The canine nose got a vote of confidence Tuesday from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The unanimous decision stemmed from a case in Florida in which defense attorneys questioned a drug-sniffing dog’s credentials and reliability, and whether his alert was just cause to search a truck police had stopped.
The court ruled that, in the case of trained and certified dogs, it is — or as Justice Elena Kagan put it: “The sniff is up to snuff.”
Kagan said a dog’s “satisfactory performance” in a certification or training program provided sufficient reason for an officer to trust its alert, even though errors “may abound” when dogs get put to the test in the field.
The justices said that training records had established the reliability of Aldo, a German shepherd, in sniffing out contraband, and that Florida’s Supreme Court erred in suppressing evidence he found in Clayton Harris’ pickup truck — namely, methamphetamine ingredients.
The ruling, Reuters reports, gives law enforcement greater authority to use dogs to uncover illegal drugs.
“The question – similar to every inquiry into probable cause – is whether all the facts surrounding a dog’s alert, viewed through the lens of common sense, would make a reasonably prudent person think that a search would reveal contraband or evidence of a crime,” Kagan wrote for the court. “A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test.”
The Harris case is one of two the court is considering about the validity of evidence obtained by drug-sniffing dogs. The second — which the high court has heard, but not decided — involves a police dog named Franky, who alerted while standing on a home’s doorstep, prompting a search that led to the discovery of marijuana growing inside.
In the case decided Tuesday, defense lawyers for Harris challenged the search by Aldo, a police dog in Liberty County, Florida. The officer handling Aldo — because Harris appeared nervous and declined to approve a search of his vehicle — allowed the dog a “free air sniff.”
Based in part on Aldo’s reaction, a full search was conducted.
Harris’ lawyers challenged the search, questioning Aldo’s certification and whether he was reliable in sniffing out drugs.
Florida’s Supreme Court concluded that the state had not sufficiently established how well-trained Aldo was, and it ruled the evidence of the methamphetamine ingredients should not have been admitted.
Kagan wrote that the officer reasonably believed there was contraband inside the truck based on Aldo’s training, and that defense attorneys failed to show that Aldo was unreliable.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldo, animals, certification, detecting, dogs, drug, florida, harris, ingredients, justice elena kagan, K-9, k9, law enforcement, liberty county, methamphetamine, nose, pets, police, reliability, ruling, scent, search, sniffing, supreme court, training, vehicle
Evy and Ted Inoue had a most gracious idea for a website — one that would allow people to share their thanks with good Samaritans and others who deserved a pat on the back.
To promote their new business, the New Hope, Pa., couple had their van made over to resemble their dog, Kudos, a basset hound-cocker spaniel mix whose bubbly personality had been the inspiration for it. It was named after him, too — OurKudos.com.
“That was supposed to be our promotional vehicle,” Evy told Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Daniel Rubin in an interview, as the vehicle named Waggin Wheels sat in the driveway. It is brown and white, with big soft eyes, furry black ears that droop over the rear doors, and a red tongue that sticks out of the grill.
“By giving it the look and personality of our dog, we hoped it would spread happiness wherever it went,” said Evy, a children’s book author who writes under the pen name Kimiko Kajikawa. “We’d go to events and honor all sorts of heroes. We’d be giving out kudos.”
While the van got 26 miles per gallon, highway, the Inoue’s business was guzzling their time, and not exactly taking off in the manner they hoped. Building a site allowing the grateful to buy gifts for the objects of their gratitude – candy and flowers and such — proved time consuming, and it was hard to be heard over the din that is the Internet. The yet to fully rebound economy didn’t help, either.
But what really caused the Inoues to lose faith in their plan — and sent Waggin Wheels into retirement — was Kudos, himself. He was diagnosed with Lyme disease in March 2011 and died a year ago Monday at age 3.
After that, the idea of using the van was just too painful. So was the idea of selling it.
For months, Rubin reports, it sat in the garage. Then Evy started looking for a charity that might be able to use the pupped-out vehicle.
Out of the blue, she ended up calling Joyce Darrell and Mike Dickerson, founders of Pets With Disabilities, based in Prince Frederick, Md.
