Eight-year-old K-9 Bak was with the Stephens County OK Sheriff’s Dept. for six years. He was dual trained in both narcotics and detection and according to Sheriff Wayne McKinney, brought excellent work to the department. For the past four years, he was partnered with Deputy Matthew Peck, with whom he resided. Ironically, both K-9 Bak and Deputy Peck had both been with the department for six years.
On August 3, 2016, Deputy Peck finished his shift and returned home with Bak in the vehicle. Peck was off duty until August 5. We don’t know if K-9 Bak lived inside Peck’s home or in an outside kennel. What we do know however is that when Peck exited the patrol unit on August 3, he left K-9 Bak inside. Left him with no food, no water, and no air flow.
When Deputy Peck entered the patrol unit on August 5, he discovered his partner’s dead body. There was also a noticeable odor. In the initial media reports there were some discrepancies as to exactly when on August 5 Peck discovered K-9 Bak deceased; one report said he discovered him as soon as he entered the patrol vehicle and another said it wasn’t till he arrived at the Sheriff’s Department then reentered the vehicle to go to court that he made the gruesome discovery. In either event, the dog was left unattended for 38 hours. I cannot comprehend how a handler who has been partnered with a K9 for four years fails to notice that the dog is not out and about. Did it dawn on Peck when Bak’s usual meal time rolled around? Did he once stop and think, “Where is my partner”?When you handle a dog every working day, month after month, they become just as close to you as anyhuman partner. If a human officer willfully abandoned his partner to die of heat exhaustion, he’d be not only fired, he’d immediately be brought up on felony murder charges.
Matthew Thomas Peck was arrested on August 29 and charged with one count of cruelty to an animal, a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, and a fine of up to $5,000. After booking he was released on bond.
I had planned on attending his hearing scheduled for November 30, 2016, but was notified by the district attorney’s office that Peck had been deployed and would be leaving prior to November 30 therefore the hearing was being postponed. He was deployed to the Ukraine on November 28 with the Oklahoma National Guard Company A 45th Brigade.
The wait began.
On July 26, 2017, Matthew Peck’s unit returned to Oklahoma.
He has a Preliminary Hearing Conference scheduled for October 11, 2017, at 9 am at the Stephens County Courthouse. All filed documents pertaining to this case are public record and available online at the Oklahoma State Courts Network. Once the link opens it will automatically be on the Stephens County page. Enter case number CF-16-387 and his case will appear. Documents can either be viewed or downloaded.
Although it’s imperfect, justice does still exist in the world. I have faith in Stephens County Assistant District Attorney Cortnie Siess to ensure that K9 Officer Bak receives it and that his slow and agonizing death not go unpunished.
I’ve written about former Cherokee County Lt. Daniel Peabody several times, the most recent being Former Cop And Serial Dog Killer Dan Peabody ~ Manipulative As Ever…on December 3, 2016. On June 10, 2016, when Peabody arrived home from work at 4 pm, he left his partner, K-9 Inka, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, in a 2001 Crown Victoria police sedan which was notequipped with any type of heat sensors, not left running to provide air conditioning and with the windows closed. The outside temperature was in the low to mid 90s that day yet Peabody forgotabout his partner for (3) hours. When he finally checked on Inka around 7 pm, she was dead. Peabody raised her from a puppy yet he was so distracted by another dog issue inside his home that he forgot not just a dog, but a dog that was a trained K-9 officer, a dog he spent everyhour of his working day with. How does one do that?
Peabody was so distraught that night that he was taken to the hospital. On June 16 he abruptly resigned from his job of (16) years with the Cherokee County School Police Department. Per department policy a necropsy was done which indicated conclusively that K-9 Inka died from heat stroke as suspected. Temperature testing conducted on the car indicated that after about two hours and 45 minutes, the temperature inside K-9 Inka’s crate would have been 130 degrees F. She was trapped inside for (3) hours. K-9 Inka, a living sentient being in addition to being an officer, roasted to death.
