Thursday, May 28, 2009

Police dog, alone in SUV, dies – probe launched

from today’s San Francisco Chronicle

Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

(05-27) 14:56 PDT ALAMEDA -- An Alameda police K-9 officer is under investigation after his dog died when he left it in his personal sports utility vehicle for several hours during a training session, authorities said Wednesday.

The officer, whose name was not released, left the 6 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois inside his SUV while attending a use-of-force training exercise May 5 on Lincoln Avenue, police Lt. Bill Scott said.

The SUV had at least one window down for ventilation, Scott said. It also was not an unusually warm day - according to the National Weather Service, the high temperature that day at nearby Oakland International Airport was 70 degrees.

But when the officer returned to his vehicle after about three hours and 15 minutes, he found his dog "in distress," Scott said. It was declared dead at a veterinary hospital. The cause is under investigation.

Police investigators forwarded the case Wednesday to the Alameda County district attorney's office, which will decide whether to charge the officer with a crime.

Police dogs are supposed to be protected under a wider umbrella than other animals under animal welfare laws.  Please phone, write, or fax Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff and urge him to not dismiss this poor dog’s rights and not to be swayed by the fact that the perpetrator of this crime is a cop.  This is the DA’s contact information from their website:

1225 Fallon Street, Room 900
Oakland, CA 94612
Telephone: (510) 272-6222
FAX: (510) 271-5157

The Chief of Police of Alameda is Walter Tibbets.  He can be contacted at 510-337-8323.  Considering the fact that police dog training can take months of time, cost upwards of $10,0000, and typically only the most dedicated officers are considered for K-9 duty, wasn’t this cop derelict of his duties?  What if he had destroyed $10,000 worth of equipment due to negligence?

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