I was going to end the tragic story of K9 Lina’s death with my previous post, however, I inevitably knew that one more egregious injustice needed to be told. It has frustrated me for over two months yet I am helpless.
On September 27, 2016, a woman from NJ wrote and launched a ForceChange petition asking for:
Justice For Dog Locked Inside Hot Car Until She Died
Posted by Lindsay Savitzky
The dog Ms. Savitzky sought justice for was K9 Lina. However, this is the photograph she used at the head of her petition:
She also targeted the wrong agency as the petition was to the attention of Director William J. Bryant of the Arkansas State Police but in another area of the petition letter, she refers to K9 Lina’s handler as a deputy with Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
I looked at Ms. Savitzky’s profile on the ForceChange petition and she describes herself as:
I’m a woman in her 30s who lives in New Jersey and cares deeply for the welfare of people and animals. I volunteer at RBARI once a week, cleaning the kennel and socializing with cats looking for homes.
RBARI is Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland NJ (Bergen County) which indicated Ms. Savitzky lives in the general area of my hometown. Since there was no way of contacting her, I sent an email to ForceChange describing the errors. A week passed without a response so I wrote again. I began noticing comments by people directly on the petition’s front page also outlining the errors but the petition remained the same for a month. I posted towards the end of October as did several law enforcement officers. Some even gave links to K9 Lina’s photo. She was a Belgian Malinois in an MCSO vehicle, not a springer spaniel in a red sports car. Meanwhile, time and energy that could have been focused on Lina were being spent trying to have an incorrect hence invalid petition corrected. Digressing a moment, this is not the first time I have encountered gross inaccuracies in a ForceChange petition. In October they published a petition about a man who sexually assaulted a dog, written by a woman whose bio said she is a copy editor. Unfortunately, the petition targeted an agency in a completely different state than which the offense occurred and the suspect lived. After two emails ForceChange corrected it.
K9 Lina’s petition, however, was not being corrected nor the writer or ForceChange responding to emails or comments left on the page. On October 30, 2016, I sent yet another email to ForceChange:
This petition is all wrong! I REALLY wish petition writers would fact check before putting something like this out. This is HORRIBLE! Do you even know what a Belgiun Malinois looks like? Are you afraid to say the handlers name? Because good handlers aren’t – his name is Deputy Jonathon Cornelison of the Madison County Sheriff’s Dept in Huntsville Arkansas. He works under Sheriff Philip Morgan. Need more information? On Sept. 9, 2016 he left his PARTNER, K9 Lina in HIS squad car parked in HIS driveway for over 6 hrs. During that time he took his children to daycare, helped a friend fix a lawnmower – here read it for yourself! It was 91 F outside BTW.
And since you obviously don’t know what a Belgian Malinois looks like or bothered to Google K9 Lina, here is her picture!
On November 1, 2016, the petition was changed. It was now targeted to Madison County Sheriff Phillip Morgan and the spaniel in a red car had been replaced with one of a K9 ~ just the wrong one! The picture was of a GSD whereas K9 Lina was a Belgian Malinois.
This dog is K9 Conan, who until his retirement and subsequent death in 2015, was a bomb-sniffing dog with the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Dept in Appleton Wisconsin. Even if Linda Savitzky and/or ForceChange doesn’t know the difference between the two breeds, all it takes is to look at the K9’s shield to see it clearly doesn’t say Madison County Sheriff’s Department. Plus if you zoom in just a tad you can read ‘K-9 Outagamie County Sheriff’s Dept.’ When K9 Conan died in 2015, Outagamie County Sheriff’s Dept released a private video of Conan singing along to Toby Keith. 🎤⬅︎
By this point, I’m not even going to pretend I was nice. To put a picture of a deceased K9 from a department over 700 miles away is a not only a disgrace but disrespectful to both of these brave dogs. To be honest I was more upset over K9 Lina because it was obvious from my brief research that K9 Conan was valued and loved whereas K9 Lina was left in a hot car for over 6 hours in 90 degree weather where she died a slow and agonizing death while her handler cavorted around town helping a friend fix a lawnmower, paying bills, stopping in an auto parts store, going to the sheriff’s department and meeting an officer from another department at a sports bar ~ all on his time off.
