In lovely Laguna Beach, California, the police department is seeking out dogs and their walkers to help take a bite out of crime. The department has launched its own local version of a national campaign known as Dog Walker Watch, variations of which are now operating in more than 1,300 cities. It enlists those who are out on the streets anyway, to serve as extra eyes and ears, reporting any suspicious activity or unusual behavior to authorities. The Orange County Register reports that 20 dog owners have been trained so far this summer, and the police department is looking for more. Natasha Hernandez, the department’s community service officer, has set up a stand at the Laguna Beach Dog Park to spread word about the program, handing out brochures and poop bags emblazoned with the police phone number. She has also posted fliers at pets shops and approached many professional dog walkers and sitters. One of those who signed up is Diane Berger, who walks her neighborhood daily with her golden retriever, Casey. “It’s an amazing idea,” she said. “We kind of have responsibility to help out. It’s our community. If we want to keep it safe, we can’t always expect others to take care of it.” As part of the training, the police department makes a point of telling dog owners to stay alert, and to call when they see anything suspicious. The program stresses that calls to police aren’t bothersome. The idea was hatched a year ago in Pennsylvania by Matt Peskin, the Register reported. “I realized there are 75 million dog walkers in the country,” Peskin said. “If you could train a percentage to become even more aware, you’d have the perfect eyes and ears in the community.” (Photo: Diane Berger walks with Casey, her 8-year-old golden retriever; by Mark Rightmire / Orange County Register)
In lovely Laguna Beach, California, the police department is seeking out dogs and their walkers to help take a bite out of crime.
The department has launched its own local version of a national campaign known as Dog Walker Watch, variations of which are now operating in more than 1,300 cities.
It enlists those who are out on the streets anyway, to serve as extra eyes and ears, reporting any suspicious activity or unusual behavior to authorities.
The Orange County Register reports that 20 dog owners have been trained so far this summer, and the police department is looking for more.
Natasha Hernandez, the department’s community service officer, has set up a stand at the Laguna Beach Dog Park to spread word about the program, handing out brochures and poop bags emblazoned with the police phone number. She has also posted fliers at pets shops and approached many professional dog walkers and sitters.
One of those who signed up is Diane Berger, who walks her neighborhood daily with her golden retriever, Casey.
“It’s an amazing idea,” she said. “We kind of have responsibility to help out. It’s our community. If we want to keep it safe, we can’t always expect others to take care of it.”
As part of the training, the police department makes a point of telling dog owners to stay alert, and to call when they see anything suspicious. The program stresses that calls to police aren’t bothersome.
The idea was hatched a year ago in Pennsylvania by Matt Peskin, the Register reported.
“I realized there are 75 million dog walkers in the country,” Peskin said. “If you could train a percentage to become even more aware, you’d have the perfect eyes and ears in the community.”
(Photo: Diane Berger walks with Casey, her 8-year-old golden retriever; by Mark Rightmire / Orange County Register)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 25th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, dog, dog owners, dog walker watch, dog walkers, dogs, laguna beach, law enforcement, neighborhood watch, orange county, pets, police
Another police dog has died after being left in a police vehicle — this time one in Alabama whose purpose wasn’t law enforcement, but “community engagement.”
Mason was left by his handler in a hot patrol car without its air conditioning turned on June 18, and died the next night.
His handler, Corporal Josh Coleman, said he forgot that he’d left Mason in the car after attending a hurricane preparation conference in Gulf Shores.
A city press release offered little explanation of how that happened.
“On Thursday, June 18th, while transitioning between duties, Mason’s handler Corporal Josh Coleman forgot that Mason was still in the back seat of his patrol car. On discovering Mason’s absence Cpl. Coleman located him in the vehicle.”
The press release gave no indication of how long Mason was left inside the car.
Al.com reports that the dog had entered the conference with Coleman, and had his picture taken at the event.
WISH-TV quoted a police sergeant as saying that Coleman left the dog in the car after the conference.
