My Life Has Become An Old Country Song…

I don’t even now where to begin anymore for it seems that every day something else goes wrong. Still waiting for my January 31, 2017 appointment for YAG procedure  (but only one eye) to remove the scar tissue. The office can’t even give me a general idea of how long before the second eye is done. Then I have to go back to be fitted for glasses and the way they book far in advance I’m thinking that won’t happen until March or April. Meanwhile I have to keep replacing the cheater glasses as my vision worsens. I’m currently at the next to the strongest strength and have to practically have to hold something directly in front of my face to be able to read it. Then of course there’s the green circles and arches that appear every time I look directly at a light. Visual disturbances have always been a primary trigger for migraines so it’s like a vicious circle. I don’t want to keep the lights dimmed because of Sasha’s impaired vision so I basically try to avoid looking at lights or lamp fixtures. I don’t go out unless it’s to the doctors so haven’t left the house since Dec. 6.

When I saw the new neurologist on December 2, I was told his staff would call me as soon as they got the preauthorization for the Botox  injects for migraines (it’s very expensive so needs a PA). They also said that once they had the PA they’d get me right in because I  haven’t had Botox since June 13 and it’s supposed to be given every 3 months. I’ve been getting Botox for several years and my insurance company approves in 48 hours max. Since my appointment was on a Friday I hoped to hear from them no later than the following Thursday, Dec. 8. Nothing. So I called their office on Monday Dec 12 and after speaking to two different people was transferred to “Chrissy”. Left a VM for her around 10 am but no callback. Long story short I called every day and always had to leave a VM. On Thursday Dec. 15 I called and instead of the elusive Chrissy’s line I chose the prompt for making an appointment. Told the woman my story and upon checking my file she didn’t see anything about the Botox PA. I called again on Friday Dec. 16 and used a line I haven’t used in several years. Once again I chose the prompt for making an appointment and when a woman answered I offered my condolences on Chrissy’s death then asked to be connected with whomever took her place. The woman was quite shocked and said “Chrissy’s not dead!!!”. I started my response in a sickening sweet voice I break out from time to time and said “Oh dear me, I must apologize then because I surely thought she was. Followed that with full bitch mode by saying “Why else would someone fail to return nearly a dozen phone calls? What other reason could there be for such egregious incompetence? And by the way, will you send me an application because I’ve always wanted a job where I did nothing yet collected a paycheck”. She was really rattled but assured me she would get a message to Chrissy. I laughed and said that may be but she wouldn’t call back. She said she’s send the message from her terminal to Chrissy’s. Then I told her to add that IF Chrissy called back she would be reaching an advanced practice nurse so don’t even try to give me any BS “because that won’t float”. I didn’t even bother waiting to see if Chrissy (whom I’d decided may not be real) to call; I called my insurance company who has always been wonderful to work with. Upon checking the file and phone log, she told me someone from the neurologist’s office called on Tuesday Dec. 6 but something must have come up as they said they would call back in a minute. The insurance company said there was no record of a callback. I really had to fight to hold back tears at this point as I was beyond frustrated. The insurance company said they would have their pharmacy department reach out to the office and that she personally would reach out. By the way, never did hear from Chrissy that day. Om Tuesday Dec. 20 the same woman from the insurance company called at 9am. She started off ny asking if the neuro’s office had contacted me and I said no. She said that both she and the pharmacy department left VM’s the previous week and they had not been returned either. She asked my permission to open up a case so they could track this providers office and of course I said yes. She also suggested I call the office to at least make the appointment for the injections as they had approved them. Lo and behold  before I had a chance to call the neuro’s office they called me. After I got up from the floor where I had collapsed in shock, Chrissy told me she had taken a few days off the previous week. I won’t bore you with the details of what I said but it wasn’t pretty. She countered with “I was waiting on your insurance”. I followed up with something that also wasn’t pretty. She told me she had good news for me though ~ she had my appointment date. January 2, 2017. I was like WHAT?????? So by the time I get the injects it will be 7 months since I last had them and I’ll be so far off schedule that they won’t be effective until the second set of injections in April. I’m going to get them in Jan. but have already started looking for a different neurologist. He might be great but his staff is hands down the worst I’ve ever encountered and since moving here I’ve met my share of rude and incompetent medical support staff. I’m just not putting up with this nonsense all the time. Before I bid a farewell to Facebook I met a woman in a GSD group from Maine. We struck up a casual conversation and then I didn’t see her for a few days. When she came back online she said she’d had a “breakthrough” migraine. Not knowing what type of medication she took I told her of the good results I’d had with Botox. She said that she gets the injects every 3 months in Worcester MA. I remember being shocked as from her location to Worcester is over 250 miles and a 4 hour drive ~ one way! I wondered why she would travel so far but after my “Maine Botox Experiences (yes plural) I think I can understand. I initially made an appointment with a neuro in Lewiston (same city the current one is located) in 2011. They booked me out over 7 months which put me into 2012. A week before my appointment the office called to say they had to cancel my appointment as the neuro was out. I said let’s book it NOW. Then they said they didn’t know when he’s be back. Very odd. I called a week later and they said he was still out. A few weeks later I received a letter saying he had left the practice but they would be contacting me within 10 days to schedule me with one of the other providers. Yes you guessed it ~ they never called. Then I made an appointment with a pain treatment center that  did Botox for Migraines. Also in Lewiston which is 55 miles one way.  Now Botox has to be refrigerated so you pick it up from the pharmacy on the way to the appointment and keep it in a small cooler bag. First visit went well. The second visit I picked up the Botox and we were about 15 miles from Lewiston when I received a call  from the office saying that Dr. XYZ “doesn’t feel comfortable doing Botox and would prefer you book with Dr ABC”. I said “Are you kidding me? My appointment is in less than 30 minutes, you KNOW I live over an hour away, and Dr. XYZ decides NOW that’s he not comfortable dong Botox???”. I had to go the following week to see Dr. ABC whom I actually liked better. Saw him 2 more times and bam! The pain center closed. At this point I gave up on Botox I really did. Then a few months later I was driving down a road in the town closest to me (16 miles away) when I saw something that made me slam on the brakes. Hanging outside a medical building was a shingle for the neuro I had to wait over 7 months for and then he poofed from the practice! I jotted down his phone number, made an appointment and got in within a few weeks. He’s the one who’s been giving me injections until he announced this past August that he was closing his practice in September and relocating to Kentucky. I swear to God this is so bizarre I couldn’t make this up as I’m not that creative. And as I said in a previous migraine post, the states are clamping down on doctors so to get a small prescription for pain medication is like pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers ~ virtually impossible.

