Tag: law enforcement
Anyone who follows dog news knows that (A) police departments are turning to dogs more than ever to help fight crime; and that (B) local police officers are shooting dogs more than ever; and that (C) those two trends don’t seem to add up.
You’d think that, as police departments become more dog savvy, reports of officers shooting dogs they feel threatened by would be declining.
Instead, nearly weekly, there’s news of another family pet being gunned down — often pit bulls, sometimes breeds not known for provoking fear, like retrievers.
It’s Arvada. All Arvada police officers are getting dog behavior training, ABC 7 in Denver reports — and they don’t have to go far to get it, considering the experts are often right in the same building.
Officers in the department’s K-9 unit are working with those who patrol the streets in an attempt to give them a better understanding of dog behavior.
“We can be a good resource for them and offer a different perspective,” said Jennie Whittle.
By working with and learning from the department’s K-9s and handlers, the program hopes to better equip officers on the street to deal with dogs, so that fear isn’t the first, and the dominant, reaction.
Often, all a dog that might appear aggressive needs is some time and space.
“Fido just came out here and he isn’t necessarily trying to attack me and if I just give that dog some space then we don’t have any further issue with that dog,” Ron Avila explained.
“Even our patrol officers are, I don’t want to say scared, but intimated at times when we go around our own canine police dogs,” said Arvada police officer Jason Ammons.
Ammons was on bike patrol when a pit bull ran after him and attempted to bite his leg. He used his Taser on the dog instead of his gun, which Arvada officers are being taught is the preferred option.
In light of recent shootings of dogs by officers in other towns, state Sen. David Balmer plans to introduce a bill that would make dog training mandatory for all police officers.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adams county, animals, arvada, behavior, canine, colorado, commerce city, david balmer, dog, dogs, K-9, k9, law, law enforcement, legislation, officer, patrol, pets, police, prevention, program, senator, shooting, shootings, training
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
As often as we bring you stories of police officers shooting dogs, it’s only right that we pass along news of cops who go out of their way to help one.
Seattle police officer Eric Michl went pretty far out of his way – helping to find a temporary home for the dog of a man he arrested, and driving on his day off from Seattle to Vancouver to place the dog with a foster family.
Last month, Michl pulled over a van that had changed lanes without signaling and arrested the driver, Juan Crespo, on a charge of driving under the influence. Crespo, the officer learned, also had a warrant from San Diego, where he was wanted for burglary. Also in the van was Crespo’s dog — a German shepherd named Liana — who had commited no offense.
Michl loaded her into the back of his police car and, as Crespo was being booked, drove her to the Seattle Animal Shelter.
On the way, Liana stuck her nose through the partition and licked his ear.
San Diego, it turned out, wanted Crespo extradited, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Between that attempt, which Crespo is fighting, and the local charges, it looked like it would be a while before his court cases came to a conclusion — far longer than the amount of time the Seattle Animal Shelter keeps unclaimed dogs.
That weighed on Michl. He checked with the shelter to see if it could hold Liana for the duration of Crespo’s court case. It couldn’t. That’s when Michl contacted Crespo’s defense attorney. Highly irregular. And highly cool.
“I just felt really bad that this dog and her owner would have to be separated,” Michl said. ” … Separating her from her owner would be an injustice. It wouldn’t be fair for the dog and for him.”
Working with the defense attorney, Megan Giske, Michl tried to locate someone from Crespo’s family to foster Liana, but they couldn’t find an appropriate home.
That’s when Michl turned to Facebook.
“She deserves a chance to live a full and happy life,” he wrote in a post. “If you know of anyone interested, please get a hold of me. I can provide details of her evaluation by the kennel manager.”
This past weekend, a friend of the suspect’s sister agreed to take Liana until Crespo is released.
The Seattle Animal Shelter gave Liana vaccinations and installed a microchip, waiving any fees.
He met the new foster parents at the Vancouver police station, and he reports that the friend, her two children and Liana all appeared happy with the new arrangement.
