If you think dogs don’t play a role in politics, consider Hooch.
Shot and killed by a police officer in February in the tiny town of Filer, Idaho, the seven-year-old black Lab is the force behind a petition to recall the town’s mayor and all four members of its city council.
Residents — and more than a few outsiders — are still angry over Officer Tarek Hassani’s shooting of the dog, recorded by his patrol car’s dashboard cam and since seen, thanks to the Internet, around the world.
In the video, he can be seen arriving to investigate a report of a dog on the loose, yelling and kicking at the barking animal, shooting it, and then confronting the dog’s owner in a belligerent (and that’s putting it nicely) manner.
An “outside” investigation found no wrongdoing on his part, and Hassani, on paid leave pending the results of the investigation, returned to regular duty this past Saturday.
On Tuesday, the effort to recall the mayor and council started, the Twin Falls Times-News reported.
After the shooting, there were demonstrations, and officials in the city of just over 2,500 people held public hearings that led to some changes, including scheduling training sessions for officers on how to deal with dogs.
“I think they’re going to do their best to make the recall work,” said Mayor Rick Dunn. “They only needed 20 (signatures) to start the process, and they’ve gotten that far.”
Gathering 20 signatures for each city leader’s recall petition is only a first step. Organizers now have 75 days to gather 201 signatures for each official — 10 percent of the number of voters registered in the last city election – to bring about a recall election.
An investigation by the Nampa Police Department, about 150 miles northwest of Filer, found the shooting was justified, but it did question why the officer didn’t stay in his vehicle, call the owner of the dogs or call for backup.
Town officials have scheduled a mandatory eight-hour training session on how to deal with aggressive dogs for Filer’s police officers on May 3.
Mayor Dunn said fallout from the shooting has placed the town in a bad light.
“I hate to see that,” he said. “Filer is a nice town: We have good staff, good people here. Give Filer a little more credit than this.”
(Photos: Top, Mike Preston and his wife, Brenda, sign a recall petition, by Ashley Smith / Times-News; bottom, citizens who, because of the size of the crowd, couldn’t get into a town hearing on the case in February, by Drew Nash / Times-News)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 10th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, black, cam, city council, dashboard, dog, dogs, drive, filer, hooch, idaho, killed, lab, labrador, mayor, officer, petitions, pets, police, recall, retriever, rick dunn, shooting, shot, tarek hassani, video
Did an Oklahoma police officer laugh after he shot and killed a family’s pit bull?
That’s what at least one witness reportedly told the dog’s owner.
Sarah Brown says a neighbor witnessed the March 19 shooting of her dog, Cali, by an officer with a shotgun.
After the shooting, she said, the neighbor heard the officer remark to an animal control officer at the scene, “Did you see the way her collar flew into the air when I blew her head off? That was awesome.”
The officer laughed after making the remark, the witness said in a statement provided to KFOR.
A Change.org petition identified the officer as Brice Woolley, of the Ardmore Police Department.
Police were responding to a call about a loose dog behaving aggressively near a park, and officials say the dog was shot to protect the public, KFOR reported.
“It was determined that the dog had to be euthanized for the safety of the nearby park and neighborhood as the dog’s owner could not be located, nor could it be captured,” a police report on the incident stated.
That — minus any immediate danger — would seem to make the police officer animal behaviorist, judge, jury and executioner, for what he dispensed surely can’t be described as “euthanasia.”
And his comment afterwards — if reported correctly — should earn him a desk job, far away from the public he says he was protecting.
Brown said her two-year-old dog, while she’s jumped over the fence and gotten loose before, has never behaved aggressively.
Police Capt. Eric Hamblin said that the officer has received death threats since the shooting, and that a review of the incident showed he acted according to protocol. He remains on duty.
“I don’t think it’s prudent, I don’t think it’s wise to wait until a dog who’s acting aggressive to actually bite somebody,” Hamblin said.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, ardmore, cali, cops, dogs, facebook, justice 4 cali, justice for cali, killed, killing, laugh, laughed, law enforcement, oklahoma, petition, pets, pit bull, police, shooting, shot, shotgun
Police in Fayetteville, N.C., say they are still investigating an officer’s fatal shooting of a pit bull during a drug raid in July, but the owner — who had left the dog in the care of friends — thinks she is owed some answers.
“The police are supposed to protect and serve, not kill and destroy,” Victoria Thompson told the Fayetteville Observer. “I want the officer responsible for maliciously murdering my baby held accountable.”
