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 Chihuaua mix named Daisy is running as she has never run before — thanks to some blade-like prosthetics.
Abandoned on the streets of Los Angeles when she was two months old, Daisy had congenital deformation of her elbows, right shoulder, and back hips, making it difficult for her to walk, and impossible for her to run.
She was set to be euthanized at a local shelter when A Home 4Ever Rescue pulled her out.
For years, she used a a set of wheels to move around, but that put too much pressure on her spine. She has been using the blades, designed by Animal Ortho Care in Chantilly, Virginia, since August.
(Photo: From Daisy’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 25th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: a home 4ever, animal ortho care, animals, blades, chihuahua, daisy, disabilities, dog, dogs, los angeles, mix, pets, prosthetics, run, running, veterinary
No dog has ever killed a police officer in the line of duty.
And yet police officers, in the line of duty, shoot about 10,000 dogs a year in America, according to Department of Justice estimates.
One of the latest fatalities in the epidemic was Duchess, shot down Tuesday by an officer who acted quickly, if not wisely.
Within the space of about two seconds, a Florida City police officer determined the dog running out a front door he had knocked on was a threat and shot him three times.
The 40-pound pit bull mix died almost instantly as a surveillance camera recorded the incident.
Gillian Palacios said her two-year-old dog ran out of the front door when she started to open it.
The officer had knocked on the door to let the family know their car door was open.
“Before I could even do anything, the officer had his gun out and shot her three times in the head,” she told WPLG.
“She was curious. She wasn’t barking (and) she wasn’t growling,” Palacios said. “There was no reason for him to think she was aggressive in any way.”
“There were a million things he could have done other that shoot her three times in the head,” she added.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Florida City police spokesman Ken Armenteros defended the officer’s actions.
“We don’t have the luxury of hindsight,” Armenteros said. “We have to use the information that is given to us in a split second. So, the officer has to make that decision with the information that he has available.”
What about the luxury of foresight, though, we’d ask?
What about a mandatory program that trains all of a police force’s officers in canine behavior, how to interpret it, how to deal with it and how to make their split second decisions a little more wisely, a little less rashly?
All state legislatures should require such training, all police forces should get it in place. Only then will the “shoot first” mentality, and the thinking that dog lives don’t matter, begin to subside.
(Tomorrow: A look at a new documentary that explores the epidemic, “Of Dogs and Men.”)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 22nd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dog shootings, dogs, duchess, florida city, investigation, law enforcement, mix, officer, pets, pit bull, police, police shooting dogs, questionable, questions, shooting, shootings, shot, surveillance, video
Tillie, the setter mix who stood guard for a week after the basset hound she was roaming with fell into a cistern, was honored by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee last week.
Tillie, her basset hound friend, Phoebe, and their owner B.J. Duft were present as Gov. Inslee read a proclamation naming Tillie “Washingtonian of the Day” Thursday.
Inslee urged “everyone in Washington to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of this canine companion.”
Tillie was the first non-human to receive the honor.
“I saw this story and I just immediately said this is something Washington needs to celebrate,” Inslee said. “I grew up with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie and I never thought I’d meet a real dog that had that type of Hollywood character, but Tillie’s right here.”
Both dogs have been enjoying some newfound fame in Vashon, about 20 miles southwest of Seattle, since they wandered off from their home in early September.
A week later they were found — 4-year-old Phoebe stuck in the bottom of shallow cistern, 11-year-old Tillie watching over her.
They were discovered by a volunteer from Vashon Island Pet Protectors, who snapped the photo to the left.
Duft, who said the dogs escaped from his property through a hole in the fence, was ecstatic when he learned they’d been found.
“It really made me think a lot about their friendship and Tillie’s commitment to her companion, that’s for sure,” Duft told the Associated Press.
The governor has bestowed about 70 “Washingtonian of the Day” certificates since taking office.
Duft said both dogs are now sporting GPS collars.
(Top Photo: Duft, second from left, holds his dogs as they visit with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, far left; AP Photo by Ted S. Warren. Bottom photo courtesy of Vashon Island Pet Protectors)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, award, basset hound, cistern, dogs, found, friends, friendship, governor, honor, jay inslee, lost, loyal, loyalty, missing, mix, pets, phoebe, proclamation, sette, tillie, vashon, vashon island, washington, washingtonian of the day
After her friend, Phoebe, fell into a cistern that was too deep — by Basset hound standards — to jump out of, an old Irish setter mix named Tillie stayed by her side for an entire week.
The two dogs had wandered from their home in Vashon, Washington, on Sept. 7 during a party.
Their owner, B.J. Duft, suspects Phoebe, picking up the scent of something, led the way.
“Tillie would never leave even if the gate was left open, but she’s best friends with Phoebe, and so when Phoebe follows her little Basset Hound nose, Tillie always goes with her to make sure she’s OK,” Duft said. “They’re best pals — inseparable.”
In the week that followed, Tillie proved that beyond any doubt — leaving Phoebe’s side only briefly, and apparently only to scout around to find some help.
The duo was eventually tracked down by Amy Carey, a volunteer with Vashon Island Pet Protectors, an animal rescue group that runs a no-kill shelter in the area.