What got into Michl? And why can’t more police officers show canines that kind of compassion? We can’t answer the second question, but the Post-Intelligencer article provides some insight into the first.
In an interview, Michl spoke of his dog, Tommy, who died last last April. When Michl had to leave his son alone for nighttime patrols, Tommy, a black Lab, would sleep on his bed. Tommy died at age 8 of cancer, but the memory of him is still strong.
“Your dogs never leave you, no matter what,” Michl said.
Maybe it was that memory, or the lick from Liana while she was in the backseat. Perhaps even Crespo entered into the equation as well. Maybe, while Michl went far beyond the call of duty, it was just smart police work.
“I’m hoping once he’s out of jail he’ll remember that someone cared enough to do this for him and his dog.”
(Photos: Courtesy of Eric Michl, via Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 6th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelter, animals, arrest, attorney, beyond, burglary, call of duty, compassion, courts, dog, dogs, drunk driving, duty, eric michl, extradition, facebook, family, foster, german shepherd, good cop, juan crespo, law enforcement, liana, officer, pets, police, seattle, shelter, suspect, vancouver
The canine nose got a vote of confidence Tuesday from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The unanimous decision stemmed from a case in Florida in which defense attorneys questioned a drug-sniffing dog’s credentials and reliability, and whether his alert was just cause to search a truck police had stopped.
The court ruled that, in the case of trained and certified dogs, it is — or as Justice Elena Kagan put it: “The sniff is up to snuff.”
Kagan said a dog’s “satisfactory performance” in a certification or training program provided sufficient reason for an officer to trust its alert, even though errors “may abound” when dogs get put to the test in the field.
The justices said that training records had established the reliability of Aldo, a German shepherd, in sniffing out contraband, and that Florida’s Supreme Court erred in suppressing evidence he found in Clayton Harris’ pickup truck — namely, methamphetamine ingredients.
The ruling, Reuters reports, gives law enforcement greater authority to use dogs to uncover illegal drugs.
“The question – similar to every inquiry into probable cause – is whether all the facts surrounding a dog’s alert, viewed through the lens of common sense, would make a reasonably prudent person think that a search would reveal contraband or evidence of a crime,” Kagan wrote for the court. “A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test.”
The Harris case is one of two the court is considering about the validity of evidence obtained by drug-sniffing dogs. The second — which the high court has heard, but not decided — involves a police dog named Franky, who alerted while standing on a home’s doorstep, prompting a search that led to the discovery of marijuana growing inside.
In the case decided Tuesday, defense lawyers for Harris challenged the search by Aldo, a police dog in Liberty County, Florida. The officer handling Aldo — because Harris appeared nervous and declined to approve a search of his vehicle — allowed the dog a “free air sniff.”
Based in part on Aldo’s reaction, a full search was conducted.
Harris’ lawyers challenged the search, questioning Aldo’s certification and whether he was reliable in sniffing out drugs.
Florida’s Supreme Court concluded that the state had not sufficiently established how well-trained Aldo was, and it ruled the evidence of the methamphetamine ingredients should not have been admitted.
Kagan wrote that the officer reasonably believed there was contraband inside the truck based on Aldo’s training, and that defense attorneys failed to show that Aldo was unreliable.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldo, animals, certification, detecting, dogs, drug, florida, harris, ingredients, justice elena kagan, K-9, k9, law enforcement, liberty county, methamphetamine, nose, pets, police, reliability, ruling, scent, search, sniffing, supreme court, training, vehicle
A rat terrier who wandered from his home and ended up on a busy Texas highway was rescued by a police officer in La Porte, who halted traffic and carried the dog to safety.
Cujo, whose owners say he suffers from a bad hip, was spotted Monday by officer Kyle Jones on Spencer Highway, limping along in a lane of moving traffic.
Jones spun his car around and blocked traffic on the busy highway, called to the dog, then walked over to him, debating whether he should pick him up.
“You know how Chihuahuas are,” Jones told KHOU. “You’re not really sure if you can trust ‘em or not. But he kind of looked at me and said, ‘Man, I’m glad you’re here.’ He let me pick him right up. Stuck him in the back seat of the patrol car.”
Jones turned Cujo over to an animal control officer who, thanks to the ID tag on the dog’s collar, was able to return him to his family.
The Zapalac family had been searching for Cujo.
“We spent the whole morning, about an hour, looking for him,” Jeremy Zapalac said. “It started pouring down rain. And he hates water.”
Zapalac described Cujo as “a Napoleon-type of dog. He’s very short, but with a very big ego.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animals, cujo. spencer highway, dog, dogs, highway, kyle jones, la porte, law enforcement, officer, pets, police, ran away, rat terrier, rescues, returned, saves, texas, zapala
A moonlighting New Orleans cop who brought his police K-9 to a private security job broke no law, his lawyer argued Friday– and commited no malfeasance any more serious than failing to shine his shoes.
The dog, named Phantom, fell down an elevator shaft and to his death while he and Sgt. Randy Lewis were working a private security detail at a closed hospital building.
Lewis was not charged with animal cruelty, but with malfeasance.
Judge Ben Willard, after hearing closing arguments in the case Friday, delayed any verdict for another week. Lewis faces five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if found guilty, Nola.com reported
Lewis, a former supervisor in the department’s K-9 unit, took Phantom to the shuttered Charity Hospital in May 2009, where he had been hired to clear vagrants from the property. The dog fell from the 17th floor through a partially open elevator door.
Lewis took Phantom to the job without police department approval, and had signed forms saying no police equipment or animals would be used in the private job.
The dog’s body was not found until the next day, when the private company that hired him had the elevator drained. Lewis then had the dog cremated, before a necropsy could be performed.
Lewis, in his initial reports about the incident, said he was training the dog, and didn’t mention he was getting paid privately for his services.
His attorney, Eric Hessler, argued that Lewis had been working a private job and training his police dog at the same time.
Hessler likened the court proceedings to an officer being prosecuted for failing to shine his shoes.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cop, death, died, dogs, elevator, fell, job, k9, law enforcement, malfeasance, moonlighting, new orleans, pets, phantom, police, private, randy lewis, security, shaft, trial
The dog was shot when deputies responding to a burglary call went to the wrong address.
Deputy Wilfred Europe III has been reassigned to administrative duties, according to the Denver Post.
CBS 4 in Denver reported last week that it was the second time Europe had shot a dog during his five years with the sheriff’s office. The first shooting wasn’t fatal.
In a news conference Friday, Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr said the case is still under investigation, but that certain details “need to be set straight.”
According to Darr, two deputies were dispatched to a burglar alarm call Monday at Thoutt Bros. Concrete at 5384 Tennyson St. The address of the business wasn’t clearly marked and, upon seeing an open door at 5460 Tennyson Street they approached it.
When the occupant of the building opened the door, Ziggy, his 8-year-old blue heeler/border collie mix, ran outside.
Darr said Ziggy was “barking and growling” and that the deputy retreated about 25 feet before kicking him. Ziggy continued toward the deputy, who fired two shots, one of which hit and killed the dog.
Jeff Fisher, the dog’s owner, says the officers told him to calm down when he reacted to the dog’s shooting, and that he could “get another dog.” Darr confirmed the deputy made those comments.
Fisher is being represented by an attorney from the Animal Law Center, Jay Swearingen, who says the sheriff’s account differs from that of Fisher. Fisher says Ziggy was running away from the deputy, not charging toward him, when he was shot, and that three shots were fired.
Fisher said he asked the officers after Ziggy was shot why they couldn’t have used a taser, and was told “It is what it is.”
Many citizens have expressed outrage over the shooting — much of it on the sheriff department’s own Facebook page:
“We’re really pleased that the public is concerned,” Swearingen said. “Our client can’t get his dog back, but what happened with Ziggy can … prevent this from occurring again to another family with their dog.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adams county, alarm, animals, burglary, colorado, deputies, deputy, dogs, doug darr, get another one, it is what it is, jeff fisher, killed, law enforcement, pets, police, reassigned, reassignment, sheriff, shootings, shot, Wilfred Europe, wrong address, ziggy
David Stoddard was indicted Thursday for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in connection with a home invasion in Barberton on Oct. 6.
