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Tag: officers

Buffalo man says police were searching wrong apartment when they shot his dog

An Iraq War veteran says police were raiding the wrong apartment when they shot and killed his pit bull, Cindy.

Adam Arroyo was at work Monday when his apartment in Buffalo was searched by police, who shot and killed the dog he says he left tied up in the kitchen.

Arroyo rushed home when his landlord called to tell him police were searching his apartment.

“I got here as fast as I could and I saw the carnage. I saw what happened. My house was flipped upside down, my dog was gone,” he told News 4 (WIVB). He said he always tied Cindy up in the kitchen when he left for work because she tended to chew on his clothes and shoes.

Buffalo Police said officers were searching for drugs when they encountered the dog, who they said was aggressive and unchained. They believe they had the correct address, though no drugs were found in the search.

Arroyo says there are two upper apartments at his address. He showed  the search warrant to News 4, and it described the suspect as black. Arroyo is Hispanic.

“They had no right, no evidence, because if that was the case they would have found stuff here and I would be in jail,” he said.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said an investigation will be conducted by the Internal Affairs Division.

Report calls attention to dog shootings by Houston police


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.

Colorado law, aimed at reducing dog shootings, requires police to get training

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a new law yesterday that will require police officers statewide to undergo training in how to deal with dogs.

Dog lovers have been pushing for the measure in light of recent fatal pet shootings by law enforcement officers, some of which were widely viewed as questionable and might have been preventable if officers had more knowledge of dogs and were better able to determine when they posed a true threat.

During debate on the bill, lawmakers said 37 dogs have been shot by officers in Colorado over the last five years.

“The idea here is to keep officers and animals safe,” Hickenlooper said. The governor brought his dog, Skye — a shelter mutt who is part Akita, part bulldog, part chow chow – along for the bill signing.

Also on Monday, the Colorado legislature proclaimed shelter dogs and cats as the official state pets, approving a proposal presented by schoolchildren as part of a program to teach them about the legislative process.

The training legislation mandates that sheriffs’ offices and police departments offer three hours of online training on recognizing dog behaviors and employing non-lethal control methods, according to the Associated Press. The law also directs authorities to give dog owners the option to control or remove their dogs when officers respond to a call concerning a nonviolent crime.  The training must be in place by Sept. 1, 2014.

The bill — believed to be the first of its kind – was unanimously approved.

(Photo: Brittany Moore with Ava, her German shepherd, who was shot and killed by an Erie, Colo., police officer in May 2011)

New Orleans officers charged in K-9 deaths

neworleansTwo New Orleans police officers have been charged in connection with the deaths of two police dogs in unrelated incidents.

Jason Lewis, 33, is accused of leaving Primo, a Belgian Malinois, unattended in a police department SUV, leading to the dog’s heat related death.

The case was heavily publicized last summer when the Metropolitan Crime Commission released photographs, including the one above, which shows what Primo did to the vehicle before dying from apparent heat stroke. Lewis was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.

Sgt. Randy Lewis, a former supervisor in the New Orleans Police Department’s K-9 unit, meanwhile, was charged with malfeasance in office, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

Randy Lewis, 45, was handling another K-9, Phantom, who last May fell down an open elevator shaft at the abandoned Charity Hospital building in downtown New Orleans — while Lewis was moonlighting.  Lewis claimed he was on duty and involved in a training exercise, according to a spokesman for the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office. Actually he was being paid to work on a private security detail.

Neither officer has worked with dogs since the deaths.

Attorneys for the officers said the charges are unfair and they will fight them in court.

“Both of these cases are significant above and beyond the fact that, tragically, an animal lost its life,” said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, which last summer asked the district attorney’s office to look at the cases. “I think that these cases, both of them, indicate and speak to the police department’s inability to adequately police itself.”

According to an LSU necropsy report, Primo, 6 years old, likely died from shock due to heat stroke. He was taken to a veterinary office with a body temperature of 109.8 degrees.

The other dog, Phantom, died after falling from the 17th floor into an empty elevator shaft at around 9:30 at night on May 21, 2009. According to a report obtained by the Crime Commission, the dog’s body was removed by officers the next morning.

Bullet-proof logic: Vests protect police dogs

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Of the 139 police dogs killed by guns in the line of duty in the last 40 years, 29 of those deaths were – euphemism alert! — due to “friendly fire.”

That’s according to statistics compiled by the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association, and cited in a Baltimore Sun article yesterday.

vestThe figures weren’t broken down into how many of those ”friendly fire” deaths were a result of dogs being caught up in the middle of a gunfight, as opposed to cases of mistaken identity — like the one that led to a Baltimore police dog being shot by an officer he jumped on during a pursuit this week.

But either way, even without adding in the number of injuries, the figures show society could be doing a better job of protecting its police dogs.

On top of the nationwide toll of friendly-fire deaths, and far more common, are police dogs being killed by suspects — as has happened 110 times (with guns) and 25 times (with knives).

So there are really two issues here. One, as evidenced by the case of Baltimore police dog Blade, is whether all police dogs should be distinctly marked as such, by virtue of a vest, collar or other means.

The other, larger one is whether police dogs (and the dogs of the FBI) should be outfitted — like their human counterparts — in bullet-proof vests, something that hasn’t been a priority with municipal officials in Baltimore and lots of other financially-strapped cities.

Read more »

Dogfighting ring broken up in Philadelphia

Two men have been charged for helping to operate a dogfighting ring that was busted Sunday in East Germantown by Pennsylvania SPCA , Philadelphia police said.

James Hargrove, 43,  and Tyrik Carr, 18,  were charged with felony cruelty to animals and felony criminal conspiracy, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Humane officers went to Hargrove’s house after receiving a tip on their animal cruelty hotline. They discovered two dead dogs and five others tied up nearby, the PSPCA said.

Carr tried to flee with one of the dogs but was later captured. He was described by the PSPCA as a “cut man” who treats dogs deemed worthy of saving after a fight.

A third man, believed to be the ringleader, remained at large, police said. His name was not released.

To report dog-fighting and other animal cruelty in Pennsylvania, contact the PSPCA at 1-866-601-SPCA (7722) or cruelty@pspca.org

Rochester cops shoot mostly at dogs

banner_policecarTwo of every three shots fired by police in Rochester, N.Y., are fired at dogs; and four of every five shots fired at dogs were aimed at pit bulls.

Those are just a couple of the more stunning statistics presented in an article in yesterday’s Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Police have shot at 87 dogs, killing 35 and injuring 33, in the line of duty over the last five years, according to a review of police reports from 2004 to April 2009 obtained by the Democrat and Chronicle under the Freedom of Information law. Some of the injured were later euthanized.

Over the same period, police fired at nine people and used their guns to kill 36 deer, all of them injured before police were summoned. Guns discharged accidentally three times.

All of the dog shootings were determined to be within Rochester Police Department guidelines, which permit the use of deadly force on animals when they are attacking or “presenting an imminent danger” to any person.

Some of the dangers described in the police reports, though, sound something less than imminent: Read more »