A dog being trained to detect bombs at New Zealand’s Auckland Airport was shot by police — under orders from the airport — after he ran off from his handlers and caused flights to be delayed.
Airport officials said handlers, security staff and police officers spent three hours trying to capture the dog.
But, after 16 flights had to be delayed, they gave police the go ahead to shoot the 10-month-old border collie and German shorthaired pointer mix. They insisted it was a last resort.
The shooting was condemned by animal rights activists and others.
The dog, named Grizz, was training to be an Aviation Security explosion detector and was six months away from graduation, CNN reported.
After handlers tried unsuccessfully to recapture him, and to coax him off the runway, airport staff told police to shoot him.
Then they got on Twitter and reported he had been recaptured.
Not until an hour later did they reveal the dog had been killed.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Grizz was not on the tarmac but on the outer perimeter of the airfield when he was shot.
SAFE for Animals Ambassador Hans Kriek condemned the killing, asking why the animal wasn’t tranquilized, but a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said he “didn’t believe” that had been an option.
Grizz escaped from his handler at around 4.30 a.m. Friday (local time) and ran out onto the tarmac at Auckland Airport, according to the CAA spokesman.
“He was on an initial airport environment socialization program as part of his training … The airport Emergency Operations Center was activated and a full search was commenced,” he said in a statement.
But the spokesman said it was too dark and the area too large to quickly find and contain the puppy.
“We tried everything, food, toys, other dogs, but nothing would work … In these difficult circumstances the Airport’s Emergency Operations Center team decided to have the dog destroyed,” he said
Animal activist Kriek said other alternatives should have been explored.
“Ultimately they have to call the police in to shoot the dog, and the police have access to tranquilizer guns, and there’s also a zoo nearby that would have one as well. So we don’t understand why they didn’t do that,” he said.
An airport spokesman said the question of a tranquilizer gun, and the entire incident, would be reviewed.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 17th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airport, animals, auckland, auckland airport, bomb, bomb-detecting, civil aviation authority, delayed, detecting, dog, dogs, flights, grizz, handlers, new zealand, pets, police, ran away, ran off, safe, security, sniffer, tarmac, training, tranquilizer
The unidentified 74-year-old woman was cited for animal cruelty after a neighbor reported her to authorities and posted images of the dog on Facebook.
The woman is from Phenix City, Alabama, but was house sitting for a daughter in Columbus, Georgia, when the incident occurred.
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said police went to the home Monday after a complaint from a citizen.
The mayor described what happened this way: “The dog kills the chicken … So she said that she duct-taped the dead chicken to the dog to, quote, ‘Teach it a lesson not to kill her chickens.'”
The woman told police that’s what people do in the country to train dogs not to kill chickens, the mayor told the Ledger-Enquirer.
Apparently, the woman had brought the live chicken with her from Alabama.
It wasn’t immediately confirmed if the dog, described as a pit bull, belonged to her or her daughter.
The incident set off a lengthy Facebook debate after Columbus resident Hannah Gillespie posted pictures of the dog:
Gillespie said in the post that the dead chicken remained taped to the dog’s neck for at least nine hours.
The ongoing Facebook debate took a dramatic turn when a someone claiming to be the woman in question posted, in a message to all the critics, that she had taken the dog to be euthanized.
Gillespie later commented on Facebook that the dog was still alive, and remained in the woman’s custody.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 2nd, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animal control, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, charges, chicken, columbus, country, dead chicken, dog, dogs, duck tape, duct tape, excuse, georgia, house sitting, killed, lesson, neck, pets, phenix city, pit bull, pitbull, police, rural, teach, tied, tradition, training
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
Whether Diggy is to be or not to be a pit bull will be decided by a judge.
The dog whose smiling face went viral — and led local officials to label him a pit bull and order him to leave town — is going to get his day in court.
Since we last reported on the case, Diggy has been proclaimed an American bulldog by a local veterinarian, but Waterford Township officials apparently didn’t buy the vet’s pronouncement.
Diggy is a pit bull, they say, based on how he looks — and those are banned in the Michigan township, under its dangerous dog ordinance.
Because Diggy’s owner, Dan Tillery, was cited by local authorities for having a pit bull, the final disposition of the case will be left up to the court.
It’s all a tremendous waste of time — first and foremost because pit bull bans are ill-conceived and just don’t work. On top of that, pit bull isn’t a breed at all. On top of that, a judge is likely to be even worse at determining breed than animal control officials, police, shelters, rescues and even veterinarians are, which is pretty bad to begin with.
And on top of all those things, does either side really want to know?
If they did, you’d think they’d have conducted a DNA test by now.
The media coverage led the Waterford Police Department to drop by a few days later, take a look at Diggy, proclaim him a pit bull, and tell his owner that he had three days to get the dog out of town.
The dog had been listed as an American bulldog when he was in Detroit’s city animal shelter. He was pulled from there by Detroit Dog Rescue, which, in at least one Facebook post, labeled him an American bulldog-pit bull mix. On the official adoption papers, though, Detroit Dog Rescue listed him as American bulldog.
After the police department’s ultimatum, Tillery had the dog assessed by a local veterinarian who judged him to be American bulldog — though he apparently did so without conducting a DNA test.
That wasn’t good enough for local authorities, who, though they relaxed that three days to get out of town part, are still insisting Diggy is a pit bull and must leave.
Tillery met Monday with Waterford Township officials, and posted on his Facebook page that the prosecutor was sticking to the decision to have Diggy removed from the community.
A hearing was scheduled for Aug. 11, at 2 p.m. in Waterford’s 51st District Court.
“My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family,” Tillery said in the post. “Thanks for all of your support, guys. I’m not a quitter.”
“We’re not going in and removing the dog, we’re not destroying the dog — it is a pending violation,” she told the Oakland Press.
Tillery and his dog have seen an outpouring of support from dog lovers and those opposed to Waterford’s breed-specific legislation. More than 50 supporters showed up at a Waterford Board of Trustees meeting to ask officials to remove the dangerous dog ordinance from its books.
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition asking the town to lift the ban.
Strangely, amid all the debate and national news coverage, DNA testing hasn’t been mentioned. If Tillery has pursued it, he’s staying quiet about it.
While some of the companies offering DNA tests — via blood samples or cheek swabs — skip around the pit bull question, a few of the tests do identify the breeds commonly associated with pit bulls.
One even offers a “pit bull exemption certificate” in cases where a dog is determined to be made up of 87 percent or more of non-pit bull breeds.
That may or not impress Waterford officials, or the judge, as such tests aren’t conclusive.
It’s still a possibility — that one side, or the other, or the judge, could pursue having the test done.
It would at least add some factual material to all the guesswork going on, at least a little foundation for the strident and unending Internet debate that is mostly — much like pit bull bans themselves — sound and fury, signifying nothing.
(Photos of Diggy by Dan Tillery)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, american bulldog, animals, breed bans, breed identification, breed specific bans, breeds, dan tillery, dangerous dog, detroit, diggy, dna, dog, dogs, guesswork, identification, identifying, judge, michigan, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, rescue, shelter, testing, types, waterford
Diggy was adopted by Michigan musician Dan Tillery, and a heartwarming photo of the two of them with big smiles on their faces (left) has been shared widely on social media.
But once Tillery brought the dog home to Waterford Township, they were met with a frown.
The township bans pit bulls, and when police received “several complaints” about Diggy — not based on any bad behavior, just based on his looks — police officers visited Tillery’s home.
“Based on their observations, it was determined the dog was part pit bull/pit bull terrier,” Police Lt. Todd Hasselbach said.
Listen more closely to his remarks and you can hear they are oozing something very close to what, in the human community, we’d call racism.
