60 Minutes looked at bomb-sniffing dogs in a report that, especially given last night’s other featured stories — on the Marathon bombing and the 9/11 Memorial — brought home not just how many lives they’ve saved in the military overseas, but how many more they might save here.
Reporter Lara Logan focused on the dogs of war, and the trainers that describe their canines as nearly infallible when it comes to detecting bombs.
But they’re not so infallible when explosive devices are planted after the dogs have made their sweeps, as apparently was the case at the Boston Marathon.
“Would an average police dog have found these bombs at the Boston Marathon …?” she asked trainer Mike Ritland.
“…Based on what I do know, yes,” Ritland said. “If dogs went through the areas where they were placed– you know, your average, certified police bomb dog should have found them. My thoughts are if these guys (the suspects) are paying close attention to these dogs, they’re waiting. And when the dogs leave, they bring it in, they hand– they infiltrate, essentially, they drop it right where it’s busy, and very soon after, it detonates.”
As the “60 Minutes” piece pointed out, since 9/11 dogs have been used more than ever because nothing is more effective in finding hidden bombs. Dogs in the employ of the military and FBI have sniffed out bombs, captured enemies, and one assisted Navy SEAL Team 6 when it took down Osama bin Laden. Much more of what they do, given the often secretive nature of their work, never becomes known.
“The best of them serve with U.S. Special Operations and they’re in a league of their own,” Logan noted. “It’s nearly impossible to get anyone to talk about them publicly because much of what they do is classified, but we were able to talk to the people who train them for this story. We took the opportunity to ask about what might have happened in Boston while getting a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of America’s most elite dogs.”
(One member of the “60 Minutes” team — in a segment not shown on the air but featured on 60minutesovertime.com – even volunteered to be chased down by a military dog in training in Texas. Producer Reuben Heyman-Kantor, in the video above, tried to outrun the dog, but was brought down quickly.)
In her interview with former Navy SEAL Ritland, who now finds and trains dogs for Special Operations and top tier units in the FBI, Logan asked, ”What can these dogs do on the streets of America?”
“The very same thing that they do for our boys overseas in that they detect explosives– they are a fantastic deterrent– they use their nose to find, you know, people as well,” Ritland said.
“Everybody knows that dogs can smell better than humans but what they don’t realize is that if you and I walk into the kitchen and there’s a pot of beef stew on the counter, you and I smell beef stew. A dog smells potatoes, carrots, beef, onion, celery, gravy, flour. They smell each and every individual component of everything that’s in that beef stew. And they can separate everyone one of those. You can’t hide anything from them. It won’t work because you can’t fool a dog’s nose.”
Ritland now trains dogs on his 20-acre ranch in rural Cooper, Texas, runs the Warrior Dog Foundation for retired war dogs, and is the author of “Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale From the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines.”
Ritland says its important — amid these days of budget cuts — to remember what lifesavers the dogs can be, both in wars and at home.
In Afghanistan, according to the report, 42 dogs have been killed in action. They’ve become so effective that the enemy is singling them out. A Taliban commander told “60 Minutes” that on his last operation they were ordered to open fire on the American dogs first, and deal with the soldiers next.
Logan visited what she said was one of only three breeders in the U.S. who produce dogs — almost always the Belgian Malinois — for top tier military units.
She also interviewed Green Beret Chris Corbin who, along with his dog Ax, almost died on their final mission in Afghanistan.
Corbin said he missed a signal from the dog while searching for mines. Ax was alerting to Corbin’s foot, but Corbin realized it too late. He lost both his lower legs. Ax was not wounded. Both returned to duty.
Ax was at Corbin’s side during the interview, and rarely took his eyes off his former partner as he described their first reunion after the blast.
“I just said something simple. ‘Hey, where’s my boy at?’ and he stopped. He froze. He looked around. And he went into a panic until he found me and he jumped on my legs. Painful. Just– I was just happy to see him. I didn’t care how much it hurt.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 60 minutes, 911, animals, ax, belgian malinois, bomb, bombing, bombs, boston marathon, budget, chris corbin, cutbacks, detecting, detection, dog, dogs, explosive, fbi, green beret, homeland security, ied, lara logan, law enforcement, mike ritland, military, mines, navy seal, news, nose, pets, searches, security, smell, sniffing, special operations, sweeps, training
We’re not sure we totally buy his argument — we even think it smells a little like one of those Texas tall tales – but we’re 100 percent behind John Mark Cobern’s fight to bring his dog to work in the Titus County Courthouse.
After being notified by the county commissioners that he can no longer keep Belle in his office during the workday, Cobern, the Titus County Attorney, is asking for a ruling from the state attorney general.
Cobern maintains that he keeps Belle with him for protection, and that Belle makes the courthouse a safer place, according to the Austin American-Statesman
“The primary reason for bringing my dog to the county office was to make my office a safer work environment,” he told the attorney general, noting his job puts him in contact with “the mentally ill and potentially unstable individuals.”
As you already know — because you’ve seen the picture — Belle is not a German shepherd, Belgian malinois or Rottweiler.
She’s a dachshund. And she’s 16. And she suffers from a glandular ailment.
Even though it’s a little difficult picturing Belle accosting deranged gunmen, subduing prison escapees or breaking up fights, we don’t totally rule out there could be an action hero beneath her greying fur.
We don’t think Cobern should have to lay legal groundwork to be able to bring his dog to work, but if that’s the route he has chosen he should probably emphasize the calming effect Belle can have, and the ways she can assist him in doing his duty that don’t involve detecting bombs or striking fear into the hearts of thugs.
For Belle is clearly no Texas-sized attack dog.
The commissioners say they decided to ban Belle, and all non-service animals, from the courthouse in Mount Pleasant after a complaint was received about her — but who the complaint came from, and what exactly it was, have not been reported.
Titus County Commissioner Thomas Hockaday took the matter to his colleagues and it was approved, despite opposition from Titus County Judge Brian Lee, who questioned commissioners’ authority to regulate what goes on in the offices of elected officials, such as the county attorney.
Cobern has had Belle since he started law school in Houston. “She laid in my lap for hours at a time while I studied,” he said. “She was always with me, and she is always with me now. I can’t go to the bathroom by myself.”
At the courthouse, Belle spends her time in Cobern’s private office, separate from where his staff is and where the public enters. The glandular ailment Belle suffers from killed an earlier dog of Cobern’s.
Cobern has asked Attorney General Greg Abbott for an official opinion on whether the county commissioners have the authority to regulate whether he — also an elected official — can bring his dog to work.
Abbott is reportedly a dog lover himself, and considers his dog, Oreo, part of his family.
Assuming Belle has not caused severe carnage at the Titus County Courthouse, we hope the attorney general bases his ruling not on dusty law books, but on the heart.
(Photo: Cobern and Belle, courtesy of Cobern)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attorney general, ban, belle, commissioners, county attorney, courthouse, courthouse dogs, dachshund, dog, dogs at work, elected, greg abbott, john mark cobern, office, officials, opinion, pets, protection, ruling, security, texas, titus county, work
A moonlighting New Orleans cop who brought his police K-9 to a private security job broke no law, his lawyer argued Friday– and commited no malfeasance any more serious than failing to shine his shoes.
The dog, named Phantom, fell down an elevator shaft and to his death while he and Sgt. Randy Lewis were working a private security detail at a closed hospital building.
Lewis was not charged with animal cruelty, but with malfeasance.
Judge Ben Willard, after hearing closing arguments in the case Friday, delayed any verdict for another week. Lewis faces five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if found guilty, Nola.com reported
Lewis, a former supervisor in the department’s K-9 unit, took Phantom to the shuttered Charity Hospital in May 2009, where he had been hired to clear vagrants from the property. The dog fell from the 17th floor through a partially open elevator door.
Lewis took Phantom to the job without police department approval, and had signed forms saying no police equipment or animals would be used in the private job.
The dog’s body was not found until the next day, when the private company that hired him had the elevator drained. Lewis then had the dog cremated, before a necropsy could be performed.
Lewis, in his initial reports about the incident, said he was training the dog, and didn’t mention he was getting paid privately for his services.
His attorney, Eric Hessler, argued that Lewis had been working a private job and training his police dog at the same time.
Hessler likened the court proceedings to an officer being prosecuted for failing to shine his shoes.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cop, death, died, dogs, elevator, fell, job, k9, law enforcement, malfeasance, moonlighting, new orleans, pets, phantom, police, private, randy lewis, security, shaft, trial
A Secret Service dog died Saturday when it fell off a parking deck in New Orleans while providing security during a speaking engagement by Vice President Joe Biden.
The Belgian Malinois fell from the roof of the six-story deck adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton.
Biden was speaking at a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
The dog, whose name or gender was’t provided, was working in the Premier Parking garage in the 900 block of Iberville when New Orleans Police said it fell off the roof.
Federal Agents and Police rushed the dog to a Metairie Veterinary hospital, but veterinarians were unable to revive the dog, WWL-TV reported.
