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Tag: firearms

Reading, writing, arithmetic and gun safety

eeagleMuch like McGruff the Crime Dog, Eddie Eagle — aka a National Rifle Association representative in an eagle costume — has been showing up in school assemblies for more than 20 years.

But it appears the NRA mascot and his lessons on gun safety are destined to become mandatory in Virginia – at least in those school districts that choose to offer the curriculum.

The state has approved gun safety classes in elementary schools, and will structure the curriculum with help from the National Rifle Association.

The law allows local school divisions to offer gun-safety education to pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade. While each school board can decide whether to offer it, those that do must use the state curriculum — which will include rules used by the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.

Not all parents are thrilled with that.

“I personally don’t think firearm safety has a place in the schools,” Lori Haas, spokeswoman for the Virginia Center for Public Safety whose daughter is a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. 

“That’s up to the parents to teach that at home.” she told Fox News

NRA’s Eddie Eagle website says that the program’s goal “isn’t to teach whether guns are good or bad, but rather to promote the protection and safety of children.”

The Eddie Eagle mascot advises children: “If you see a gun: STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.” Eddie Eagle does not promote firearm ownership or use and firearms are never used in the program, the website says.

The website tells schools they can “add excitement to your assemblies with a safety mascot appearance. The use of the Eddie Eagle costume provides an entertaining way to enhance the program.”

The Eddie Eagle safety mascot costume is available for purchase by law enforcement agencies only, for $2,650.

Gun charges dropped in dog burning case

Gun and drug charges against the Baltimore twins accused of setting a dog on fire were dropped this week.

The two still face animal cruelty and mutilation charges in a separate case accusing them of setting fire to a pit bull puppy, named Phoenix after her rescue.

Police searching the twins’ home during the animal cruelty investigation said they found a gun and some marijuana, leading to drugs and weapons charges against twin brothers Tremayne and Travers Johnson and their father.

Because of difficulties proving who owned the gun, prosecutors decided to drop all those charges and focus on the animal cruelty case, WJZ reported.

Phoenix was found on fire by a city police officer, who extinguished the flames with her jacket. The dog survived several days, but had to be euthanized.

The animal cruelty trial for the twins is scheduled for June.

Twins, named in dog burning, face gun trial

phoenix4Jury selection begins today in the firearms possession trial of twin brothers accused of setting fire to a pit bull in May.

Travers and Tremayne Johnson, both 18, and their father, Charles Johnson, were charged in June with possession of firearms and marijuana.

Police say they found drugs and weapons in a raid conducted at the Johnsons’ South Pulaski Street home in connection with the investigation into the burning of a pit bull rescuers dubbed “Phoenix.”

Prosecutors opted to try the brothers and their 76-year-old father on the firearms case before the twins trial on animal cruelty charges.

The brothers were indicted by a Baltimore grand jury in November on aggravated animal abuse charges. They pleaded not guilty in December.

Phoenix had been doused with gasoline and set on fire when a police officer spotted the dog and put the fire out with her jacket. Phoenix had burns over more than 95 percent of her. She lived several days, but had to be euthanized due to complications resulting from her injuries.

The Crate Escape: 10 more years for inmate

manardyoungJohn Manard, who escaped from a Kansas prison by hiding inside a dog crate, was sentenced yesterday to another 10 years in federal prison on weapons charges, according to the Kansas City Star.

Manard was sprung from the Lansing Correctional Facility in 2006 by a prison volunteer, who used her dog van to drive him to freedom. Manard was hidden inside a cardboard box placed inside a dog crate.

The volunteer, Toby Young, was the founder of Safe Harbor, a program that rescued dogs from animal shelters and worked with inmates to train the pets and make them suitable for adoption. Married and a mother of two, she became romantically involved with the prisoner while working inside the Lansing Correctional Facility. You can read more about that saga — a Lifetime movie waiting to happen — here.

After leaving the Lansing prison, the two went to Young’s house where they took her husband’s two pistols.

Young, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for giving a firearm to a felon. Manard’s new conviction on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm comes on top of his escape conviction and a previous murder conviction, for which he was serving a life sentence.

NYC police shot 30 dogs last year

About one of every four times that New York city police officers fire their weapons, they are taking aim at dogs, according to The New York Times.

And when shooting at dogs, lawmen more often find their mark than when shooting at people.

Officers shot 30 dogs last year and have shot 15 so far this year, the report said.

Of the 126 times that officers fired their guns in 2006, they shot at dogs 30 times, said Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who has analyzed the data in the department’s annual firearms discharge reports. A year earlier, he said, 32 of 123 shootings involved dogs, compared to 26 of 114 in 2004.

In those three years, Dunn said, the shots hit the dogs 55 percent of the time. When shooting at people, the shots hit their mark only 23.4 percent of the time.

On Wednesday night, police killed a pit bull in the hallway of a housing project on the Upper East Side. The dog, named Baby, charged at a group of officers who were responding to an assault call.

Police said Thursday that three officers fired a total of seven shots. Fragments from the richocheting bullets hit three officers and the dog’s owner, Milagros Martinez, who had let the dog out. Six people, including Martinez, 42, were arrested after the shooting.

They were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance after officers found a pipe with crack cocaine residue inside the apartment, the police said.

The shooting will be investigated by a police internal review board. According to police guidelines on the use of deadly force, officers may not shoot at dogs “except to protect themselves or another person from physical injury and there is no other reasonable means to eliminate the threat.”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the police had acted responsibly.

Twins charged in dog burning face new counts

Travers and Tremayne Johnson, the 17-year-old twin brothers accused of fatally burning a pit bull, have been arrested and are being held without bail after police said they found guns and marijuana inside their Southwest Baltimore rowhouse.

This time, the twins were charged as adults.

The twins, who were charged as juveniles in the animal cruelty case, face new charges of possession of firearms, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore police announced the arrest of the youths June 8 in connection with the case of Phoenix, a pit bull who had been doused with gasoline and set on fire. The dog, burned over 95 percent of her body, died several days later. The case led to calls for stiffer penalties in animal cruelty cases, and $26,000 was donated to a reward fund.

In that case, the brothers were released to the custody of their father.

According to the Sun, court document show police raided the house on June 16 and filed adult charges against the twins two days later. Authorities did not confirm the arrests until Thursday.

Newly filed court documents say that detectives have a witness “who positively identified both Travers Johnson and Tremayne Johnson as the individuals who were running out of the alley with the burning dog.” The documents also state that the “incident was captured” on police surveillance video.

Police said they they found three guns – a loaded .38-caliber Taurus handgun inside a rubber boot, a 20-gauge shotgun and a Marlin Firearms .30-.30-caliber rifle in the later search of the twins’ home. Police said they found a digital scale with a small amount of marijuana.

Rochester cops shoot mostly at dogs

banner_policecarTwo of every three shots fired by police in Rochester, N.Y., are fired at dogs; and four of every five shots fired at dogs were aimed at pit bulls.

Those are just a couple of the more stunning statistics presented in an article in yesterday’s Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Police have shot at 87 dogs, killing 35 and injuring 33, in the line of duty over the last five years, according to a review of police reports from 2004 to April 2009 obtained by the Democrat and Chronicle under the Freedom of Information law. Some of the injured were later euthanized.

Over the same period, police fired at nine people and used their guns to kill 36 deer, all of them injured before police were summoned. Guns discharged accidentally three times.

All of the dog shootings were determined to be within Rochester Police Department guidelines, which permit the use of deadly force on animals when they are attacking or “presenting an imminent danger” to any person.

Some of the dangers described in the police reports, though, sound something less than imminent: Read more »