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Help Save USMC Sergeant Rex – Updated

Good News Update (03.20.12):  The Marine Corp has officially announced that Sgt. Rex will retire and be reunited with his partner Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey. Thank you to everyone who contacted the Marine Corps, Air Force Sec Michael Donley, Senator Schumer or your own U.S. Senator, Congressman or military contact on their behalf!!. JOMP~

Please contract your U.S. Senator, Senator Chuck Schumer, USMC or Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, who oversees military service dog training to help save Sgt. Rex and unite him in retirement with his partner Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey.

Marine Cpl. Meagan Leavey and her canine partner, Sgt. Rex, were trained to detect roadside bombs and other materials. Now, she’s trying to adopt him before he’s put to sleep.

‘REX is my partner. I love him’ – Retired marine fights to adopt military dog before it’s put to sleep.

The Blaze Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey served with her four-legged partner Sgt. Rex through two tours in Iraq, completing hundreds of missions searching for roadside bombs until an insurgent explosion took them both out of service.

More than five years later, Leavey, 28, is fighting to adopt the dog she handled since her earliest days as a Marine before the German shepherd is put to sleep.

“Rex is my partner, I love him,” Leavey, who lives with her father in Rockport, N.Y. and works as a dog handler, told MSNBC. “We have been through so much together…I’ve spent day and night with this dog. It’s a very strong bond.”

Leavey was discharged in Dec. 2007, but Rex — considered a valuable work dog — was put back in service after he recovered from his injuries. That was until a month ago, when he was diagnosed with a kind of nerve paralysis that left him unable to serve, the Westchester Journal News reported.

It’s now a race against the clock as Leavey struggles to cut through military red tape and adopt Rex before he is put down. “As a safety precaution, they don’t give all dogs away,” she told the Journal News. She said Rex, a strong “alpha dog,” never hurt anyone he wasn’t supposed to.

“The dilemma with me is the minute they say he can’t be adopted, because he‘s sick and because he can’t work, they’d have to put him to sleep,” she said. “Not because he’s too sick to live a good life, but because they can‘t utilize him so it wouldn’t make sense for them to keep a dog they’re not going to work at the kennels. I don’t want to let that happen.”

But time is ticking, she said. “This is not [the Marines’] first priority,” Leavey told New York Fox affiliate WNYW-TV. “A lot of times it gets lost in the shuffle.”

To help speed the process up, she reached out to veteran’s organizations and to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, who oversees military service dog training. In the letter, Schumer detailed the relationship Leavey and Rex had and credited them with saving countless lives, according to the Journal News.

If Leavey’s request is granted, Rex will enjoy a sizable home with a fenced-in yard. Until she hears more, all she can do is wait. “It’s a partnership,” Leavey told the newspaper. “I feel like I know Rex so well. I’m so looking forward to seeing him again.”  barenakedislam

Sergeant Rex: The Few. The Proud. The Marine K-9 that Must Get Home

What will it take to realize the contributions that dogs provide to humanity in peacetime and in war? If you’re going to say a cup of Alpo, then maybe you should own a cat. Seriously. Without question, dogs have proven their place within the echelon of our combat fighters serving overseas. At home, they’re just as capable of saving lives, detecting cancer, building morale, helping the blind or just making you laugh. Some of them can even dial 911 nowadays.

They know your quirks. They understand you too damn well. They can sense your enemies. No matter what they persevere through in life, they without question will remain by your side until the very end.

Maybe you think that sounds a bit “extreme” for some folks who don’t see dogs taking their rightful place by the side of man (and women). Well if you’ve ever been crossing a street wondering when the next IED will go off around you, then you’d probably have a change of thought. I could not even imagine doing this, let alone having a furry companion by my side wondering what danger the next dark, dusty, street corner could bring. The more we look at our dogs as accessories, the more damage we’re doing to their existence. We are short changing the number one species on this planet that can help progress humans beyond our own character flaws. Put a peace-preaching animal lover in the same room with a hard-as-nails veteran K-9 handler and rest assured they will have a lot in common. How many people do you know are capable of loving you for who you are while at the same time taking a bullet for you – without question?

Steadfast loyalty, trust, and instinct are something that no cruise missile or predator drone can ever come close to. You can enhance weapons system all you want, but a dog will get by in the field without tools, batteries, or even body armor. The evolution of our dogs in war did not require a circuit board upgrade, they simply adapt by nature. During World War I they were tasked with killing rats in the trenches. Today they faithfully serve our soldiers as patrol dogs, IED detectors, scouts, messengers, and even parachute behind enemy lines. One could argue that, along with our omnipotent United States Army Rangers, our war dogs will always “lead the way“.

During two dangerous tours of duty in Iraq, a German Shepard named “Sergeant Rex” lead the way along with his handler, Corporal Megan Leavey. Both of them were severely injured in an IED attack. As you can imagine and IED can inflict as much mental damage as physical damage to a soldier. These scars do not stay in Iraq. They come home with you. Her K-9 partner does not just deserve “to come home”. It is required that Rex comes home to be with Megan and live a normal life that he earned, as did Megan, in Rockland County, NY.

