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Tag: police dog

One very brave piece of “property”

mickNormally, we would call Mick, a Portland, Oregon, police dog killed in the line of duty this week, a hero.

Or maybe even a life-saver, which is how his partner, Officer Jeff Dorn, referred to him while recuperating in a hospital  from two gunshot wounds fired by the same burglary suspect who fatally gunned down Mick.

But according, at least, to an Oregon Court of Appeals decision — issued the very same day Mick died while trying to apprehend the fleeing, gun-firing suspect – Mick, being a dog, was merely “property.”

The court ruling wasn’t about Mick — instead it stemmed from an abuse case — but the timing and juxtaposition of the two stories serve to make a point that society, and lawmakers, and law enforcers, and courts, ought to start heeding.

Dogs aren’t toasters.

Mick joined the Portland Police Bureau K-9 Unit in March. After only a few days on the job, police, he captured three suspects within a 10-hour period. On Wednesday, he was with Dorn, chasing down a fleeing burglary suspect, when he was shot.

“Officer Dorn would like the community to know that ‘Mick saved my life,’ ” Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said in a press release.

“The dog was doing its job. He was out there protecting our community, and it’s tragic that we lost the dog,” said Portland Police Chief Mike Reese.

dornandmickAfter Mick’s body was recovered, a procession of police cars followed him to a veterinarian’s office, according to a report in Wednesday’s Oregonian, but it was too late.

On the same day Mick died, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a ruling declaring — in line with what all the law books say — that dogs are “property.”

As such, the three-judge panel ruled, dogs can’t be seized and examined without a warrant, even if the purpose is to save a dog’s life.

The legal view of dogs as — above all else — property both degrades and endangers man’s best friend, and can make it difficult for animal-cruelty investigators to provide help to beaten, starved or neglected pets.

Changing that age-old view would require throwing away a lot of law books, and it would require judges to finally start showing half the backbone Mick did.

It’s time to make a legal distinction between inanimate ”property” that has no soul, and “property” (if we must call them that) that does have a soul.

The Court of Appeals Wednesday did the opposite, throwing out the conviction of a 28-year-old woman who, based on evidence from a veterinarian who tested and treated the animal without a warrant, was found guilty of starving her dog, the Oregonian reported.

After an informant told the Oregon Humane Society that Amanda L. Newcomb was beating her dog and failing to properly feed it, an animal-cruelty investigator went to Newcomb’s apartment in December 2010 and saw the dog in the yard “in a near emaciated condition.”

Newcomb told the investigator she was out of dog food and that she was going to get some more, but the investigator  determined the dog likely needed medical care and brought the dog to a Humane Society vet for an examination.

That exam, according to the appeals court ruling, constituted unreasonable search and seizure of property — namely, Newcomb’s dog.

While the investigator had probable cause to seize the dog without a warrant, the court said, the “search” — i.e. medical exam — of the dog violated Newcomb’s privacy rights because the authorities hadn’t obtained a warrant.

The ruling effectively overturns her conviction on charges of second-degree animal neglect, and the original judge’s orders for her to serve one year of probation and not possess animals for five years.

It could also serve to hamper animal cruelty investigations across the state.

Maybe worst of all, it confirms the foolish concept that dogs — despite their heroics, despite their loyalty, despite their having character traits that we humans can only envy — are, first and foremost, property, a wrongful designation that legally, if not in reality, seems to trump all else.

Trial opens in Miami police dog’s death

The trial began yesterday for a former Miami-Dade police officer charged with killing a K-9 with a series of kicks.

Duke, a Belgian Malinois, died in 2006 after collapsing during a training exercise with handler Sgt. Allen Cockfield, according to the Miami Herald.

Cockfield is charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and a felony count of killing a police dog. If convicted, he faces possible prison time and the loss of his state police certification. Cockfield contends any blows he might have administered were in self defense.

“He was simply trying to save himself,” defense attorney Douglas Hartman said.

Authorities arrested Cockfield, 55, in 2007 after a one-year investigation by Miami-Dades Police Department’s internal affairs unit. Cockfield spent more than two decades as a canine handler with the department, which has since fired him.

Miami-Dade prosecutor Isis Perez told jurors yesterday that Duke was not obeying commands during a training exercise, prompting Cockfield to lift the dog up by its leash and kick it three to five times.

“He stiffened his hind legs, shaking as he was going into some sort of seizure, and a few seconds later he became numb, and that was it,” a fellow police officer who witnessed the incident testified.

Cockfield’s attorney disputed that account, saying the dog was behaving aggressively and his client was trying to protect himself.

Police dog left in car perishes in Alabama

A police dog in Alabama died Friday after his handler left him inside a patrol car between shifts, police said Monday.

The internal affairs divisionof the Montgomery Police Department is investigating the incident, a spokesman said.

