And, groundless as the accusations are, the New York Times saw fit to print them.
Cruz, a three-year-old Samoyed, died just a few days after competing at Westminster.
The New York Times calls it, “A whodunit that has rattled the show world and ignited tensions between animal activists and purebred-champion breeders.”
Why point the finger at animal rights rowdies for the death of Cruz?
Robert Chaffin, Cruz’s handler, says simply that they are the most likely suspects.
“Unfortunately, dog shows have been plagued by some of these people for years,” he said. “I’ve heard horror stories about other people’s dogs having their setups tampered with, being poisoned, but I never thought it would come to me.”
While animal rights groups have long protested dog shows, tampering with and poisoning canine contestants — a rare occurence — has traditionally more often been perpetrated by the human competitors, either out of jealousy or to better their chances to win.
Based on known facts so far, Cruz’s humans seem to be making a pretty big leap.
Chaffin accompanied Cruz to New York for the Westminster competition and says he paid close attention to everything the dog ate, including a steak he fed him the night before. Despite his monitoring, he said, “It would have been easy for someone to throw something in his cage.”
On top of that, Chaffin said he remembered a stranger at the Westminster show glaring at him and making a disapproving remark about Cruz having been debarked, a process in which a dog’s vocal cords are removed.
Chaffin admitted there was no evidence that Cruz had been deliberately poisoned, and no confirmation that poisoning was even the cause of death.
No necropsy was performed.
Lynette Blue, one of Cruz’s owners said she declined a necropsy because she was confident that he swallowed poison. Blue says she called New York City police after Cruz died to report possible foul play.
Cruz, 3, died on Feb. 16 in Lakewood, Colo., where he was competing in another show. He began vomiting blood, and Chaffin took him to Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services in Lakewood, where he was hooked up to an intravenous drip and received oxygen, but died shortly thereafter.
“We have been devastated and in shock,” Blue said. “This is one of the most painful experiences of my life.”
Molly Comiskey, the Colorado veterinarian who treated Cruz, said his symptoms resembled those of a poisoned dog, but that his cause of death remains unclear. She saw no reason to believe he’d been intentionally poisoned.
“Dogs are dogs. It’s not anyone’s fault. They eat stuff; they get into things; they make bad decisions,” she said.
The Times article points out the possibility that Cruz may have had an undiagnosed genetic disorder, but quotes Blue as saying he had no history of such. The lack of answers, it seems, is leading to some pretty wild speculation.
“We keep thinking of the various scenarios, and it’s starting to feel like something we may never know,” Blue said.
Given his owners passed on a chance to help solve what they see as a whodunit — namely, having a necrospy performed — that might very well be the case.
(Photo: Lynette Blue)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 28th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activists, animal rights, animals, blamed, colorado, cruz, death, died, dog, dog shows, dogs, evidence, handler, lakewood, mouse poison, owners, pets, poison, poisoned, purebred, rat poison, robert chaffin, samoyed, suspected, westminster, westminster kennel club dog show, whodunit
Sergeant Rex, a bomb-sniffing dog who finally returned from duty in Iraq earlier this year and was reunited with his former handler, died Saturday at the age of 11.
Rex was assigned to Cpl. Megan Leavey in 2006 when, on a patrol in Iraq, the dog alerted his handler of a nearby bomb. Both tried to run away, but it detonated, injuring them both.
Leavey left the Marine Corps in Dec. 2007, but Sergeant Rex continued to serve. She tried to adopt the dog, but was unable to for years because he remained on duty after recovering from his injuries.
This year, when Rex was retired due to facial paralysis, Leavey renewed her efforts, receiving support form U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and an online petition that received more than 20,000 signatures. In March, Leavey received permission to adopt him. They were reunited in April.
Leavey, who lives in New York, announced Rex’s death last week on her Facebook page:
“Unfortunately today at 10:56 a.m. Rex passed away. I was faced with the decision that no pet owner wants to hear, but I know I made the right choice. This is all very sudden and thankfully he did not suffer for long, this all came about late last night.
“I am so grateful for the last eight months I got to spend with my partner and my best friend. Rex got to swim in a pool and play with my other dogs. He got to roam the yard and bark at deer, play with as many toys as he wanted all day everyday, sleep in a cozy bed next to me every night, chase and eventually make friends with my two cats, enjoy and play in his first snowfall … and so much other great stuff that he would have never had the chance to do if he was never retired.
“He knew I was with him the whole time and I laid next to him and held him and spoke to him and he was at peace in the end. He is now my guardian angel … even though he already was. So thank you to everyone who supported me and made it possible for me to spend those precious 8 months with my best friend.
“He was one hell of a dog, one tough ass Marine, and one very special soul. He will no doubt be greatly missed and never forgotten.”
A book about Rex came out this year, entitled “Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog.” It was written by Mike Dowling, another one of Sergeant Rex’s handlers.
Rex searched more than 6,220 vehicles while stationed in Iraq, the Marine Corps says.
The publishers of the new book noted his passing in a Facebook post this week:
“Rest in peace Rex and thank you for your service and sacrifice. Once a Marine, Always a Marine … Semper Fi,” they wrote.
(Photo of Rex and Leavey from tribute posted at Findagrave.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bomb, bombs, bond, book, death, died, dog, handler, handlers, ied, iraq, megan leavey, mike dowling, military, reunion, reunited, sergeant rex, sniffing, war
The reunion took place at Lackland Air Force base in Texas last week, and the eight-year-old dog is now home with Logan Black.
Black, 34, launched a campaign on Facebook to persuade the Air Force to retire Diego and let him adopt him, KCTV in Kansas City reports. The retired soldier says Diego saved his life, several times, in Iraq.
“This feels fantastic,” Black said. “I’ve been waiting for those for a really long time.”
Black trained Diego and they served on nearly 40 missions in Iraq in 2006, searching for hidden weapons and homemade bombs.
Five years after they sent separate ways, Black said he still missed the dog. He began a search for Diego and learned that he was working at Lackland AFB, helping train other bomb-sniffing dogs.
“No doubt Diego would have found a home somewhere, but a home with me is different than with a totally new stranger,” Black said.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, animals, bomb, bond, campaign, detecting, diego, dog, dogs, facebook, handler, home, humans, iraq, lackland, logan black, military, pets, reunion, reunited, search, sniffing, veteran
Leavey served as the dog’s handler for more than three years until a roadside bomb blast in Ramadi, Iraq, took them out of commission in 2006, MSNBC reports.
“Rex is my partner; I love him,” said Leavey, 28, who lives with her father in Rockport, New York, and works as a dog handler. “We have been through so much together … I’ve spent day and night with this dog. It’s a very strong bond.”
Leavey first applied to adopt Sgt. Rex as she was completing her Marine Corps service in 2007, but the military determined the dog had recovered and should return to duty.
About a month ago, though, Leavey heard that Sgt. Rex had been deemed ready to retire after developing facial palsy, which was affecting his equilibrium. She again filed paperwork to adopt him.
“An official request for retirement has been submitted,” said Matthew Stines, press officer for the Air Force, which has jurisdiction over the Military Working Dog Program. He said that action on that request is expected to take about two weeks.
The dog still has to be evaluated for “adoptability” at Camp Pendleton, where he is now kenneled. Approval also has to come from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Military dogs aren’t commonly euthanized upon retirement — at least not anymore — except in cases where they have health or behavioral issues or are otherwise deemed unadoptable.
Leavey is hoping Sgt. Rex passes those tests, and that there’s an end to the red tape.
“(Rex) is just hanging out in his kennel,” Leavey said. “I know the Marine Corp has other more important issues. But it’s important to me. And he deserves it.”
Sgt. Rex is the subject of a 2011 book written by his first handler, Mike Dowling — “Sgt. Rex: The Unbreakable Bond between a Marine and his Military Working Dog.”
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is encouraging the the Air Force to act quickly to approve the adoption.