Sergeant Rex, at 10 years old and considered no longer serving, probably possesses the same stubbornness and vigor as General George S. Patton. Old and wise beyond his years, seeing firsthand the intensity of combat, his situation is mired in “bureaucratic red tape”. Our politicians say they are trying to “work the channels” so Megan and Rex can be reunited through adoption.

A battalion of Marines, gear, and tech can be deployed anywhere in the world within 24 hours or less. You’re going to tell Corporal Levy that you can’t fast track a dog adoption? You don’t need a government accountant to figure this out. After all, our politicians fly luxury jets across the country to attend cocktail parties and rallies. Wouldn’t it be nice if he could hitch a ride back to New York?

Imagine a dog that saves your life in war, only to be left behind while you go home to relive, re-imagine, and repeat every nightmare scenario that you encountered during your tour(s). Now imagine this dog, who probably saved countless other Marines, has to sit in a kennel with other dogs – only waiting to be put to sleep.

Fellow soldiers recount their experiences with each other as a form of therapy. Sergeant Rex, alongside Megan, forged through blood, sweat, and fire must start a new life and serve his country in a civilian capacity. Like two old soldier buddies sitting on the porch recounting their days in Korea or Nam, you simply cannot deny this companionship. It is a companionship that leads the way for humanity.  by gspecadmin on March 10, 2012

BNI READER Barbara kindly gave us a link to Baghdad Pups. I’m going to write to them and see if they can help with this. Maybe you can too: OPERATION BAGHDAD PUPS

Before Megyn… Sgt Rex had another partner who wrote a book about Rex and their time together:

Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog

Update 03.17.12:  Thanks to all the public involvement and light shown on this incident by Fox News and other news outlets the process of endless paperwork and regulations seems to be moving forward at a quicker pace with greater hope that Sgt. Rex and Megyn will be reunited.

March 13, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Service and Military Animals, We Are All God's Creatures, Working and Military Dogs and Related | , , , , , | 12 Comments

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

STOP NY OC SHERIFFS OFFICE FROM KILLING HUNTER

STOP NY OC SHERIFFS OFFICE FROM KILLING HUNTERHunter is a 7 year old German Shepherd. He has been a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office K-9 since 2003. At the age of 5, Hunter was taken away from his first handler and given to his second handler. During the transition, Hunter experienced emotional trauma and was taken to his veterinarian who recommended neutering and a canine behavioralist/psychologist.  Now Hunter has developed a bond with his new handler and has found happiness in his new home.

In April of 2009, Hunter was diagnosed with progressive heart disease. He has served his department for 6 years. His K-9 handler is moving on to another police department and requested Hunter be retired to live as a pet for the remainder of his life.

After being refused, the handler offered to pay for a new police dog at FULL COST. The Office still plans on taking Hunter away from his current handler and placing through the police academy for the THIRD TIME. It is unfortunate that Hunter is being used as a pawn as a way for the Office to make and example and get their retribution toward the handler.

Hunter is going to be forced out of a loving home in order to be worked to death by the Orange County Sheriffs office.

Jade (a member) has also pointed this out: I think a VERY good case can be made for this being animal cruelty, under NY statutes http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.animallaw.info/statutes/stusnyag_mkts332_379.htm#s353a
I believe this can be classified as “Neglect and Overwork Provisions” Chapter 40. Of the Consolidated Laws. Part Three. Specific Offenses. Title H. § 353. Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance, since this is an animal with a known health condition which will be seriously aggravated if the animal is forced to work (training academy is work). Perhaps someone should consider writing Captain Barry up on this – it IS a class A misdemeanor, unless aggravated cruelty can be proved, in which instance it is a felony.

Please join this group and tell your friends. Please contact the Orange County Sheriffs department and tell them what you think.
http://www.orangecountygov.com/orgMain.asp?orgid=86&storyTypeID=&sid=
Phone: (845) 291-4033 EXT: 7694 (Captain Berry)
Email Form: http://www.orangecountygov.com/orgMain.asp?orgid=86&custom=contact&sid=
Governor’s Office Email: http://www.state.ny.us/governor/contact/index.html
Alison Epstein (Governor’s representative in Orange County): (845)334-9378 County Executive Email: http://www.orangecountygov.com/orgMain.asp?orgid=76&storyTypeID=&sid=&
Contact for the Mayor:
http://www.yellowbot.com/goshen-village-mayor-goshen-ny.html

Stu, the Orange County Sheriff’s office is refusing to retire a terminally ill police dog despite the handler offering to pay for a replacement dog to be purchased and trained. Please ask people to go to http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=152391087894 to get information on where to write to help Hunter, the police dog

Also:
-Average age of retirement for a working dig is between 8-9 years old
– In the past, a K-9 Deputy was fired and allowed to keep his 3 year old healthy working dog.

Contact Info:

Email:

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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October 17, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet and Animal Training, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments