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Tag: gun

Why not just drive off, cable guy?

cleoOut of Monroe County, Michigan, comes the story of a cable guy who shot and killed a “threatening” dog while on duty.

We’ve come to expect this behavior from police officers, and regularly bash them for making snap judgments to end a life because a dog is running towards them in what they perceive — sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly — to be an aggressive manner.

But possibly even scarier than that is the idea of a cable guy who is toting a gun, and  making that judgment.

In this case, Martel Travis had arrived at a home when he was approached by Cleo, a three-year-old chocolate Lab mix who lived next door.

Travis told police, after the incident, that the dog was acting aggressively, so he walked away from the home and to his service truck, where he retrieved his gun and shot the dog.

We can’t help but ask, once he was back in his truck, why didn’t he just drive away?

Is installing cable so important that gunning down a dog is preferable to coming back another day, perhaps one when the neighbors have been called and asked to keep their dog inside?

To consider this a killing that occurred in the “line of duty” is a joke.

But somehow, a jury saw clear to acquit him of the charge the prosecutor’s office filed  – animal killing/ torturing, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

The Monroe News reports that the jury deliberated about an hour before rendering their verdict.

“This has revived my faith in the criminal justice system,” said Marlon B. Evans, the Detroit lawyer who represented Travis. “… He was at work, doing his job and he had a right to defend himself.”

Monroe County Assistant Prosecutor Ronald Benore Jr. called six witnesses to testify in the one and a half day trial, and argued that Travis overreacted and shot the dog unnecessarily.

“The jury must have believed he was in fear of his life or in danger,” Benore said.

The dog’s owners, Brian and Melissa Doran, said they were shocked at the verdict.

Cleo was never aggressive and was merely trying to greet Travis, they added.

We won’t second guess the jury (much), but we will second guess the cable guy:  Once he returned to his vehicle to get his gun (which he has a license to carry), why didn’t he just remain inside and make a call, or drive off?

(Photo courtesy of the Doran family)

Homeless woman’s dog shot to death in park

First she lost her job, then she lost the home she shared with her son — a temporary motel room.

Last Thursday, Tina Lambert lost her dog, too, when, while staying in a park, a stranger shot and killed her Rottweiler mix after the dog growled at him.

Lambert has been staying in Memorial Park in Sumter, S.C., with her son and two dogs, WLTX reported.

They were gathered by a bench Thursday when a man walked up, leading her dog, Ayakashi, to growl. The man fired one shot, killing the dog. Lambert said her dog was on a leash.

“There was my dog, she had a hole in her chest this big” said Lambert. “He blew a hole in her, she was gone. She took a couple breaths and that was all there was to it.”

Lambert says the man made a remark, laughed and ran to is car.

He later went to the Sumter Police Department to file a report saying he acted in self defense. The man, who police haven’t identified publicly, told officers the dog was unleashed.

Residents living near the park say Lambert’s dogs are friendly, and always on their leashes.

Sumter Police say because of the man’s concealed carry permit, and his claim that the dog was unleashed, no charges will be filed.

Lambert said she plans to dispute that decision.

Killing 100 sled dogs gave him nightmares

About 100 dogs were gunned down execution-style in British Columbia when a company that offers sled dog tours apparently decided that, due to a downturn in business, it could no longer afford to maintain them.

The shocking revelation of the mass killing (the industry prefers the term “culling”) surfaced through the British Columbia Worker’s Compensation Board, where a company employee filed a claim saying that killing the dogs, on April 21 and 23 of last year, caused him post-traumatic stress disorder.

The SPCA in British Columbia has launched an investigation into the incident.

“Culling” – or thinning the “herd”  — is apparently not an uncommon practice among sled dog companies, according to the SPCA, either in the U.S. or Canada, where the sled dog tour industry is largely unregulated.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone engaged in the illegal killing of sled dogs in either country. 

The 100 dogs – used in sled dog tours operated by Outdoor Adventures — were gunned downed while tethered. The employee, acting under the orders of his boss, began shooting dogs as other dogs watched. Some of the dogs panicked and attacked him as he carried out the task, he said.

