Dog Breeder in Court, Expert Flown In
By Nick Lough
Missy died en route to an emergency vet clinic in New Braunfels, Texas
“I really don’t care about your damn dog!” statement made by San Marcos police officer Paul Stephens
At about midnight on August 5, 2008 Michael Gonzalez and Krystal Hernandez were racing their choking tea- cup poodle Missy to the New Braunfels animal emergency clinic when they were pulled over and detained by San Marcos police officer Paul Stephens.
Because Michael Gonzalez was visibly upset officer Stephens actually asked him “what are you on?” Then proceeded to want to know what was wrong with the man! Obviously Officer Stephens has never loved a dog. The final blow is when Stephens callously says, “It’s just a dog. You can buy another one. Relax.”
Officer Stephens not only had no understanding or compassion for the plight of the dog but his cold, callous attitude came over loud and clear on the raw video tape of the scene.
This attitude that animals are just property—and nothing more—is so prevalent in this good ol’ boy state of Texas. This is the same Hays County police department that so kindly checked on the dog chained up for the rest of its life with no chance of parole. These cops have no place representing the public who pays their salaries. At the very least, they certainly need to take a few courses on how to be compassionate.
For handling this situation in this manner officer Stephens received an oral reprimand from Police Chief Howard Williams.
The Houston Chronicle story makes it sound like poor officer Stephens is now the victim because he has received death threats. The San Marcos Mayor, Susan Narvaiz, steps up to the plate and states that the threats against the officer are “extremely unfortunate.” “Without question, the situation was not handled very well by Officer Stephens. But the characterization of the story has led to death threats against the officer and his family,” Narvaiz said.
And to top it all off the department pulls the Iraq war vet card, as if this will somehow raise Stephen’s reputation in the public eye. No dice. Not for me. The video footage does not lie, this officer is cold, cruel, and harsh.
I for one do not blame Gonzalez and Hernandez for filing a complaint against the San Marcos Police Department. This situation should never have happened.
The comments posted below the Houston Chronicle story appear to side with this officer’s handling of the situation. It is apparent to me that none of these people watched the raw video footage of the event and heard the way officer Stephens addressed Mr. Gonzalez.
Here’s one comment posted below the story:
It is just a dog. And an irritating poodle to boot. I nominated the officer for Peace Officer of the Year.
I only hope that this department will treat humans and their pets more kindly in the future.
This article is provided with the permission of the ASPCA.®
ASPCA Forensic Veterinarian Aids in Major Dog Fighting Raid in Georgia
NEW YORK, July 3, 2008—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that it was part of a team of animal welfare agencies, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), as well as the Madison County, Ga. Sheriff’s Department and Madison County Animal Control, which participated in a major planned raid of “Shake Down Kennels,” an alleged dogfighting operation in Danielsville, Ga. Johnny Johnson, the alleged owner, was arrested and charged with felony dogfighting.
“The ASPCA isproud to assist HSUS in their raid of this illegal dogfighting ring,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “Dr. Merck is the nation’s premiere “Animal CSI” and adding her invaluable knowledge of veterinary forensics to the crucial investigation work done by HSUS and participating agencies makes for a tremendous combination.”
The raid took place in Madison County, Ga. and resulted in seven dogs being seized for examination and evidence, as well as dogfighting paraphernalia. Dr. Melinda Merck, ASPCA’s senior director of Veterinary Forensics, and Felicia Earley, an anti-cruelty veterinary assistant with the ASPCA, were part of the elite team of animal welfare professionals involved. The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit, was also on-site to allow Dr. Merck to examine and care for any victims immediately, as well as gather and process all of the forensic evidence right at the scene. A “forensics first,” the mobile unit is specially-designed vehicle outfitted with state-of-the-art forensics tools as well as medical equipment tailored for animal patients.
“It was a privilege being able to be a part of this organized and thorough investigation,” said Dr. Merck. “Dogfighting cases are very complex and it sometimes takes multiple resources in order to effectively bring them down. This collaborative effort is a shining example of our ongoing fight against animal cruelty.”
Today’s raid marks the first Ga. dogfighting bust since the May 10 passage of new legislation signed by Governor Sonny Purdue, which strengthened the state’s dogfighting law, making it a felony to own, possess, train, transport or sell a dog for the purpose of dogfighting. Those involved in illegal dogfighting, as Johnson is alleged, can receive one to five years in prison, a minimum fine of $5,000 or both.
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