Then the unexpected happened. Investigators received tips that K-9 Inka was not the first dog to die in Peabody’s care. He was partnered with a Golden Labrador, K-9 Dale, from 2007 until Dale’s retirement at age (6) in 2012. Peabody claimed he was so attached to K-9 Dale that he wanted to adopt him which the department allowed. During the initial stages of the investigation into K-9 Inka’s death, when investigators from the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office asked about K-9 Dale, Peabody was evasive but then claimed the dog had choked to death on a tennis ball. During further questioning, Peabody admitted that he shot Dale shortly after his retirement because Dale was “ill” although no veterinary records supported his claim. Chief Marshal Ron Hunton of the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office made the following statement regarding Dale’s death:
Hunton said that Peabody claimed he shot the dog because “it had been aggressive” and suffered “some kind of ailment,” adding that the dog’s skull had a defect that could be consistent with a gunshot wound.
Peabody said Dale was buried at his former home and on June 20, armed with a search warrant, investigators dug until they discovered a dog’s decomposed body. They assumed it was K-9 Dale as there was evidence of a gun shot wound (GSW). Imagine the shock when forensic investigators discovered it was not Dale but a female Belgian Malinois, approximately (10) years old which they suspect was K-9 Inka’s grandmother. She also died from a GSW to her head.
The state argued that when Peabody left his car and went inside, he “stepped away” from his duties, therefore the law does not apply. However, Peabody contends that as a K-9 handler, his duties related to the police dog are continuous, and the death of Inka happened “during the performance of his duties.”
Needless to say many people, both civilians and law enforcement, were shocked to learn of Judge Harris’s ruling which didn’t come to the media’s attention until February 21, 2017.
Daniel Peabody is a cold-blooded killer. He showed callous disregard for the safety and welfare of his partnerK-9 Inka, he murdered his former partner, retired (6) year old K-9 Dale by shooting him in the head shortly after he retired. He also killed a non working dog, a female Belgian Malinois with a GSW to her head. His wife, Tyler Verlander-Peabody, was cited for operating a boarding and training business without a Cherokee County occupation tax certificate, sheriff’s officials said. She was also charged with operating a boarding and training business inside a residential zoned district, and operating a boarding and training business within 75 feet of a residential property. I have been unable to find the outcome of her citations but am fairly confident she was simply given a fine as no animals were reported to be in danger. According to her LinkedIn profile, which has since been deactivated, Tyler Verlander-Peabody has a company called Mirror Image Farmwhere she offers riding lessons, horse training and boarding. Her profile indicated she is highly accomplished in Schutzhund and French Ring:
Tyler Verlander is the proud owner of two Belgian Malinois (C’Spot & Freya), two horses (Molly & Tommy), and one pony (Abbey). Tyler has owned dogs all her life ranging from small dachshunds mixes to Anatolian Shepherds and most recently, her competition Belgian Malinois.
Tyler brings 15 years plus of animal training to the learning table. Just as every human learns differently, so do dogs. Tyler’s doggy students are able to be taught in the very individual manner they deserve…tailored to their learning style and delivered in a positive and clear manner. This concept also pertains to her human students so they walk away understanding and comprehending the training concepts so that they can mirror those talents at home.
She has been an active member of the Atlanta Working Dog Club since 2006 where she has been a trainer since 2010. Since 2006, she has been trained by her Coaches Robert J. Leigh (Training Director-AWDC) and Mike Morgan (Vice President-AWDC) in the German sport of Schutzhund (IPO) and French Ring.
Tyler’s dog C’Spot de Atlawor is handler/owner/trained (Titles: CSAU, BH, IPO 1 & 2 & 3-highest level) and Freya de Atlawor (Titles: CSAU, BH, IPO 1 & 2). Tyler’s coaching comes from the top trainers in the US.
Given a life lived full of dogs and her experience with the Atlanta Working Dog Club, Tyler is more than equipped to handle any dog with the care and responsibility needed for the dog owner to rest assured while they are away and/or in training.
Outside of the dogs, Tyler’s other love is in the horse community. She was riding before she could walk. Tyler has been teaching riding lessons and training horses for 12+ years and has trained with some of the top hunter/jumper trainers in the South East. Her company is Mirror Image Farm where she offers riding lessons, horse training/boarding.
Tyler Verlander-Peabody and her husband Daniel Peabody also own a dog training and boarding facility called The Doggy Dorm.
All of these phenomenal accomplishments yet she failedto obtain proper licensing.
