Two teen hunters in Alaska were proud of “bagging a wolf” — even though the wolf was wearing a collar and turned out to be a sled dog.
Either way, they did no wrong, at least under Alaska’s animal cruelty laws, which permit the killing of dogs on public property.
Some people around Fairbanks are saying it’s time to change those laws after what was at least the second fatal shooting of a dog this year in the same community.
Back in July, an eight-month old puppy, a lab mix named Lucy, was found with a bullet through her head after wandering away from her home in the community of Goldstream Valley in Fairbanks.
When the owner called state troopers, he was told they wouldn’t even respond.
A spokeswoman told the Fairbanks News-Miner then that no crime had taken place: “Just shooting a dog and killing it is technically not against the animal cruelty statute,” she said.
In the more recent case, a 14-month-old sled dog named Padouk was killed on public land by two brothers, age 12 and 13, who were hunting together with a .22-caliber rifle.
He was shot through the heart about 30 minutes after he had escaped his owner’s yard, and the teens took his body to their great-grandfather, a taxidermist, to be mounted as a hunting trophy.
Padouk’s co-owners said they found out what happened to their dog when they were contacted by an ATVer who told them he’d come across two teenagers who were proud of themselves for bagging a “wolf” and asked for his help transporting the carcass to their grandmother’s home.
The ATVer refused to give the boys a ride, but he let them use his cellphone to call their grandmother.
“These two kids have been rabbit hunting in the area and they are continuing, people have been reporting. If you drive the road at 6 p.m., you have a good chance of meeting them,” said Helene Genet, one of Padouk’s co-owners.
“They haven’t apologized at all and they don’t have the feeling that they’ve done something wrong … and rightfully so, the law doesn’t provide for dogs not to be shot in public areas,” Genet said at a Friday meeting called to address concerns among dog owners about the shootings.
More than 50 people attended the meeting spurred by the shooting of Padouk, the Fairbanks News-Miner reported.
The two boys will face no charges because under Alaska animal cruelty laws it must be proven that a suspect was intentionally trying to cause pain and suffering.
And, as many in Alaska — and elsewhere — believe, hunters never do that.
In Alaska, hunters, as well as those who perform do-it-yourself euthanizations, are pretty much exempted from animal cruelty laws.
Padouk’s owners said they called state troopers after they got the phone number for the boys’ grandmother from the ATVer. Genet said the grandmother hung up on her three times when she requested permission to come and see if the dead “wolf” was their dog.
Padouk was co-owned by Genet, a recreational musher, and tourism kennel operator Nita Rae, of Sirius Sled Dogs.
At Friday’s meeting, participants discussed ways to stop future dog shootings, such as a rule against shooting guns on Goldstream Valley trails, or building a database of dogs killed in the valley to show leaders the extent of the problem.
Fairbanks Borough Assemblywoman Katheryn Dodge said she plans to re-introduce a borough animal cruelty law that existed until a 2013 reorganization of borough code.
Alaska Legislator David Guttenberg told the crowd they shouldn’t expect any changes in state laws.
Padouk’s owners say they doubt the boys really believed Padouk was a wolf. He only weighed 60 to 70 pounds and was wearing a blue collar.
While state troopers told the owners no charges would be filed, they did assist them in reclaiming Padouk’s body. The boys’ great grandfather, after being contacted by troopers, agreed to call off the taxidermy and let Rae and Genet have the body of their dog back.
(Photo: Fairbanks News-Miner)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 6th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, animal cruelty, animals, brothers, deaths, dog, dogs, fairbanks, goldstream valley, hunt, hunters, hunting, killed, laws, lucy, meeting, no charges, padouk, pets, puppy, shot, sirius sled dogs, sled dog, state law, teens, wildlife, wolf
This confrontation between a dog and a sheriff’s deputy didn’t come out well for anybody.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said that the deputy, who was not identified by name, was attempting to contact the dog’s owner following the mauling of a homeless man when she was attacked.
The incident took place over the weekend at a homeless encampment in Hudson, Fla.
Deputies had received a report about a pit bull at the encampment attacking a homeless man and responded to interview the owner, according to Fox13.
As the deputy approached, the dog broke its leash and went after her, grabbing her pant leg and causing her to trip.
The deputy fired several shots at the dog, killing it, but one of the shots grazed her own hand, injuring a finger.