Secret Service spokesman Max Milien called the death was a “tragic accident.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 28th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, belgian malinois, death, detection, dies, dog, dogs, event, explosives, fall, garage, joe biden, killed, Mary Landrieu, new orleans, parking, pets, roof, secret service, security, senator, speaking, vice president
Navy Captain Bob Dolan died at the Pentagon on 9-11, but his namesake, a Labrador retriever trained in bomb detection, is ready for duty.
The 500th dog to go through Transportation Security Administration training at Lackland Air Force Base — all of them are being named after the 3,000 victims of 9-11 — Dolan is headed for duty in Maui, according to NBC.
NBC first reported on the dog when the TSA announced the birth of the 500th dog destined to enter its Explosives Detection Canine Team program. Dolan got to meet the wife of the man he was named after, Capt. Robert Edward Dolan Jr., on the Today show.
“My children and I are very excited to have a puppy named in Bob’s memory,” said Lisa Dolan. “Bob began his military career as an explosives ordnance expert. When he was killed at the Pentagon, he was working on Homeland Defense, and so it very fitting to have one of the TSA puppies named for our hero, Captain Bob Dolan. Knowing ‘Puppy Dolan’ will one day be an explosives detection canine in the service of our country is reassuring. Dolan’s future career keeping travelers safe is a fitting addition to Bob’s legacy of freedom.”
Lisa Dolan and her daughter got to reunite with the dog again at his recent graduation.
Operating out of Lackland Air Force Base since 2002, TSA’s canine program selectively breeds and prepares puppies to be trained and deployed to airports and mass transit systems throughout the country.
About half of the 500 puppies bred by TSA are working as detection dogs for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies or have been selected as breeders for the program.
The TSA relies on volunteers to help raise the puppies. After screening and an orientation, families in central Texas provide a nurturing home environment from 10 weeks to 12 months of age. TSA provides all the food, equipment and veterinary care, and the families provide environments in which the puppies can grow and develop.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 000, 3, 9-11, airports, animals, bob dolan, bomb, bomb-sniffing, captain, detection, dogs, explosives, foster, homeland, labrador retriever, lackland air force base, law enforcement, mass transit, navy, pentagon, pets, puppies, robert edward dolan jr, security, training, transportation security administration, tsa, victim, volunteer
A police officer’s fatal shooting of a citizen’s dog on a sidewalk in Omaha three weeks ago was captured on a neighbor’s security camera — and aired this week by a local news station.
Grainy as it is, the video shows officers stopping the man, who they described as drunk and defiant. One officer takes him down; the other shoots the dog he was walking.
In their report, the two officers, named Schuster and Clement, say the “suspect’s dog became aggressive, growled at officers, and showed its teeth before being shot and killed.”
Police were searching for an armed suspect when the Oct. 7 incident took place. They said Chris Schulte, who lives in the area and was walking with his dog, Teela, in the direction of the search area, refused their orders to stop.
Schulte admitted “I was just walking on,” but said the dog never behaved aggressively.
Tim Wagner told Channel 6 News he watched the incident from inside his home on his night vision security camera.
“The dog didn’t stand a chance,” Wagner said. “The dog did nothing aggressive. I’ve lived next to this dog two and a half years and it’s one of the best dogs.”
Teela belonged to his Schulte’s aunt, Michelle Meadows.
Meadows said, “It was very shocking. I would think they would maybe taser her or something, if they thought she was being aggressive, but I don’t think she was.”
Schulte was arrested and charged with obstructing police and resisting arrest.
“The Omaha Police Department is aware of the incident and Chief Schmaderer has authorized an Internal Investigation into the matter,” a police spokesman said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggressive, animals, camera, disobeyed, dog, dogs, drunk, investigation, killed, law enforcement, night vision, officer, owner, pets, police, security, shooting, shot, surveillance, teela, video
A movie animator charged with bludgeoning his neighbor’s German shepherd to death with a hammer changed his not guilty plea in the middle of his trial last week.
After jurors were shown home security video showing him shooting and beating the muzzled German shepherd, Young Song, 42, switched his plea to no contest, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Young was sentenced to a year in jail and three years of probation. He was also banned from owning any animals for 10 years.
The change of pleas was made over the objection of prosecutors, who were seeking the maximum four-year sentence.
In the video, the 14-month-old shepherd being is shot and beaten by Song, who then is believed to have hidden the dog’s body, prosecutors said. The body of the dog, who belonged to Song’s next door neighbor, was never found.
Prosecutors say Song climbed a fence and entered his neighbor’s yard, shot the dog with a pellet gun, then returned a few minutes later and started hitting dog with a hammer.
Song is an animator who has worked for DreamWorks. His credits include ”Kung Fu Panda,” “Shark Tale,” “Bee Movie” and “Madagascar 2.”
