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Police Dogs die in vehicle.

Well after this, and this,  some of the other media headlines and some of the comments put onto the news forums and elsewhere, as well as some of the messages I have seen, it seems that all Police Dog Handlers are now viewed as the scum of the earth in some areas.

Get one thing straight.

This is extremely tragic news.

Not for the person or persons involved, not even for the Police Force involved, but for the dogs.

No dog deserves to lose its life stuck inside a overheated van, if this is what actually occurred.

However, there are many things I do not yet know.

How long the van was left and its position in relation to shade or cover ?

Was the vehicle a dog van or a private vehicle or a vehicle suitable to carry dogs in (fitted with a secure carrier or cage) ?

Were any doors or windows left open ?

Were any doors or windows closed and if so for what reason ?

Did the vehicle have air conditioning and was it left on ?

Why was the vehicle left for a length of time to allow this to happen ?

Had any of the dogs had any history of respiratory illness ?

These questions have not yet been answered in a public forum and yet seem to have been judged already.

Irresponsible actions that lead to this type of tragedy cannot be condoned and if a lack of care or neglect can be proved the person or persons responsible should be punished for what has been allowed to occur.

This will be of no consequence to the unfortunate dogs and will go some little way to show that the Police are liable as anyone else for what they get wrong.

This will be enough for some and will never, ever be enough for others.

Dogs handlers are seriously caring about the welfare of their dogs.

I have assumed that this is without question, clearly I might be wrong in this case because of the outcome of Tuesdays events.

All Police officers engaged in the training, care and welfare of our dogs will feel very uncomfortable about this.

It is not because of the media coverage, or the negative impact caused by comments and statements from experts, nor the chance given to anti-police elements to have another opportunity to put the boot in again.

It is because of the death of two dogs in a way that simply should not happen and should have been avoidable.

Until I know more I cannot offer any other comment.

Trust me on this, every Police dog handler, and I mean every single Police dog handler in the country, wants to know what happened and how it was allowed to happen. Simply because it should not have happened.

Please feel free to continue to put up your comments.

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19 Responses

  1. WEB, I don’t think that many real people (as opposed to the meedja) are prejudging. It may be that the handler suffered a heart attack for instance and nobody else knew that the dogs were there (although one might hope that someone would think to look).
    The 2 worst possible scenarios are surely –
    1. He/she was too ignorant/lazy/stupid to check on them and the odds of that must be vanishingly small
    or
    2. the handler was sidetracked by SMT who refused permission to check the dogs’ welfare. In which case both handler and SMT are to blame
    I can’t really think of any other causes?

  2. Sorry, I’ve only just read the links. So ‘ Lessons will be learnt ‘?????? For crying out loud will somebody please shoot that tosser.

  3. there must be more to it than is reported in the paper – it would be very strange, from anything I’ve ever heard/seen/read about dog handlers.

  4. I have a Google Reader feed which takes your blog, so I’ve been wondering what you’d have to say about this. Like everyone else I’m amazed this could happen, and I’m certain the dog-handler involved must be distraught. But unless there’s a cast iron life&death type reason for leaving those mutts in a vehicle then the driver of that vehicle *must* be prosecuted. This story has legs, it’ll run, and I expect I’ll be reading about it when the driver is ‘outed’ and gets either sacked, transferred or booted out. As we used to in the Forces ‘His Ass Is Grass, And There’s A Lawnmower Coming’. I wouldn’t wish to be in his shoes….

  5. My immediate reaction was that it could only have been caused by the handler becoming completely sidetracked by something unexpected. If that is so, then it makes one wonder HOW LONG the sidetracking was for before the handler could think about the dogs. How long would it take for the poor animals to die? If it is only a short time, then it could be undertsood, even though not acceptable. Any lengthy period surely raises very difficult questions. WEB has it right – let’s wait and see what ALL the facts are.

  6. I am an avid reader of this web site and a GS owner.

    I suspect the officer had been exercising / training the dogs somewhere and after this, for his convenience, visited the office before attending to them
    I understand your efforts to be impartial but their are no mitigating circumstances, and he should be treated the same as an MOP.

  7. I put this comment up on Ambush Predators blog http://thylacosmilus.blogspot.com/2009/07/flowers-for-algernon-fido.html
    but decided to copy this over to here hope WEB is ok about it.

