DNA testing for dog poop on the rise in Seattle area
SEATTLE (AP) — Frustrated with dog owners who refuse to clean up after their pets, an increasing number of apartments in Seattle are opting to use DNA testing to identify the culprits.
The Seattle Times reports (http://bit.ly/1HxGgb2) that a company called BioPet Vet Lab from Knoxville, Tennessee, is providing its PooPrints testing kits to 26 apartment and condo complexes and homeowners associations in the region.
“There was poop inside the elevators, in the carpeted hallways, up on the roof,” Atkinson said. “They’re lazy, I guess.”
That’s why, since February 2014, tenants have been paying a “one-time fee of $29.95 for DNA testing.”
BioPet says in the past five years, the DNA test has been used in nearly 1,000 places around the country, and it’s especially popular in Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles and other large cities.
The marketing took a little longer to reach the Northwest, but King-Snohomish-Pierce counties are opportune sites. They are home to about 811,000 dogs. Seattle has 50 percent more dogs than kids, the Times said. One study said the average dog poop weighs one-third of a pound and the dogs in that three-county region are responsible for about 268,000 pounds of droppings a day.
Atkinson says that after some initial fines, DNA testing is working at her complex, with two dozen or so dogs.
“One person was fined five times in one week,” she said. “That’s over $500. Now people clean up after their dogs.”
The fines added up this way: $59.95 to have the poop tested, and $50 to the complex for the hassle of collecting the sample.
Atkinson says that residents at the complex are “mostly on board” for having their dogs’ DNA tested.
Dog stable after being shot, tied to Florida train tracks
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A dog that was tied to railroad tracks and shot was expected to survive Thursday after being found by police.
Tampa Police received three calls about 5:23 p.m. Wednesday from people reporting hearing gunshots. When they heard a dog whimpering while canvassing the neighborhood, they followed the sound to nearby train tracks. They found the mixed-breed female dog, about a year or two old, fastened to the tracks with a belt, suffering from bullet wounds in its neck and right shoulder.
They alerted the train operator to halt any oncoming traffic as they got the dog off the track, then rushed her to a veterinarian. Bullet fragments were found throughout the dog’s body and could lead to the amputation of her right front leg, where multiple fragments were found. The dog was in stable condition Thursday, and the surgery was possible overnight or Friday.
“She’s doing well. She’s eating, she’s drinking, she’s in good spirits,” said Mike Lord, a veterinary nurse who was caring for the dog.
None of the individuals who had called police had seen anyone with a gun or were aware of the dog being injured, police said, so they put out a public appeal for anyone with information to come forward and tips have flowed in. “All of the tips are leading officers in the right direction,” said Sgt. Gary Coller, one of the officers who responded to the incident.
Not sure where this happened or what the circumstances surrounding it are, but the shirtless guy in the red pants starts throwing bricks at a man and his pair of German Shepards. After he throws a few brick at them you can see the dogs come in and go after them man, obviously they were pissed.
From that point you can hear the man screaming for help and pleading for his life as the dogs attack him.
Looks like he learned a hard lesson in not to throw bricks at dogs who seemed to be minding their own business.
A rash of animal shootings by police officers nationwide has law-enforcement agencies running for cover amid growing public outrage that could force state legislatures to require greater accountability from men and women in uniform.
Police in Utah shot a family’s dog while searching for a lost boy, prompting hundreds of pet owners to protest June 28 in front of the Salt Lake City Police Department headquarters. They carried signs demanding “justice for Geist,” a 110-pound Weimaraner shot by a city cop within the dog’s fenced-in back yard. The “missing” boy was later found sleeping in his home.
State police in West Virginia shot a family’s dog June 24 as it was reportedly running away from them during a search for a suspect on adjoining property. Shots rang out even as the dog’s owner was screaming for officers to hold their fire and let her put her dog inside.
