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
But, if its lawmakers did, they might find some sound thinking behind Colorado’s new law, mandating police officers get some training in how to deal with dogs they encounter on duty — other than just shooting them.
If we were suggesting, we’d suggest every state look into doing something similar, or even better, than the Colorado law. It requires officers undergo three hours of online training in dog behavior, and how to recognize when a dog truly poses a threat.
While Iowa, at first glance, doesn’t seem to have experienced quite as many questionable shootings as Colorado, there have been at least a few instances a year of dogs being shot and killed by police.
“He wasn’t a ferocious dog,” she said of Tank, her border collie-pit bull mix. “He never bit anyone. He was only a year-and-a-half old. He probably thought the police officer was playing with him,” she told the Quad City Times.
Police Chief Phil Redington said the dog attacked the officer and deadly force was an appropriate response.
On Saturday, Williams’ two dogs, Tank and Cleo, escaped when a gust of wind blew open her door. They had wandered several blocks when they began barking at some dogs at another home.
The owners of that home tried to shoo the two dogs away, and called police when they wouldn’t leave.
The dogs were corraled on the back deck, hemmed in by lawn chairs, when police, and Williams, arrived.
“When he (Tank) saw me, he jumped over one of the chairs, and the officer tried to grab him,” said Williams, who managed to grab hold of her other dog.
The police chief said Tank jumped at the officer “snapping its teeth. The officer brushed the dog away with his arm and the dog attacked again, jumping and snapping at the officer’s face. The officer kicked the dog away, at which time the dog bit his shin, causing minor lacerations. The officer removed his gun and fired at the dog twice. The dog was approximately two feet away when the officer fired in a downward direction.”
“I keep playing the scenario over and over in my mind,” Williams said. ”I blame myself. They shouldn’t have gotten out. Why did he have to shoot him, though? Why not a stun gun or pepper spray?”
Redington said the level of force used to ward off a dog attack is up to an individual officer.
“We all love animals,” he said. “To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a pit bull, border collie or poodle. If he’s attacking a police officer, the officer should defend himself.”
Tank was taken to a veterinary clinic, where he died.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, attacked, bettendorf, collie, colorado, dog, dogs, iowa, killed, law, law enforcement, mix, owner, pets, pit bull, police, questionable, questions, shooting, tank, training
It’s easy to ignore statistics. They’re cold and dry and lack soulful eyes. And when the numbers are overwhelming — like the 5,500 unwanted dogs who are put to death daily in U.S. shelters — we tend, as a rule, to find life is more comfortable and less depressing when we don’t do the math.
Louisville artist Mark Barone is an exception to that rule. Rather than ignore the problem, he decided to put a face on it — 5,500 of them, in fact.
For two years now, he has been painting portraits of dogs who have been put down at shelters across the country, and he’s more than halfway to his goal: 5,500 portraits that he hopes will someday — unlike their subjects — find a forever home.
Their hope is the works will someday be displayed in a permanent memorial museum, which — between its emotional impact and the funds it would help raise for no-kill rescues and shelters – could help lead to their larger goal, a no-kill nation.
Mark, a well-established artist, had moved to Santa Fe when, about three years ago, he lost his dog of 21 years, Santina.
“It was kind of a sad time, and I thought it would be therapeutic for Mark to go to the dog park,” Marina recalled. “I thought it would be helpful for him to get some dog love, and it was. It was really great. It got me in the mood to think about adopting another dog. Mark wasn’t at that stage, but it didn’t stop me from looking.”
Looking for adoptable dogs online and at local shelters, she quickly learned the sad reality that she says neither she nor Mark, up to then, were aware of — that millions of dogs in need of homes are put down at shelters every year.
“Instead of finding a dog, I found out all these horrifying statistics,” she said. She shared them with Mark, along with images and videos of dogs who had been, or were on the verge of, being put down.
He asked her to stop sharing, but she kept up.
“If we don’t look at it, nothing will change,” she said. “So he looked at it, as painful as it was, and day or two later, we were standing in the kitchen and he asked me the number of dogs killed everyday in the country … I gave him the number 5,500, based on statistics from Best Friends.”
It was then that the idea of honoring shelter dogs by painting 5,500 portraits of those who had been killed was born, and along with it, the longer term plan of a memorial museum, along the lines of the Vietnam Memorial and the Holocaust Museum.
Santa Fe wasn’t interested. Louisville was among about 30 places that were.
That’s where the couple lives now, and where Mark has completed about 3,200 of the portraits — some of them life- sized, some of them larger.