The officer has been transferred from the K9 division and could face further discipline depending on the outcome of the investigation, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

The dog, named Urso, was laid to rest Monday.

Police said the officer had driven Urso to the Police Department’s kennel mid-morning Friday, but “just forgot” to check him into the kennel. The officer returned to the kennel for his next shift at 8 p.m. and found Urso dead inside the vehicle.

A police spokesman said the officer, who wasn’t named, is “emotionally devastated” by Urso’s death, which is believed to be heat-related.

Urso, a German shepherd, joined the department four years ago after being trained at a facility in North Carolina.

Submerged suspect doesn’t buffalo dog

A police dog from Buffalo tracked down a shoplifting suspect in Canada — even though the alleged culprit was submerged in a swamp.

Thor, a two-year-old German shepherd, and his handler Lt. Sam Losi, were in Niagara-on-the- Lake to participate in training drills with the Niagara Regional Police canine unit.

Sgt. Jeff Hopkins, head of the Niagara canine unit, was conducting training when he received a call to assist in a search for a shoplifting suspect. With no other dogs at his immediate disposal, he invited Thor and his handler on the call.

They were told a man had been seen shoplifting from SportChek at Niagara Square, ran from security officers and had disappeared in a swampy area behind the mall.

Thor tracked the suspect’s scent from the mall to the swamp and jumped into the water. He came to a stop on what appeared to be a mound of debris in the water.

“We looked closer and saw what looked like a pant leg and a nose sticking out of the water,” Hopkins told the Niagara Falls Review. “He was totally submerged under water.”

A 45-year-old Niagara man was pulled from the swamp and is now being treated at a local hospital. No charges have yet been filed.

Reward given in case of slain police dog

jimiThe Atlanta Humane Society on Monday gave a $5,000 reward to the woman who provided the names of two people eventually charged with shooting and killing a Griffin police dog.

Jimi, a two-year-old German shepherd, apparently strayed onto a nearby property, where he was shot. The dog’s body was found last November dumped along the side of a rural Georgia road in Lamar County.

Lamar County investigators announced the arrest of Kevin Pippin, 37, last month.

Lamar County District Attorney Richard Milam said he plans to ask a grand jury in June to indict Kevin Pippin, 37, and his mother, 66-year-old Geraldine Pippin, for misdemeanor animal cruelty, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The Humane Society said the woman who provided the names was unaware of the reward at the time she gave the information.

Jimi’s handler, Griffin police Cpl. Chad Moxon, and his family also put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for killing Jimi, who was trained at detecting drugs and explosives and tracking people.

Hayes received that $1,000 reward earlier, though the case has yet to go to court.

(Photo: Jimi, on the right, with Moxon’s other dog, Yager)

Police dog dies after illustrious career

0215_ricky2_410A Pennsylvania community is mourning the loss of Ricky, an 11-year-old German shepherd with an outstanding temperament and an even more impressive resume.

Among his accomplishments, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

Helping protect two presidents; assisting at ground zero after 9/11; apprehending numerous criminals; checking hundreds of potential bomb sites, four of which contained live material; locating two missing children, one of whom was autistic; and interacting with thousands of elementary-school students.

Ricky, who belonged to West Caln Township Police Chief Curt A. Martinez , began his career when he was less than a year old at the Coatesville Area School District, where Martinez worked at the time as a school district security officer.

In May 2002, a budget crisis led the district to put Ricky on the auction block, a decision that provoked public outrage and led to Ricky’s appearance in People magazine. The ensuing publicity helped raise the  $4,000 needed for Martinez to buy Ricky.

When Martinez went to work in the West Caln police deparment in Chester County, he took Ricky went with him. Martinez has led the West Caln force for three years.

Martinez said Ricky began barking incessantly last week. After visits to the veterinarian and the animal hospital, Martinez learned the dog had a softball-size tumor in his spleen.

“He was clearly in pain,” Martinez said today. “We had to put him down.

“Everyone in the township is taking it pretty hard,” Martinez added. “It’s a loss to the community, too; he was a great police dog.”

A memorial service will be planned, but Martinez has not worked out the details.

Police K-9 euthanized after killing dog

A Monterey County Sheriff’s Department dog was euthanized Wednesday after escaping from the home of his handler, killing another dog and attacking a second.

The dog, a Belgian Malinois named Bosco, ran away from the Aromas home of Deputy Justin Patterson, prompting a four-hour search on land and by helicopter, the Monterey County Herald reported.

Later that morning, a resident called 911 reporting that Bosco had killed their family dog and attacked another pet dog. Bosco was held in a kennel by the homeowner until deputies arrived.

The sheriff’s K-9 was euthanized Wednesday afternoon because it had “acted unexpectedly” once in the past. Officials declined to reveal details of the earlier incident because of pending litigation.

Bosco, purchased from the Netherlands, had been with the department about two years.