Lawyers for a Baltimore police officer who slit the throat of a sharpei on a city street in June tried to put a new spin on his actions in court last week, entering a not guilty plea and suggesting Officer Jeffrey Bolger was heroically trying to save the unborn child of the pregnant woman the dog had bitten.
Fortunately, the judge didn’t immediately buy it, and declined a request from defense lawyers to dismiss the animal cruelty charges filed against Bolger.
The pregnant woman, meanwhile, is calling bullshit.
“Don’t try and make yourself a hero when you made a grave mistake,” she said in a a radio interview last week, after Bolger’s initial court appearance. “Try and say I’m sorry.”
In court on Thursday, lawyers for the 22-year veteran of the police force said Bolger was “legally authorized” to kill the dog, named Nala, and that he was acting to protect the unborn child of a woman the dog had bitten.
He entered a not guilty plea to two counts of animal mutilation, one count of animal cruelty and one count of misconduct in office. Both Bolger, 49, and a second officer, who held Nala while Bolger slit her throat, have been suspended.
His attorney’s reasoning went like this: Had the dog escaped from police, the woman would have had to undergo a series of rabies shots, putting her baby at risk. Due to that, and the dangers the attorney said the dog posed to citizens nearby, Bolger made the decision to “euthanize” Nala in the safest manner possible.
“Bolger considered using his firearm, but he determined that there was too much danger of a ricochet bullet injuring bystanders,” his lawyers said. “Instead, he used his knife in a fashion intended to cause the dog the least amount of pain and place the public in the least amount of danger.”
What’s underplayed in attorney’s brief is that, when that decision was made, the dog had already been subdued with a catch pole.
The attorneys said Bolger and other officers struggled with the dog for more than an hour, the Baltimore Sun reported.
And they said Bolger didn’t say “I’m going to gut this (expletive) thing,” as some witnesses reported. Instead, they submit, he said he was going to have to “cut” the dog because of the lack of other available options.
Among those who found the attorney’s statements ludicrous was Sandy Fleischer, the pregnant woman who was trying to help the dog and keep police from harming her. She spoke out after the incident — and she did so again after Bolger’s hearing.
“To say that you were helping me and trying to save my life? I was there to help the dog,” Sandy Fleischer said. “I can’t believe they are using me for the defense.”
In an interview Thursday on WBAL Radio’s C4 Show, Fleischer said she was upset that the fact she was pregnant — something she confided only to the paramedic treating her — had made its way to police and into the courtroom.
Fleischer was nipped by the dog as she tried to get a look at her collar, so she could get in touch with the dog’s owner.
When she first recounted the incident on the radio show, months ago, Fleischer said the officers who first arrived on the scene used sticks to try and corral the dog, which only served to intensify the situation. She said officers calling the dog a pit bull.
She said police had her ushered to the ambulance “because they didn’t want me seeing the dog being killed.”
A second officer, Thomas Schmidt, 53, is accused of holding the dog down while Bolger cut her throat and is scheduled to appear in court later this month.
The judge, while declining to immediately grant the request for a dismissal requested by Bolger’s attorneys, didn’t rule out further arguments and consideration of the motion.
Bolger’s trial date is scheduled for Nov. 7.
(Photo: Ian Duncan / Baltimore Sun)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 16th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, baltimore, bite, bitten, court, cut, dog, dogs, hearing, hero, jeffrey bolger, killed, knife, law enforcement, nala, not guilty, officer, plea, police, pregnant, rabies, sharpei, slit, thomas schmidt, throat, trial, woman
“We have no words to describe this. To say that we are appalled at this allegation is an understatement,” Baltimore police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said.
Police were called Saturday morning to Grundy Street in southeast Baltimore for a report of a stray dog that had bitten someone trying to rescue it.
Police had secured the dog using a catch pole, but after that Bolger, an officer assigned to the emergency services division, used a knife to cut the dog’s throat, police said.
“Unfortunately, at some point after the dog was contained, one of our officers used a knife and cut the dog’s throat. This is outrageous and unacceptable breach of our protocol,” Baltimore police Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere said.
WJZ in Baltimore reported that charging documents quote Bolger as saying, “I’m going to gut this thing.”
The dog later died.
Police officials said they knew of no reason for the officer to use such force on a dog that was already under control.
The dog had run off from her home nearby. She was a 7-year-old shar-pei named Nala, whose owner was searching for her and had posted her pictures on a community Facebook page.
“She was just the sweetest dog and would never hurt anyone,” Sarah Gossard told 11 News. “She was just scared that day and through all of those events — scared and lost, thirsty, hungry — yes I’m very sure that she bit someone, but the actions after that were not OK,” the dog’s owner,
Bolger been suspended without pay.
“I don’t want him to have his job, I don’t want him to be able to go out on calls and react like that to a person, to a dog, to anything. That’s not OK, that’s not OK,” Gossard said.
An investigation into the incident will also look at other officers who, though aware of what happened, had not reported it,.
Police commanders said they “caught wind of it Monday” — two days after Nala was killed.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 19th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrested, baltimore, charged, city, contained, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, i'm going to gut this thing, investigation, jeffrey bolger, knife, law enforcement, nala, officer, pets, police, sarah gossard, shar-pei, sharpei, slit, throat
A D.C. police officer shot and killed what law enforcement authorities described as a pit bull during a festival in Adams Morgan on Sunday afternoon — an action the dog’s caretaker said was uncalled for.
Aaron Block, 25, of Dupont Circle, said he was walking 2-year-old “Parrot,” who he described as a Shar-Pei mix, up 18th Street when the dog suddenly turned around and bit a poodle that was passing by.
Block said he managed to separate the two dogs, and was subduing Parrot when police arrived. A police officer took over, putting his knee in the middle of Parrot’s back while the dog was on the ground.
According to Block, the officer then grabbed Parrot by his neck and threw him over a banister at the Brass Knob antique store. Block said the dog was getting up when the officer shot him.
“The officer drew his gun in an unnecessary act of cowboy gunslinging law enforcement and shot my dog amidst a crowd of thousands,” said Block, who was fostering Parrot while he was waiting to be adopted through Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. “The problems here are almost too numerous to count,” he told the Washington Post.
The Post, which ran this photograph of the incident, by Dylan Singleton, also published the full police report, which was obtained by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.
The officer, 25-year-veteran Scott Fike, fired one shot, fatally wounding the dog.
Jacob Kishter, commander of the 3rd Police District, said that the dog was running at the officer, and called the shooting justified.
Tony De Pass, 67, a former D.C. police officer who lives in Northwest, said that the dog was charging directly at him when Fike drew his gun and fired and that “if the officer hadn’t shot the dog, the dog would have got one of us, either me or the officer…What he did, I would have done the same damn thing.”
Block said Parrot was a “very people-friendly dog, with absolutely no bite history.”
On it’s website, the rescue organization called Parrot’s death tragic and unwarranted: “We have received numerous questions about the incident, and, because news outlets have varied significantly in recounting what happened, we have spoken to as many eye witnesses as possible, and have requested and obtained the official police report.”
“According to multiple eye witnesses, Parrot had already been subdued and was being held securely by his foster, Aaron Block, when the police arrived on the scene. Parrot was not ‘out of control.’
Lucky Dog also disputes that the dog was charging at the officer. “A witness who was standing on the Brass Doorknob’s porch saw what transpired in the stairwell. He told us that Parrot was stunned from the fall and had only just gotten to his feet when the officer drew his gun and opened fire without provocation.”
Posted by John Woestendiek September 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aaron block, adams morgan, animals, bite, d.c., dogs, festival, killed, law enforcement, lucky dog, lucky dog animal rescue, news, ohmidog!, parrot, pets, pit bull, police, scott fike, sharpei, shot, washington
There was a gem of a story in the New York Times last week — about two elderly but popular neighborhood dogs who died within a day of each other.
Both lived in an apartment building on West 86th Street. Harry died Friday evening, his friend Bix died on Saturday.
“The fact that they were not human, but were instead a pair of 14-year-old dogs, seems only to have magnified the bereavement in their building, where they had lived longer than most tenants; on their block, where Harry held court at sidewalk cafes and was known as the Mayor of 86th Street; and deep into Central Park, where Bix had been the ringleader of a 9 a.m. play group since 1997,” the article reported.
Harry was a purebred Shar-Pei. Bix, named for the jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke,was a mix of Akita, Saint Bernard and German shepherd.
His 84-year-old owner, the documentary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker, said he never knew any of his neighbors until Bix moved in, serving as an icebreaker and conversation-starter.
“Over the years, because of him, my circle of friends changed, I met people I never would have met; I came to see my whole life depending on this dog I hadn’t wanted at all,” said Pennebaker. “I’d expected having to walk him in the rain in the middle of the night. But I never expected to lose him. If ever you put a dog down, some of you goes with him.”
