Tag: law enforcement
If the ranks of specialized crime-fighting canines seem to be reaching new heights, well, they are.
Drug-sniffing dogs, bomb-detecting dogs, and even “porn dogs” are all already on duty, but there’s a new incarnation of crime fighting dog hovering on the horizon, and it may be most super-hero-like yet:
Skydiving anti-poaching dogs.
To help crackdown on the epidemic of ivory poaching in Africa, dogs are now being trained to parachute (with their handlers) from helicopters, track and take down poachers.
But he and a six-year-old German shepherd named Giant, featured in the video above, are being trained for the task at the Anti-Poaching and Canine Training Academy, according to NationalGeographic.com
It’s run by Paramount Group, a defense contractor based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The academy’s canines, which are bred at the facility, are trained and matched with rangers from national parks and game reserves across Africa.
Dogs have been skydiving for a while now (remember the one on the Navy Seal mission that took down Osama bin Laden?). But that’s only half of this job.
Once on the ground, the dogs — much faster and better at tracking than humans — are released to pursue the poachers and bring them down before they vanish into the bush.
Both dogs have already mastered descending from a helicopter by rope, strapped to their handler, but parachuting gets them to the ground more quickly, and decreases the likelihood of the poachers being scared off by the noise of the helicopter.
An estimated 100 elephants a day are gunned down by poachers who saw off their tusks. About a thousand rhinos were killed last year by poachers who harvested their horns.
Africa’s parks are far too vast to be patrolled effectively, allowing the poachers to operate almost with impunity.
Dogs, as is often the case in war and crime-fighting, were seen as effective strategy. Flying dogs? Even better.
The risks (to the dogs) is high. Fleeing poachers could easily train their high powered rifles on the dog pursuing them. Having a drone chase them down, maybe one that could fire tranquilizer darts at the poachers, would seem to make more sense. But then again drones don’t have dog noses.
Eric Ichikowitz, director of the Johannesburg-based Ichikowitz Family Foundation, which helped launch the training program, says the dogs seem to like the chase, getting excited when they hear the roar of a helicopter.
“The dogs are exceptionally comfortable with skydiving,” he says.
“They know they’re going to work.”
(Photo: National Geographic)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 25th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: africa, animals, anti-poaching, arrow, belgian malinois, dog, dogs, elephants, german shepherd, giant, horns, ivory, law enforcement, parachuting, parachuting dogs, pets, poachers, poaching, pursuit, rhinos, skydiving dogs, tracking, tusks
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
An off-duty police officer has been charged with punching a 71-year-old woman in the face during an argument that began when he objected to her Yorkshire terrier riding the elevator.
Officer Vladimir Radionov, 46, is accused of striking the woman Sunday morning after she tried to bring her 9-pound Yorkshire terrier onto the elevator of their building in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach.
“I think if I didn’t run away, he would kill me,” Janet Goldschmidt told The New York Post. “He was so angry.”
Radionov, a New York City police officer, was charged with second degree assault.
Pets are only allowed in the building’s service elevator, but Goldschmidt says she asked him if he’d be willing to let them ride in the passenger elevator with him.
“He says, ‘Take your motherf–king dog out of the elevator. I don’t want to go up with your f–king dirty dog,'” she said.
“He came at me like a bull. He just attacked me … He said ‘No’ and started punching me … I throw a cup of coffee, thinking this is going to stop him but it doesn’t. He punches me in the back. He grabs me and pulls me out like I am a child.”
The Post reported that sources who had seen the elevator surveillance video said it shows Radionov dragging her out of the elevator, then pushing her when she tries to get back in.
At one point, Goldschmidt fell, injuring her tailbone and hitting the back of her head. She also scraped her arm during the fall, sources told The Post. She was taken to Coney Island Hospital for treatment.
Goldschmidt reported the incident to the building superintendent and police.
After his arrest, Radionov was freed on $5,000 bail, but an order of protection was issued requiring him to stay away from the building in which he also resides.
“I am so surprised. He is a police officer,” Goldschmidt said. “Police officers are supposed to keep us safe. Instead, he was acting like a criminal.”
(Photos: By Gabriella Bass / New York Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alvick, animals, argument, assault, brighton beach, brooklyn, charged, dog, dogs, elevator, janet goldschmidt, law enforcement, new york, nypd, off duty, officer, pets, police, rules, vladimir radionov, yorkshire terrier
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
I’m not sure if it’s the technophobe in me or the nature-lover in me, but something about this video makes me smile inside.
Police in the Netherlands, concerned about the security threat posed by unmanned aerial drones, have enlisted eagles to bring them down.
The Dutch National Police Force announced that they’ve partnered with Danish company, Guard from Above, to train the birds, according to Global News.
Just as with police dogs, there’s a potential that law enforcement might misuse its new-found ally. There are probably questions that could be raised from an animal rights perspective, as well. On top of that, I’d hate to think that eagles were somehow being used to abridge free speech.
But police officials emphasized the eagles won’t be going after law-abiding drones, just those that are posing a security threat.
“There are situations in which drones are not allowed to fly. This has almost always to do with security,” Mark Wiebe, innovation manager of the National Police, said in a press release. (No need to click that link unless you speak Dutch.)
The video above is from a demonstration National Police put on last Friday, during which one of the trained birds successfully tracked and brought down a standard commercial drone in mid-air.
It’s almost as if the regal birds are taking back the sky, which, in our view, was their’s to begin with.
Yes, I’m definitely seeing too much symbolism in it, but watching still makes me say, “Go Eagles!”
Posted by John Woestendiek February 5th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, company, drone, drones, dutch, dutch national police force, eagle, eagles, guard from above, law enforcement, nature, police, security, technology, the netherlands
In a settlement that’s being called one of the largest ever for a wrongful pet death, the owner of a dog shot and killed by police in Commerce City, Colorado, will receive $262,000,
Chloe, a 3-year-old chocolate Lab mix, was shot and killed by police in 2012 — after she’d been secured with a catch pole and shot with a stun gun.
A video camera captured Officer Robert Price firing five shots at the dog.
Chloe had been Gary Branson’s companion and therapy dog since 2008.
“I am happy that we have been vindicated,” Branson said. “She deserved justice for what happened to her. This has been a very difficult time for me and am glad that it is now settled.”
The payment was part of a settlement aimed at avoiding a federal civil court trial scheduled later this month, KDVR reported.
Branson had left the dog in the care of a relative during an out of town trip in November 2012. The relative left the dog in the garage while running errands and Chloe somehow activated the door’s sensor, making it open.
A neighbor saw the unleashed dog and called police to report an aggressive “pit bull”-type dog roaming the neighborhood.
When police arrived, Chloe was back in the garage. After getting the noose of a catch pole around her neck, and using a Taser on the dog, Officer Robert Price, deeming the dog’s behavior as threatening and aggressive, shot Chloe.
Commerce City police, after a review of the incident, said Price was acting “within policy” when he killed the dog.
He was nevertheless charged with aggravated animal cruelty, only to be later acquitted by an Adams County jury.
Attorney Jennifer Edwards with the Animal Law Center said that decision prompted the filing of a lawsuit.
“It wasn’t surprising. I think the prosecutor’s office was pretty conflicted in this,” Edwards says, “At that point my client did not feel much vindication so the only thing left is to pursue a civil remedy.”
Edwards said the settlement sets precedent for thousands of other cases.
“It speaks volumes as to the fact that this isn’t going to happen and you’re not going to not be held accountable,” she said.
For Branson, the settlement still isn’t enough to replace what he lost.
“No amount of money could replace Chloe,” he said.
Below is the video (be warned, it is disturbing) of Chloe’s death, taken by one of Branson’s neighbors.
(Photo from Justice for Chloe Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 27th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, chloe, chocolate lab, civil, colorado, commerce city, court, dog, dogs, five times, gary branson, justice for chloe, law enforcement, lawsuit, mix, pets, pit bull, police, police killing dogs, settled, settlement, shot
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