In Maryland, two Baltimore police officers were charged last week with animal cruelty after one of them allegedly held down Nala, a 7-year-old Shar-Pei, while the other slit the dog’s throat.
Richard Bruce Rosenthal, general counsel and co-founder of New York-based the Lexus Project, said police across the country are trending toward less tolerance and less respect for people’s pets, which he sees as part of a larger trend toward more aggressive policing tactics in America.
A pet is a person’s property, which should not be summarily executed for doing what dogs naturally do, which is to investigate unknown people or other dogs who approach their territory, he asserted.
“It is a growing problem and part of it is, post 9/11, our judicial system has basically trashed the Constitution under the mantle of security, and personal rights cease to exist,” Rosenthal told WND.
“All over the country we have cops shooting dogs for no other reason than they can. And our courts and our elected officials, rather than protecting the citizens and the Constitution, simply see it as a way to take more power and more money. I think it’s a civil-rights violation. I think it’s a constitutional violation.”
The West Virginia incident happened June 24 in a rural area of Mason County. A paramilitary unit scoured the woods bordering the property of 32-year-old Ginger Sweat. Her dog, a 6-year-old beagle-basset hound named Willy Pete, woke up from an afternoon snooze on his porch to the sound of eight officers coming out of the adjacent woods.
Willy Pete scampered off to investigate. Sweat, who was putting one of her two young children down for a nap, looked out the window and saw an officer with a police dog on a leash emerge from the woods and ran out outside pleading with the officers not to shoot her dog, begging them to let her bring it inside.
Watch video of the man whose dog, Geist, was killed by Salt Lake City Police:
The officer shot once, missing Willy Pete but sending the dog, which had arthritis in its back legs, running back toward Sweat, she told the Charleston Daily Mail. Three more shots were fired in the dog’s direction, toward Sweat and the home where her two children were sleeping, Sweat told the local newspaper. Willy Pete was hit three times and fell dead in a pool of blood behind her mobile home.
The family created a Facebook page called “Justice for Willy Pete,” which as of June 30 had 5,642 “likes” and hundreds of comments expressing sympathy and outrage.
The West Virginia State Police released a detailed statement late Monday night apologizing to the Sweat family but providing a conflicting version of what led up to the shooting of their dog. From the agency’s perspective, Willy Pete was given a chance to back off but “growled and bared his teeth” at the officers. That’s when Sgt. S.T. Harper, a 14-year veteran of the force, shot him, said spokesman Lt. Michael Baylous.
Baylous previously told WND that anytime an officer discharges his weapon, the incident comes under routine investigation.
He could not say how many times the department’s officers have shot and killed someone’s pet over the past year.
“It’s so rare; I can’t think of the last time it happened,” Baylous said. “I have no knowledge of what is happening nationwide, but it’s not a regular occurrence with the West Virginia State Police. We shoot far less animals than we do people who are a threat.”
But State House Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, said he believes it would be a mistake to view the killing of Willy Pete as an isolated incident in West Virginia. He said it happens more often than most people realize, but most cases go unreported in the media. He’s launched an investigation and is pushing for new rules that would hold officers accountable. He sent an email to the State Police seeking more information on the June 24 incident in Mason County.
If he doesn’t get the answers he is seeking, Manypenny said he’s prepared to take the next step.
“I hope we can get some answers because we do need to find out what happened so we can make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Manypenny told WND. “I’m asking them to introduce a rule on nonlethal methods that can be used against domesticated animals, and if they won’t do it voluntarily, we need the legislature to require them to introduce a rule for nonlethal action.”
Manypenny said he believes that if the story told by the Sweat family is accurate, the police overreacted.
“I don’t know how far we’d want to go to put provisions in the law requiring unpaid leave or dismissal of an officer if they’re found to put people’s pets in endangerment, but yeah, I think it was totally uncalled for,” he sad. “But I want to call for an investigation rather than just shoot from the hip when we don’t have all of the details of what went on. So far, I’ve put in an email requesting some more transparency from the police.”