Rafael Curbelo, the building’s doorman, who kept a stash of treats behind his desk in the lobby, cried upon hearing the news. “Harry was my best friend here,” he said.
As has become the tradition in the dog-friendly building, two dog death announcements were posted in the elevator. Within hours, both had been inscribed with expressions of sympathy from tenants.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apartment, bix, bond, building, central park, d.a. pennebaker, death, dog, dog friendly, dog park, dogs, elderly, friends, harry, mix, mourning, mutt, new york, new york times, old dogs, pets, relationship, shar-pei, sharpei, west 86th street
How did the sharpei get its wrinkles?
Scientists who have analyzed the genetics of 10 dog breeds say they’ve found the answer — and a path to many more.
While five genes have already been pinpointed as being responsible for dogs’ coats, leg size and more, the new research identifies 155 distinct locations in the animals’ genetic code that could play a role in giving breeds their distinctive appearances.
In the sharpei, the team found differences in a gene known as HAS2 which makes an enzyme known to be important in the production of skin.
“There was probably a mutation that arose in that gene that led to a really wrinkly puppy and a breeder said, ‘hey, that looks interesting, I’m going to try to selectively breed this trait and make more of these dogs’,” explained Joshua Akey from the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington, told the BBC.
Akey and colleagues studied 32 wrinkled and 18 smooth-coated sharpeis and compared a specific stretch of their DNA with that of other breeds.
The team found four small, but significant, differences in the genetics of the two skin types of the sharpei versus the other breeds. These single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), as they are called, were located in the HAS2 gene.
The research has also identified other locations in the dog genome that can now be investigated further to understand better why pedigree animals look the way they do.
Akey and his colleagues reported their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: appearances, breeding, canine, characterisitcs, denome, distinctive, dna, dog, dogs, genes, johsua akey, physical, research, science, selective breeding, shar-pei, sharpei, study, traits, university of washington, wrinkles
Roland, an abandoned sharpei, has had a face lift.
While sharpeis are prized for their wrinkly skin — and dog show breed standards deem it desirable — it can also lead to a condition called entropion, in which the wrinkles cause a dog’s eyelashes to turn inward and rub against the eyeballs.
For Roland, found as a stray and taken in by the RSPCA, the condition likely would have led to blindness, and it lessened his chances of finding an adoptive home.
The solution, according to the Daily Telegraph, was a double eye lift and full face lift.
“What we have done is made him adoptable,” RSPCA chief vet Magdoline Awadshe said. “It is not uncommon in this breed, it is a congenital problem.”
Roland’s 90-minute surgery eye lift surgery and excess face wrinkle removal cost almost $1000.
It’s not uncommon for sharpeis to undergo the procedure, in which a swath of of skin from across the animal’s forehead and between his eyes is removed, and the remaining skin is pulled together and sewn with stitches. Chow chows, bulldogs, pugs and other breeds are also prone to the condition.
The RSPCA says Roland is one of growing number of sharpeis turning up at animal shelters. Members of the once rare breed are often abandoned after owners realize the costs of correcting their congenital health problems.
(Photo: Daily Telegraph)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, adopt, after, animals, before, blindness, congenital, dogs, entropion, eyelashes, eyes, face lift, magdoline awad, pets, removed, rspca, shar peis, shar-pei, sharpei, sharpeis, shelter, surgery, wrinkles
What do you get when you try to cross a bull mastiff with a Shar-Pei?
In the case of James Marinakis, arrested.
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control removed dozens of abused and neglected animals from his 27-acre property near the Everglades, where investigators say he was trying to breed a “super dog,” CBS 12 reported.
Marinakis, of West Boca Raton, faces animal cruelty charges for beating dogs, leaving animals outside in the hot sun without food and water, letting sores fester, and leaving them covered in feces, officials said.
Investigators said Marinakis was trying to breed “centaurians” — a cross between a bull mastiff and a sharpei.
Officials said the seized animals suffered from skin conditions and sores. Witnesses reported seeing Marinakis beat the dogs with a golf club and PVC pipe, according to the report. Marinakis, who doesn’t have a license to breed dogs, has been cited more than a dozen times since 2001 in connection with animals on his property.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, boca raton, breeder, breeding, bull mastiff shar-pei, centaurian, florida, marinakis, markinakis, neglect, palm beach, sharpei, super dog