“I shot my finger off,” she can be heard saying in the body cam video the sheriff’s office released.
Her injury was treated a local hospital.
The sheriff’s office says the deputy has three pit bulls herself and she is familiar with the breed.
No charges have been filed yet.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 30th, 2016 under videos.
Tags: animals, attacked, body cam, deputy, dog, dogs, encampment, florida, homeless, hudson, injured, killed, law enforcement, officer, pasco county, pets, pit bull, police and dogs, released, sheriff, sheriff's office, shoots, shoots self, video
Jeb, a Belgian Malinois, had been in the custody of St.Clair County animal control since Aug. 24 after being accused of killing a neighbor dog.
He was released to his owners in Port Huron, Mich., yesterday.
We first told you about the case at the end of September.
That’s when the judge who had ordered Jeb put down agreed to hear a motion putting off his euthanization pending the results of a DNA test on the dog who was killed.
That dog, a Pomeranian named Vlad, was found dead in his yard Aug. 24, and his owner, St. Clair resident Christopher Sawa, says he saw Jeb standing over his dog’s body. Both dogs were inside his backyard.
Vlad was found with severe bruising over both shoulders and a puncture wound on his right front leg. There was another deep wound found on his left side that penetrated his chest and broke two ribs.
The veterinarian who examined Vlad said his injuries were consistent with being picked up and shaken by a larger animal.
Based on the circumstantial evidence, a district judge in Michigan ordered Jeb to be euthanized after hearing the evidence against him on Sept. 19.
Jeb’s owners, Pam and Kenneth Job, then asked the court to allow them time to have an independent lab conduct DNA tests on Vlad’s body — to see if traces of Jeb’s DNA could be found in his wounds.
In October, the judge issued a 30-day stay on the euthanization to allow the Jobs to conduct a DNA test.
DNA samples taken from Vlad did not match those of Jeb, according to a report issued by the University of Florida’s Maples Center for Forensic Medicine dated Oct. 24, the Detroit Free Press reported yesterday.
A consent judgment was signed yesterday that allowed the Jobs to take Jeb home.
He said community members and animal advocacy groups have helped the family meet those terms.
Friends and family also started a “Free Jeb” Facebook page, on which the family yesterday posted a photo of Jeb on the way home.
A a petition at change.org requesting Jeb’s release received more than 98,000 signatures.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 3rd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accused, animal control, animals, backyard, belgian malinois, death, death row, dog, dogs, euthanasia, euthanization, freed, innocence, jeb, killed, killing, michigan, pets, pomeranian, port huron, scheduled, vlad
A dog who ran off after a car accident in Alabama that killed her owner was found after a three-day search and driven more than 700 miles home to be reunited with the accident victim’s family in Arkansas.
Sgt. Jonathon Whaley and another officer were at the scene of the single-car accident that killed the driver and injured the passenger when they learned that the victim’s dog — a pit bull named Kai — had also been in the car, but ran off after the crash.
Police in Dothan, Alabama, said Mckenzie Amanda Grace Catron, a University of Arkansas student, was driving the car when it ran off the road and into a telephone pole last Saturday. Catron, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger, also 19, was rushed to an area hospital.
The two were on a spring break trip.
Once hearing from witnesses that there had been a dog in the car, too, Sgt. Whaley said, “We felt we needed to find the dog. We were going to do whatever we needed to do to reunite this dog with this family.”
Dozens of community members felt the same way, Fox 5 in Atlanta reported.
For days, police, firefighters and volunteers searched the area around the crash for Kai. They posted flyers, and started a Help Find Kai Facebook page, through which they stayed in touch with Catron’s family in Arkansas.
One of the volunteers was Benjamin Irwin, a Dothan attorney and animal lover. He and his wife offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who found the missing dog.
“We just really wanted this family to have this piece of their family back, something to help remember their daughter,” he told Al.com.
Irwin and another volunteer spotted her from afar.
Joined by others, they pursued her for more than a mile before capturing her in a shed.
“Over the city blocks and miles of both running and driving we found mutual friends who eventually jumped in and helped as well,” Irwin said. “Once our number was up to eight people we were able to get Kia to relax enough … to grab her collar.”
After Kai was taken to an area vet, Sgt. Whaley and his wife Ashley, offered to take her back to Catron’s family in Bentonville, Arkansas — a 12-hour drive.