Carey said the organization, after posting about the missing dogs on its Facebook page, got a call Monday from a resident who had seen a dog come to the edge of his property several times during the previous week.
Carey went to the area to investigate and found Tillie standing guard over Phoebe, KING5 reported.
“It was very clear what Tillie had done,” Carey said. “She had not left her friend’s side except for going up to the man’s house when he was there to try and get help for Phoebe.”
Duft and the dogs had a tearful reunion shortly thereafter.
“I was thrilled,” he told ABC News. “I was absolutely not surprised to learn that Tillie had stood by her side the whole time. She’s a very caring, loving and nurturing dog and the two of them are best friends.”
Duft said he has had Tillie, now 11, since she was a puppy. He adopted Phoebe, 4, about two years ago after the two became friends at doggie daycare.
The dogs were hungry and exhausted but otherwise in good health.
Duft said he fed them both a “hamburger dinner,” and let them fall back into their routines.
“Within an hour of getting home, Tillie already wanted to play with her favorite toy — the tennis ball — so we did just that,” Duft said. “The two also hung out on the couch and got some well-needed sleep.”
(Photos by Amy Carey, Vashon Island Pet Protectors)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amy carey, animals, b.j. duft, basset hound, cistern, dog, dogs, found, friends, friendship, guard, hole, irish setter, lost, loyalty, mix, pets, phoebe, rescue, tillie, trapped, vashon, vashon island pet protectors, washington
To make matters worse, the officer claimed the dog had been been hit by a car and was dead when he found him.
The atrocious behavior and blatant lie likely would have never come to light if not for a family’s persistent efforts to find out the truth about their dog, who they named after the movie star.
Brad Pitt ran away from his home in Kennesaw in July, and the family launched an extensive search, driving around the area, posting flyers and reporting the dog missing to Cobb County Animal Control.
Animal Control employees told them repeatedly that no dog matching Brad Pitt’s description had been there.
Then a neighbor called the family and told them he had seen Brad Pitt being loaded into a Cobb County Animal Control van.
Brad Pitt’s owner, Holly Roth, called Animal Control again, and learned the dog had been found dead — at least according to the officer who picked him up, Matthew Cory Dodson. Dodson had told his supervisors the dog had been hit by a car and was dead when he found him.
Roth, doubtful of the account, continued looking for the truth.
Police investigators questioned Dodson, and he confessed to what happened, according to his arrest warrant.
Dodson told police he put the dog in a compartment of his county truck around 9:40 a.m. July 18 after picking him up in the Kennesaw area. He finished his work day without bringing the dog back to the shelter.
“Failing to do so in a timely manner resulted in said dog’s death, likely from a heat related illness,” the arrest warrant states.
Dodson was charged with cruelty to animals and obstruction, both misdemeanors.
He was arrested Thursday afternoon, but released from jail on his own recognizance about an hour later. A Cobb County police spokesman said Dodson has resigned from his position.
Holly Roth said the 17-month-old basset hound and English bulldog mix had been a gift for her daughter after her elementary school graduation.
“I’m still so sick to my stomach about it,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He would’ve gotten away with it if I hadn’t been prying.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal cruelty, arrest, basset hound, brad pitt, bulldog, Cobb County, employe, employee, false, georgia, heat, holly roth, kennesaw, lied, matthew cory dodson, matthew dodson, mix, obstruction, officer, truck
That trio of sassy grandmothers currently being featured in a series of Volkswagen ads has a new traveling companion — a Chiweenie with an overbite — and true to his name (Tuna) he’s stinking up the place.
In the ad, the grandmas detect an odor in the vehicle, which they at first blame on it being diesel-powered. After some continued sniffing, they determine the real source of the foul smell: It’s Tuna.
Tuna — that’s his real name — had achieved some major fame even before appearing in the ad, with more than 1.5 million followers on his Instagram page.
And he’s already published his own book, “Tuna Melts My Heart: The Underdog with an Overbite.”
According to that website, Tuna is a 4 year-old Chiweenie (Chihuahua-dachshund mix) with an exaggerated overbite who was rescued in 2010 by Courtney Dasher at a Farmers Market in LA.
Within a year, Dasher created an Instagram account dedicated to Tuna’s photos. By the end of 2012, he had hundreds of thousands of followers.
Dasher said her goal was to “bring people joy through Tuna’s pictures that showcased his cartoonish looks and his charming personality.”
“Since Tuna is the epitome of the underdog, most people advocate for him and adore him for his endearing qualities. His loyal followers embrace his physical differences, have fallen in love with his charm and connect to his message; that true beauty comes in all forms and radiates from within.
“Furthermore, he is an ambassador for animal rescue, since he too was once rescued, and it has become a part of Courtney’s mission to raise awareness for rescue groups through this platform.”
Dasher met Tuna at an adoption event after he’d been found discarded on the side of the road near San Diego.
You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts — looking at how dogs are used in marketing — here.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 20th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, ads, advertising, animals, book, chihuahua, chiweenie, courtney dasher, dachshund, diesel, dogs, dogs in advertising, facebook, grandmas, grandmothers, instagram, marketing, mix, odor, overbite, pets, photos, sassy, smell, tuna, tuna melts my heart, tunameltsmyheart, twitter, volkswagen, woof in advertising, woof!