“I thought she was pulling my chain,” Joyce said of the call from Evy a month ago.
Pets With Disabilities rescues and fosters disabled dogs, and has been doing so for 10 years, squeezing their dogs into a 1996 Saturn station wagon when the time comes — as it does pretty often – for trips to the vets.
Right now, they have 25 blind, deaf and three-legged dogs, many of whom have spinal injuries that require special wheelchairs for them to get around.
At the Inoue’s invitation, Mike Dickerson drove up to see the Ford van, bringing along Megan, one of the blind dogs.
Long story short, Waggin Wheels will soon have a new home, Pets With Disabilities couldn’t be more grateful, and the Inoue’s managed to dispense some of the good karma their former business was all about.
“We’re being touched by angels,” Joyce said. “They could have sold that van and got their money back. They deserve kudos, too.”
(Photo: Dan Rubin / Philadelphia Inquirer)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, basset hound, blind, cocker spaniel, deaf, disabilities, dog, dogs, evy inoue, ford, handicapped, joyce darrell, kimiko kajikawa, kudos, maryland, mike dickerson, mix, new hope, our kudos, ourkudos, pennsylvania, pets, pets with disabilities, prince frederick, rescue, ted inoue, van, vehicle, website
Elicia Calhoun, an agility trainer, competitor and speaker, rolled her car while traveling through the Arizona desert last week.
All six dogs aboard were thrown from the vehicle.
What happened next — and you can read the full details at Petweekly.com – is equal parts sad and inspiring.
In the immediate aftermath, other motorists stopped and helped a bruised and battered Calhoun find three of the dogs, all alive – BreeSea and Iceman, both border collies, and Destiny, an Australian shepherd.
Three more were missing, including her 13-week-old Kelpi puppy named Tsunami, who had been secured in a crate in the front seat; another Australian shepherd named Nika; and Tobie, another border collie.
When the paramedics insisted Calhoun get in the ambulance, she refused until bystanders, including a border patrol agent, promised to keep looking for her dogs.
While Calhoun was being treated for cuts bruises and a punctured lung, word of the accident hit the Internet, and, within a matter of hours, 3,000 people had joined in a newly created Facebook group, many of them offering to help.
Calhoun, against the advice of doctors, signed herself out of the hospital to continue searching for her dogs, and learned as she was leaving that Tsunami’s body had been found.
According to the Petweekly.com story, by Deborah Davidson Harpur, volunteers were showing up to help in the search by then, and others were offering their assistance from afar, including animal communicators, pilots, ranchers who lived in the surrounding area, and HAM and CB radio operators. Someone even volunteered a military heat-seeking device.
By then, the number of members of the Facebook group had grown to 6,000.
Sadly, Nika’s body was found in the median of the freeway. With the three surviving dogs found initially, and the two later found dead, that left only one unaccounted for — Tobie
Elicia slept outside that night, in case Tobie came to look for her, and other volunteers slept in their cars or camped alongside the road before resuming the search for the remaining dog the next day.
That morning, Tobie was spotted by a volunteer. Elicia rushed to the location, spotted the dog running down the highway in front of a truck and eventually got Tobie to come to her.
Iceman, Destiny, and Breesea have some minor injuries, but they, and Tobie, who had been hit by a car, are expected to fully recover in the coming months.
Calhoun, on Facebook, offered thanks to all those that helped:
“Words cannot express my gratitude. I have just been home a few nights and am finally starting to absorb the impact of what has transpired. Walking into my house that first night was indescribable. My life is changed in so many ways now. I realize how blessed I was in surviving this crash.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, agility, agility dogs, animals, arizona, australian shepherds, border collies, breesea, car, community, competitor, crash, desert, destiny, dogs, ejected, elicia calhoun, facebook, group, iceman, lost, missing, pack, page, pets, rollover, search, speaker, thrown, tobie, trainer, tsunami, vehicle, volunteers
Police reports say two officers on bicycle detail were patrolling the parking lot of a Brandsmart when they spotted a dog Thursday inside a blue Buick — panting and without water.