“Marine Corporal Leavey and Rex are true American heroes who saved countless American lives uncovering roadside bombs and booby traps in Iraq,” he said in a statement. “I’m strongly urging the Air Force to do the right thing, cross the T’s and dot the I’s so that Rex gets the home he deserves, and Corporal Leavey can be reunited with her faithful companion.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, air force, animals, bomb, bomb-sniffing, bond, bureaucracy, camp pendleton, charles schumer, deployment, dog, dogs, evaluation, german shepherd, handler, iraq, K-9, k9, lackland, marines, megan leavey, military, military dog, pets, red tape, retired, rex, senator, sergeant rex, service, sgt. rex, working dog
The 3-year-old, mostly black German shepherd was working with his handler at White Marsh Park off Route 3 in Bowie when he got distracted by a fox and ran off, according to his handler, Sonja Heritage, of the Fairfax County, Virginia, search and rescue team.
WTOP radio reports he has since been found and reunited with his handler.
Heritage, who put up fliers and contacted local animal shelters after he went missing, said it was little embarassing since Vito is a highly trained search and rescue dog. But, she added, even the best-trained dogs can get distracted.
“A dog is a dog,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, Bowie, disappeared, distracted, dog, dogs, exercise, fairfax county, fire, found, fox, handler, lost, maryland, missing, pets, police, rescue, returned, reunited, search, search and rescue, Sonja Heritage, virginia, vito, white marsh park
A police dog in Alabama died Friday after his handler left him inside a patrol car between shifts, police said Monday.
The internal affairs divisionof the Montgomery Police Department is investigating the incident, a spokesman said.
The officer has been transferred from the K9 division and could face further discipline depending on the outcome of the investigation, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
The dog, named Urso, was laid to rest Monday.
Police said the officer had driven Urso to the Police Department’s kennel mid-morning Friday, but “just forgot” to check him into the kennel. The officer returned to the kennel for his next shift at 8 p.m. and found Urso dead inside the vehicle.
A police spokesman said the officer, who wasn’t named, is “emotionally devastated” by Urso’s death, which is believed to be heat-related.
Urso, a German shepherd, joined the department four years ago after being trained at a facility in North Carolina.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 28th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, death, dogs, forgot, german shepherd, handler, heat, K-9, k9, left in car, montgomery, news, officer, ohmidog!, partner, pets, police, police dog, urso, vehicle
Qondor, a Norwegian Army patrol dog who somehow escaped from his crate before a flight at Dulles International Airport and disappeared, has been found and reunited with his owner, the Washington Post reports.
Qondor, a 21-month-old Doberman, is a specialist in the Norwegian Army. He focuses on patrols and is being trained in explosives detection. Qondor and his handler, Captain Gunn Anita Fossli, flew into Dulles last Wednesday for a dog training course in northern Virginia, according to NBC 4.
Their original flight back to Norway was canceled because of the volcano in Iceland. On Wednesday night they were offered a new flight, Qondor was missing in action. He somehow escaped from his crate at about 10 p.m.
Airport officials drove Fossli around the 12,000 acre complex to the places Qondor was spotted Wednesday night, but the search was called off because “it was dark and the fog was coming.”
Early Thursday Qondor was found, briefly escaped again, and was recaptured again before boarding a flight home to Norway.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airport, animals, army, crate, detection, doberman, dog, dulles, escaped, explosives, handler, news, norway, norwegian, pets, qondor, washington
A police dog handler in the UK has been found guilty of animal cruelty for leaving two German shepherds to die in the back of his car on one of the hottest days of last year.
Mark Johnson, of the Nottinghamshire police, was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine. The judge called it “an extremely difficult case” which reflected poorly on the force’s attitude to officers with mental health problems.
Prosecutors said the animals – Jay-Jay and Jet – died in “excruciating pain” after Johnson forgot he had not taken them out of his vehicle on June 30. The dogs died – possibly within 20 minutes of being left in the car– from heatstroke, The Guardian reported
Johnson, 39, said he was severely depressed and was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder when he left the dogs in the car. He said his illness had caused him to forget that the animals were still in the car as he sat down to do paperwork at Nottinghamshire police’s headquarters.
District judge Tim Devas described the dogs’ deaths as “sad and regrettable”, but criticized the police department for failing to help an officer struggling with depression.
“I feel a police officer has been let down … (T)his is a dreadful error of judgment brought about by an illness way before it happened and PC Johnson should have been given more help … I cannot believe that in the 21st century, depression and men crying is so abhorrent to an institution that nothing can be done about it,” he said.
An assistant chief constable of the Nottinghamshire police said dog handlers must now take their animals directly to kennels on arrival at work and that a system was being piloted alerting handlers to temperature changes inside vehicles.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, car, changes, deaths, depressed, dog, fine, fined, german shepherds, guilty, handler, heat, heat stroke, jay jay, jet, mark johnson, mental health, news, nottinghamshire, police, policies, policy, trial, vehicle
Harris County Deputy Constable Ted Dahlin, whose police dog, Blek, was strangled by a burglary suspect last week, says he shared a special bond with the five-year-old shepherd and considered him both his partner and best friend.
“It’s a big commitment, not just for the handler, but for the dog as well,” Dahlin said. “They say the dog picks the man. The personality of the handler is the dog’s and vice versa.”
Blek was trained to find people and sniff out explosives. Dahlin said his precinct spent about $13,000 for the dog and the training. Dahlin spent six weeks in Indiana learning how to handle the dog, including how to give commands in Czech.
Blek, on the job for more than three years, ran into a wooded marsh in North Houston in pursuit of a burglary suspect last week. When Blek did not come back, Dahlin and other officers began searching for him, according to a report in yesterday’s Houston Chronicle.
“My lieutenant and sergeant found him,” said Dahlin, with whom the dog lived. “My sergeant met me before I got there, held me back, and gave me a hug. I knew at that point what happened.”
Cornelious Harrell, 17, is accused of choking the dog Dec. 22 after police interrupted a burglary. He has been charged with burglary and interference with a police service animal, a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
In court Monday, prosecutors said Harrell choked Blek from behind after the dog cornered his 15-year-old brother. Prosecutors said the brothers and three other suspects were fleeing the scene of a burglary.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: blek, burglary, cornelious harrell, crime, deputy constable, dog, dogs, friend, handler, harris county, houston, K-9, k9, partner, police, police dog, strangled, suspect, ted dahlin, texas
“An atmosphere of sexual harassment, psychological humiliation and physical assaults.”
It may sound like a description of Abu Ghraib, but what’s being characterized is the U.S. Navy’s Military Working Dogs Division in Bahrain, better known as “The Kennel.”
An internal Navy investigation into the unit found dozens of examples of hazing and sexual harassment against multiple sailors between 2005 and 2006, including the case of Joseph Rocha, a gay sailor who left the Navy in 2007 after being abused for two years. Rocha says the constant hazing he received while serving as a military dog handler led to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., has asked the Navy for information about the harassment, the still mostly under-wraps internal investigation, and an explanation of why the head of the military working dog unit at the time was promoted.
Sestak’s letter followed a story about the Navy findings of abuse — reported not by the mainstream media, but by Youth Radio, a California organization that teaches reporting, broadcast journalism and media production to youth from public schools, community-based organizations, group homes and juvenile detention centers.
The Youth Radio investigation found that between 2004 and 2006, sailors in the Military Working Dogs Division — on the island of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf — were subjected to an atmosphere of sexual harassment, psychological humiliation, and physical assaults.
A Navy spokesman said the allegations are being reviewed.
“The incidents that occurred within the Military Working Dog Division at Naval Support Activity Bahrain do not reflect who we are as a Navy,” said Cmdr. Cappy Surette, a Navy spokesman. “The Navy is now looking into the handling of this situation more carefully.”
Rocha – despite the Navy’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy – was repeatedly asked if he was gay, primarily because he didn’t avail himself of visiting prostitutes.
Shaun Hogan of Maine, a former Bahrain colleague of Rocha’s who is now a reservist, said Rocha was treated worse than others because it was believed he was. Hogan said some in the unit “blatantly asked” if Rocha was gay. It was Hogan who obtained the Navy’s report and shared it with Youth Radio.
“He was one in a large number of people who were abused for a variety of different reasons,” Hogan said.
Rocha’s PTSD prompted him to tell the Navy he is gay, at which point he was discharged.
(Photo: via Youth Radio)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bahrain, dog, don't ask, don't tell, gay, handler, hazing, investigation, iran, joe sestak, joseph rocha, military, navy, ptsd, the kennel, working dogs division, youth radio