Thompson has been waiting since July 17 to find out why Queen, her 4-year-old pit bull, was shot to death as officers executed a search warrant at a friend’s house.
Thompson was a friend of one of the house’s two occupants, and had left Queen with him while she was moving from Fayetteville to Atlanta.
The home’s occupants, Justin Bernard Harris and Taurean Forte, were charged with drug-related violations after the search, according to Fayetteville police.
Queen was in a bedroom asleep when police burst into the room, according to Thompson.
Assistant Chief Brad Chandler said one of the suspects was hiding in the bedroom closet. When officers entered the room, the dog came toward them in an aggressive manner, Chandler said.
The officer who shot the dog has not been identified.
Fayetteville police shot seven animals in 2011 and 12 in 2012, according to a report compiled by the Office of Professional Standards and Inspections.
Asked why non-lethal means weren’t used to control the dog, Chandler said, “If we’re using a Taser, we can’t defend ourselves. You’re going into a drug house and in a split second, you have a huge pit bull coming at you. There’s no way you have got that time. Do you want to risk that?”
Thompson said police offered her compensation for Queen’s death.
“That’s like asking how much is your daughter’s or son’s life worth,” she said. “I want a proper burial for my baby and an apology from the officer responsible, because he unjustly murdered her. But more than anything I want justice for my Queen.”
Posted by John Woestendiek September 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, answers, dog, dogs, drug, executed, fayetteville, killed, law enforcement, north carolina, officer, owner, pets, pit bull, pitbull, police, queen, raid, search warrant, seeks, shooting, shot, visiting
A sheriff’s deputy in Park County, Colorado, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations that, while off duty, he shot and killed a neighbor’s 16-year-old German shepherd.
The Park County Sheriff’s Office said it has started an internal investigation and has also asked the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting of the dog, named Shiva.
The dog was in the family’s driveway in Bailey, an hour southwest of Denver, when she was shot.
Shiva’s owners were attending a wedding in Denver on Saturday when neighbors said they saw Deputy Matthew Jackmon — who lived next door to the family — shoot their dog.
According to ABC 7 News in Denver, neighbors in the Friendship Ranch subdivision told the family they saw the deputy poke the elderly dog with a stick a few times, walk back to his house, return with a gun and shoot the dog in the head. They said he then picked up the dog’s body and dumped it in a nearby ditch.
Once the family came home, they were approached by Jackmon who said the blood in their driveway was from a coyote he shot while they were away.
After a search, the dog’s body was found in a ditch.
“She was in pain, I mean she’s old and we weren’t ready to put her down yet,” owner Laura Brown told Fox News in Denver.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bailey, colorado, deputy, dog, dogs, driveway, german shepherd, investigation, killed, law enforcement, officer, old dog, park county, pets, police, sheriff, shiva, shooting, shot
Citywide pit bull bans are often knee jerk reactions — maybe even more so when a county sheriff”s knees are involved.
One week after Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale was approached in his yard by four dogs “acting aggressive and looking like pit bull breeds” — and fired a shotgun at them, grazing one — the Alabama city of Clay passed a “vicious dog” ordinance banning pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
The sheriff, according to a spokesman, fired a warning shot into the ground, then another round of ”bird shot” in the direction of the dogs, leading them to turn away. Animal control arrived to round up the dogs, and their owner was charged with letting them run at large. The dog hit by Hale’s shot survived, AL.com reported.
That incident prompted the city council in Clay, with a speed seldom seen in government affairs, to pass an ordinance banning pit bulls and other “vicious” or “dangerous” dogs.
The ordinance bans new pit bulls and mixes that include pit bull. Such dogs already kept in the city limits are grandfathered in but must be registered with the city in the next 60 days. The ordinance requires they be kept indoors and mandates owners post a prominently displayed ”beware of dog” sign. Owners are also required to have $50,000 in liability insurance. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.
Having sought little public input before passing the law on June 3, the city council has gotten some since, AL.com reports.
A standing room only crowd filled Monday night’s meeting of the Clay City Council, with most citizens arguing the breed is not “inherently dangerous” and criticizing the law for unfairly penalizing responsible owners. Many, including a representative from the Birmingham Humane Society, urged the council to consider a non-breed specific dangerous dog law instead.
One speaker continued to voice his concerns after his turn to speak was over. When told he was interrupting, he continued his comments, leading Mayor Charles Webster — perhaps deeming him to be inherently dangerous — to ban him from the room.