“Inka’s passing was a horrible and unintentional accident, one that has left Lieutenant Peabody completely devastated,” the statement says. “As their vast network of friends, family and law enforcement colleagues will tell you, Lieutenant Peabody and his wife, Tyler, love and adore animals. Lieutenant Peabody would never, ever intentionally abuse or show cruelty towards any animal, especially his beloved companion, Inka.”
Attorney Willingham then states Peabody “has lost a member of his family,” and that he and his wife plead for privacy as “they continue to grieve Inka’s passing.”
“The truth will come to light, not in a court of public opinion, but in a court of law,” the statement goes on to say. “Until that time, the Peabody’s urge the public to withhold judgment and take false and distorted media reports with a healthy dose of skepticism. The Peabodys would like to thank their friends and loved ones for their continued love and support during this most difficult time.”
Next, a photo of the (2) deceased K-9s, Inka and Dale
K-9 Inka EOW June 10, 2016 Cherokee County School Police Department, GA She has gone home to rest for the final time “Officer Kilo Inka is 10-42 … Good Girl Inka”
Retired K-9 Dale EOW ?2012? Cherokee County School Police Department, GA He has gone home to rest for the final time “Retired Officer Kilo Dale is 10-42 … Good Boy Dale”
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.
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 neededto 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 a MCSO vehicle, not a springer spaniel in a red sports car. Meanwhile, time and energy that coud have been focused on Lina was 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.
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 wrongone! 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 WRONGstate. 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 at ForceChange to ensure it’s accuracy. The petition I referenced does a disservice to both police K9s because the writer doesn’t have her facts correct and because ForceChange has neglected to address it when notified. Responsible K9 handlers are as appalled as I. 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 readsOutagamie County Sheriff’s Depart. K9 yet the petition insinuates it is K9 Lina. They weren’teven 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 more sad, 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 hat 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.
The conclusion of K9 Lina’s tragic story was so bizarre that it’s taken me awhile to not just fact check but to comprehend what I was reading. I had written about K9 Lina’s hot car death shortly after it happened in September 2016 but opted not to blog about it; in November I changed my mind. I began to research to so that I could bring my original story current. What I began to find, for the lack of a better word, disturbed me so I continued to dig even after posting The Senseless Death of K9 Lina…Part 1 . The very same day I made a startling discovery which I briefly touched upon in my post Made An Unusual Discovery. What I’d uncovered made it necessary to write a second post entitled Death of K9 Lina ~ The Aftermath Part 2. This will be (I hope) the final post in K9 Lina’s sad trilogy. I’m also going to deviate from my usual post style by using less hyperlinks and photos because all the details leading up to the her death including the timeline of her handler has been given in the first two parts as well as photographs. Instead I’m going to focus on what I stumbled upon but first, how that came to pass..
In the first few days after K9 Lina’s hot car death hit the news, I was reviewing articles online and came across one called,Social Media Backlash Prompts Online Support Group After K9 Officer’s Death , written by an Arkansas reporter on September 11 ~ two days after Lina died. I don’t have an active Facebook account but wanted to see the “social backlash” the article said was being generated on Facebook so asked my daughter if I could use her iPad for the afternoon. I quickly found what I believed was the backlash; a public support group for Deputy Cornelison called Supporters Of Jonathan Cornelison. What I found particularly interesting is that the page was created on September 10, the day after K9 Lina’s death.