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I am most definitely not in the holiday spirit. It was with great reluctance that  I put a tabletop fiber-optic tree out today and called it good. It’s hard to be “ho ho ho” when you can’t see the floor, you’re terrified to walk outside lest you fall because you can’t see the ground and lights cause visual disturbances which in turn triggers a migraine. Extremely stressful and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to see anybody. In the past when I was stressed or feeling pressured I turned to books or knitting but haven’t done either in over  year. I was dreading Christmas anyway because my mind has been drifting back to last Christmas. Our dear friend spent the day with us and following dinner we sat in the great room with the fire crackling and watched movies. I was still very upset over the death of my dog on November 5 and it was his sarcastic humor that got me through both Thanksgiving and Christmas . Yet for some unknown reason I never took a single picture either holiday and after he committed suicide in April 2016  I’ll never have that opportunity again. He was our adopted family member; we spent every holiday together. It’s more difficult than I’d imagined.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

So I spend my days just piddling around, use the dictating app on my laptop to write a blog entry or Siri on my iPhone to make a call for me. The dictating app hasn’t mastered my NY accent so I have to try and manually correct the apps interpretation of some of my words (don’t even ask). And Siri the brat. Took me 2 years with my previous phone to train her and now I have to start all over again. Just today I told her to call “Mt. Blue Pharmacy” to which she replied “I don’t see a listing for your mother”.

Since this has been such a whiney post I’ll end with something funny. I have the new iPhone 7 but have only set up the most basic features until I can see better. There’s a new feature that, when enabled, lets you say “Hey Siri” and she’ll answer. The other night for the heck of it I said “Hey Siri”. The response was definitely a Depends moment. Siri said “I can’t talk right now as I’m having a staring contest with iPhone 7 Plus and I think I’m winning”.