Three masked men burst into a house, robbed the occupants and shot and killed the family’s pit bull mix after it bit one of the intruders on the arm, according to News Channel 5.
Police investigating the crime swabbed the inside of the deceased dog’s mouth in hopes of finding DNA evidence that would lead to the bitten suspect.
On Dec. 5, Barberton police learned the sample had led to a potential match to Stoddard and began trying to find him — both at his home and through his attorney, who said Stoddard would turn himself in.
That didn’t happen, and police did not issue a warrant for Stoddard’s arrest, in part because they were hoping to confirm the DNA results first with a second test.
On Jan. 6, Stoddard allegedly broke into an Akron home and shot and killed 16-year-old Anna Karam, who was 4-months pregnant.
Stoddard is being held in the Summit County Jail. He’s facing multiple charges, including aggravated murder in connection with the Akron killing.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akron, animals, arrest, barberton, burglary, crime, david stoddard, dna, dogs, forensics, girl, home invasion, investigation, killed, law enforcement, mix, murder, pets, pit bull, pitbull, police, pregnant, robbery, shot
A Florida sheriff’s deputy plans to adopt the dog he helped rescue after her owner slashed her throat and stabbed her.
The dog, a 70-pound collie-Labrador mix named Amber, was attacked Sunday night, according to the Jacksonville Times-Union.
St. Johns County Deputy Dan Sorrells arrested her owner and then joined an animal control officer in a search for the dog, following a trail of blood and finding her in a thicket of grass, with her throat slashed and stab wounds to her sides.
When he called her name, she came, he said. “She walked right over to me. She showed no aggression.”
Amber was taken to Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Jacksonville. Sorrells plans to pay Amber’s medical and take her home in about a week.
He told deputies the dog needed to be “put down” because she attacked a kitten.
According to Hart’s two roomates, who reported the incident, he became angry when he thought the dog had harmed the cat.
“He called the dog over to him and stabbed it several times,” they told Sorrells. “Then he cut its throat.”
One of the roommates said he tried to help the wounded dog, but that Hart told him to ”back off.”
The kitten, as it turned out, was not harmed.
Amber is believed to be about 4 years old. Sorrells visited her Tuesday and Wednesday. His family has two other rescue dogs.
“This dog will fit in perfectly with them,” he said.
(Top photo: Amber, far left, visits the vet with Sorrells, far right; by Bruce Lipsky / The Times-Union)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopting, adoption, amber, angry, animal cruelty, animals, attack, cat, county, cruelty to animals, dan sorrells, deputy, dogs, florida, law enforcement, owner, pets, sheriff, slashed, st. johns county, stabbed, throat
The owner of a dog killed by police in Colorado last month says Chloe had never shown aggression toward anyone.
And his attorney said Chloe — despite Commerce City police officers having repeatedly described the dog as a pit bull — may not have had any pit bull in her at all.
Gary Branson, 58, of Pueblo, said the three-year-old dog who helped him recover from triple-bypass surgery, “was friendly with everybody … She loved being around people, loved attention,” according to Examiner.com.
Chloe was shot repeatedly — while in a garage and on a catchpole — after a neighbor reported a dog running loose. The incident was videotaped by the son of the man who made the report.
Officers said the dog posed a danger, but the incident is being investigated by the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, at the request of police officials.
Branson’s attorney, Jennifer Edwards of the Animal Law Center in Wheat Ridge, questioned whether Chloe had any pit bull in her, and said she hopes to have DNA tests performed on Chloe’s remains to prove that.
Commerce City has an ordinance banning pit bulls.
Chloe was staying with Branson’s cousin in Commerce City while he was away in California. He said he adopted her as a puppy in Pueblo.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, chloe, colorado, commerce city, dogs, law enforcement, pets, pit bull, police, shooting, shot, video