’s appalling.”
The boy had surgery and is now recovering at home. The dog, who earlier bit a 6-year-old boy, has been euthanized.
Paula Mitchell, executive director of the Waterville Humane Society, said she didn’t agree with idea of a ban. But the humane society does refuse to place pit bulls in homes where there are children under 12.
“People should do their research before they buy dogs,” the police chief said. “They should research them and particularly if they’re going to get a dog that’s already grown.”
The chief’s statistics, we can only guess, come from a CDC report on fatal dog bites between 1979 and 1998, which showed “pit bull types” as the breed responsible for most fatalities.
We won’t go into all of that study’s flaws — not the least of which is that pit bull isn’t a breed but a catch-all category that includes numerous breeds and mixes thereof.
As the CDC itself says about the study: ”It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic.”
Most politicians don’t read the small print, though. They’re too busy spreading fear.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attack, bite, biters, bites, breed ban, cdc, dog, dogs, fatal, german shepherds, joe massey, maine, pets, pit bull, police chief, research, rottweilers, study, waterville
A Baltimore County dog was stabbed in the throat earlier this week while in her own fenced yard, and died later that night.
Princess, a 3-year-old mixed breed, was stabbed sometime Wednesday, and was found bleeding by her family when they returned home.
David and Robin O’Steen rushed the dog to the vet and left her there overnight, hopeful that she was going to survive. The vet told the O’Steens that the wound appeared to be from a knife.
“I had planned to go at 2 o’clock yesterday and get her from the vet,” Robin O’Steen told WJZ in Baltimore. “And they called yesterday (Thursday) morning when I was at school to tell me that she had passed overnight.”
The O’Steens said Princess had been mistreated by passersby before, because she was prone to bark at strangers. The street they live on in Essex is near a pedestrian bridge, and gets a lot of foot traffic, they said. Once someone walked by and spit on her because she was barking.
Contrary to the WJZ report (above), Princess wasn’t really on the cover of “Dog Fancy” magazine. According to Robin O’Steen, it’s a fake cover she had made at Walgreen’s. Because the visiting news crew didn’t ask about it, Robin said she didn’t bother to point it out. Even though Princess wasn’t a true cover dog, Robin still considered her a star.
Baltimore County police are investigating the death of Princess, but with no witnesses having come forward, Robin O’Steen isn’t too hopeful that the dog’s assailant will be found.
“Without an eyewitness, the police are unable to do anything, which greatly saddens me,” she told ohmidog!
Princess, a Rottweiler and black Lab mix, was a rescue from Georgia and had a limp when her daughter adopted her.
“She was my sidekick/my shadow. If I went outside to sit on the porch, she had to go outside with me. Even if to just lay in the yard, she was always by my side to make sure I was OK. Even though she was 80 pounds, she would lay in my bed with me while I watched TV, worked on homework, etc. She spent almost every night at my feet, sleeping with me and my husband.”
“I had her for three years and she was THE best dog I ever had. She was not my property, she was my family. I feel so lost without her, and I am so angry that anyone could do this to a dog that never hurt anyone.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, baltimore county, cover, david osteen, dog, dog fancy, dogs, essex, fatal, fenced yard, killed, murdered, perfect pooch, pets, princess, robin osteen, stabbed
A mastiff that killed a terrier-Chihuahua mix Thursday at Charlotte’s Frazier Dog Park mistook the smaller dog for his favorite chew toy, according to the man who brought the mastiff to the park.
On Thursday, Maran Heatwole walked into the dog park with her 12-pound dog, Presley. Witnesses said the mastiff, about 140 pounds, picked up Presley and shook her from side to side, reports the Charlotte Observer.
The man who brought the mastiff to the park told the newspaper that the dog had been playing at the park with his favorite toy, a brown stuffed bear. When Presley walked by, he said, the mastiff picked her up because they looked similar.
The newspaper did not identify the man by name, and he declined to give the dog’s name, but he did provide a photo of the toy in question.
He said he feels sorry for Presley’s owner, but pointed out the park has a separate area designated for small dogs, and that Presley should have been there. He said the mastiff was not his, but belongs to his girlfriend’s relatives in Tennessee.
Heatwole drove Presley to Dilworth Animal Hospital after the incident but veterinarians were unable to save the dog.
Heatwole passed the man’s name on to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control. Officials there said Sunday night that the case is under investigation.
Parks officials said this is the first fatal incident they know of at one of the county’s five dog parks, which have been open for eight years.
Joseph Hawley, Heatwole’s fiance, said the couple is devastated by the loss and plans to lobby for stricter safety regulations for aggressive dogs in parks. “We’re gonna do as much as we can to make sure no other owner or family has to go through this.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, bear, big dog, charlotte, chew toy, chihuahua, death, died, dog parks, dogs, fatal, Frazier dog park, investigation, killed, kills, maran heatwole, mastiff, mistaken identity, mix, news, ohmidog!, parks, pets, presley, shook, small dog, stuffed toy, terrier, toy
Police in Baltimore are investigating the shooting of a 9-year-old boy and his dog Tuesday night.
The boy was shot in the left hand in West Baltimore Tuesday night after three men kicked in the front door of his residence, police said.
The boy was taken to an area hospital and is in stable condition, the Baltimore Sun reported. The dog was killed.
Police were called to the 1600 block of N. Ellamont St. about 11 p.m. and found the victim shot along with a dog. Witnesses told police that the suspects fled the residence after the shooting.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9 year old, animals, baltimore, boy, child, crime, dog, fatal, home, pets, residence, shooting, shot, violence, West Baltimore
A father walking his dogs was shot to death in front of his 13-year-old daughter Tuesday night, after exchanging words with a man who got mad when one of the two dogs sniffed his legs, police said.
The father, Thomas Cunningham, 38, of Hayward, California, worked as a head janitor for the Dublin Unified School District. He and his daughter had gone to a store to get ice cream and were returning home with their two dogs, the San Jose Mercury-News reported.
Police said Cunningham’s German shepherd approached a man and sniffed his leg. An argument ensued and the man pulled out a handgun, shooting Cunningham as his daughter watched.
The two were returning from a two-block trip with the dogs — the year-old German shepherd and an unspecified smaller breed.
Police are seeking the suspect, and any additional witnesses.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: california, crime, daughter, dog, dogs, fatal, father, german shepherd, hayward, killed, leg, police, shooting, shot, sniffed, thomas cunningham