He confirms that Diggy is being judged based on looks alone. He says any percentage of pit bull in Diggy — no matter how small — makes him a pit bull. And he says Diggy can’t be permitted to live in Waterford Township because of the “zero tolerance” ordinance, which has been “in effect for many years.” As if that makes it right.
Sounding like a lawman from the old west, or maybe more like a 1960’s sheriff from the deep south, went on to say Diggy has three days to get out of town.
And he may not be.
Diggy was picked up as a stray earlier this year by Detroit Animal Care and Control, which classified him as an American bulldog.
Detroit Dog Rescue, the only no-kill shelter in the city, later pulled Diggy from the facility and put him up for adoption, according to ABC News’ local affiliate WXYZ.
Tillery and his girlfriend adopted Diggy after seeing a photo posted on the nonprofit rescue group’s Facebook page. In that post, Diggy — then named Sir Wiggleton — was described as a “2 year old American bulldog/pit bull mix that loves the water and is just a big goofball.”
In the week after his adoption, Diggy became an internet sensation after Tillery posted a photo of him smiling with his new dog.
Owning a pit bull in Waterford is an ordinance violation that can carry a $500 fine. Police didn’t cite Tillery but told him he had until today to relocate the dog to another town.
Waterford police said if a veterinarian deems Diggy to be an American bulldog or another permitted breed, with no pit bull in him, then he can stay — but they say it has to be a vet of the police department’s choosing.
Kristina Millman-Rinaldi, executive director of Detroit Dog Rescue, said the organization already had a vet deem Diggy an American bulldog, and called the Waterford Township city clerk’s office beforehand to make sure there were no restrictions on that breed.
Waterford Township defines pit bulls as dogs that “substantially conform to the breed standards established by the American Kennel Club” for American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, or American Staffordshire terriers.
And the ordinance allows police officers to make that call — based on the dog’s looks and their previous experience with pit bulls.
An online petition to lift the dangerous dog ban in Waterford has garnered nearly 40,000 signatures.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 13th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, american bulldog, animal control, animals, appearance, ban, breed, breeds, dan tillery, determination, detroit, detroit dog rescue, diggy, dogs, identifying, looks, michigan, petition, pets, photo, pit bull, pit bull ban, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, pitties, pitts, police, shelter, shelters, smile, smiling, smiling dog, viral, waterford township
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
Police were called to the pet supply store in San Mateo Sunday evening by the dog’s owner.
The owner, a 47-year-old San Mateo man, told officers he brought his 1-year-old male dachshund, Henry, to the store to be groomed, police said.
About three minutes later, an employee came out of the grooming office holding the dog, who was bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing, police said.
The employee, Juan Gustavo Zarate, 38, of San Francisco, then took the dog to an on-site veterinarian. Despite the vet’s attempts to treat the animal, the dog died within minutes.
A post mortem X-ray of the dog concluded Henry suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported.
Officers determined that Zarate likely contributed to the dog’s death and arrested him on suspicion of felony animal cruelty. He was booked into the county jail and released later Sunday evening, according to the District Attorney’s office.
“It’s definitely a sad and sensitive case for everyone involved and we take any animal neglect case seriously,” said San Mateo police Sgt. Rick Decker.
The Peninsula Humane Society will conduct a necropsy to confirm the nature of the injuries and the specific cause of death, police said.
In an email to ABC7 News, PetSmart wrote:
“We are heartbroken by the loss of Henry. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of pets, and we take full responsibility for the pets in our care.
“We are conducting an internal investigation and will take immediate action based on our findings. Additionally, we are working with the local authorities. The individual involved has been placed on suspension pending the outcome of this investigation.
“Any incident of animal cruelty goes against everything we believe as a company and as individual pet parents. No words can express our deep sorrow for the family, and we will continue to work with the pet parent during this difficult time.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, broken, california, care, charged, dachshund, dead, died, dog, dogs, grooming, henry, lung, necropsy, pet, pets, petsmart, police, punctured, ribs, san mateo