Police shot a dog in front of its owner in Hawthorne, California, because they didn’t like the owner recording them:
WND asked for a copy of the standard operating procedures outlining the rules of engagement that West Virginia State Police use when encountering pets.
Baylous said he could not provide SOPs, because the department considers that to be confidential information.
“I don’t think they have one,” Manypenny said when told of WND’s request. “A lot of law enforcement doesn’t feel they need it. From the stories I’ve seen in the newspapers, and on social media, it shouldn’t be happening this much, and I think it’s a wakeup call to the citizens of this state, because I think 90 percent of West Virginians have pets. When they’re made aware of what’s going on they become outraged, and it’s my job to make sure justice is served and we have the proper laws in place to protect their pets.”
Manypenny said he will take his investigation to the next level if the police don’t cooperate with his request for details on what happened the afternoon of June 24 in Mason County.
“I’m going to have to call on other legislators to work with me on a combined letter demanding it,” he said. “Unless they are forthright and give the information without being required to, I think we’re going to have to get a letter from several lawmakers. Our letter will probably go to the governor because he’s their boss.
“There are so many non-lethal ways they could have dealt with this dog. Pepper spray, or simply yelling at it, probably would have made him run away.”
According to the Sweat family, their dog was already running away when it was shot three times, but right now Manypenny just wants to get both sides of the story.
‘Every 98 minutes’
No government agency keeps a national database on the number of pets killed by police. But animal-abuse activists have kept statistics, and they say a pet is killed by law enforcement every 98 minutes in America. They say it is largely a result of officers having little-to-no training on how to deal with dogs.
And if they will shoot a person’s pet without hesitating, that should make people concerned for their own safety, Rosenthal said.
“It’s a travesty that’s going on all over the country, and the more it happens the more our police feel emboldened to pull their guns and shoot first,” Rosenthal said.
“Is that supposed to make us feel safe? Government and police have gotten to the point where they cease to serve the citizens and believe everyone is here for their convenience. Between the civil-asset forfeiture laws, which have now become big business for police departments, and the civil rights violations in just so many different areas, it’s become really a problem. We are developing an American Gestapo.”
Rosenthal said when police conduct searches, they don’t make plans for the presence of a dog, they simply assume all dogs are dangerous and shoot them.
“Whenever and wherever this happens, people are horrified at the reckless use of police power, but basically (police) ignore it in the name of security,” Rosenthal said. “The only way it’s going to be reformed is if more and more people get lawyers and litigate. And people need to petition their state legislature to make them responsible. If pet owners would band together and say ‘we’re going to vote them out of office unless they start protecting us,’ things would change.”
An online petition at Change.org had gathered 4,442 signatures as of June 30 seeking changes in state laws in the wake of Willy Pete’s execution in West Virginia.
“Please continue to share this Petition. I have been sending it to President Obama, Governor Jerry Brown, My State Legislator, Senator Barbara Boxer, & Senator Dianne Feinstein,” wrote petition organizer Patty Jackson of Downey, California. “I have also been writing them on a daily basis, asking for police to be trained all across the United States …you can help me in this fight by contacting your State Legislator and asking them to create a bill similar to Bill SB13-226 that was signed into law on 5/13/13 by the Governor of Colorado, it’s called ‘The Dog Protection Act.”
Downey said she’s heard a lot of politicians make speeches “asking the citizens of the USA to turn in their guns.”
“It is now time for the police to turn in their guns in exchange for a can of Mace, whenever they encounter what they would call an aggressive pet,” she said. “… It is time for zero tolerance against this escalating animal abuse in this country.”
The West Virginia State Police Facebook page also lit up with hundreds of critical comments after the killing of Willy Pete. Many were being deleted, a department spokesman admitted.