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The Staring Contest
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Reason I chose iPhone 7 over iPhone 7 Plus

Maine: The Way Life Should Be ~ NOT…

Maine: The Way Life Should Be ~ NOT…

The hour is quite late so I’m deviating from my normal style of posting because I am so disturbed by what I heard on the news as I walked past the television that I am unable to rest. I realized after hearing the story on WGME 13, a CBS affiliate station covering Maine, that I live in a state where the very agencies created to help those in need often turn a blind eye ~for months. While this story may not be a graphic murder scene or the never-ending election debates, it nonetheless is truly unconscionable especially now, in the season of giving, kindness and faith.

The cover photo for this post is one of the first things one sees upon entering the state. Similar signs dot the major highways as well as secondary roads. I even photographed a weather worn sign on the Appalachian Trail in 2015.

I think the meaning behind the slogan is that life in Maine is perfect and perhaps to some it is. I personally find it less than ideal and honestly cannot wait to leave. The state and I have, shall I say, a mutual dislike for each other. I’ve grown weary of the never-ending sound of gunfire, of chasing hunters off my clearly marked property every year, of picking up empty beer cans, burned out firecrackers and an occasional condom from my private river area. Tired of making a doctor’s appointment only to be scheduled 4-7 months out. I’m done.

And what news report cold have angered me so much you wonder? Ir was a story of two women actually. One is a victim and the other the  CEO of KVCAP a non-profit organization that helps “hundreds of thousands of residents overcome the challenges of poverty”.

On your left is Peggy Lane, a homeowner in Central Maine who has been without heat since the beginning of November because her furnace broke and she doesn’t have the money to get a new one. Peggy has been living in extreme cold along with her small dog and her cat. Tonight the temperature is well below zero and the coldest on record for this part of December in 27 years. Peggy and her faithful companions have been making do with a small space heater and many layers of clothing and coats. On the left is Suzanne Walsh .CEO of  KVCAP. Her organization is aware of Peggy’s dire situation but recently advised Peggy  that they have to put her repair out for bid first. before they can help her due to federal regulations bah blah blah.

In desperation Peggy reached out to WGME’s I Team and today reporter Jon Crisos visited her. Here is the story:

“I’m just so cold” — woman without heat for weeks turns to I-Team for help

by Jon Chrisos

Friday, December 16th 2016

WEST GARDINER (WGME) — On this coldest day of the season, a West Gardiner woman doesn’t have any heat. Peggy Lane has been living in the cold in her home for more than a month now and it’s all because of a fight over her boiler. “It’s been a nightmare, it’s just been a complete nightmare,” Lane said.  As the wind whips outside, frost covers the windows of her home. “I’m really cold, and I’m miserable, but I’m just trying to get through this the best I can because I know people have it worse than I do,” Lane said. She said she hasn’t had any heat since early November when her boiler cracked and leaked all over the basement. Since then she’s been trying to get low-income assistance to replace it. “Obviously I do not have the money or I would put the boiler in,” Lane said.

She got a letter Thursday from KVCAP, which administers federal funding, telling her they could help, but would have to put the project out to bid.

“I’m just so cold. People shouldn’t live like this; it’s not right,” she said.

Lane called the CBS 13 On Your Side I-Team to see if we could help.

We asked KVCAP if there’s a process for emergency heating assistance.

KVCAP CEO Suzanne Walsh called back to explain based on funding rules, they’re required to get the lowest price for every project.

“We have to operate under very strict guidelines because we’re ambassadors of federal funds,” Walsh said.  However, after talking with Maine Housing, she said they’ll now work to expedite the bid process and get the boiler replaced.

“We definitely want to work the homeowner and make sure she is warm and safe,” Walsh said.  KVCAP also told us they’d send over some larger space heaters and would start getting bids Friday.

If you need heat help, Maine Housing suggests you apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

As of Friday, we’re told 32,700 applications have been processed in Maine and the average benefit so far this heating season is $732.

 

This is truly one of the saddest stories I have heard in many a year. It’s also inexcusable.

To My Friend ~ Suicide Is NOT The Answer *Profanity*…

To My Friend ~ Suicide Is NOT The Answer *Profanity*…

There IS a way out of that mindset and I’m going to tell you about it but first you must place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up.