“He was going to take care of some paperwork in his office and he straight up forgot him,” says Woodruff. “Left him in the car.”
At some point, Coleman “discovered” him in the car. Mason was rushed to a local veterinarian, then transported to a vet in Penascola.
His condition seemed to be improving Friday morning, but died later in the evening.
The Gulf Shores Police Department acquired Mason on November 17, 2014, and had celebrated the dog’s third birthday on June 9.
While it was reported by some news outlets that Coleman would not face criminal charges, WISH reported the case will go to a grand jury. Coleman also faces “sanctions” from the police department and city.
According to the city press release, the department’s K-9′s usually travel in vehicles equipped with remote heat alarms, water bowls, and other protective measures.
“Because Mason’s duties did not include long periods in a vehicle, those protective measures were not available in his handler’s car,” it said.
The Gulf Shores Police Department might want to give that policy a second look — so its next “community relations” dog, if they get one, doesn’t turn into another public relations nightmare.
(Photo: Gulf Shores Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 24th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, car, community engagement, community relations, dead, dog, dogs, gulf shores, heat, heat deaths, K-9, killed, law enforcement, mason, patrol, pets, police, summer, vehicle
A Hialeah, Florida, officer has been suspended without pay pending an investigation into the deaths of two police dogs that he left in his parked vehicle for six hours or more.
The K-9s – Jimmy, 7, a bloodhound, and Hector, 4, a Belgian Malinois — were assigned to Officer Nelson Enriquez, who left them in a police SUV parked outside his home in Davie after his shift ended.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, he has worked 13 years for the department, the last seven as a K-9 officer.
At a news conference Thursday, Hialeah Police Sgt. Carl Zogby called the incident “a terrible tragedy. Every member of the Hialeah Police Department was beyond fond of Jimmy the Bloodhound and of Hector. We were in love with those dogs.”
Zogby described Enriquez as “extremely distraught … He has lost two beloved members of his family.”
Enriquez returned home from his shift at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“He did not remove either dog from the cargo compartment of his marked police vehicle,” before entering his home, Zogby said. The SUV has K-9 compartments, called cradles, for each dog.
Enriquez discovered the dead animals about 5 p.m.
The bodies of the two dogs were taken to the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which will perform necropsies.
Davie police are investigating the deaths and Hialeah police are conducting an internal affairs investigation.
Jimmy, the bloodhound, was donated to the Hialeah Police Department by the Jimmy Ryce Center, which was formed by the parents of a nine-year-old boy who was abducted, raped and murdered while walking from his school bus to his southwest Miami-Dade home in 1995.
Don and Claudine Ryce created the Center to provide free bloodhounds to police departments. The Ryces felt that if a bloodhound was used in their son’s case, he may have been recovered alive.
(Photos: At top, Jimmy fetching; lower photo, Jimmy with Enriquez, by Allison Diaz / Miami Herald)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 29th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, belgian malinois, bloodhound, dead, deaths, died, dogs, handler, hector, hialeah police department, investigation, jimmy, jimmy ryce center, K-9, law enforcement, left in car, necropsy, nelson enriquez, pets, police, police dogs
Julius, a 10-year-old Maltese, was chewing on a treat when he began to choke inside of his Jersey City home on Easter Sunday.
His owners, Michael and Lindsay Torres, after unsuccessfully trying to dislodge the treat, borrowed their building concierge’s car to rush to Manhattan in hopes of finding a vet’s office that might be open on the holiday.
But traffic on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel was barely moving, and Julius’ tongue was turning blue. As their car crept toward the toll booth they told Port Authority police officer Thomas Feuker about their plight.
“I really need your help. He’s choking. We need to go to an animal hospital,” Lindsay Torres says she told the officer.
Feuker tried to clear the dog’s airway. Unable to do that, he let the couple and their dog into his car and drove them seven miles to an emergency veterinary clinic.