Kai was reunited with Catron’s family Tuesday, and Kenzie Catron’s funeral was held Thursday.
No one collected the reward money, and Irwin said it would be donated to the animal shelter in Arkansas where Kai was originally adopted.
(Photos: From the Help Find Kai Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, alabama, car, community, dog, dothan, facebook, found, help find kai, jonathon whaley, kai, killed, lost, mckenzie catron, pit bull, pitbull, returned, reunion, reward, search, spring break, student, university of arkansas
Former Baltimore police officer Jeffrey Bolger will receive $45,000 in back pay for the time he spent on unpaid leave after slitting a dog’s throat.
Bolger, 50, was acquitted last year of animal cruelty charges after killing the dog — a Sharpei who had wandered away from her home.
The Baltimore Sun reports that, pending approval today from the Board of Estimates, Bolger will get payment for about 10 months of paychecks.
Despite police commanders called the killing “outrageous and unacceptable” — and witness who claimed to have heard Bolger say, “I’m going to (expletive) gut this thing” — Phinn ruled the officer was acting in the interest of public safety.
Bolger was forced to retire early from the Police Department, but under the police union contract, he is entitled to receive back wages for the period he was suspended.
Steven H. Levin, who defended Bolger, said his client was unnecessarily charged and suspended from the department. “The evidence was overwhelming that Mr. Bolger acted appropriately,” Levin said Monday.
Nala escaped through a gate in her Canton backyard, and bit the hand of a woman who was trying to rescue her.
Witnesses told police that fellow officer Thomas Schmidt held down the dog while Bolger slit her throat. Charges against Schmidt were later dropped.
(Photo: Nala and her owner, Sarah Gossard)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 9th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $45, 000, acquitted, animals, back pay, baltimore, contract, dog, dogs, jeffrey bolger, killed, knife, law enforcement, nala, officer, pets, police, police union, police. officer, runaway, sarah grossard, sharpei, slit, throat, trial
There was no justice for Nala in Baltimore this week.
A Baltimore Circuit Court judge on Thursday acquitted a former city police officer charged with animal cruelty, misconduct and mutilating an animal after he slit the seven-year-old Shar-Pei’s throat in the summer of 2014.
Judge Melissa M. Phinn said the state did not present adequate evidence that proved Jeffrey Bolger, 50, was responsible for the death.
That despite the fact he pulled out a knife and drew it across the throat of a dog already restrained by a catchpole — after uttering, at least according to one witness, “I’m going to gut this thing.”
Phinn noted that the verdict might not be popular, but said the evidence indicated the officer was acting in the interest of public safety and putting the dog out of it’s misery.
She also noted that Maryland’s Chief Medical Examiner David R. Fowler testified that the dog likely was dead before her throat was cut.
Phinn said that Bolger would not have the expertise to know the dog was already dead when he slit its throat.
Bolger’s attorneys — attempting to cover all the bases — had argued both that the dog was already dead and that Bolger was attempting to euthanize the dog in the most humane way possible.
“Rather than have a dog suffer needlessly, a dog that was going to be tested for rabies, he decided to make an incision,” said Bolger’s attorney, Steven H. Levin, said as he left the courthouse with his client on Thursday.
Apparently, at least according to the defense arguments the judge bought, Bolger — or should we call him Dr. Bolger — decided to euthanize an already subdued dog he wasn’t sure was dead or alive out of the goodness of his heart with his trusty pocket knife.
Contrary to the state medical examiner’s findings, a necropsy performed by a doctor working for the city’s animal control determined a cut artery led to the dog’s death.
The state medical examiner said those findings were faulty, and while some witnesses said they heard the dog whimper and that her eyes remained opened before Bolger cut her, the medical examiner testified that both signs are not uncommon even after death.
The judge noted that, while one witness said they heard Bolger say, “I’m going to gut this thing,” another person within earshot did not recall him use the phrase.
Prosecutor Paul O’Connor had argued the Bolger had no reason to slit the dog’s throat, saying she was already restrained when Bolger cut her.
Bolger’s attorneys argued that the officer did not have proper equipment to sedate the dog, that the dog choked “itself” to death while on the pole, and that Bolger used the knife to protect the public.
Both that pole and Nala’s collar “disappeared” long before the trial started.
