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Tag: unattended

Woman’s complaint leads to policy change

An animal control officer in Durham declined to free a dog from a hot parked car for about two hours Saturday, despite the pleas of the woman who reported the situation.

As temperatures inside the car climbed to 117 degrees, Jennifer Miller urged the officer to take action, angrily posted pictures on her Facebook page, and pushed ice cubes through the cracked window of the car to the panting pit bull inside.

Miller, of Danville, Virginia, had called animal control Saturday afternoon after seeing the dog in the car, parked at The Streets of Southpoint Mall.

The officer who arrived checked the car, stuck a probe inside to take the temperature, but declined to take any action to remove the dog.

Instead, Miller said, he sat in his air conditioned vehicle and waited for the owners to return.

Miller, who serves on the board of a wildlife rehab center and volunteers with a humane society, said the dog, about six months old, was showing signs of heat stroke, but the animal control officer seemed unswayed by her opinion.

“He (the dog) was panting. His gums had actually already started to turn white,” she said. “It looked like he was kind of foaming at the mouth, that really thick saliva. And he was unsteady.”

The owners of the car, which had Maryland license plates, finally showed up about 4 p.m. The officer filed no charges, but told them to take the dog to a vet to be checked out.

Miller wasn’t satisfied with that ending. She continued to complain about how the incident was handled — and it paid off.

On Monday evening, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office announced a change in policy concerning animals left in vehicles.

Officers will no longer have to wait for animals to show signs of distress.

Under the revised policy, deputies will document the interior and exterior temperatures of a vehicle at least twice, and the deputy will use his or her discretion in determining whether the animal should be removed from the vehicle.

The new policy also allows deputies to decide whether to return the pet to its owner or pursue criminal charges after taking the animal to the local shelter.

“The Durham County Sheriff’s Office appreciates and listens to feedback from concerned citizens,” said the statement from the sheriff’s office statement.

Miller, despite winning a victory of sorts, sounds like she continues to be disturbed by it all.

“It is very clear that they could have charged this person. They did not have to wait two hours to get the dog out,” Miller told ABC11. “But the officers were not listening. They were very rude and belligerent. And it was very sad the dog suffered for two hours at least.”

Dog walker calls police about unleashed kids

This story may sound like it comes out of Bizarro World, but it actually happened in Silver Spring, Md., where a man who was walking his DOG (on a leash) called authorities to report two young, unaccompanied and unsupervised CHILDREN romping freely around a park.

The caller, a Navy corpsman, called the city’s non-emergency line Sunday evening when he saw the two young children walking alone. He followed them, as one might follow a stray dog, providing police with their location.

Officers picked up Rafi Meitiv, 10 and Dvora Meitiv, 6, in a parking lot and turned them over to Children’s Protective Services.

As it turned out, it wasn’t the first time the “stray” children had been picked up. They’ve been sighted as much as a mile away from their home.

Their parents, Danielle and Sasha Meitiv, practice “free-range parenting.” They allow their children to roam the neighborhood on their own because, they say, it instills independence. They’ve defended their parenting style in court at least once before.

Given this website is about dogs, not parenting, we’ll refrain from voicing an opinion on that. But the case does remind me of some of those unaccompanied dogs I used to see at Riverside Park in Baltimore. I’d assume they were lost, wandering strays when in reality they were “self-walkers” — dogs whose owners lived near the park who would let them out the door to take care of business.

They’d head to the park alone, socialize, pee, poop (without a human to clean up after them) and then head home.

How many calls to animal control they, and other unleashed dogs, prompted I don’t know. I admired the independence of those free-range dogs and fretted about their safety at the same time.

But back to those unleashed kids.

Montgomery County police found the brother and sister in a parking lot around 6 p.m. Sunday, less than a quarter mile from their Silver Spring home, and — without calling the parents — turned them over to Children’s Protective Services.

It wasn’t until after 8 p.m. that Children’s Protective Services contacting the Meitivs, who say they had begun to worry when their children didn’t return by 6 p.m. The Meitivs said they had taken the children to the park at around 4 and told them to be home by 6.

Their children were released to them at 10:30 p.m — but not until after the parents agreed to sign an agreement that prohibits them from leaving their children unattended, according to USA Today.

Maryland law prohibits children younger than age 8 from being unattended in a dwelling or car but makes no reference to outdoors. A person must be at least 13 years old to supervise a child younger than 8.

In December, the couple was accused of neglect for allowing the children to walk around their suburban Washington neighborhood unaccompanied by an adult.

In February, Children’s Protective Services found the Meitivs responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect, but the couple has appealed that decision.

Two more reasons to not leave dog in car

stolenyorkiewiliam040410The first comes from Washington, D.C., where a woman left her Yorkshire terrier in her car Saturday while she popped into a laundromat. When she returned, her car window was smashed and her beloved William was gone.

“He’s so much a part of my family. Everyone that knows him loves him. I know he’s scared right now. I can’t sleep because I know he’s scared, and he doesn’t know these people. He’s not gonna eat. They just need to get him back,” Denise Conner-Battle told ABC 7 News.

The second comes from Middleton, Wisconsin, where a dog left in a car while his owner stopped for lunch Thursday somehow managed to shift the car from park to neutral.

Police said the car rolled out of its parking spot and into a pickup truck across the lot. Damage to both vehicles was estimated in the thousands of dollars, according to an Associated Press report. The dog was fine.

AKC offers tips on preventing dog theft

The American Kennel Club says dog thefts are on the rise.

The AKC says it has has tracked more than 115 missing pets via incidents reported by news media and customer reports through Nov. 30 of this year, compared to a total of 71 in 2008.

The AKC offers the following advice to lessen the chances of your dog being stolen:

— Don’t leave your dog off-leash or unattended in your yard. Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. Dogs left outdoors for long periods of time are targets, especially if your fenced-in yard is visible from the street.

— Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked.

— Don’t tie your dog outside a store. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.

— Protect your dog with microchip identification. Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip.

— If you suspect your dog has been stolen. Immediately call the police / animal control officer in the area your pet was last seen and file a police report.

– Don’t buy dogs from the internet, flea markets, or roadside vans. There is no way to verify where an animal purchased from any of these outlets came from.

Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club website.

Only 1 of 8 show dogs survives night in van

Only one of the eight show dogs left overnight in a hot van in Missouri survived.

A Siberian Husky named Cinder is now back home with her owners, according to St. Louis Today.

Seven of the show dogs — many big breeds with thick coats — perished from heat stroke after being left in the van on June 22. The dogs were returning from a dog show in Iowa and were left in the van by their handler.

Investigators aren’t certain how many hours elapsed before the dogs were found. Authorities said temperatures in the van could have risen to as high as 120 degrees.

Capt. Ralph Brown of the Jefferson County sheriff’s office said Wednesday that detectives were wrapping up their investigation and would sending a report to the county prosecutor.

6 dogs die in car parked at employment office

dunlapsFive Pekingnese and a pit bull left unattended in a car parked outside a Greenville, South Carolina employment office Monday have all died.

And a mother and her son have been sentenced to 96 hours in connection with the case, News 2 in Charleston, S.C. reported.

Apparently justice moves swiftly, if not with much severity, in Greenville.

Two of the dogs were found dead in the car Monday; the four others died later while receiving treatment at an animal hospital. 

Tanya Dunlap, 44, and Chris Dunlap, 20, both of Hoquiam, Wash., were charged after officers were called to the employment office after Chris Dunlap ran inside asking for water for his dogs because they were not moving.

Officers said that when they arrived the Dunlaps, along with others, were trying to provide medical attention to the animals by pouring water on them and packing ice around their bodies. They said that two of the dogs were dead when they arrived.

According to police, three more of the dogs died at a local animal hospital. They said the sixth dog died on Tuesday night, Fox News reported.

Police in the Dunlap’s hometown say Tanya Dunlap also faces charges there of animal neglect and abuse, stemming from having too many animals, the Associated Press reported.

(Photos: Greenville, S.C. Police Department)

Woman pays dearly for return of her Chorkie

A California woman paid $10,000 to get her dog Lexi back after the Chihuahua-Yorkie mix was taken from her Cadillac Escalade while it was parked outside a restaurant.

The Contra Costa Times termed it a “reward,” but it sounds more like a ransom.

On  Friday night, Debbie Brown and her boyfriend left a restaurant in Concord and found a window of their vehicle had been smashed. Lexi, a 2-year-old “Chorkie” was gone.

Brown posted fliers promising a $10,000 reward, no questions asked, for Lexi’s safe return, which led to a flood of callers — none of whom had the dog.

She called a psychic for help, and a pet detective, who told her that chorkies are in demand and that dognappers target them for breeding purposes.

Over the weekend, Brown received photos of Lexi  via e-mail, and made arrangments to pick her up Monday morning in Alameda, where the cash and the dog were exchanged.

Elena Bicker, executive director of the Walnut Creek-based Animal Rescue Foundation, said the case shows the importance of never leaving pets unattended in public areas, especially small breeds that have been targeted by dognappers.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Bicker said. “And this certainly was a pound of cure.”

It’s not clear if Brown ever reported the theft of her dog to police, or how long she had left her beloved dog alone in the vehicle.

“She’s my life, she’s our baby,” Brown said. “I used to laugh at people like me and say ‘It’s just a dog.’ But she is a member of the family.”