“It definitely made it faster. He knew the easiest way to go and they were actually blocking off some roads (on the route),” she told the New York Daily News. A motorcycle cop from Rutherford, N.J., also joined the emergency motorcade.
A vet was able to clear the treat from the dog’s esophagus, and Julius is back home.
“He’s doing great. He’s eating, he’s drinking, he’s really looking good,” Lindsay Torres said Monday.
She said she was grateful for the officer’s assistance.
“Without him, I don’t know if Julius would be here.”
(Photo: Provided by Lindsay Torres)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 8th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, choking, dog, dogs, emergency, escort, health, jersey city, julius, law enforcement, maltese, new jersey, new york, officer, pets, police, port authority, safety, thomas feuker, treat, veterinary, veterinary clinic
I have a simple and modest proposal — one that would involve only a name change, a slightly new way of thinking, and maybe some new stationery.
It has long been in the back of my head, but was brought to the forefront by recent cellphone videos gone viral — one (it used to be above but was removed from YouTube) of a dog being dragged through the halls of an animal control department in California; one (below) of a police officer slapping and otherwise berating a homeless man in Florida.
Both are examples of what can go wrong — and often does — when you give one group power over others. Both are about control.
Seeking, seizing and holding “control,” necessary as it sometimes seem in a so-called civilized society, almost always leads to bad things, including most of the dog abuse that occurs in our country. We get a little too caught up in the whole idea of having control — over our fellow man, over other species, over other nations, over nature itself.
Those put in control, as today’s videos show, tend to lose control when they see their control being threatened.
Hence, I propose that we do away with the term “animal control” and rename all those county animal control offices “animal protection” departments — protection being what they are mostly about, or should be mostly about, in the first place.
I’m not suggesting doing away with regulating and enforcing in the dog world — only that those doing it go under a different moniker, which, just maybe, would allow them to be seen by the public, and see themselves, less as heavy-handed dictators, more as noble do-gooders.
And animal control offices do do good. They operate shelters, find dogs new homes, rescue strays from the streets and abusive situations. The new name would put an emphasis on that, and take it away from “control.”
The term “animal control” is archaic — not much better than the even more outdated “dog warden” — yet most counties continue to use it. Employees see it on the sign when they pull into the parking lot, when they walk through the front door, on their memos and their paychecks. It’s a constant reminder, even though most of their duties are aimed at helping dogs, that they are, above all, strict enforcers and inflexible bureaucrats.
A simple name change could help fix that.
I, for instance, would love working as an animal protection officer; I’m not sure I’d want to be an animal control officer — even though most of what they do is about protecting animals. The name change could attract job applicants who see the mission as helping dogs, and possibly help weed out those who see all dogs as nuisances, and control as paramount.
In addition to improving employee self-esteem, it could help change the negative public perceptions that come with being the agency that tickets dog owners for leash-less or unlicensed dogs, euthanizes dogs when their facilities get too crowded, and sends the “dog catcher” out on his daily rounds.
There’s no reason — assuming a stray dog is being captured humanely, and treated humanely in a shelter, and put up for adoption — that the “dog catcher,” traditionally portrayed as a villain, can’t become a dog savior in the public view.
Having “Animal Protection Department” written on the side of the truck, instead of “Animal Control Department,” would go a long way toward that.
A simple shift in emphasis, and in how some agencies present themselves to the public, is all I’m talking about. It wouldn’t be only a matter of spin, though. Being an animal protection department would require actually protecting animals — and seeing that as a primary mission.
It wouldn’t make the world a kinder place overnight, and it wouldn’t keep cranky police officers from slapping homeless people — like I said it’s a modest proposal — but it could be a start, at least in the dog world, to a new way of thinking both about and among the government employees we entrust those duties to (and pay the salaries of).
They would be more about helping and educating, less about controlling.
A handful of agencies have at least worked “animal protection,” or “animal care” into their names, but most can’t quite bring themselves to let go of the term “control.”
Thus you have, for instance, the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control.
Maybe they think losing “control” would be a sign they are losing control.
The term “control” might be appropriate when it comes to those agencies dealing with things like disease and traffic.
But not for those dealing with our family members.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agency, animal control, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, change, control, controlling, county, department, dog catcher, dog dragged, dog warden, dogs, duties, enforcement, government, hesperia, homeless, local, los angeles, mission, name, name change, office, pets, police, proposal, purpose, regulation, rescues, shelters, slapped, videos
A police dog in Florida has been fired after he escaped from his handler and bit a Dunkin Donuts employee in the store’s parking lot.
According to Margate police, Coconut Creek Officer Carl DiBlasi had gone to the doughnut shop with his police dog Renzo to meet Coconut Creek Police Sgt. Brandi Delvecchio.
Renzo lunged at the sergeant when she tried to pet him through a half open patrol car window, The dog then jumped from the vehicle, ran across the parking lot and attacked a shop employee as he reached into his car for an apron, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The incident occurred Feb. 11 in the parking lot of the Dunkin’ Donuts in Margate.
Renzo, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, had been with the department about a year and a half, and already had one strike against him: In November, he bit a Coconut Creek officer while tracking a suspect.
Coconut Creek Police Chief Michael J. Mann said the dog is now off the force.
“I have made the decision to retire K9 Renzo,” he said. Renzo will go live with DiBlasi.
According to Margate police, Officer DiBlasi was in the car when Renzo lunged at the sergeant and jumped out the window. DiBlasi grabbed hold of the dog’s harness, but couldn’t hang on. The dog ignored his commands to stop and charged toward doughnut shop employee Robert Doherty, 37, Coral Springs, who saw him coming and jumped into his car.
Renzo bit his leg before he could close the door. Doherty suffered four bites, according to Margate police, who said they had to “pry” Renzo from his victim.
(Photo: Renzo, from Coconut Creek Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bite, bites, bitten, coconut creek, dog, donut, donuts, doughnut, doughnuts, dunkin donuts, employee, florida, K-9, k9, law enforcement, margate, police, police dog
Police arrested Heather Pereira, of Elizabethtown, during a visit to her veterinarian’s office and charged her with three counts of animal torture and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. She was being held this week at the Hardin County Detention Center on a $5,000 bond.
It was the veterinarian’s office that contacted authorities after Pereira brought her dog in three times in three months for treatment of lacerations. Each time, Pereira asked for the powerful pain medication Tramadol for the dog, a golden retriever.
“Typically, as veterinarians, we see the best of people, people rescuing unwanted pets, people rescuing pets that have been hit on the street,” veterinarian Dr. Chad Bailey with Elizabethtown Animal Hospital said in an interview with WLKY. “Something like this is definitely uncharted territory,” Bailey said.
Pereira, 23, brought her dog to the hospital twice in October for treatment of mulitiple lacerations. On Dec. 4, the dog returned with more cuts and vets suspected, based on “the cleanliness of the cuts,” that they were inflicted with a razor, possibly intentionally.
Police were called and began an investigation, during which Pereira confessed she was injuring the dog to obtain pain medications.
“It was determined she was actually taking them and using those medications for herself instead of for the dog,” said Elizabethtown Police Sgt. Timothy Cleary.
At one point, police said, Pereira told vets she needed more painkillers for the dog because her child had flushed them down the toilet.
Pereira doesn’t have any children.
The dog has been removed from her home and placed in foster care. She’s going by a new name — Alice.
“She’s a great dog, wagging her tail, and, you know, I’m sure the dog has already forgiven, that’s just what dogs do. They love us unconditionally, and she’s a great dog and doing fine,” Bailey said.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 11th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abusing, animals, arrest, chad bailey, controlled substance, cuts, dog, dogs, drugs, elizabethtown, elizabethtown animal hospital, golden retriever, hardin county, heather pereira, injuries, kentucky, lacerations, medication, owner, pain killers, painkiller, painkillers, pets, police, taking, torture, tramadol, vet, veterinarian, veterinary