One thing led to another, like a domino effect but the single most riveting finding was that his support group members were adamant that the deputy was a good kid, this was an accident that could have happened to anyone, and the town was standing behind him. Many, many prayers were offered for this great guy yet none for K9 Lina. I was disgusted by the never-ending sanctimonious posts and stopped looking at the page. A few days later I caved, once again borrowed my daughters iPad and was immediately shocked by several things. A photo was posted by one of Deputy Cornelison’s relatives of an ad she’d placed in the local paper about donating towards “Lina’s Law” plus writing to the Arkansas state representatives about implementing a law requiring heat sensors in all K9 vehicles hence Lina’s Law. Even though the support page is public, I vacillated about posting screenshots. I am going to make an exception however with the one explaining Lina’s Law only because it also addresses another issue. I chose to cover her first name and photo but everything can be viewed on Supporters Of Jonathan Cornelison:
I also noticed that the number of group members had grown exponentially in just a few days but that the common theme remained; he’s a good kid, great guy, this wasn’t his fault and prayers. I must say, Madison County residents certainly stand by their man. Once again, barely a word about Lina or nary a prayer for her or how she suffered in a virtual oven of death. I noticed that the reporter of the article which first caught my eye was now a group member as were several MCSO employees. The consensus was that Sheriff Morgan was to blame for Lina’s death because he wouldn’t approve $700 to purchase a heat sensor device. Members posted that had they known the sheriff didn’t approve the cost they would have donated the monies so a system could have been installed in the good kid’s vehicle. One of Deputy Cornelison’s fellow K9 handlers addresses it here as well as on other areas of social media. I take umbrage at this handler’s posting because a heat sensor unit is meant to be utilized while the handler and K9 are working. And while they’re also a virtual life saver if a K9 remains in a vehicle too long, I doubt they are meant to serve as a technical dog sitter in the middle of a very hot day for over five (5) hours while the handler is off duty and fixing lawnmowers, paying bills, meeting at a local sports bar and so forth. In my opinion that type of behavior is irresponsible and negligent. While I am not a law enforcement officer, I have one in my immediate family plus have been friends with many over my life, especially during the years I was involved in Schutzhund training and competition with my own dogs. What this does tell me is that “great kid” aside, Deputy Cornelison had no strong ties to K9 Lina despite the fact that he was vocal about the need for a K9 and helped solicit funds to purchase her. When you train and handle a dog, they become just as close to you as anyhuman partner. You wouldn’t lock your human partner in a car for hours and walk away from them. Not anywhere or anytime butespeciallynot in a southern town nicknamed Crossroads of the Ozarks in 90 degree mid-day heat! How can you forget you have a dog in your car? Not a misstep. Just ignorant and uncaring.
As I wrote earlier, the support group is public so anyone can read it however in order to comment you must be a member. A relative of Deputy Cornelison (the same relative that put the Lina’s Lawad in the paper) posted on September 10 ~ the day the page was created, thanking everyone for their support of Cornelison. Then I saw it ~ staring at me from my laptop screen. I vividly remember the moment as confusion rapidly set in and my heartbeat quickened. A group memberresponded to the relative’s post of thanks. Who was this member? Close family of a disgraced former handler in a state over 300 miles away! This member went on to describe the disgraced handler, his dead K9, his family and his service record. Both family members commiserated on how unfair it was to the officers and prayed. Honest to God I had to shut my laptop down because reading that exchange took K9 Lina’s saga completely over the top for me. I didn’t look at the support group for several days and when I did more shocks. Another close family member of the disgraced handler from 300 miles away was a group member as well who was commenting and receiving sympathy. I actually wondered if handlers whose K9 partners died because of the handler’s negligence reached out to each other through social media ~ something akin to a club or unofficial group. Perhaps they do… Finally someone asked if anyone knew about a service for Lina but apparently no one did. On September 23, Matt Durrett, 4th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney for Washington County announced he was not pressing criminal charges against Deputy Cornelison because there was insufficient evidence to prove that he intended to hurt K9 Lina. Then on September 26, Sheriff Morgan announced the disciplinary action Deputy Cornelison would be subject to which included suspension without pay for 60 days. I checked the support group later in the week and found they had erupted in joy that no charges were brought. They also opened a bank account so that people could contribute to the Cornelison family as the deputy would be without pay for 60 days. The chatter blaming Sheriff Morgan for K9 Lina’s death continued and this was posted:
I have no idea why or what led up to it but assume that, like most social media forums, there are an abundance of private conversations. Finally at the end of September into early October several group members commented on K9 Lina in passing. To be brutally honest by this time I was thoroughly sickened and disgusted by what I read and rarely looked at the support group. The defense of the “good kid”, sparse mention of his deceased K9 partner, blame shifting, Bible quotes, endless prayers for the deputy yet not for the dog who suffered horribly while the good kid ran around doing errands and having a meeting in a cool sports bar. Endless condemnation of people who don’t understand; of how great a guy he is, of how accidents can happen to anybody, of how the sheriff was responsible for K9 Lina’s death because he wouldn’t approve a $700 heat sensor system. The common theme of “a little mistake anyone could have made” and the myriad of excuses given! The ugly reality is a handler left his partner in a hot car too long because he FORGOTabout her. Yes, it’s a shame the vehicle wasn’t safety-equipped but that’s not why Lina died. She died because she was left in a vehicle the handler knew had no backup heat sensors. She died because Deputy Cornelison FAILEDto have his partners back!