While eyeing the dog though the partially cracked windows, they detected the “strong odor of marijuana” and saw a pipe containing residue.
When the car’s owner returned to his vehicle, he apologized for leaving the dog unattended and admitted he had marijuana in the car, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Officers found 478.3 grams of marijuana that the car’s owner told them was for his personal use.
Police arrested 40-year-old Raymond Hendry Zerba, of Cooper City, on charges of possession of marijuana over 20 grams, possession with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and animal cruelty.
He was being held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $3,000 bond. News accounts don’t mention what happened to the dog.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, car, dog, dogs, drugs, florida, heat, law enforcement, marijuana, parked, parking lot, pet, pets, police, safety, smell, unattended, vehicle, west palm beach, windows
Less than a week after her owner was charged with animal cruelty for pulling his dog on a leash while driving his van, a mutt named Cricket has a new home — with an officer in the police department that made the arrest.
Cricket now belongs to Michael Lake, a police officer in Warren, Michigan — one of a handful of officers who offered to adopt her after she was taken away from her owner after his arrest Sunday, the Daily Tribune reports.
“I mentioned it first. I guess I drew the lucky straw,” Lake said. “She’s such a lovable dog.”
Police arrested resident Keith John Parker, 43, after several people reported to police that a man was pulling a dog on a leash while driving in the parking lot of the County Line Flea Market.
Some witnesses told police that the dog had difficulty keeping up and apparently tumbled at one point. When confronted by officers, Parker said he felt the dog needed to go for a run, police said.
Parker was arraigned this week on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and drunken driving.
Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green said Parker, who’d had Cricket since October, agreed to relinquish the dog.
Police said Cricket had a wound above one eye, and had lost a claw. Lake was scheduled to take her to a veterinarian yesterday.
Officers aren’t sure what breeds are in Cricket, or how old she is, with estimates ranging from 7 months to 7 years.
Lake has another dog, a German shorthair pointer. “They should get along great,” Lake said.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, charged, cricket, dog, dogs, driving, drunk driving, drunken driving, injured, keith john parker, leash, michael lake, michigan, officer, owners, pets, police, pulled, relinquished, surrender, van, vehicle, warren
Ace’s Halloween treat? He got to hop in the back of this funereal-looking vehicle.
It’s a 1955 Cadillac owned by my neighbor, and Ace’s new best friend, Al, who likes to take it out of the garage around Halloween time and show it off a bit.
Ace, when he’s outside, always keeps one eye on Al’s door, five units down from mine. If it moves at all, he bounds off, expecting treats. Al always has one, and if he doesn’t he raids his own refrigerator. Sometimes I worry the leftovers Al’s giving Ace — chicken, fish, steak – are that night’s dinner.
At one point, Al asked if he was being a bad influence on Ace. With the last bag of dog treats he bought, Al, who is dogless, volunteered to give them all to me so Ace, who normally stays put in the front yard, wouldn’t go running off down to his house.
Smart as that would be, discipline-wise, I said no. Having noted the spring in Ace’s step everytime he sees Al, and vice versa, I decided to let the bad habit continue.
As a result, Ace will do anything Al asks — including, it turned out, hopping into the back of the refurbished, ghostly silver vehicle that, back in its prime, served as the last ride for many a human and floral arrangement.
In exchange he got — you guessed it — a treat.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1955, ace, al, america, animals, bad habits, cadillac, discipline, dog, dogs, flower car, friends, funeral, halloween, hearse, neighbors, pets, road trip, travels with ace, treats, trick or treat, vehicle
An insurance company told a Colorado woman whose dog was hit by a car that if two trips to the vet don’t resolve the dog’s problems, the company will considered the dog “totaled.”
In insurance industry jargon, ”totaled” means the cost to repair a vehicle exceeds the cost of replacing it.
Applying the terminology to a dog or other living thing is pretty reprehensible — leading me to question whether insurance companies are really as neighborly, caring and good humored as their cloying TV ads make them out to be.