“You are turning us all into criminals,” the man, identified as Mark Lawson, said as a deputy led him outside.
City Attorney Alan Summers said he would try to have a new or modified ordinance for the council to consider at its next meeting on July 1.
(Top photo by Jeremy Gray / AL.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, ban, banned, breed-specific, breeds, charles webster, citizens, city council, clay, county, criticism, fines, insurance, jefferson, knee jerk, laws, legislation, mayor, meeting, mike hale, mixed, ordinance, pit bull, pit bull bans, pit bulls, pit mixes, pitbull, pitbulls, reactions, restrictions, review, sheriff, shooting, shot, signs
A woman who didn’t want to tell a TV news team “how she felt” about her daughter being shot threw a rock at them, shook a baseball bat at them, and then sent her dogs after reporter Abbey Niezgoda of ABC 6 News in Rhode Island.
The crew was on assignment in Providence, seeking to interview the mother of a teenage girl who was shot at a graduation party over the weekend.
Instead of politely declining to speak on-camera, Melissa Lawrence hurled a rock at ABC6 photographer Marc Jackson, then went inside for a baseball bat. Seconds later, she told her dogs to attack.
As Lawrence shouted commands, the dogs chased Niezgoda into a backyard a few houses away.
Niezgoda was a treated for a bite on her forearm.
Melissa Lawrence was charged with two counts of felony assault with a dangerous weapon.
Lawrence’s daughter, who was shot in the lower back, has since been released from the hospital.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abbey niezgoda, animals, bite, bitten, chase, crew, dogs, interview, media, mother, news, pets, providence, reporter, rhode island, shooting, team, teenager, television, tv, victim
But, if its lawmakers did, they might find some sound thinking behind Colorado’s new law, mandating police officers get some training in how to deal with dogs they encounter on duty — other than just shooting them.
If we were suggesting, we’d suggest every state look into doing something similar, or even better, than the Colorado law. It requires officers undergo three hours of online training in dog behavior, and how to recognize when a dog truly poses a threat.
While Iowa, at first glance, doesn’t seem to have experienced quite as many questionable shootings as Colorado, there have been at least a few instances a year of dogs being shot and killed by police.
“He wasn’t a ferocious dog,” she said of Tank, her border collie-pit bull mix. “He never bit anyone. He was only a year-and-a-half old. He probably thought the police officer was playing with him,” she told the Quad City Times.
Police Chief Phil Redington said the dog attacked the officer and deadly force was an appropriate response.
On Saturday, Williams’ two dogs, Tank and Cleo, escaped when a gust of wind blew open her door. They had wandered several blocks when they began barking at some dogs at another home.
The owners of that home tried to shoo the two dogs away, and called police when they wouldn’t leave.
The dogs were corraled on the back deck, hemmed in by lawn chairs, when police, and Williams, arrived.
“When he (Tank) saw me, he jumped over one of the chairs, and the officer tried to grab him,” said Williams, who managed to grab hold of her other dog.
The police chief said Tank jumped at the officer “snapping its teeth. The officer brushed the dog away with his arm and the dog attacked again, jumping and snapping at the officer’s face. The officer kicked the dog away, at which time the dog bit his shin, causing minor lacerations. The officer removed his gun and fired at the dog twice. The dog was approximately two feet away when the officer fired in a downward direction.”
“I keep playing the scenario over and over in my mind,” Williams said. ”I blame myself. They shouldn’t have gotten out. Why did he have to shoot him, though? Why not a stun gun or pepper spray?”
Redington said the level of force used to ward off a dog attack is up to an individual officer.
“We all love animals,” he said. “To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a pit bull, border collie or poodle. If he’s attacking a police officer, the officer should defend himself.”
Tank was taken to a veterinary clinic, where he died.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, attacked, bettendorf, collie, colorado, dog, dogs, iowa, killed, law, law enforcement, mix, owner, pets, pit bull, police, questionable, questions, shooting, tank, training
That’s whats been going on in Clark County in Washington state, where two dogs have been killed in the town of La Center.
Fox 12 reports that, on the heels of a similar shooting last month, a second dog — a 2-year-old American Eskimo named Roger — was killed by shots from a passing car Sunday as he sat in his own front yard.
There were also reports Sunday of another dog in the area being shot at from a car.
James Wilson was working on his car, with Roger sitting just a few feet away, when he heard a gunshot, followed by the cries of his dog.