Officials said Song’s reasons for attacking the dog weren’t entirely clear, but they suspected the dog could have been getting on his property through a hole in the fence.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, animation, animator, beat, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, dream works, german shepherd, hammer, jail, los angeles, neighbors, no contest, one year, pets, plea, security, sentenced, surveillance, switch, trial, video, young song
Elevator surveillance cameras have once again caught an apparent dog abuser in the act.
Brian Freeman, 28, who police say is the man seen repeatedly kicking a pit bull mix in this Aug. 26 video, was arrested on charges of torturing and injuring an animal.
The New York Daily News reports charges were filed against Freeman Monday when he appeared in court on a marijuana possession charge.
The video was taken by a surveillance camera in an elevator at the Wagner Houses on E. 120th Street in Harlem.
Freeman was not the first to be charged with cruelty to animals after being identified on an elevator surveillance video.
Two years ago, Chris Grant was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after being recorded kicking a pomeranian-Chihuahua mix on an elevator at the Grant Houses.
Later the same month Tiara Davis, another resident of the Grant Houses was captured on video abusing her Pomeranian.
And last year, New York City police released a video of Irving Sanchez abusing his pit bull mix dog in an elevator at the Wagner Houses. Sanchez was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.
The city and PETA had offered a combined $7,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the latest incident.
Freeman, according to the Daily News, was recognized by detectives and identified. His arrest record includes charges for assault, robbery and marijuana possession.
Police said they don’t know the whereabouts of the victimized dog or Freeman’s relationship to it.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, beating, brian freeman, camera, cams, chihuahua, chris grant, cruelty, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, east harlem, elevator, grant houses, harlem, irving sanchez, kicking, new york, pets, pit bull, police, pomeranian, security, surveillance, tiara davis, video, wagner houses
A dog on a hot warehouse roof, spotted by a rider on a commuter train, has become a source of controversy in Miami, with some animal activists saying he needs to be rescued, and warehouse officials saying he’s only doing his job.
“No animal should live on top of a roof … a scalding hot roof,” said Amy Roman Restucci with Abandoned Dogs of the Everglades, who posted an account about the dog on Facebook.
“We do not know why this dog is up there, but we thought of a few different possible scenarios, and can not think of one that would be acceptable for this dog to be there. Not knowing the circumstances, we are torn as to how and go about helping this dog without possibly putting him in more danger or dooming him to death by animal control if called.
“… One thing we do know is that this is NO PLACE FOR A DOG!! The temperatures on that roof alone can cause this dog a heat stroke. We want the dog removed from that roof immediately!
Local 10 flew its helicopter above the building, spotting the dog on the roof. There are some shaded areas, and a doghouse, and several bowls nearby, it reported.
Neither the Miami Fire Department or the Miami-Dade County animal control department planned to get involved, saying it’s not against the law to keep a dog outside, as long as it has food, water, and shelter.
Raudel Hernandez, a worker for G&G Produce, told Local 10 that the dog on the roof, named Burro, is one of two that serve to protec the building from thieves. Burglars have broken in three times, stealing copper wire from the air conditioning units.
A petition to “save the dog on the roof” has been posted on Change.org
Posted by jwoestendiek August 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned dogs of the everglades, amy roman restucci, animal cruelty, animal welfare, burro, copper, dade county, dog, dog on roof, florida, fruit, g & g produce, guard dog, health, heat, heat stroke, miami, petition, produce, protection, raudel hernandez, rescue, roof, safety, save, security, thefts, warehouse
She rushed to the other side of her house to see her son Stanley in the swimming pool, and Bear, her black labrador retriever beside him, struggling to keep the boy’s head above water.
“We all believe that if it wasn’t for Bear he would have sunk down,” Patricia Drauch told the Sturgis Journal. “It was incredible to see Bear holding him up like that.”
Drauch said her son was unresponsive when removed from the water. Unable to get a cell phone signal, she took him to the Marcellus Fire Department Sunday afternoon. On the way to the hospital, Stanley regained consciousness. He was found to be in good condition and later released.
Drauch said she has had Bear since he was a puppy.
“I’ve always told him (Bear), that these are his babies and he has to watch over them,” she said.
Drauch said she realizes the outcome could have been much worse.
“Don’t leave your kids outside alone no matter what age. Keep your eyes on them at all times,” she said. “It only takes a second.”
(Photo: Sturgis Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, bear, black, boy, dogs, lab, labrador, labrador retriever, michigan, mother, patricia drauch, pets, pool, protection, rescues, retriever, saves, security, stanley, swimming pool, toddler