Referring to pets as property — despite what our archaic laws say — is such a clear and simple customer relations no-no that, you’d think, even a cave man would know better. In this particular case, I’m wondering if the agent in question even attended Farmers’ University.
Marcia Pinkstaff, of Parker, Colo., told ABC7 News in Denver that Sasha, her 9-year-old lab mix, was hit while walking with her in a crosswalk by a van making a left turn.
“She didn’t see us and she hit Sasha very, very hard,” Pinkstaff said. “Sasha has tears in her lungs, a tear in her diaphragm and liver damage.”
Pinkstaff said the driver’s insurance company, Farmers’ Insurance, told her they’d pay for one or two trips to the vet and then after that the dog would be considered totaled – meaning, in this case, they wouldn’t pay any more.
“I was horrified,” Pinkstaff said. “They said they were totaling out my dog. It broke my heart because she is like a child to me.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, colorado, companies, dog, dogs, farmers' insurance, hit, insurance, lab mix, marcia pinkstaff, pets, sasha, totaled, totaled out, van, vehicle, veterinarian, veterinary
The most recent case was Monday night, when someone threw a blue-nose pit bull named Dallas from a brown Cadillac, Harrisburg police said.
Cpl. Deric Moody said a witness saw the dog thrown from the car and called police. The dog suffered an apparent broken leg and other injuries, and was being treated at a veterinary hospital near Mechanicsburg, according to the York Dispatch.
Shortly after officers arrived to interview the witness, Dallas’ owner showed up at the scene. He told police that the dog disappeared after he let him out earlier. Police believe the unattended dog was likely stolen.
On March 5, someone threw a dog from a speeding silver or gray pickup truck on Route 30 in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, near the Marietta Pike overpass. That dog, a shiba inu later named Sherman (pictured above), was taken to the Humane League of Lancaster County and is recovering from his injuries.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, blue nose, cadillac, car, cruelty, dallas, dog, dogs, harrisburg, investigation, pennsylvania, pets, pit bull, police, sherman, shiba inu, thrown, tossed, vehicle, window
Subaru of America, Inc. has donated a custom-designed Outback to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), to help them collect and process evidence at animal crime scenes.
The modified 2010 Outback has specialized lighting, a radio, computer, exam table, roof rack and refrigerator in which to store evidence.
“We created the Subaru Outback CSI vehicle to transport the ASPCA’s Veterinary Forensics team to hard-to-access crime scenes,” said Todd Lawrence, promotions and sponsorship manager for Subaru of America, Inc.
“We needed a vehicle that allows us to reach some of the crime scenes where our larger unit cannot,” said Dr. Melinda Merck, senior director for Veterinary Forensics at the ASPCA.
Dr. Merck said the older unit was primarily used to examine animals, but the new response vehicle focuses more on examining evidence from animal crime scenes. The new unit will be based out of Gainesville, Florida, home of the ASPCA’s veterinary forensics program.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, animal cruelty, animals, aspca, car, crime, crime scenes, dogs, donates, donation, forensics, gainesville, investigations, news, ohmidog!, outback, pets, subaru, vehicle, veterinary
John Travolta’s two family dogs were killed after being struck by an airport service vehicle at Maine’s Bangor International Airport.
Both dogs were being walked on leashes while Travolta’s jet was parked on an airport tarmac for refueling.
In a statement released to the Bangor Daily News, city officials said, “An airport service pickup truck was approaching the airplane to service the airplane and did not see the dogs. Unfortunately, the dogs were struck and killed. The airport is investigating the accident. Out of respect for the family’s privacy the city will make no further comment.”
The death of the two dogs comes a little more than a year after Travolta and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, lost their son, Jett, who died after suffering from a seizure while vacationing with them in the Bahamas.
Travolta is a licensed pilot and owns a home in Islesboro, a small coastal town in Maine. It was unclear who was on the plane or if Travolta was in the cockpit, CBS News reported.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, airport, animals, bangor, bangor international airport, dog, dogs, islesboro, jet, john travolta, kelly preston, killed, leashes, maine, news, ohmidog!, pets, struck, tarmac, truck, two, vehicle, walked