He got in his own car and chased the dark-colored SUV the shots had been fired from but couldn’t get close enough to get a license plate number, authorities said.
Back home, he learned his dog had died in his wife’s arms.
Clark County sheriff’s deputies say last month another pet owner found his dog on a gravel pile, dead from a gunshot wound. That dog, like Roger, was shot with a small caliber bullet, authorities said.
Deputies are investigating whether the shootings are linked.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american eskimo, animal cruelty, animals, cars, clark county, crime, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, drive by, drive by shootings, fired, killed, la center, pets, roger, shooting, shootings, shot, shots, two dogs, washington
Scooby, whose all-knowing nose played a key role in tracking down a cop killer during an interstate manhunt, passed away in his sleep about 9 a.m. Saturday, police said. He’d been suffering from an undisclosed illness, according to the New York Daily News.
The bloodhound was most noted for assisting in the 2007 apprehension of two suspects who had fled the city after gunning down two officers who had pulled them over in Brooklyn for driving a stolen BMW.
Officer Russel Timoshenko, 23, was shot in the face and died a few days later. Officer Herman Yan, his partner and now a detective, was wounded but survived.
The two suspects, Dexter Bostic and Robert Ellis, managed to escape the city and make it as far as the Poconos in eastern Pennsylvania, where they hid out in the woods.
Scooby, joined by six other police dogs and about 300 police officers from several states, launched a manhunt in the woods, based on reports of the two suspects having been seen in a nearby rest area.
Scooby took part in the search that night, and is credited with — when the search resumed the next morning — tracking down Ellis, who was found resting against a tree. Bostic was later apprehended as well.
Bostic was convicted in December 2008 of murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Ellis was convicted only of weapons possession, according to the New York Post, and was sentenced to 15 years.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bloodhound, dead, death, dexter bostic, died, dog, dogs, herman yan, K-9, k9, killing, manhunt, new york, nypd, pets, police, police dogs, police. officer, robert ellis, russel timoshenko, scent, scooby, shooting
Residents of Chesterfield County demanded improvements yesterday at a South Carolina animal shelter under investigation for, among other things, shooting surplus dogs and “euthanizing” cats by blows to the head with a pipe.
The allegations began surfacing a month ago, and yesterday’s county council meeting was the first opportunity for residents to speak publicly about them.
“Chesterfield County has a black eye, and I’m so ashamed,” Joy Young told members of the Chesterfield County Council.
“Significant changes must be made to ensure that this never happens again,” said Jerri Gaskins, who founded Paws and Claws, a volunteer group that helps run the shelter.
A member of Paws and Claws, Deborah Farhi, blew the whistle a month ago, coming forward to allege that dozens of dogs and cats were being shot rather than euthanized by lethal injection.
The allegations, and subsequent media coverage by WSOC Eyewitness News and others, led to an investigation by the state — the findings of which have yet to be reported.
County Sheriff Sam Parker, after the allegations surfaced, put all four animal control officers on leave and assigned deputies to run the shelter and answer animal-related calls.
Animal welfare activists also say the shelter is failing to properly care for dogs and cats and provides insufficient food and medical care.
Some reports suggest as many as 50 dogs had been shot and dumped in a landfill across the street from the shelter, and quote a former a former shelter worker as saying cats were euthanized by being beaten on the head with a pipe
According to Change.org, the shelter’s director, Brian Burch, is a convicted felon who served time on drug charges and is a breeder of pit bulls. Equipment that could have been used to train dogs to fight was found at the shelter, which doesn’t officially adopt out pit bulls, the Change.org article said.
Council members told Wednesday’s crowd that they are awaiting the results of the state investigation, and wouldn’t take any action until it is complete.
No charges have been filed in the case. Sheriff’s deputies said only about two dozen dogs remain at the shelter. A rescue group recently took all 38 cats from the shelter. More than 100 animals have been adopted out, and none have been euthanized since the allegations first surfaced last month.
Change.org reports that the State Law Enforcement Division wrapped up their investigation late last week and turned its findings over to the attorney general’s office. A petition urging the attorney general to file charges and hold the shelter accountable can be found here.
A rally is scheduled for April 21, at 3 p.m. on the steps of the State House in Columbia.
More information and updates are available on the Paws n Claws Facebook page.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelter, animal welfare, animals, beating, cats, chesterfield county, coverage, cruelty, dogfighting, dogs, euthanasia, guns, investigation, killing, news, pets, pipes, rescue, shelters, shooting, south carolina, WSOC