Then finally! On November 15, Deputy Cornelison’s wife posted K9 Lina’s obituary and a link to her memorial which was held on November 12, 2016. One of the MCSO deputies commented “If you scroll to the bottom of the obituary there is a recording of her last call”; I chose not to.
At this point I decided to blog K9 Lina’s tragic story if for no other reason than to try and make sense of it. However try as I might that never happened. I rarely looked at Deputy Cornelison’s support group because nothing changed. The members continued to support him by extolling his virtues (and to be fair he probably is a nice person), blame shifting was still there plus a plethora of excuses for this accident. Several spoke about how hard he worked which was also blamed on the sheriff, and how busy he was when not working as a deputy for MCSO. Life is hard these days for many people; long hours in a competitive world, children that need to be driven to after school activities, and even like Jonathan Cornelison did on the day of Lina’s death ~ help a friend out. However none of that justifies leaving a K9, your partner plus the taxpayers K9 dog, trapped in a hot vehicle during a hot day. His supporters repeatedly write “He’s only human” to which I say K9 Lina paid a devastating price because of his “humanity”.
A young beautiful dog is dead and the handler not only needs to take full responsibility for her death but he should be held criminally responsible. Because at the end of the day, a loyal K9 Officer suffered and died after being let down by the person she trusted most. To me that is a horrible mistake, not a little one to be trivialized by his Facebook supporters. Again I am not in law enforcement but if I was and one of my fellow officers left his K9 partner that long in a hot car with obviously no thought as to “where is my partner, and how is she doing”, I would think twice about having him as my backup. However judging from the comments on his support page, I seriously doubt that would ever happen.
In Part 2 I posted a screenshot of The Madison County Record which went online approximately 1.5 hours after K9 Lina’s death. It said:
The Record received an anonymous tip from a person Friday afternoon stating that Lina’s death was from being left in the car. At that time, Morgan told The Record that the incident was under investigation and details surrounding the death were unavailable.
That has never been explained but on September 12, 2016 the MCSO gave a detailed release to the Madison County Record of the financial costs involved in K9 Lina’s purchase and training.
The final twist in K9 Lina’s story? As of December 4, 2016 she is not listed on the
My closing thoughts on this senseless tragedy are as follows. This offense by Deputy Cornelison is multi-faceted. I can’t think of anything more offensive than to kill your partner, either by act or omission. For those who serve in the line of fire, they put near blind trust in their partners. To break that trust, even though their partner is a K9 Officer, becomes an issue for every other man and woman in the department. It begs the question “If you fail to protect your own partner, will you protect me when my back is turned?”
The other side of this issue is that a K9 is a significantinvestment for a department. The average cost of training and acquiring a K9 and then to train the K9 handler can cost in excess of $20,000. Then, depending on whether or not advanced training perhaps up to $30,000 on average.
If a law enforcement officer is found to be neglectful in the protection of his K9 partner he should be dismissed from his position as a K9 Handler and any other charges as deemed appropriate by the Prosecutor’s Office. He should not be allowed a “pass go card”.
Instead, Deputy Jonathan Cornelison got a Facebook support page which as of December 3, 2016 had 671 members which include the family of the disgraced handler 300 miles away.
Our planet is truly insane
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.
He stands accused of the murder of three (3) dogs; K9 Inka, a Belgiun Malinois, by leaving her in a hot car, retired K9 Dale whom Peabody asked to keep upon Dale’s retirement at the early age of six (6) because he was “very attached” to him. So attached that shortly after Dale retired Peabody executed the Golden Labrador with a bullet to the back of his head. He’s admitted to the killing but has not disclosed the location of Dale’s body. When police excavated the lawn of Peabody’s former home expecting to find Dale’s remains, instead they discovered a third unknown dog; an older female Belgian Malinois they suspect might have been K9 Inka’s grandmother. Her death was also from a bullet to the back of the head. Despite admitting guilt at the time, Peabody pled “Not Guilty” on October 12, 2016.