“It’s the big ones, 8 feet by 8 feet, that slow things down,” Mark said.
Only one of the 8×8-foot paintings depicts a dog who died a natural death — Mark’s dog, Santina. According to Marina, Santina will serve as the gatekeeper of the exhibit. Other large portraits feature Batman, a 10-year-old pit bull who was left outside in 21 degree weather, and was found dead at a shelter the next morning, and Grant, who was deemed unadoptable due food bowl aggression and put down.
The large paintings — there will be 10 of them — will include the individual stories of those dogs, representing the most common reasons shelters give to put animals down.
Mark and Marina are still looking for a permanent place to house the works, and for sponsors and benefactors for the museum, and they have some promising leads, both in Louisville and around the country. In addition to being an educational center, the museum would also be an outlet for selling merchandise that features the images – shirts, cards, and other products. An Act of Dog, which is a nonprofit organization, would pass on all profits to no-kill facilities and rescue groups.
The dogs in the paintings come from shelters all around the country. Their photos are submitted by rescue groups, volunteers and shelter employees. They have all been put down.
Mark and Marina object to the use of the term “euthanized” when it’s applied to healthy animals. “Deliberately ending the life of a healthy and treatable pet is killing. Deliberately ending the life of a medically hopeless and suffering pet is euthanasia,” Marina said. They don’t much like “put to sleep,” either.
“Semantics are a powerful way to keep people from the truth and our mission is to show reality without the candy wrapping,” she added.
Mark paints everyday, from sunrise to sunset. At night, he and Marina work on the An Act of Dog website. They’re both foregoing salaries at this point.
Mark has served as a consultant to cities interested in using the arts to revitalize blighted areas, among them Paducah, Kentucky, and its Paducah Artist Re-locaton Program. Marina worked 20 years coaching corporate executives.
“We could turn away and pretend like we didn’t see what we saw, or we could do something about it,” she added. “If that means we have to live poor, we’re OK with that, because we know we did something.”
They’re working now in studio space provided by the Mellwood Art Center in Louisville, where they did end up adopting a new dog, named Gigi, from a local shelter.
What drives the couple, though, are all the dogs who don’t get out alive — the thousands put down each day.
“The no-kill movement is making strides, but not fast enough,” said Mark who, on those days he doesn’t feel like painting, reminds himself of the bleak numbers, and the 5,500 reasons — every day — he must continue.
(Photos and video courtesy of An Act of Dog: At top, a collage of Mark’s paintings; Mark and Marina in their studio; some of the larger paintings, with Mark’s former dog, Santina, at left; and three shelter dogs dogs Breeze, Freckles and Sky)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: act of dog, an act of dog, animal welfare, animals, art, artist, death, dogs, euthanasia, faces, holocaust museum, kentucky, killed, killing, louisville, marina dervan, mark barone, mellwood art center, memorial, museum, no kill nation, no-kill, painting, paintings, pets, portraits, project, put down, put to sleep, rescues, santa fe, shelter, shelter dogs, shelters, statistics, vietnam memorial
An Oregon City man pleaded guilty to shooting a dog that belonged to his father’s neighbor.
Police say the father paid for the hit.
For his involvement in what authorities described as a murder-for-hire, Derek James Walkoski, 31, will spend 28 months in prison for shooting and killing Paws, a black Lab that lived next door to his father in Canby.
In a hearing in Clackamas County, Walkoski told Circuit Judge Robert R. Selander that he shot the dog with a rifle, the Oregonian reported.
“You just shot him?” Selander asked.
“Yes,” Walkoski said.
“Any reason?” Selander asked. “Any justifiable reason?”
“No, your honor,” Walkoski said.
Walkoski pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated animal abuse. He also pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and recklessly endangering another.
Paws’ owner, sitting in the back row of the courtroom gallery, did not address the court.
Walkoski’s father, David James Walkoski, 61, whose trial is set for June 18, hasn’t admitted to any involvement in the killing of Paws. But he was arrested during the court hearing when prosecutors informed the judge he, while free on bail, pointed his finger at Paws’ owners and simulated firing a pistol – despite an existing no-contact order issued by the court. He was charged with contempt of court and booked into the Clackamas County Jail, with bail set at $50,000.
According to police reports, the Walkoskis’ neighbor returned to his home in April 2012 to find his dog dead. Police said the father paid his son to kill the animal, but did not offer a motive for the shooting.
(Photos: David James Walkoski (left) and his son, Derek James Walkoski)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, black, canby, court, dog, father, guilty, justice, killed, lab, labrador, law, murder fo hire, oregon, oregon city, paws, pets, plea, retriever, rifle, sentence, shot, son, trial
The grieving owner of Baby Girl, the 2-year-old pit bull killed by police on Staten Island earlier this month, is suing the city and the officer who fired the shots.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, was being filed in Brooklyn Federal Court on Monday, the New York Daily News reported.
Baby Girl’s owner, Patricia Ratz, took her and two other pit bulls for walk at Schmul Park on April 6. When the two other dogs — Bo and Missy — began snapping at each other, Ratz intervened and was bitten.
Police say she was screaming for help when an officer arrived.
The lawsuit says more than 10 shots were fired at the dogs, one of which hit Baby Girl, who was running away from the ruckus, in the back. She died five days later. Police say the officer, who is still on active duty, fired seven times when the dog charged her.
“We are seeking to fundamentally change the way the NYPD deals with pets,” he said. “When a dog is fleeing the scene, it’s because the doggie is afraid, not because the dog is concerned about getting arrested. That’s the reason people flee, not doggies.”
(Photos: A photo of Baby Girl posted at a memorial for her at Schmul Park in Staten Island; Patricia Ratz and fiancé Pat Guglielmo, along with their dog Bo; by Mark Bonifacio / New York Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baby girl, courts, dogs, killed, lawsuit, new york, officer, patricia ratz, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, schmul park, shot, staten island, suit
Three people sustained minor injuries, a L.A. County Fire Department spokesperson told Us Weekly, and one of Greene’s two toy fox terriers – though reports aren’t clear whether it was Marlo or Theo — was killed.
TMZ reported that Greene, her boyfriend and her brother were sleeping when a candle caught the living room sofa on fire.
Seeing the smoke, they fled. The two men ran back in an attempt to save the dogs.
Firefighters wrapped the deceased dog’s body in a sheet and gave it to one of the group.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apartment, ashley green, ashley greene, celebrities, condo, dog, dogs, fire, fox terriers, killed, marlo, pets, theo, toy fox terriers, twilight, twilight saga, west hollywood
A German shepherd, Ape was shot in the chest when he walked through a door with cameras attached to his body. Officers returned fire, killing Kurt R. Myers, who was suspected of killing four people.
They performed CPR on Ape, then rushed him in an armored vehicle to a nearby veterinarian.
“We were trying to do everything we could to try to save its life,” said Dr. Emily M. Green, one of the veterinarians at Herkimer Veterinary Associates.
Ape was 2 years and 4 months old, and had been on active duty for the FBI for a little over two weeks, according to the New York Times.
“Ape was doing what he was trained to do and made the ultimate sacrifice for his team,” the agency said in a statement released by Special Agent Ann Todd. “His actions were heroic and prevented his teammates from being seriously wounded or killed.”
Ape will be buried at the agency’s headquarters in Quantico, Va., and his name will be added to a memorial wall dedicated to dogs killed while on duty.
Ape was the second FBI tactical dog killed in the line of duty. In 2009, a 2 ½-year-old Belgian Malinois named Freddy was killed while accompanying agents attempting to make an arrest.
The FBI and police declined to discuss the specifics of how Ape was used in the raid. While a police robot equipped with a camera was ready, it might not have been able to navigate the gunman’s debris-strewn hiding place, the Times reported.
Agents sent Ape, equipped with a camera, into the building first. The cameras allow a handler to see what the dog is seeing from as far as 1,000 yards away. The gunman had been holed up for hours in the empty building in Herkimer, N.Y.
The FBI said that Ape had just started working on active duty on Feb. 25.
“He will be missed by his FBI family,” the agency said.
(Photo:by Ann Todd / FBI)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animals, Ape, bar, cameras, dogs, fbi, gunman, herkimer, herkimer veterinary associates, killed, kurt myers, law enforcement, new york, pets, raid, robot, shot, suspect, tactical dog, upstate
“It was bad people who killed them,” 5-year-old Ethan Stalcup said after the bodies of his family’s two dogs were found, apparently killed with an axe.
“I don’t understand why anybody would do this,” his mother, Rose Stalcup, said in an interview. “It really hurts to know that we live in a world where people can be this cruel.”
Her husband, J.P. Stalcup, wondered what the killers might do next: “What happens if, you know, they do that a couple more times and all of the sudden they’re not happy with – it’s not giving them as much jollies as it was the first couple times …”
That was before Japheth (J.P.) Daniel Stalcup admitted to police that it was he who killed his dogs — because, he said, he couldn’t afford to take care of them.
Now, as Stalcup awaits trial on charges of aggravated animal abuse, KATU – the station that aired the earlier interviews with the family — reports Stalcup has another dog, despite a judge’s order prohibiting it.
One of the conditions Stalcup agreed to in order to be free from jail until the trial was ”no possession or living with any animals.”
Stalcup, of Eagle Creek, Oregon, initially reported his dogs — Duke, a black Lab, and Buddy, a Lab-blue heeler mix — missing last November. Two days later he reported to police that he had found their bodies, about 100 yards from the house. Stalcup told investigators the dogs appeared to have been hit with an axe several times. One of the dogs was tossed from a cliff, deputies said.
As the police investigation progressed, Stalcup eventually admitted to killing the dogs. His trial date is March 25.
Acting on a tip from a viewer, KATU visited his home on Monday, confirming the family had a new puppy.
J.P. Stalcup told a reporter that his lawyer had cleared it with a judge for him to have pets at home, but prosecutors were unaware of any such permission being granted.
(Photo: The Stalcup’s new puppy (at top) and one of their previous dogs, Duke / KATU)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 27th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, ax, axe, buddy, charges, condition, dogs, duke, eagle creek, heeler, investigation, jail, japheth stalcup, jp stalcup, judge, katu, killed, lab, news, no pets, order, oregon, pets, police, trial
An Oklahoma teenager has admitted he shot and killed a pit bull with a bow and arrow and posted a photo of its corpse on Facebook, but says the dog appeared aggressive.
Caisen Green, 18, who had fled his hometown with his mother after outrage over the Facebook post led to threats, was interviewed Tuesday night by Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault.
Chennault said he will add Green’s statement to his report and deliver it to the District Attorney’s Office today. Prosecutors will then decide whether Green will be charged, the Tahlequah Daily Press reported.
Green told sheriff’s officials that the dog was one of two that wandered onto his family’s property as he was practicing with his bow and arrow.
“The pit and a smaller, non-pit bulldog came into the yard,” said Chennault. “The pit bulldog looked diseased.” Green told Chennault that when he tried to scare the dogs away the pit bull growled and began to move toward him. He said the dog ran about 30 yards after he shot him with an arrow.
Green posted a Facebook photo of the dead pit bull with the message, “For all you Pit lovers out there, here’s what happens when one shows up around my house.”
Lou Hays, who volunteers with the Humane Society of Cherokee County said Green bragged about killing when he was contacted about the post, and didn’t indicate that the animal was causing any trouble .
Hays said HSCC would push for Green to be prosecuted and receive community service at the local shelter.
Green’s post was removed after calls, emails and faxes flooded into Cherokee County authorities over the weekend, many of them demanding he be arrested and expelled from school, some of them making threats.
Chennault said his meeting with Green and his attorney had to be set up at an “undisclosed location” because of the threats made toward Green and his family.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, arrow, bow, bow and arrow, caisen green, cherokee county, dog, dogs, facebook, high school, interview, investigation, killed, oklahoma, outrage, pets, pit bull, sheriff, shot, student, teenager, threatening, threats, undersheriff
An Amish man who shot a mother dog and her eight puppies told police in New York that he thought killing dogs was acceptable under his culture, as long as it was done out of sight and with discretion – or as he put it, “Shoot, shovel and shut up.”
“In the Amish it’s acceptable to put dogs down. I thought as long as you did it out back it was okay,” Jonathon Eicher reportedly told officers who arrested him and the breeder of the dogs in Wayne County.
The nine dead dogs were discovered in a ditch by a highway crew on January 17.
Also charged with animal cruely was Merlin Schmucker, 26, who owned and bred the Australian red heelers, but was unable to sell the dogs because, he said, they’d become too big.
Schmucker asked Eicher, his employee, to put the dogs down, said Wayne County District Attorney Rick Healy.
“This is simply a case of animal cruelty,” he said. “They can’t treat the animals the way they want to treat the animals; they must treat the animals humanely.”
Both Schmucker and Eicher were charged with nine counts of cruelty to animals , WHAM reported.
Schmucker told police he had “raised the dogs and couldn’t put them down myself so I asked Jonathan to do it.”
Eicher admitted killing the dogs with a .22-caliber rifle, police said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amish, animal cruelty, animals, arrests, breeders, breeding, crew, ditch, dog, dogs, eight, hidden, highway, killed, new york, pets, puppies, red heelers, shoot, shot, shovel, shut up, unsold, wayne county