Nala escaped from her yard last year and was spotted roaming the streets of a Highlandtown neighborhood. Police were called after she bit a pregnant woman who was trying to rescue her from traffic.
Bolger had no comment to reporters at the trial’s conclusion, other than to thank his attorneys. The dog’s owner, Sarah Gossard, 30, left the courtroom in tears.
In a Facebook post Thursday, she said she was “heartbroken,” by the judge’s verdict.
“I do believe that just because this judge didn’t find the evidence sufficient, that doesn’t mean that he didn’t kill her. I don’t feel that justice was served but I can only hope that Nala’s death has raised animal cruelty awareness.”
After the trial, Bolger’s attorneys talked about their client’s suffering — that’s right, Bolger’s suffering.
Levin said the case drew nationally publicity, negatively affected his client’s life and forced him to retire early from the police department and suffered after having been suspended without pay.
State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie said her office was disappointed by the judge’s decision. “It will not deter us from pursuing and prosecuting those who commit heinous acts against animals,” she said.
Katie Flory, who heads the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission and is director of Community Affairs for the Maryland SPCA, said she was also disappointed by the verdict.
“We are very sad and frustrated to hear that a guilty verdict was not given today. It shows us that we have a lot more work to do when it comes to the egregious acts to animals in our city,” she told the Baltimore Sun.
“We are very sad for Sarah’s family,” Flory added. “It’s not going to bring Nala back and we hoped for justice for Nala, and for her family.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 20th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, baltimore, catch pole, catchpole, circuit court, cut, death, dog, dogs, jeffrey bolger, judge melissa phinn, killed, mutilation, nala, not guilty, officer, pets, police, shar-pei, sharpei, slashed, slit, throat, verdict
A new documentary brings attention to an epidemic that really needs some — the shooting of dogs by police officers in America.
Anyone who reads this website knows it happens far too much — take Tuesday, for example — and often without good reason.
There are no firm statistics, but consider the estimates: The Department of Justice says about 10,000 dogs are shot by police officers every year.
And the number of police officers killed by dogs? None. Ever.
The documentary “Of Dogs and Men” takes a look at those alarming numbers, and what’s behind them, featuring many of the same cases we’ve reported here:
• Cisco, who was playing Frisbee with his owner in his Austin, Texas back yard when police at the wrong address for a domestic dispute call, shot and killed him.
• Payton and Chase, who were shot by police during a raid on a Maryland home – not only was their owner innocent of any charges, he is the town’s mayor.
• General Patton, who watched as his owners were handcuffed on the side of a Tennessee highway, completely innocent of any charges, and then killed as he exited the car, wagging his tail.
• Patches, a 12 pound Jack Russell terrier, who was shot by a 250-pound police officer who claimed to be in fear for his life.
“From SWAT raids to simple calls and even visits to wrong addresses, we are seeing more and more incidents of officers using lethal force against a family pet, despite the fact that no officer has ever been killed in the line of duty by a dog,” said director Michael Ozias. “We are hoping that this film compels more jurisdictions to follow the lead of states like Texas and Colorado that have taken steps to protect our law enforcement officers and our family dogs through increased awareness, proper training and effective policy.”
Of Dogs and Men, by Ozymandias Media, Inc., will premier Nov. 1 at the Austin Film Festival.
The film is being released in association with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
“Use of deadly force is rarely justified in these types of cases,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “With better training, we are confident that we can put an end to these pointless killings,”
“Of Dogs and Men does an excellent job educating citizens on both the common facts of these heartbreaking cases and the surprising scope of the problem, while highlighting the tools citizens can employ to change outcomes for the better—from legislation requiring officer training in canine encounters to litigation under the federal civil rights act,” Wells added. “This film needed to be made and ALDF is proud to be a part of it.”
Some states are headed in the right direction.
Texas, where the problem is perhaps most severe, passed HB 593 in 2015, which requires mandatory canine encounter training for incoming Texas peace officers as well as those who seek advancement. The training helps officers who encounter dogs achieve safe and non-confrontational outcomes for both the officer and the dog.
The State of Colorado also enacted a statute that requires local law enforcement to undergo training to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, and employ non-lethal means whenever possible.
Illinois has enacted similar legislation and other states are considering it as well.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aldf, animal legal defense fund, animals, documentary, dog, dogs, epidemic, killed, killing, law enforcement, of dogs and men, officers, pets, police, shooting, shot, statistics