I talked to other officers and they were just as surprised and disgusted as I was yet to this day none of our emails have been answered and the petition remains online and incorrect. I wrote ForceChange yet again:
I’ve previously written you about the inaccuracies in this petition which commenters are pointing out as well yet you fail to respond. I found it necessary to email you last week because a petition written by a woman (who states she’s a copy editor) was directed to officials in the WRONG state. I’ve noticed this is a trend with many petitions on your site which makes me leery of signing or promoting any of them. It is not my job to edit every petition launched by ForceChange to ensure it’s accuracy. The petition I referenced does a disservice to both police K9s because the writer doesn’t have the facts correct and because ForceChange has neglected to address it when notified. Responsible K9 handlers are as appalled as I am. Wrong dog, wrong target. In closing, kindly remove my name from any of your mailing lists and for your edification I’m attaching the corrected photos.
Next, I scrolled through Savitsky’s numerous petitions, found a site that she frequents and posted an open comment:
While I applaud your dedication and the work you do on behalf of animals, you wrote a ForceChange petition seeking justice for K9 Lina’s hot car death in AR. It was pointed out to ForceChange over a month ago that the wrong agency was targeted and that the springer spaniel in the red sports car was NOT Lina. Commenters including LEOs left links to K9 Lina’s picture. Emails were sent to ForceChange and finally the petition was edited. It is now worse than ever! I’m not going into all the errors here but read the comments on the petition YOU wrote. To top it off the dog’s photo you now have on the petition is a K9 but NOT Lina. It is K9 Conan, a bomb sniffing dog from WI who died in 2015. His badge on the picture clearly reads Outagamie County Sheriff’s Depart. K9 yet the petition insinuates it is K9 Lina. They weren’t even the same breed! K9 Conan was a GSD; K9 Lina was a Belgian Malinois. First the petition targeted the State Police who had NO jurisdiction since the handler is a Madison County deputy. Now it targets the sheriff who can’t charge the deputy since the Prosecutor (who is over the sheriff) decided no charges. Law enforcement is in an uproar over this Linda. Do you dislike them that much that you and ForceChange will allow an invalid petition to stay online uncorrected? Because if you do shame on you. You are no better than the deputy who left Lina to roast to death in a hot car for 6 hours!
Once again, no response so we give up. This grossly inaccurate petition just compounds the tragedy of K9 Lina’s death. The day after she was left in a hot car for hours by her handler, Sheriff Phillip Morgan blamed her death on the deputy’s 50 hour work week and lack of sleep. Sheriff Morgan described the dog’s death as a “bad accident. Matt Durrett, 4th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney declined to press charges against her handler, Deputy Jonathon Cornelison. The day following her death a Facebook support page was set up ~ for Jonathon Cornelison where very little is posted about the loss of this K9 officer. A memorial wasn’t held for K9 Lina until November 12.
It’s as if she never existed.The entire area seems to have an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude. Making the situation sadder, she only served with MCSO for one year.
As for petition writers, to be blunt, if you don’t know the FACTS, stop writing garbage like this as it denigrates the seriousness of a K9’s death because of a handler’s negligence and in turn, that incompetent handler tarnishes the badges of thousands of excellent handlers who would take a bullet for their dog.
“A K9 officer is a universal dog that can detect, track, guard, and apprehend. A K9 dog is a separate officer that serves his duty just like any human officer.
Any offense against the dog makes you subject to prosecution and you may end up being incarcerated.”
Apparently, this does not apply to Arkansas.
I keep hoping for the day I don’t have to post this.
The first to sense the hostility of a suspect,
The first to react to protect his master.
The first to enter where danger lurks.
The first to detect the hidden intruder.
The first to take action against violence.
The first to sense his master’s joy.
The first to know his master’s sorrow or fear.
The first to give his life in defense of his master.
The last to be forgotten by those who work with others like him.
They know him as a “Partner,” not just an animal.
Lina, I care…