A Houston man who once portrayed McGruff the Crime Dog has been sentenced to more than 16 years in prison on drugs and weapons charges.
John R. Morales was sentenced to federal prison last week for charges related to his 2011 arrest.
Police who raided Morales’ residence then seized 1,000 marijuana plants and 9,000 rounds of ammunition for 27 weapons — including a shotgun, pistols, rifles, and a military grenade launcher, according to court documents obtained by NBC.
What does all this prove? If you want mascot who is pure, ethical and beyond reproach, choose a real dog. They are far less likely to get arrested, far less likely to cause a scandal, and far less likely to cave in to temptation, unless they are of the bacon variety.
This wasn’t the first time the choice of a human to play McGruff has come back to bite law enforcement. There was an incident in Phoenix in 1998 when a prison trusty police assigned to play the role removed his head and was recognized by parents in the audience as a convicted child molester.
Morales wore the McGruff costume for the Harris County Sheriff’s Association in the late 1990s. Fox News reported.
The human-like, trench coat-wearing dog was created by the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi through the Ad Council for the National Crime Prevention Council to increase crime awareness among children.
He appeared on television in animated form, and in public appearances he was portrayed by actors wearing the giant dog head and costume.
He urged young people to “take a bite out of crime.”
Morales, after his McGruff gig, was stopped in 2011 by police in Galveston for speeding, and marijuana was detected in his car trunk. Authorities said that, in addition to marijuana plants, they found a clipboard with diagrams of two indoor pot farms in his car.
That led officers to a stash of 1,000 marijuana plants and the weapons.
And who was it that first detected the marijuana in the car? A real police dog.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 10th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actor, ad council, anti crime, arrest, awareness, character, costume, crime, crime dog, crime prevention, drugs, embarassment, houston, marijuana, mascot, mcgruff, mcgruff the crime dog, take a bite out of crime, weapons
Jury selection begins today in the firearms possession trial of twin brothers accused of setting fire to a pit bull in May.
Travers and Tremayne Johnson, both 18, and their father, Charles Johnson, were charged in June with possession of firearms and marijuana.
Police say they found drugs and weapons in a raid conducted at the Johnsons’ South Pulaski Street home in connection with the investigation into the burning of a pit bull rescuers dubbed “Phoenix.”
Prosecutors opted to try the brothers and their 76-year-old father on the firearms case before the twins trial on animal cruelty charges.
The brothers were indicted by a Baltimore grand jury in November on aggravated animal abuse charges. They pleaded not guilty in December.
Phoenix had been doused with gasoline and set on fire when a police officer spotted the dog and put the fire out with her jacket. Phoenix had burns over more than 95 percent of her. She lived several days, but had to be euthanized due to complications resulting from her injuries.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, baltimore, burned, charges, charles johnson, courts, dogs, doused, drug, father, fire, firearms, gasoline, gun, jury selection, news, ohmidog!, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pitbull, set, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, trial, twins, weapons
John Manard, who escaped from a Kansas prison by hiding inside a dog crate, was sentenced yesterday to another 10 years in federal prison on weapons charges, according to the Kansas City Star.
Manard was sprung from the Lansing Correctional Facility in 2006 by a prison volunteer, who used her dog van to drive him to freedom. Manard was hidden inside a cardboard box placed inside a dog crate.
The volunteer, Toby Young, was the founder of Safe Harbor, a program that rescued dogs from animal shelters and worked with inmates to train the pets and make them suitable for adoption. Married and a mother of two, she became romantically involved with the prisoner while working inside the Lansing Correctional Facility. You can read more about that saga — a Lifetime movie waiting to happen — here.
After leaving the Lansing prison, the two went to Young’s house where they took her husband’s two pistols.
Young, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for giving a firearm to a felon. Manard’s new conviction on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm comes on top of his escape conviction and a previous murder conviction, for which he was serving a life sentence.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: conviction, crate, dog, dog crate, dogs, escape, escapee, firearms, inmates, john manard, kansas, lansing correctional facility, prison, prisoner, program, rescue, safe harbor, shelter, toby young, van, weapons
About one of every four times that New York city police officers fire their weapons, they are taking aim at dogs, according to The New York Times.
And when shooting at dogs, lawmen more often find their mark than when shooting at people.
Officers shot 30 dogs last year and have shot 15 so far this year, the report said.
Of the 126 times that officers fired their guns in 2006, they shot at dogs 30 times, said Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who has analyzed the data in the department’s annual firearms discharge reports. A year earlier, he said, 32 of 123 shootings involved dogs, compared to 26 of 114 in 2004.
In those three years, Dunn said, the shots hit the dogs 55 percent of the time. When shooting at people, the shots hit their mark only 23.4 percent of the time.
On Wednesday night, police killed a pit bull in the hallway of a housing project on the Upper East Side. The dog, named Baby, charged at a group of officers who were responding to an assault call.
Police said Thursday that three officers fired a total of seven shots. Fragments from the richocheting bullets hit three officers and the dog’s owner, Milagros Martinez, who had let the dog out. Six people, including Martinez, 42, were arrested after the shooting.
They were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance after officers found a pipe with crack cocaine residue inside the apartment, the police said.
The shooting will be investigated by a police internal review board. According to police guidelines on the use of deadly force, officers may not shoot at dogs “except to protect themselves or another person from physical injury and there is no other reasonable means to eliminate the threat.”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the police had acted responsibly.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baby, civil liberties, data, discharge, dog, dogs, firearms, firing, gunfire, hit, housing project, law enforcement, new york, new york city, pit bull, police, shooting, statistics, weapons
Travers and Tremayne Johnson, the 17-year-old twin brothers accused of fatally burning a pit bull, have been arrested and are being held without bail after police said they found guns and marijuana inside their Southwest Baltimore rowhouse.
This time, the twins were charged as adults.
The twins, who were charged as juveniles in the animal cruelty case, face new charges of possession of firearms, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Baltimore police announced the arrest of the youths June 8 in connection with the case of Phoenix, a pit bull who had been doused with gasoline and set on fire. The dog, burned over 95 percent of her body, died several days later. The case led to calls for stiffer penalties in animal cruelty cases, and $26,000 was donated to a reward fund.
In that case, the brothers were released to the custody of their father.
According to the Sun, court document show police raided the house on June 16 and filed adult charges against the twins two days later. Authorities did not confirm the arrests until Thursday.
Newly filed court documents say that detectives have a witness “who positively identified both Travers Johnson and Tremayne Johnson as the individuals who were running out of the alley with the burning dog.” The documents also state that the “incident was captured” on police surveillance video.
Police said they they found three guns – a loaded .38-caliber Taurus handgun inside a rubber boot, a 20-gauge shotgun and a Marlin Firearms .30-.30-caliber rifle in the later search of the twins’ home. Police said they found a digital scale with a small amount of marijuana.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adult, animal cruelty, arrested, baltimore, burning, charges, drug possession, fire, firearms, gasoline, guns, johnson, phoenix, pit bull, police, set on fire, teenagers, travers, tremayne, twins, weapons