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Which one do YOU choose?  Because I won’t lie, suicide is probably easier. Find a method, implement it, go to sleep ~ and die. No more battles, no more bullshit from therapists that overbook and overcharge. No more being a guinea pig for every new treatment modality Big Pharma cranks out. No more failed attempts to make your family understand that you’re in pain, your head is fucked up and you could use some support. No more angst because an employer denied your right under the ADA of 1990 and dumped you from a 17 year job. No more frustration from trying to get an idiotic bimbo at a government office to listen to you, do her fucking job and help you obtain justice for having your rights violated instead of taking the easy way out by convincing you it would be a long hard fight blah blah. Yep been there, done that. Collect your paycheck worthless clerk and get out of my face.

Because that’s what it often is ~ a lonely battle where no one seems to “get” it. Family doesn’t have time or energy for you when you’re in distress but oh boy! Don’t answer the phone when they call one day and they act as if you’ve drained their bank account and crashed their car. They just ooze the love. But ~ I don’t think it’s that they don’t love us but rather, they don’t understand. They expect us to be like them which we can’t do. The irony is, if they lived inside our head for a few days, they’d run and never look back.

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Yes killing ones self is probably akin to taking life’s low road. Do you know the road I speak of? The one that winds through dark tunnels and dense forests,  deprived of  light and warmth? It’s cold because of the lack of sun so you miss dew on a blade of grass, springs’ first crocus, a rabbit scampering away as he hears you approach. You miss all the moments both good and not so good of watching your child become their own person. One day your frustration at their attitude or laziness gives way and you see them almost as if for the first time; a productive adult that YOU molded. And though at times their apathy is annoying, they truly do love you. If you kill yourself you create a ripple effect that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. 

Because if you kill yourself, you’re also going to kill the people who love you. You’re going to kill the passion which drives you to do what you do so damn well. You’re going to allow the darkness to win and you’re stronger and braver than that.  If you kill yourself you’ll be giving in to the monsters of the dark who live to drag us into their world of darkness. We’ve both been there yet clawed our way out, sometimes by just a ragged nail or two. That says something ~ it says fuck you! I’m better and I’m more powerful than you. You might knock me down but I WILL get back up. Because I have a life and today is NOT your day to claim it.

In Sylvia Plath’s Unabridged Journal she wrote “I act and react, and suddenly I wonder, ‘Where is the girl that I was last year? Two years ago? What would she think of me now?”

We aren’t the same as we were last year or the year before. We’ve changed, taken steps both forward and backward. Some of the changes were society driven while others were by-products of mental health. Then there is the change because our employers tossed us aside like an old worn out sweater, to be replaced with a newer albeit less expensive one. And that my friend becomes you’re defining moment….do I let these steps, these changes, drag me to a place from which I can never return? Never open my eyes after a nights sleep? Never finish a project I’ve put my very essence into? Never see my child marry? Hold my first grandchild? Never make the difference and be the change I wanted to see happen?  

You are braver than you believe and you are stronger than you realize;  never, ever forget that. And know that although it may seem it now, you are NOT alone. Many of us have been sucked into the abyss, many have attempted suicide but thankfully were saved. Then many like my dear friend last April weren’t as fortunate and those of us who loved them will never fully  recover from their tragic deaths.

Yes there are choices but you must choose the right one. For to do otherwise would deny not only your loved ones (who like all families are  often a PIA) of sharing your life but it would deprive the world of the contributions you have to offer and the continuance of the good work you’ve started.

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Death of K9 Lina ~ The Aftermath Part 2

Death of K9 Lina ~ The Aftermath Part 2

On September 23, 2016, Matt Durrett, 4th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney of Washington County announced Deputy Jonathan Cornelison was not criminally negligent in the September 9th hot car death of K9 Lina because there was insufficient evidence to prove that he intended to hurt the 2-year-old K9. After the decision was announced Madison County Sheriff  Phillip Morgan declined to comment stating he hadn’t been able to thoroughly review the prosecutorial decision. On September 26, Sheriff Morgan announced the disciplinary action Deputy Cornelison would be subject to:

Deputy Cornelison will:

1. Be suspended without pay for 60 days.

2. Be removed from the K9 program.

3. Be decertified as a K9 Handler.

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.category1

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.

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K9 Lina

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 was equipped 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 any human 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 chose to help repair a lawnmower at a friend’s house, chose to pay his water bill, chose to talk to his father on the telephone, chose to go to the bank, chose to go to the jail to meet with a probation officer and prosecutor, chose to go to the sheriff’s office, chose to go to an auto parts store, chose to meet with a Huntsville police officer regarding a DWI case and chose to 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. We have 10 TVs!!” Very nice considering the temperature at midday was 91 degrees F.

Meanwhile back at Cornelian’s home, I wonder how hot it 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 screenshot plus saved the page as a web page archive.

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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.

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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.

Insomnia Over a K9 Death…

Insomnia Over a K9 Death…

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.

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Stephen’s County Courthouse

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.

Community hosting memorial for K9 Bak

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.

K9 Bak’s EOW was August 5, 2016. His former handler, Matthew Peck,  was terminated immediately. Some details of K9 Bak’s death and Sheriff Wayne McKinney’s response are in this video report from NBC4i from August 27.

On August 29, Peck was charged with one (1) count of felony animal cruelty.

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?

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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.

The Senseless Death of K9 Lina…Part 1

The Senseless Death of K9 Lina…Part 1

Madison County is in Northwest Arkansas and encompasses approximately  837 square miles. The last census from  2010 census indicates a population of 15,717. The county seat is Huntsville, nicknamed the “Crossroads of the Ozarks“. Huntsville has a police department and coverage is also provided by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department (MCSO). The MSCO acquired  K9 Lina in either 2014 or 2015. As I’ve discovered since I started writing about K9 deaths, media reports often give conflicting information. I also learned that Arkansas does not respond to FOIA requests unless they are submitted by a resident of the state. What I do know is that through community donations, the MSCO was able to purchase a female  Belgian Malinois from K9 Working Dogs International, LLC. located in Longford, Kansas. The website says that Police Dog Pricing ranges from $4,500.00 to $15,500.00 which is most likely based on how advanced the dog’s training is at time of purchase. I don’t know how much training K-9 Lina had prior to joining Madison County, only that Deputy Cornelison trained to be her handler at K9 Working Dogs for three weeks. By the time she hit the road with her handler,  K-9 Lina was trained to track and detect narcotics. She also lived at his residence with his family and a family dog where she was housed in an outside kennel behind a barn.j-cornelison

What I DO know is that after being a K9 Officer for Madison County for one year, K-9 Lina died in Deputy Cornelison’s patrol vehicle, a Ford Crown Victoria, on September 9, 2016.

Again, more mainstream media discrepancies as some report K-9 Lina remained inside the vehicle when Cornelison arrived home from work at 6 am until the discovery of her body at 2:45 – 3 pm. Others reported that Cornelison took Lina out of the vehicle and kennelled her until he was called out to assist with an accident at which point he removed her from her kennel and to the wreck with him. So K-9 Lina was either trapped inside a hot car for approximately (8) hours or (6).

This is a stock photo of a Ford Crown Victoria ~ not one from MCSO or any agency involved in this case.indianapolis_metropolitan_police_cruiser_1

He parked the patrol car in his driveway at approximately 9 am after which he performed a variety of tasks such as driving in his truck to help a friend fix a lawnmower, pay his water bill, talk on the phone with a family member and other errands. It wasn’t until approximately 2:45 – 3 pm, after greeting his other dog that he realized K9 Lina was quiet in the kennel. That’s when Deputy Cornelison discovered K-9 Lina dead inside the patrol vehicle, one that was NOT equipped with a heat sensor. The outside temperature that day was 91 degrees which means that the interior temperature would have reached  109 degrees within 10 minutes.

Excellent temperature graphs, illustrations, sources and video.

According to Sheriff Phillip Morgan, Deputy Cornelian was in a “state of shock” upon finding K-9 Lina’s lifeless body. Sheriff Morgan also told the media that his deputies had been working 50 hour weeks due to understaffing and were overworked and sleep deprived. Deputy Cornelian was placed on paid leave while neighboring Washington County conducted an investigation.

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Sheriff Morgan

I’ve read Deputy Jonathan Cornelison’s  timeline and as a nurse who has worked more than her share of long 12 -18 shifts with little sleep in between and a single parent of (3) children, I can understand part of it. The following, however, is where any similarities end:

Woke up at 6 a.m. Friday to take his kids to daycare, then responded to a wreck, with Lina in the back seat. Drove straight home, and went back inside at about 9 a.m.