    I don’t know what happened. I do know that the police dog handlers l have met have all been very close to their dogs.
    It would be akin to a police officer shooting their human partner.

    I do wonder if some senior officer or situation did not snag him and the guy lost track of time. Is it an excuse, l don’t know it depends on what happened.

    A VN friend of mine told of a situation some years back where her vet friend left her dog in the car while she went to put the bosses dogs that were running around the practice kennel area back into their kennel so she could get her dog in safely. A job that normally took 2mins.

    A client rushed in with in a seriously injured RTA dog and the vet got involved, suddenly someone came in and said about the terribly ill dog in a car…she got to him just in time.

    Once the info is all in then it can be decided if the officer needs punishing or not.

  8. Xam, there is no attempt to be impartial or to mitigate, only to know how and why this was allowed to occur. there is no information coming from Notts Police apart from some carefully worded statements.
    Not only the fact that they will not want to prejudice any investigation but also to ensure that whatever might be said is both accurate and relevant.
    Also for anyone not having experienced of an internal investigation, you will not understand how thorough it will be.
    One thing is for certain. If the person responsible has neglected the dogs, they deserve to be prosecuted for doing so. If there are any outside influences involved, they also deserve to be equally as liable.
    But, until the details of what took place are made clear, speculation will continue as to what did actually occur and a variety of opinions will be made.

  9. If the spot where they were laying the flowers is the spot where it happened, the TV report showed the whole area was in shadow.
    My best bet is that when the van was parked it was in the shade, – then the sun moved around the sky…

  10. I was very closely associated with our Dog Section. I rated them as among the finest coppers I’ve known. I’ve known heatwaves and seen their vans in the back yard, dogs on board but back doors always open and occupants behind the inner cage door, dozing in the heat. This story is one that is unheard of in my 30 years in the job – for a police dog, that is, although I’ve known them be stabbed and shot in the execution of duty. I join the ranks waiting to find out why and feel dreadfully sorry for all concerned. Its excrutiating.

  11. I was stunned when I read the story – but will wait for a proper investigation before judging. I would say that I’ve only ever met two dog handlers and both treated the dogs as they would a human partner. The mutual devotion between them was amazing to witness.

  12. Those awaiting ‘excuses’ will not be disappointed. True animal lovers countenance no defence to res ipsa unnecessay suffering.

  13. I am still shocked by this story and we await the investigation results.
    As all handlers know the bond between dog and handler is one that can never be replicated and for him to just leave them without ventilation i just can’t see it.

    I can however see someone else closing the boot/tailgate. I have left my dogs in a vehicle with the tailgate up. A short time later i have returned to find the tailgate down. The reason why it has been closed i have been informed is this.

    The dogs being dogs bark which does annoy some people. These people think that if they close the tailgate then the dogs will stop barking or at least make it quieter.
    Perhaps someone was annoyed that the dogs were barking and did this on this occasion. The truth will come out in the end.

    I am not in anyway making excuses for the handler but something tragic happened and lessons should be learnt.

    My thoughts are with the two dogs who i hope are now up there in doggy heaven chasing, catching and biting criminals. God bless them.

  14. At last…. a glimmer of a possible explanation? (k9mack)

    It is the only scenario which I can find vaguely plausible….

    I have met several police dog handlers, and, as has been said, the bond between them and their four legged partners is amazing. That is why this tragedy is so staggering.

    If something of this nature happened, the handler(s) must be absolutely devastated…. indeed, they surely must be, anyway, whatever happenned?

  15. On a side note a good friend of mine lost his operational dog today suddenly aged only 6. The bond will never be broken and the words in Guardians of the night spring to mind.

    Rest in peace PD Max

  16. It’s not the first incident with police and cruelty to dogs…

    “The trial heard that Boorman instructed handlers to ‘hang and kick’ dogs.

    One Alsatian, called Acer, died after being hung over a fence and kicked by one handler on Boorman’s instructions. “

  17. K9mack… That is really sad. Your friend must be really gutted! Please convey our sympathies… and mention the Rainbow Bridge :

    http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm

  18. K9mack. Sad news about PD-Max. Someone else has had their own 90 minutes.

  19. […] Police Dogs die in vehicle. […]

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