The wife of a Philadelphia police officer is proving that police dogs don’t have to be expensive European imports.
Carol Skaziak, after seeing too many dogs languishing in shelters, started an organization called Throw Away Dogs.
Established two years ago and based outside Philadelphia, the program rescues neglected shelter dogs and works to rehabilitate and train them for police work like narcotics detection and patrolling.
Since beginning her work, nine out of 12 dogs she has rescued have been placed with police departments across the country.
“I pour my heart and soul into it and all I ask for these departments is to just give my dogs a chance,” she told NBC News.
Unlike most police dogs, who commonly are expensive purebreds purchased from Europe, these home-grown mutts are donated to departments in need.
Assisting her in the effort are K-9 handlers from area police departments.
The program puts the dogs through a three-month training period, and while not all will earn spots on police forces, Skaziak says all dogs that go through the program find a home — something they didn’t have before.
“I will follow through with every dog from start to finish. Not all dogs will make it through K-9 school and I am OK with that outcome. I will then find a perfect loving family for that dog that will love and treat them like part of their family. It’s just a different kind of badge they will be wearing,” she notes on the organization’s website.
While she doesn’t believe every dog can be trained to be a police dog, there are many in shelters who have the high play drive it takes for the job.
After a graduation ceremony this year, two “throwaway” dogs were placed with the Roanoke Police Department, and a third with the police department in Roanoke, Va.
Skaziak, who is married to a Philadelphia police traffic officer, came up with the idea for Throw Away Dogs in 2013, while doing public relations work for a shelter in Philadelphia.
“I was upset about it, because people were throwing these dogs away like trash,” Skaziak told the Roanoke Times.
(Photos: Officer Bill Tars and Throw Away Dog Kayos in Roanoke, by Heather Rosseau / The Roanoke Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, carol skaziak, dog, dogs, europe, imported, K-9, law enforcement, officers, pets, philadelphia, police, police dogs, rescue, roanoke, rocky mount, shelter, Throw Away Dogs, training, virginia
If it seems you’ve seen a lot of stories about police dogs dying of heat exhaustion this summer, it’s because you have.
Since the last week of May, 11 police dogs have died from the heat, and nine of those cases stemmed from dogs left in hot police cars, according to the Weather Channel.
The 11 deaths this summer compare with four nationwide in 2014 and three in 2013, according to records kept by the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The latest death came last week in Kohler, Wisconsin, when a police dog named Wix (pictured above) died in a squad car as his handler worked at a PGA Championship event.
Wix died as the result of heat exhaustion after the air conditioning unit in the vehicle malfunctioned, and the heat alarm in the vehicle failed to go off.
Wix, a Belgian malinois, was on special assignment with his handler at the Whistling Straights golf course. His handler found him unresponsive in the vehicle when he went to check on him.
Several other police dog deaths this summer have been blamed on faulty air conditioners.
In Oklahoma, a Muldrow Police Department dog named Zeke died from heat exhaustion after the air conditioner in his handler’s patrol car malfunctioned.
His handler was inside the police station working on a case and left Zeke in the car for at least an hour. At some point the air conditioner malfunctioned and began blowing only hot air. His handler returned to the car to find him dead.
Zeke had served with the Muldrow Police Department for four years.
Two more police dogs died in the same incident in Hialeah, Florida; and in Jim Wells County, Texas, deputy Latham Roldan was fired from the department after the K-9 he left in his squad car died from the heat.
(Photo:Brown County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 21st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air conditioning, animals, cars, deaths, dogs, heat, heat exhaustion, heat-related deaths, increase, K-9, k9, law enforcement, pets, police, police dog deaths, police dogs, vehicles
Another police dog has died after being left in a police vehicle — this time one in Alabama whose purpose wasn’t law enforcement, but “community engagement.”
Mason was left by his handler in a hot patrol car without its air conditioning turned on June 18, and died the next night.
His handler, Corporal Josh Coleman, said he forgot that he’d left Mason in the car after attending a hurricane preparation conference in Gulf Shores.
A city press release offered little explanation of how that happened.
“On Thursday, June 18th, while transitioning between duties, Mason’s handler Corporal Josh Coleman forgot that Mason was still in the back seat of his patrol car. On discovering Mason’s absence Cpl. Coleman located him in the vehicle.”
The press release gave no indication of how long Mason was left inside the car.
Al.com reports that the dog had entered the conference with Coleman, and had his picture taken at the event.
WISH-TV quoted a police sergeant as saying that Coleman left the dog in the car after the conference.
“He was going to take care of some paperwork in his office and he straight up forgot him,” says Woodruff. “Left him in the car.”
At some point, Coleman “discovered” him in the car. Mason was rushed to a local veterinarian, then transported to a vet in Penascola.
His condition seemed to be improving Friday morning, but died later in the evening.
The Gulf Shores Police Department acquired Mason on November 17, 2014, and had celebrated the dog’s third birthday on June 9.
While it was reported by some news outlets that Coleman would not face criminal charges, WISH reported the case will go to a grand jury. Coleman also faces “sanctions” from the police department and city.
According to the city press release, the department’s K-9’s usually travel in vehicles equipped with remote heat alarms, water bowls, and other protective measures.
“Because Mason’s duties did not include long periods in a vehicle, those protective measures were not available in his handler’s car,” it said.
The Gulf Shores Police Department might want to give that policy a second look — so its next “community relations” dog, if they get one, doesn’t turn into another public relations nightmare.
(Photo: Gulf Shores Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 24th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, car, community engagement, community relations, dead, dog, dogs, gulf shores, heat, heat deaths, K-9, killed, law enforcement, mason, patrol, pets, police, summer, vehicle
A Hialeah, Florida, officer has been suspended without pay pending an investigation into the deaths of two police dogs that he left in his parked vehicle for six hours or more.
The K-9s – Jimmy, 7, a bloodhound, and Hector, 4, a Belgian Malinois — were assigned to Officer Nelson Enriquez, who left them in a police SUV parked outside his home in Davie after his shift ended.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, he has worked 13 years for the department, the last seven as a K-9 officer.
At a news conference Thursday, Hialeah Police Sgt. Carl Zogby called the incident “a terrible tragedy. Every member of the Hialeah Police Department was beyond fond of Jimmy the Bloodhound and of Hector. We were in love with those dogs.”
Zogby described Enriquez as “extremely distraught … He has lost two beloved members of his family.”
Enriquez returned home from his shift at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“He did not remove either dog from the cargo compartment of his marked police vehicle,” before entering his home, Zogby said. The SUV has K-9 compartments, called cradles, for each dog.
Enriquez discovered the dead animals about 5 p.m.
The bodies of the two dogs were taken to the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which will perform necropsies.
Davie police are investigating the deaths and Hialeah police are conducting an internal affairs investigation.
Jimmy, the bloodhound, was donated to the Hialeah Police Department by the Jimmy Ryce Center, which was formed by the parents of a nine-year-old boy who was abducted, raped and murdered while walking from his school bus to his southwest Miami-Dade home in 1995.
Don and Claudine Ryce created the Center to provide free bloodhounds to police departments. The Ryces felt that if a bloodhound was used in their son’s case, he may have been recovered alive.
(Photos: At top, Jimmy fetching; lower photo, Jimmy with Enriquez, by Allison Diaz / Miami Herald)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 29th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, belgian malinois, bloodhound, dead, deaths, died, dogs, handler, hector, hialeah police department, investigation, jimmy, jimmy ryce center, K-9, law enforcement, left in car, necropsy, nelson enriquez, pets, police, police dogs
A police dog in Florida has been fired after he escaped from his handler and bit a Dunkin Donuts employee in the store’s parking lot.
According to Margate police, Coconut Creek Officer Carl DiBlasi had gone to the doughnut shop with his police dog Renzo to meet Coconut Creek Police Sgt. Brandi Delvecchio.
Renzo lunged at the sergeant when she tried to pet him through a half open patrol car window, The dog then jumped from the vehicle, ran across the parking lot and attacked a shop employee as he reached into his car for an apron, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The incident occurred Feb. 11 in the parking lot of the Dunkin’ Donuts in Margate.
Renzo, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, had been with the department about a year and a half, and already had one strike against him: In November, he bit a Coconut Creek officer while tracking a suspect.
Coconut Creek Police Chief Michael J. Mann said the dog is now off the force.
“I have made the decision to retire K9 Renzo,” he said. Renzo will go live with DiBlasi.
According to Margate police, Officer DiBlasi was in the car when Renzo lunged at the sergeant and jumped out the window. DiBlasi grabbed hold of the dog’s harness, but couldn’t hang on. The dog ignored his commands to stop and charged toward doughnut shop employee Robert Doherty, 37, Coral Springs, who saw him coming and jumped into his car.
Renzo bit his leg before he could close the door. Doherty suffered four bites, according to Margate police, who said they had to “pry” Renzo from his victim.
(Photo: Renzo, from Coconut Creek Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bite, bites, bitten, coconut creek, dog, donut, donuts, doughnut, doughnuts, dunkin donuts, employee, florida, K-9, k9, law enforcement, margate, police, police dog
(An update to this story can be found at the bottom of this page.)
A Florida sheriff’s office sees it as an embarrassing mistake.
I see it as a collector’s item, and I want it.
After installing some official rugs with the county’s official seal on their official lobby floors, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office noticed a printing mistake on one of them. Instead of saying “In God We Trust,” it said “In Dog We Trust.”
After a deputy noticed the error Wednesday, the rug was rolled up and stored, according to WFTS in Tampa Bay — but not before the station got some pictures. The large green rugs with the black and yellow Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office logo cost about $500.
The Sheriff’s Office said the manufacturer of the rugs, American Floor Mats, has taken responsibility for the error and will replace the one with the error.
Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, the company calls itself “a premier supplier of floor mats and matting. With over 25 years of floor mat experience, our customers rely on our vast knowledge and expertise …”
As for what becomes of the “In Dog We Trust” version, I’d love to have it, but I have some other ideas, too.
Put it back on the floor. There’s nothing wrong with trusting in dog, and God would understand.
At the very least, give it a home in the department’s 12-man K-9 unit.
Given the rugs look pretty lush and comfortable, Pinellas County Animal Services might find one of them useful — either as decor or dog bedding.
Or, it could be auctioned online. Who knows, they might be valuable — like those rare coins with mistakes on them.
Then again, American Floor Mats might want it back, so their boo-boo doesn’t live on.
The best solution? Dog only knows.
Update: An online auction it is: Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says that the rug in question will be sold to raise money for a nonprofit rescue group called Canine Estates.
(It’s the rescue from which he adopted a 13-year-old Maltese last year.)
As of Friday afternoon, bids had gone over $2,600 for the rug.
Gualtieri says his office has been getting calls from all over the world from people saying, “‘Oh my God, don’t throw it away.”
“We’re so excited,” Canine Estates’ founder Jayne Sidwell told The Huffington Post. “We need the funding so bad.”
The auction closes at 4 p.m. next Wednesday, Jan. 21. Bids are being accepted at OnlineAuction.com.
Another update: The rug sold for at auction for $9,650. Details here.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american floor mats, auction, collectors item, county, dog, error, florida, god, in dog we trust, K-9, law enforcement, logo, mistake, pinellas county, printing, rugs, seal, sheriff, sheriff's office, trust
Or maybe even a life-saver, which is how his partner, Officer Jeff Dorn, referred to him while recuperating in a hospital from two gunshot wounds fired by the same burglary suspect who fatally gunned down Mick.
But according, at least, to an Oregon Court of Appeals decision — issued the very same day Mick died while trying to apprehend the fleeing, gun-firing suspect — Mick, being a dog, was merely “property.”
The court ruling wasn’t about Mick — instead it stemmed from an abuse case — but the timing and juxtaposition of the two stories serve to make a point that society, and lawmakers, and law enforcers, and courts, ought to start heeding.
Dogs aren’t toasters.
Mick joined the Portland Police Bureau K-9 Unit in March. After only a few days on the job, police, he captured three suspects within a 10-hour period. On Wednesday, he was with Dorn, chasing down a fleeing burglary suspect, when he was shot.
“Officer Dorn would like the community to know that ‘Mick saved my life,’ ” Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said in a press release.
“The dog was doing its job. He was out there protecting our community, and it’s tragic that we lost the dog,” said Portland Police Chief Mike Reese.
After Mick’s body was recovered, a procession of police cars followed him to a veterinarian’s office, according to a report in Wednesday’s Oregonian, but it was too late.
On the same day Mick died, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a ruling declaring — in line with what all the law books say — that dogs are “property.”
As such, the three-judge panel ruled, dogs can’t be seized and examined without a warrant, even if the purpose is to save a dog’s life.
The legal view of dogs as — above all else — property both degrades and endangers man’s best friend, and can make it difficult for animal-cruelty investigators to provide help to beaten, starved or neglected pets.
Changing that age-old view would require throwing away a lot of law books, and it would require judges to finally start showing half the backbone Mick did.
It’s time to make a legal distinction between inanimate “property” that has no soul, and “property” (if we must call them that) that does have a soul.
The Court of Appeals Wednesday did the opposite, throwing out the conviction of a 28-year-old woman who, based on evidence from a veterinarian who tested and treated the animal without a warrant, was found guilty of starving her dog, the Oregonian reported.
After an informant told the Oregon Humane Society that Amanda L. Newcomb was beating her dog and failing to properly feed it, an animal-cruelty investigator went to Newcomb’s apartment in December 2010 and saw the dog in the yard “in a near emaciated condition.”
Newcomb told the investigator she was out of dog food and that she was going to get some more, but the investigator determined the dog likely needed medical care and brought the dog to a Humane Society vet for an examination.
That exam, according to the appeals court ruling, constituted unreasonable search and seizure of property — namely, Newcomb’s dog.
While the investigator had probable cause to seize the dog without a warrant, the court said, the “search” — i.e. medical exam — of the dog violated Newcomb’s privacy rights because the authorities hadn’t obtained a warrant.
The ruling effectively overturns her conviction on charges of second-degree animal neglect, and the original judge’s orders for her to serve one year of probation and not possess animals for five years.
It could also serve to hamper animal cruelty investigations across the state.
Maybe worst of all, it confirms the foolish concept that dogs — despite their heroics, despite their loyalty, despite their having character traits that we humans can only envy — are, first and foremost, property, a wrongful designation that legally, if not in reality, seems to trump all else.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, burglary, chasing, court, courts, dog, dogs, jeff dorn, K-9, k9, killed, law, law enforcement, lawmakers, legal, mick, officer, oregon, pets, police, police dog, portland, property, ruling, suspect