John Taft, Investigative Reporter
P .O. 172 Murphy, OR 97533
May 2, 2001
I am requesting a full investigation of the alleged beating of a police dog, referred to by the name of Pico, in the Josephine County Jail, on or about April 5 th 2001. I would appreciate it if you would forward this letter to the appropriate department.
The following information is available:
8. I contacted a former professional dog trainer and writer for Dog World and asked him whether a bleeding dog should have gone to a veterinarian. He replied, "Absolutely."
Trained police dogs are valuable animals costing several thousand dollars. It would be logical that they received the best of care. We know there was blood in the cell. This wasnít denied. If the dog was beaten or abused, there would have been visible injures, on the dog. Visible injuries could be a possible reason not to have taken the dog to the vet. The vet would have been under a moral or ethical decision to report the alleged abuse to animal control. This would make the alleged incident public. The question is, why wasnít a valuable police dog taken to the vet?
It appears there is enough information available that an animal control investigation should be launched. If the facts are verified then appropriate legal action should be taken. Itís alleged there were a number of witnesses to this dog incident, both inmates, law enforcement officers, and possibly others. Their names and the organization they represent should be obtained and they should be asked what they saw. If the allegations are verified it would be interesting to note that apparently no law enforcement officer present filed a complaint, charging questionable handling of the dog or animal abuse, a possible criminal charge.
The inmate in the cell where the blood was cleaned up should be interviewed. Other inmates there at the time should be questioned. The interviewers should keep in mind that inmates are often threatened with loss of commissary privileges, or isolation if they say anything publicly that would embarrass the jailers.
A vet should be asked if an injured tooth or other injury that allows blood to flow would pose a risk to the dog for bacterial infection. Would it be a normal precautionary procedure to take the dog to a vet under the stated conditions?