That’s because Peabody thinks he’s the injured party. Most do. Psychopaths appear to view the world and others instrumentally, as theirs for the taking. They’re typically profoundly selfish and lack emotion Peabody considers himself invincible. As did Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Zodiac Killer ~ the list goes on. They all had specific proclivities; women, men, children, farm animals and with Peabody ~ working dogs.
Let’s hope the judge reviewing this motion sees it for what it really is and denies the defense’s request. Because despite what Peabody stated while on the stand, HE left K9 Inka to die a slow and agonizing death in a chamber of oppressive heat. Not to mention the other dogs he killed by shooting them in the back of the head. Will be interesting to see what scheme he comes up with to explain their executions. Wonder if, like K9 Inka, he’ll claim he was on duty…
I’ve opted not to show a picture of the crate K9 Inka was trapped in but if you look at this photo, you can see it in the rear of the car.
Goodbye Sweet Girl…
💔💔💔 I am SO sorry that your handler is a murdering piece of waste.💔💔💔
4. A letter of reprimand will be placed in his file.
Sheriff Morgan also announced that the department would install heat sensors in the K9 vehicles.
Nice, tidy ending for the tragic and unnecessary death of a young, vital Belgian Malinois named Lina. Yes there is a difference between intention and negligence. Law enforcement officers understand that very well whether they choose to admit it or not. While I’m sure Deputy Cornelian didn’t get off duty that morning and decide “Today I’m going to kill my partner by leaving her unattended in the patrol car with the windows closed”, he was nonetheless clearly negligent and therefore responsible for her death. In October 2015 Russ Hess, a retired handler and executive director of the United States Police K9 Association, told reporters that “Police officers need to be held to a higher standard to protect their canine partners”. Both veteran handlers and animal advocates say such deaths are preventable and illustrate acts of negligence or over-reliance on technology to protect the dogs. In this October 2015 interview, Scott Heiser, Director of the Criminal Justice Program for the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund said “To our way of looking at things, an officer who allows a dog to die of heat exhaustion on duty is as neglectful as leaving a service revolver on a school playground.”
I agree wholeheartedly. Heat sensor systems such as Hot-N-Pop should be mandatory in all K9 vehicles.
Project Paws Alive, a nationwide 501(c) non-profit organization has created a nationwide K9 Heat Alarm Fund to provide law enforcement K9 Units with K9 heat alarm systems for agencies that cannot afford to purchase the equipment for their K9 vehicles. For those of you not aware of this truly wonderful organization, they operate completely on donations and sponsored support. Their mission? To provide lifesaving safety equipment to all working dogs. Please visit their website or find them on all social media venues.
Having said this, I still hold Deputy Cornelian 200% responsible for the death of K9 Lina.
Even if his vehicle had been equipped with a heat sensor unit, the system is not meant to be a long term solution for your K9 partner while you help a friend fix a lawnmower, talk on the phone, pay a bill, stop in the station, run errands or confer with another agency on a police matter. I don’t care how busy you are, your dog depends on you, and Deputy Cornelian failed her. Failed at keeping a beautiful dog alive and failed the taxpayers of the Madison County.
A handler still has to check on his partner even if the vehicle has a heat sensor system. You cannot solely rely on the equipment to protect your partner on a hot day while you run errands etc for hours.For the sake of argument let’s say Cornelian’s Crown Victoria wasequipped with a heat sensor. Did it have the ability to pop a door lock? If so, was K9 Lina free in the vehicle or confined behind a barrier?
When he exited his vehicle after work that morning, why did he not automatically take K9 Lina out as well? Place her in the kennel behind the barn on his property where she lived?
When you train and handle a dog, they become just as close to you as anyhuman partner. You cover each other. The handler depends on the dog to do the job they’ve been trained for and the dog depends on the handler to provide the basic necessities of life; food, water, cool air, and a place to sleep at the end of a long shift. But maybe I judge too harshly. Poor lad was “overworked” and suffered from “lack of sleep“. Perhaps people in Arkansas have a different genetic code than the rest of us mere mortals because despite these obstacles aka excuses, instead of going to sleep after taking his children to daycare, Deputy Jonathan Cornelison made a series of choices. He choseto help repair a lawnmower at a friend’s house, choseto pay his water bill, choseto talk to his father on the telephone, choseto go to the bank, chose to go to the jail to meet with a probation officer and prosecutor, choseto go to the sheriff’s office, choseto go to an auto parts store, choseto meet with a Huntsville police officer regarding a DWI case and choseto have that discussion at JamDot Chillspot Spot Sports Bar & Grill in Huntsville.