“They have numerous other pages available on FB to spew their hatred of Law Enforcement without posting to ours. Please assist us in maintaining a professional image by not responding to their vitriol,” the State Police posted on its Facebook site on June 28.
Col. Jay Smithers’ statement on the West Virginia State Police website says: “Our agency was created in 1919 and is the fourth oldest state police agency in the United States. Our sworn members have proudly served the citizens of the state with honor, bravery, and professionalism for more than 90 years.”
The bravery and professionalism of executing someone’s pet on first sight is exactly what’s being called into question following incidents like the one in Mason County.
Rosenthal said petitions and social media are useful tools, but the power of the ballot box may be the only language many politicians understand.
“Unfortunately we’ve developed a governing class of professional politicians, which was one of the biggest ills the Founding Fathers warned against,” he said. “Our politicians have no relationship to the populations they serve. But in due course it’s going to be litigated, and if it gets litigated enough, they will have to come up with a theory that courts have to accept. Unfortunately, our federal judges are more intent on getting rid of cases than on enforcing the law. They want to clear their calendars, and justice or following the law takes a back seat.”
No one expected that 22-year-old Sammie Bruhwiler would ever hurt her dog.
“She seemed like a nice little girl, had her life together,” her neighbor Willis Moses told KFOR-TV. “And she loved that little dog, seemed like it to me.”
But when police responded to Bruhwiler’s Oklahoma City home just before midnight on Thursday, they found a horrific scene: Bruhwiler shrieking and appearing drunk, covered in blood and clutching her dog.
The dog, believed to be a shih tzu, was dead.
Police found puddles of blood and two bloody knives inside the home, KFOR-TV reported, yet it appeared to investigators that the dog had been suffocated, not stabbed to death.
According to police, Bruhwiler said her dog had pus and fleas in its fur, and it seems she may have been trying to trim its fur.
Bruhwiler’s friends refused to appear on camera, but they claimed she was an animal lover.
She is now facing charges of animal cruelty and public drunkenness, according to KFOR-TV.
As of May 1, 2014 the regulatory agency has received more than 4,800 reports of illness affecting a total of 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, and 3 people. A number of reports came from owners with multiple dogs. More than 1,000 dogs have died. There have been 1,800 new cases of illness since the last FDA report in October 2013.
The FDA says the jerky treats were almost all manufactured in China, with flavors that include chicken, duck and sweet potato.
Among the reports, 60 percent of the animals were said to suffer from gastrointestinal and liver disease; 30 percent had kidney and urinary disease; and 10 percent of complaints filed involved various other sympoms including dermatological, neurological and immune system-related problems. Approximately 15 percent of cases involving urinary or kidney problems tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, an uncommon kidney disease.
General symptoms of illness include decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea with blood or mucous, increased water drinking, and increased urination within hours of eating the treats.
The FDA has obtained a number of well-documented case reports from veterinarians who treated animals that were sickened with the treats. The agency also conducted postmortem examinations on 26 dogs, and found clues that the treats may have been linked to the cause of death in at least half of the animals.
In several analyzes, the snacks were found to contain low levels of antibiotics as well as the drug amantadine, an antiviral and antiparkinsonian medication. However, the FDA does not believe the illness was caused by amantadine because symptoms in the case reports are not typically associated with the drug. Chinese manufacturers have told federal agencies they will perform additional testing of their products, while the FDA has notified U.S. companies that the jerky pet treats tested positive for several drugs.
Since 2007, the FDA has struggled to make progress in the investigation of reportedly tainted dog treats. In the fall of 2013, the agency issued letters to veterinary clinics throughout the country asking them to inform pet owners about illness associated with the treats. But there have been many challenges along the way in the investigation. For one, symptoms of illness tend to be inconsistent from an animal to animal. Additionally, many pet owners often fail to take their sick dog to the vet right away and instead choose to monitor symptoms for a few days.
The FDA says it has called upon the expertise of the Centers for Disease Control to to conduct further studies and research.