Tag: harris county
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
When a Hollywood movie goes over budget, it’s no big deal.
When one being paid for by taxpayers — or even toll violators — does, it is.
So, as snarky as this investigative report by the 13 Undercover team at Houston’s KTRK is at times, it makes some valid points.
The Harris County attorney’s office hired director Fleming Fuller to produce a public service documentary about the dangers of dogfighting, offering $10,000 for the finished product.
The movie was intended to show the horrors of dogfighting, and get across Ryan’s message that he was going to be tough on people who take part in it.
Normally, we’d applaud something like that, but the movie went 10 times over budget, the county attorney seems to be taking credit for a previous county attorney’s dogfighting bust, and the movie’s director was a good friend of the Harris County attorney’s top assistant.
As the report points out, County Attorney Vince Ryan campaigned as an ethics watchdog: “So you’d figure his office would the first to make sure your money wasn’t wasted, reporter Wayne Dolcefino says. “Instead, they spent money like they were in Hollywood.”
On top of that, the report says there hasn’t been a big dogfighting bust since Ryan took office.
And, in yet another criticism offered by the news report, the documentary includes scenes of Ryan frolicking with his dog at the beach, which gives the film the appearance, at times, of a campaign ad.
The director charged $500 for his time on an overnight trip to Galveston — apparently just to obtain that beach footage — and expenses there included multiple hotel bills and a pricey dinner.
Fuller is a North Carolina-based director who has made a few horror movies, including Prey of the Chameleon and Stranded.
While the county’s contract specified $10,000 would be spent on the film, and that it would be completed in one month, the final pricetag came out to more than $100,000 and the film took nearly a year to make.
The movie was paid for from a special fund consisting of fines imposed on drivers who fail to pay tolls.
Ryan said the video has been used to train law enforcement officers and to show high school students and others that dogfighting is inhumane and illegal.
KTRK says the documentary ended up costing cost $13,000 a minute, and that only 171 people have watched it in on YouTube.
The original documentary, as it appears on YouTube, is in three parts, which, combined, add up to nearly 30 minutes, not seven minutes, as the news report says. (The version being distributed for education purposes has been shortened.)
Here’s part one:
To see all three parts, click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100000, animal cruelty, animals, budget, county attorney, cruelty, cruelty to animals, dangers, director, documentary, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, education, fleming fuller, fund, harris county, heart of texas, horrors, houston, investigative reporting, journalism, media, move, news, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, public education, toll, video, vince ryan, watchdog
Yesterday, I took Ace to the largest and most amenity-laden dog park he’s ever been to — with 13 acres to romp and two cool blue lakes to swim in.
And here’s what he did: Sniffed. Sniffed some more. Peed. Pooped. Waded, zombie-like, into to the water twice, for about two seconds each time. Approached strangers to be petted. Then he found some shade and collapsed.
Millie Bush Bark Park in Harris County was by far the most impressive dog park we’d ever been to, and Ace — rather than frolicking, merely peed and sacked out. After five days pretty being limited to motel rooms, and spending limited time (his choice) outside on tiny patches of grass, I was expecting him to go nuts, make friends, splash around and have a gay old time.
Instead, it was like taking your kids to Six Flags only to find they wanted to spend the entire time in the restroom.
While Ace, probably for reasons heat related, was uninspired, Houston and its surrounding areas have been quite the opposite when it comes to dog parks.
Millie Bush Bark Park, located in George Bush Park and named after former President Bush’s dog, was Harris County’s first dog park, opening at the end of 2003.
The City of Houston announced the planned opening of its first dog park in 2004; today, in the city alone, there are six, with still more in the planning and fund-raising stages. Throw in the surrounding area, and the number of dog parks jumps to around 20.
Millie Bush Bark park features large and small dog areas, doggie swimming ponds, doggie water fountains, doggie showers, shade areas, benches, scattered trees, walking paths, fake fire hydrants, and a huge parking lot.
It makes Baltimore’s dog parks look like postage stamps.
You can find a complete list of the area’s dog parks at the website of the Houston Dog Park Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1998 to help establish and support a network of off-leash dog parks in the Houston area.