At least we know Deputy Cornelian and the Huntsville officer stayed cool during their meeting because according to their Facebook page, “JamDot Chill Spot is a restaurant/Sports Bar in Huntsville, AR where you can chill with friends and enjoy a nice meal and adult beverage. Wehave 10 TVs!!” Very nice considering the temperature at midday was 91 degrees F.
Meanwhile back at Cornelian’s home, I wonder how hot is was in the Crown Vic where K9 Lina was literally trapped?
Actually, I could tell you and be relatively close. I could also tell you the physiological effect extreme heat has on a dog’s body. I researched the subject in-depth following another hot car death of a K9 earlier in 2016. I also included this hot car temperature called Heat Kills in K9 Lina Part 1. It is excellent and easy to understand plus it includes videos which demonstrate how quickly the interior of a car becomes a death trap.
As sad as I was I felt there wasn’t much I could do about K9 Lina’s death. I started to file away the urls, photos and notes I’d gathered on her. Then I saw it; staring back at me.
It was the first local newspaper report written approximately 1.5 hours after Deputy Cornelison discovered Lina’s body. I remember when I initially read it I had a feeling it would disappear so I quickly took a screen shot plus saved the page as a web page archive.
Do you see what it was in the second paragraph that caught my eye?
I’m glad I saved it because it did indeed “go away” but in its place came a social media firestorm; not for the deceased Lina but rather, the “poor kid”. I even discovered a relationship of sorts between Cornelison and the family of another disgraced handler. There was no pity for Lina ~ only blame shifting by the masses. As I was preparing to begin writing this (never dreaming it would become so convoluted) I looked at the MCSO website to see how they had memorialized K9 Lina. As you can see, on November 18, 2016 she was still listed as being part of the MCSO K9 Unit.
To complete the story of K9 Lina’s tragic and preventable death, I’m going to have to write another post; K9 Lina ~ The Blame Game Part 3.
I’m having an extremely difficult time sleeping ~ all because of something I discovered regarding K9 Bak, the deceased officer from Stephen’s County Sheriff’s Dept. in Duncan OK. On November 4, 2016, I wrote a lengthy post on the horrific way this loyal six year veteran died called The Tragedy of K9 Bak… which went into great detail about the circumstances of his death, or in his case, murder.
But my insomnia isn’t from thinking about how K9 Bak died but rather, the events surrounding the memorial service the community organized as a way of honoring his life, something I closed my original post with. Last night a few details came to light.
Since the Stephen’s County Sheriff’s Department had not made any type of memorial arrangements yet, a member of the community took the initiative and began making plans for a community memorial. It was to be held on the East Side of the Stephen’s County Courthouse (the Sheriff’s Department is located within the same building). The reason for this is there is a monument on the East Side that is a tribute to fallen officers. It was scheduled for 10 am on September 6.
Monument on Eastt Side
Monument Seen From Sidewalk
Sheriff Wayne McKinney told the Duncan Banner why his department would not be doing a memorial for K9 Bak at this time. Since the Duncan Banner only allows a few views before locking one out until you subscribe, I copied their article to a document with a sharable link.
On August 31, one of the organizers announced that the memorial service had to be relocated from the courthouse to the local park which is one half mile away. The reason? “Changed location to Duncan Park. Sheriff up for reelection so can’t be honoring this officer at the courthouse. Hmmmm”. I checked the election results only to find that Sheriff McKinney did win however the election was June 28. My turn to say “Hmmmm”. For whatever reason the organizers had to move the location.
On September 6 as promised community members had a small but lovely memorial for K9 Bak that brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t see a uniform presence in any of the photos and one of the attendees said “It would have been nice to have some police support”. Perhaps they were in street clothes?
Bless this comminity!
In closing, sadly this is not a video of K9 Bak however I wish he had been remenbered by his “family” like this. Perhaps they will ….someday. After all, he was a loyal BlueDog.