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Orange County K9 officer, Hunter, being denied retirement, despite worsening heart condition – Update

Help Save K9 Officer Hunter

There is a interesting, complicated and rather heart-breaking story out of Orange County, NY that is raging over a 7 yr old K-9 officer by the name of Hunter.  Hunter’s current handler, Ed Josefovitz, is leaving the department and has requested that Hunter be retired in light of his age (most K9 officers retire between 8-9 yrs of age) and due to a diagnosed progressive heart condition. In April, 2009, a veterinarian diagnosed Hunter’s heart condition and he was approved for day-to-day service, which typically included hanging out in court, or other sedentary duties. Hunter rarely (as of late) saw any action that would require him to exert himself.

Proponents of the sheriff’s office argue that Hunter is owned by the department, rather than the officer and that he must continue to work until he has reached full retirement age, despite his heart condition. For Capt. Barry’s personal stance on the issue, please visit this link.

Advocates for Hunter insist that going through the rigorous 8 months of retraining at the academy, in addition to the emotional toll of being removed from his current family and placed with a new handler, will only aggravate his worsening heart condition. Concern for his welfare is tremendous and there are many who believe that the dog could be killed by the stress that will be placed upon him in the coming months.

Hunter’s current handler, Josefovitz,  has offered to pay the department $6,900 to cover the cost of a new K-9 officer, but the sheriff’s office has refused. Apparently, many believe that the department is denying Hunter’s retirement out of malice and that the welfare of the dog is being completely over-looked. Some type of ulterior motive does seem to be at play since a prior, healthy K-9 was allowed to retire at only 3 yrs of age when his handler was fired from the department.

Supporters of K-9 Officer Hunter are asked to join the Facebook group Stop NY OC Sheriff’s Office from Killing Hunter. Additionally, supporters are being encouraged to email the NY OC Sheriff’s office at this link or send an email to the mayor at this link. The family is hoping to not only spread the word of Hunter’s plight (if you are concerned, please forward this to friends and family and post on your social networking sites), but also, to get the word to the sheriff’s office and the mayor, that there is support for Hunter. There is amazing power in numbers and obviously, the stretch and power of the internet is incredible.

Hunter with Handler’s Other Dogs

Hunter with his handler's other dogs

7 yr old Hunter, a German shepherd K-9 officer for New York’s Orange County Sheriff’s office,  is currently caught in the middle of a war waging between his department, and his prior handler, Ed Josefovitz. Please refer to the article posted yesterday, Orange County K-9 Officer, Hunter, being denied retirement, despite worsening heart condition.

Hunter has been diagnosed with Chronic degenerative valve disease. While he is asymptomatic at this time, the Merck Veterinary Manual indicates that dogs with this condition develop exercise intolerance, cough, increased respiratory rate and effort, with the possibility (though rare) of sudden death, as the disease progresses.

The German shepherd breed is considered to be a senior between the ages of 7-8 yrs, with their lifespan typically ranging from 9-14 yrs. Obviously, retirement age of the dogs will not only vary by departments, but also, based on the overall health of the dog. An interesting question/answer forum was discovered where the question of K-9 retirement age was posed. Most of the answers, found here were from current, or former, police officers. Apparently, if a dog is close to retirement age at the time that his partner leaves the department, he is typically allowed to retire with his handler. Again, this will obviously vary by departments.

Capt. Barry, of the OCSO, has stated his position on this matter here.  He argues that Josefovitz was trained extensively for his position and that he has chosen to abandon his partner, Hunter, and move on to another department, knowing full well that he could not retire his dog.  Josefovitz and his wife argue that the dog should be allowed to reitre in light of his age and his diagnosed, progressive medical condition.

Josefovitz and his wife have offered to pay the department $6900 to cover the expense of a new K-9 for the department. The sheriff’s office has refused the offer and currently they have put Hunter back into training with a new handler. The question that seems to be repeated again and again, is why the department is unwilling to accept the $6900 to buy a new, young dog rather than working a 7 yr old K-9 into his senior years.

Capt. Barry has argued that the true cost lies in the tens of thousands of dollars needed to train the K-9 handler (human, not dog). However, this appears to be a cost that is going to be incurred with or without K-9 Hunter in service. The tens of thousands of dollars that is will cost to train a new K-9 handler are going to be spent while using Hunter, and then an additional $6900 (+) will be incurred after Hunter is officially retired and a new dog must be purchased.

The arguments in this fight are heated on both sides as emotions are flared. The big question is, who will be the biggest loser in this fight? Is Hunter a pawn in a no-win situation? You can read the empassioned words of those in support of Hunter’s retirement at this Facebook group, Stop NY OC Sheriff’s Office from Killing Hunter.

No matter how you turn this… working a dog with congenital heart problems to death because of expense is animal abuse and torture!!  JOMP~

By:  Penny Eims – Tacoma Dogs Examiner/Posted LA Examiner

Posted: Just One More Pet

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October 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesse Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Since this article was written, Vick has been signed… ” Michael Vick Signs Two-Year Deal With NFL’s Eagles” read the headline.  $1.6 million the first year and $5.2 million the second.  Nice reward for brutal treatment of animals and being a despicable example for America’s Youth!  And being compared to Jackie Robinson is absolutely an insult to Robinson’s memory!

Steve Helber/Associated Press

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says signing Michael Vick will require someone to make a courageous move and asks why lesser players have jobs in the N.F.L.

Published: August 7, 2009

The Rev. Jesse Jackson became the latest public figure to offer an opinion on the future of Michael Vick. Jackson said he wondered whether there had been collusion among N.F.L. owners to keep Vick out of the league.

“I want to make it an issue,” Jackson said Thursday in a telephone interview. “I want teams to explain why they have a quarterback who has less skills but is playing or at least is on the taxi squad, and a guy with more skills can’t get into training camp.”

Two years ago this month, Vick pleaded guilty to felony charges related to his participation in an unlawful dogfighting ring and was indefinitely suspended from the N.F.L. Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison in December 2007.  (Definitely not long enough based on the level of cruelty of his offenses  including the drowning, electricution and hanging of dogs and even throwing his family dogs into the ring to watch them torn up as he laughed.  That is a level of evil that I certainly would not want to reward or have out on the field and by any standard would require years of counseling to counteract.  Vick can’t even make the sorry case that he needed the money!)

He was conditionally reinstated to the league last month by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Under terms of the reinstatement, Vick can take part in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and may play in the final two preseason games — if a team signs him.

When the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games. Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6.

“Democracy does not guarantee success,” Jackson said. “Democracy guarantees an opportunity. It’s not fair to de facto try to lock him out of his right to compete. If he can’t make the team, don’t let him play. If he can, let him work.”

Jesse Jackson Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Jesse Jackson Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Jackson, born in 1941, has been a civil rights activist for most of his adult life. He said that in some ways, Vick’s attempt to re-enter the N.F.L. was similar to Jackie Robinson’s entering Major League Baseball.

Although their situations were drastically different, Jackson said, the challenge was the same: Which owner would have the courage to make a controversial signing?

Viewed from a 2009 prism, that comparison seems blasphemous. Robinson became an American icon because of his courage and perseverance. The only thing he did wrong — in some eyes — was to be born African-American.

But in the era in which Robinson came of age, his admirable qualities mattered to Major League Baseball owners. A significant segment of the American population knew little to nothing about Robinson, and saw him as someone who threatened a way of life. Owners were not going to allow Robinson or any other African-American to play major league baseball, regardless of how much character and fortitude he possessed.

If we are going to make a comparison of unfair scenarios…  How about comparing Vick’s rehiring by the NFL after only 23-months in prison for torturing and killing numerous dogs with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Ted Kennedy after his involvement in Chappaquiddick; running away and leaving a young girl to die in a car he had driven into the water accidentally at best and perhaps not so accidentally in the opinion of others, and never spending a moment in prison. The comparison is indeed closer.  The comparison of Vick to Robinson is blasphemous and insulting to Robinson’s memory!!  What do they have in common other than the color of their skin?!?  Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing that Jesse Jackson would rip a white person into pieces for…  for making that kind of comparison because of race?

Many fair-minded baseball owners had the same concerns about Robinson that fair-minded N.F.L. owners today have about Vick: What will critics say? How will the public respond?

Finally one organization, the Dodgers, and one man, Branch Rickey, were bold and pragmatic enough to weigh the risks and take the leap of signing Robinson.

Vick, unlike Robinson in 1947, has a proven track record. Vick has performed at a star level in the N.F.L. Robinson performed briefly in the Negro Leagues before joining the Dodgers.

The question is: How severely have Vick’s skills eroded? You would think that one owner, one team would at least be curious; training camps have been open for only a week.

“If the guy has paid his dues to the criminal justice system, paid his debt to the N.F.L. and shows remorse, what else does he need to do?” Jackson asked.  23-months in prison for torturing and murdering dogs is hardly enough of a punishment for his crimes. He should have received at least a year or two for every dog her mistreated, tortured, abused and killed and should have been from playing football for life.  If you are really going to compare unfairness, what should be compared is Ted Kennedy receiving the

For many, the nonnegotiable issue in the Vick case is cruelty to animals. But let’s climb off our high horses. We know many fans hunt. They track down innocent animals, blast them with shotguns, shoot them out of the sky with rifles — for sport. Some take off animals’ heads and mount them as trophies.

Perfectly legal.

But the issue here is that Vick served his time in prison for breaking the law. The issue is degrees of cruelty. Who is worse: someone who tortures in the name of sport and then apologizes, or the one who kills in the name of sport and continues to hunt?

Vick was cruel and was punished. Now he has promised to be compassionate.

Jackson pointed out that Vick had satisfied the demands of the legal system. Now, like thousands of young men who are released from prison each year, Vick is eager to become a productive citizen. So far, he has been unable to find a job and his options are limited.

The Canadian Football League will not consider Vick or any player under full or partial suspension by the N.F.L.

“One of the big issues of re-entry is that when people come out, can they get gainful employment?” Jackson said.  Sure… How about a job somewhere between minimum wage and $35,000 a year, spending the rest of his time giving free talks to young people about compassion and kindness and volunteering at animal rescue events, while wearing an electronic ankle bracelet like child abusers?!?

Vick is fortunate. As a quarterback, he has skills that are highly valued.

“He has a right to compete,” Jackson said. “If he doesn’t make the team, then he can’t play. If he can, let him work.”

So far, everyone has said no. Someone should have the guts to say yes.

By WILLIAM C. RHODEN – E-mail: wcr@nytimes.com

Notes by Ask Marion – Marion’s Place/JOMP

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August 14, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments