Austin, Texas, is on the verge of becoming a lot dog friendlier — and in a way much more important than most of those measured by websites and magazines in assessing dog friendliness.
The Austin Police Department announced Tuesday that, effective July 1, there will be several changes to policies and training concerning how officers deal with dogs.
The new rules clarify that lethal force can be used only if there is “imminent danger of bodily harm” to officers or another human, not when a dog is simply acting aggressively.
It also suggests alternatives to deadly force, including firing a Taser or using pepper spray, or simply yelling at a dog.
Assistant Police Chief David Carter said dog shootings by officers will get increased scrutiny, and any officer using deadly force against a dog will have to explain why lesser force was not used. Each incident will be reviewed by the entire chain of command, as opposed to just the officer’s sergeant.
Other improvements include having dispatchers inform officers when they are going to homes that have histories of dangerous dogs being present. In those cases, city animal control officers will also be sent there.
In addition, cadets at the training academy will undergo a two-hour session on how to deal with dogs, including how to read a dog’s body language and judge whether it is dangerous. Current officers will complete training sessions online and before shifts, he said.
“It raises the stature” of dog shootings, Carter said. “We need to be as accountable for the shooting of a dog as any other force.”
The changes in Austin come in the wake of a backlash over the fatal shooting of a man’s dog in East Austin in April, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Officer Thomas Griffin was dispatched to a domestic disturbance in late April but was sent to the wrong address, where he shot a blue heeler named Cisco after the dog, according to his account, charged at him. Cisco’s owner, Michael Paxton, has denied that the dog was being aggressive.
Carter said the investigation into the case found no policy violations and Griffin received no discipline.
Since then, though, the department has been looking at the policies of other law enforcement agencies around the country to determine the best practices when it comes to dog encounters, Carter said.
“Quite frankly, we learned a lot from this process,” he said. “We learned a lot from the community, who had great concern about it.”
Paxton, meanwhile, has filed a complaint against Griffin with the police monitor’s office and has retained a lawyer.
“It’s sad that my dog had to die for this to happen,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggresive, animal control, animals, austin, behavior, cisco, dangerous, deadly force, department, dog friendly, dog killings, dogs, firearms, force, killings, law enforcement, lethal force, pets, police, policies, practices, review, shooting, texas, training
After an outcry from angry pet owners, United Airlines is lifting a ban on transporting nine breeds of dogs, including pit bulls and others the airline previously listed as dangerous.
United had stopped transporting those breeds when it adopted the animal transporting policies of Continental Airlines. The two carriers are merging this year.
“As a result of feedback, United will now accept previously restricted breeds of dogs traveling in a non-plastic, reinforced crate,” United said in a statement.
The carrier previously listed the following breeds and types as ineligible for air travel: pit bulls, American Staffordshire terriers, Presa Canario, Perro de Presa Canario, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa (or Tosa Ken) and Ca de Bou.
An online campaign on Change.org collected more than 45,000 signatures on a petition to lift the restriction, according to the Los Angeles Times. The campaign was started by Hawaii resident Jessie Huart, whose 10-year-old pit bull was denied for transportation on the airline.
“This change is a victory for responsible dog owners everywhere at a time when many are facing breed discrimination,” Huart said in a statement.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air travel, american staffordshire terrier, animals, ban, breeds, ca de bou, cane corso, change, continental, dangerous, dogo argentino, dogs, fila brasileiro, jessie huart, lifted, lifts, merger, pet, petition, pets, pit bulls, policies, policy, presa canario, tosa, tosa ken, transportation, transporting, united
At least that’s my thinking — and it’s the view of the Humane Society of the United States, as well.
HSUS is encouraging dogs in the workplace programs, and this year it has teamed up with Petplan, which describes itself as America’s top-rated pet insurance provider, to ask busineses to consider adopting programs permitting employees to bring dogs to work.
Such policies, they say, can be beneficial to employees, dogs and the company bottom line. Studies have shown that employees who bring their dogs to work tend to be more efficient, happier and healthier.
“We share everything with our four-legged family members – our joys, our sorrows, sometimes even our lunch,” says Natasha Ashton, co-founder of Petplan. “It seems only natural that we also share our work lives with our pets.”
To assist employers in implementing a dogs at work program, Humane Society Press, the publishing division of HSUS, published “Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces,” a guide to creating a business environment where employees’ dogs are welcome.