I’m impressed with my former hometown’s performance when it comes to dog parks.
As I’m sure the Basset Hound below would agree, it’s pretty darn cool.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does america, america, animals, cities, dog friendliness, dog friendly, dog park, dog parks, dog's country, dogscountry, george bush park, harris county, houston, millie bush, ohmidog!, parks, pets, recreation, road trip, towns, travel
In Houston and Philadelphia, sad stories emerged at the end of the last week of humans who, while trying to save the lives of their dogs, lost their own.
In Philadelphia, a woman was struck and killed Friday night as she ran onto a set of railroad tracks to save her dog from an oncoming commuter train, police said.
The woman, who police described as in her 40s and from out-of-state, was standing on the platform of the Bryn Mawr station about 6 p.m. when her dog got loose and bounded onto the rails, according to Lower Merion Township police.
The woman was waiting for a train when her dog got loose. She chased the black Chihuahua onto the tracks as an eastbound SEPTAtrain pulled into the station. She was killed instantly, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The dog was recovered without injuries and taken to an animal hospital.
The 51-year-old officer had pulled up to his home in his patrol unit and was told by neighbors his dogs were running loose near an industrial canal.
Wotipka saw his English bulldog go into the canal and plunged in after her. He resurfaced once then went under again. Wotipka’s body was recovered the next morning about 150 feet from where he entered the canal, the Houston Chronicle reported. The dog also died.
Wotipka joined the department in 1993 and was known as a lover of dogs. While in his patrol cruiser a week ago, he slammed on his brakes to avoid a stray dog in the middle of the road, then ended up bringing the dog, who he named Skidmark, home.
The police officers’ union is planning a fundraiser for the Wotipka family on July 31.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bryn mawr, canal, chihuahua, dead deaths, deputy, die, dog, drowned, drowning, eddie wotipka, english bulldog, harris county, houston, killed, news, officer, ohmidog!, owners, pets, philadelphia, rescue, rescuing, save, saving, septa, sheriff's, train
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
Suspects in a Houston-area home burglary have confessed to choking to death a police dog who was pursuing them, FOX 26 in Houston reported.
Harris County deputies sent K-9 teams into a wooded area Tuesday night in search of two of the three suspects, but one of the dogs — a five year old German shepherd mix named Bleck — never came back and was later found dead.
One of the suspects who was found in the woods confessed to fatally choking the dog, Fox26 reported. A third supect was found in a car trying to escape from authorities.
Members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office say a necropsy will be performed on the dog.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: burglary, choked, crime, dog, dogs, duty, harris county, houston, K-9, k9, killed, law enforcement, necropsy, police, police dog, police dogs, pursuit, search, strangled, suspects, texas
Texas officials have begun making arrests in an investigation into what authorities describe as one of the largest dogfighting rings in the country.
Eight people were arrested and 187 dogs were seized Friday — all part of what was called a sophisticated dogfighting ring involving a network of bettors and fight organizers throughout eastern Texas.
According to the New York Times, 55 people were indicted after an undercover investigation that lasted 17 months. Officials said the network’s dogfights drew crowds of up to 100 people, who placed tens of thousands of dollars in wagers on a single fight.
“This was a large-scale, highly organized operation,” said Lisa Block, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
It was not uncommon for a gambler to put $500 to $1,000 down on the matches, which took place several times a month in secluded parts of Harris County, law enforcement officials said.
Ring members invited only people they knew to the fights, but undercover agents from the state police infiltrated the group to gather evidence and even managed to videotape some of the matches, officials said. The investigation started after troopers received a tip from someone in another state about the fights.
Most of the dogs seized were pit bull mixes.
During raids to seize the animals, state troopers also found firearms, marijuana, cocaine and stolen property, the authorities said. But the indictments charged the defendants only with engaging in dogfights, a felony that carries up to two years in prison, or misdemeanor charges of being a spectator at a dogfight, which carries up to a year in jail, the Times reported.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrests, betting, dogfighting, dogs, fights, gambling, grand jury, harris county, houston, investigation, network, news, pit bull, pit bulls, ring, state police, texas, undercover, video