“By the end he was covered in blood,” the workmen’s compensation review board noted in its Jan. 25 decision, which ruled the employee did develop PTSD in connection with the incident. “When he finished he cleared up the mess, filled in the mass grave and tried to bury the memories as deeply as he could.”

The full report from the board was obtained by The Vancouver Sun.

In addition to sparking an SPCA investigation into allegations of animal cruelty, the report has led to a suspension by Tourism Whistler of reservations for dog sledding excursions by Outdoor Adventures.

Outdoors Adventures, which also offers snowmobiling, snowshoeing and horseback excursions in the Whistler area, said in a statement that there are now no firearms on site and all future euthanizations will be done in a vet’s office.

Marcie Moriarty, head of the British Columbia SPCA cruelty investigations division, said the employee, who was the general manager of Outdoor Adventures, could and should have denied to carry out the orders from his boss.

The employee said he has suffered panic attacks and nightmares since the culling.

“I’ve no doubt he has suffered post traumatic stress but there’s a thing called choice,” said Moriarty. “I absolutely would not have done this and he could have said no … I don’t feel sorry for this guy for one minute.”

“The way this employee describes it — it’s a massacre absolutely … These dogs were killed in front of the other dogs that were all tethered up on the compound.”

The order to kill the sled dogs came after a veterinarian declined to euthanize healthy animals, and some attempts were made to adopt out the dogs, the employee told the review board.

SPCA officials say the incident sheds some needed light on the industry.

“There is a problem with the sled dog industry in general,” Moriarty said. “People see these 20 sled dogs, an idyllic setting with snow in the background and think how great. But what they don’t see is the 200 dogs tethered and sleeping out back, chained to a barrel.”

Bear-Bear remembered in tribute

It started with some flowers and a dog toy left in his honor at the dog park, but by this evening a full-fledged memorial and tribute were underway for Bear-Bear, the Siberian Husky gunned down by a federal officer in Anne Arundel County this week.

Those saddened and upset with the dog’s death — he was fatally shot by a Department of Defense officer who felt Bear-Bear was playing too roughly with his leashed German shepherd — began gathering at Quail Run Park around 6:30 p.m. for a tribute that was expected to go until 8:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, at the recommendation of County Executive John R. Leopold, the Anne Arundel County Police Department will be investigating the incident — contrary to its earlier assertions — and receiving assistance in that investigation from the Humane Society of the United States.

HSUS representatives also plan to help the Severn community ensure that the Quail Run Community Dog Park is safe.

“I welcome the opportunity to partner with this national organization,” County Executive John Leopold said in a statement. “With our combined resources, I look forward to bringing closure to this egregious incident.”

Leopold said he was “outraged” and “deeply troubled” to learn about the killing. Police originally called the matter closed, but Police Chief James Teare called the case a “priority” Wednesday and pledged a full investigation, according to the Washington Post.

“The Anne Arundel County Police Department has taken this case seriously and is thoroughly investigating this incident that appears to involve the violent death of a beloved dog. We welcome the opportunity to work with Anne Arundel County on the investigation and to assist the community in making it a safer place for both animals and people,” said Justin L. Scally of the HSUS.

WBAL-TV reported that the unidentified, off-duty Department of Defense officer used his personal weapon to fire at Bear-Bear, and that he told officers he “feared for the safety of himself, his wife and their dog.”

Bear-Bear was taken to Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Annapolis, where he died. Since the incident Monday, police have not released the officer’s identity.

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.

Officer’s shooting of dog under review

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video.

A dashboard camera caught only a slice of the action, but police in Fort Worth say the video shows an officer was justified in shooting a family’s pit bull mix on Easter Sunday.

The family, meanwhile — one cousin was hit by shrapnel — is outraged.

Channel 5 in Dallas reports that the incident began as a traffic stop.The officer stopped a pickup truck with unrestrained children in the back.

The driver pulled into a relative’s driveway, where the dog greeted him, then began barking and advancing toward the officer.

Just off camera the officer fires two or three shots, injuring the dog. Police say the video shows the officer clearly feared his life was in danger. The family says the officer should never have even pulled out his gun, pointing out that several children were within feet of him when he fired.

The dog, named Papi, is recuperating at a vet clinic.

Police say that, while it appears the officer was defending himself from the dog, they are continuing their investigation.

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.