Authors Liz Palika and Jennifer Fearing present the tangible benefits of dog-friendly policies and provide step-by-step advice on obtaining management buy-in, setting fair procedures and protocols and dealing with any concerns about dog-friendly policies in the workplace. Dogs at Work also includes detailed advice about how to prepare dogs for the office environment, provides sample policies and handouts and provides two comprehensive case studies describing successful dog-friendly workplaces.
“Our canine companions make excellent colleagues, even at big companies,” said Fearing, chief economist for The Humane Society of the United States. “In the midst of tough times, employers can improve morale and support the human-animal bond by relying on Dogs at Work to develop and implement a workable – and free – program that works for everyone.”
The HSUS implemented a dogs at work program in 2007, and about 50 dogs come to work at the organization’s three offices in the Washington, D.C. area.
(Photo: Soco, HSUS staffer Cary Smith’s dog, at work; by Cary Smith, courtesy of HSUS)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, benefits, dog, dog friendly, dog friendly workplace, dogs at work, employees, employers, guide, hsus, humane society of the united states, insurance, natasha ashton, news, ohmidog!, petplan, pets, policies, take your dog to work day, work, workplace
A police dog handler in the UK has been found guilty of animal cruelty for leaving two German shepherds to die in the back of his car on one of the hottest days of last year.
Mark Johnson, of the Nottinghamshire police, was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine. The judge called it “an extremely difficult case” which reflected poorly on the force’s attitude to officers with mental health problems.
Prosecutors said the animals – Jay-Jay and Jet – died in “excruciating pain” after Johnson forgot he had not taken them out of his vehicle on June 30. The dogs died – possibly within 20 minutes of being left in the car– from heatstroke, The Guardian reported
Johnson, 39, said he was severely depressed and was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder when he left the dogs in the car. He said his illness had caused him to forget that the animals were still in the car as he sat down to do paperwork at Nottinghamshire police’s headquarters.
District judge Tim Devas described the dogs’ deaths as “sad and regrettable”, but criticized the police department for failing to help an officer struggling with depression.
“I feel a police officer has been let down … (T)his is a dreadful error of judgment brought about by an illness way before it happened and PC Johnson should have been given more help … I cannot believe that in the 21st century, depression and men crying is so abhorrent to an institution that nothing can be done about it,” he said.
An assistant chief constable of the Nottinghamshire police said dog handlers must now take their animals directly to kennels on arrival at work and that a system was being piloted alerting handlers to temperature changes inside vehicles.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, car, changes, deaths, depressed, dog, fine, fined, german shepherds, guilty, handler, heat, heat stroke, jay jay, jet, mark johnson, mental health, news, nottinghamshire, police, policies, policy, trial, vehicle
Unlike last year’s list — entirely made up of places in which Ace and I lack the bucks to bunk (The James Hotel in Chicago, The W Tuscany in New York, The Hotel Monaco in Denver, Bowen’s By The Bays in Hampton Bays, New York and the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles) — this year’s is aimed at the “cost-conscious” traveler.
The top honors went to Motel 6, where all 900 franchises allow one pet per room with no extra fees or deposits.
La Quinta Inns & Suites came in second. It allow pets at 99 percent of its 650 properties, according to spokesperson Teresa Ferguson. “People who travel with their pets generally have very well-behaved and well-groomed animals,” she says. Accordingly, LaQuinta does not require deposits, or fees for pets, although they do request a weight limit of 45 pounds. (My dog Ace, at 130 pounds, has yet to be turned away from a La Quinta, and if he ever is subjected to that arbitrary and discriminatory rule, our business will go to Motel 6.)
Also making the top five were Red Roof Inn, with 340 locations welcoming pets; Best Western, with more than1,900 pet-friendly locations, 1000 of which are in the U.S. & Canada; and Candlewood Suites, where pets under 80 pounds are always welcome — provided you pay an extra fee and have you vaccination records available.
Petside.com is a pet website created by NBC Digital Networks, in partnership with Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 20th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: allowed, best western, budget, candlewood suites, chains, deposit, discount, dog friendly, dogs, fee, hotel, hotels, la quinta, list, motel, motel 6, pets, petside, petside.com, policies, red roof inn, rules, summer, top five, travel, weight limit