At 9:50 a.m., he got a call to help his friend with a broken lawnmower. Ran errands until 1:40 p.m. and then met a Huntsville officer to review a DWI case. Returned home at about 2:45 p.m. and realized Lina was not in her kennel. Found her deceased in the back of his car.” Source: KHBS *Note It was 90 F the day of K9 Lina’s death

I don’t know where Deputy Cornelian originally hails from but I do know that he has lived in Arkansas for at least (9) years as he’s been employed by the Madison County Sheriff’s Dept. since 2007. That alone tells me he is more than familiar with the hot temperatures in a community whose motto is “Crossroads of the Ozarks”. The median temperature for early September in Huntsville is 80 – 88 F. Anyone should know that is too hot to allow a living animal or human to stay inside a car for more than a very brief time. But an LEO, who is trained to identify dangerous situations (hot cars being one of them) and to still leave his partner inside one is abhorrent. When he returned from the wreck, “with Lina in the back seat. Drove straight home, and went back inside at about 9 a.m.” He should have removed her from the vehicle the same time he removed himself. I do not buy into the overworked, tired, lack of sleep, skeleton crew excuses being offered by both the deputy and Sheriff Morgan; they are merely words being used to justify egregious behavior by a negligent handler. Deputy Cornelian knew it was hot out, as an LEO he inherently knew that hot cars are death traps, yet he still kept K-9 Lina inside a virtual oven while “At 9:50 a.m., he got a call to help his friend with a broken lawnmower. Ran errands until 1:40 p.m. and then met a Huntsville officer to review a DWI case. Returned home at about 2:45 p.m. and realized Lina was not in her kennel.” Source: KHBS

None of his actions during the time frame of nearly (6) hours were those of a man so irrational from overwork and lack of sleep that his behavior can be considered innocent and K-9 Lina’s death merely an “accident” when in reality, it was a death sentence for her. This is blatant animal abuse ~ by cop. Which begs the question; how can we as a society trust an officer who is sworn to protect and serve us when he FAILS to protect the life of his own K9 partner?

On September 23,   Matt Durrett, 4th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney of Washington County,  announced that there was insufficient evidence to support an animal cruelty charge, therefore, Deputy Cornelian would not be charged. I do not concur with Prosecutor Durrett’s decision because criminal charges must be brought against the handler in this case. Otherwise, the negligent homicide of police dogs by human police officers will continue. My only solace is the knowledge and inherent belief that 90% of our law enforcement canine handlers are above reproach. Many would take a bullet for their partner. Once Prosecutor Durrett’s announced  that no charges would be forthcoming, Sheriff Morgan brought final disciplinary action against the deputy on September 26:

Deputy Cornelison will:
1. Be suspended without pay for 60 days.
2. Be removed from the K9 program.
3. Be decertified as a K9 Handler.
4. A letter of reprimand will be placed in his file.

A K9 Officer is a universal dog that can track, guard, catch and protect. A K9 Officer serves his duty just like any human officer. They will protect their handler with their life.

It is disheartening to know that the state of Arkansas takes hot car deaths so lightly. In August 2016, Hon. Wade Navamore , a circuit judge in Hot Springs,  was found innocent in the July 2015 death of his 17-month-old son that he forgot in a hot car for (5) hours while at work.

The courtroom broke out in loud cheers as the verdict was read aloud by Special Judge John Langston. Naramore’s wife, Ashley, ran over to embrace her husband shortly after.

A sad indictment against the values and moral compass of one of America’s southern states.

I’ll leave you with this thought; think about being trapped in a hot car and fighting for every breath you could take until you just couldn’t breathe anymore and took your last one. Very heart wrenching and inexcusable!

lina-white

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.

 

 

Next ~ Part 2: The aftermath of K9 Lina’s death

 

The Tragedy of K9 Bak…

The Tragedy of K9 Bak…

Several months ago I wrote a post entitled What Is It With These Psycho Cops??? which focused on K-9 Bak of the Stephens County OK Sheriff’s Department. K-9 Bak was 8 years old and had served with the Sheriff’s Department since he was 2. For the past four years, he was partnered with (former) Deputy Matthew Peck with whom he also resided. Coincidentally, both Bak and Peck had worked for the Sheriff’s Department for six years. According to Sheriff Wayne McKinney, K-9 Bak was an excellent dual purpose dog used for detection and narcotics.

When former deputy Matthew Peck returned home from duty on August 3, 2016, he left K-9 Bak in the vehicle for approximately 38 hours with no water, food or ventilation. He literally closed the car door and walked away. Even after everything I’ve written about this case I still cannot fathom what motivated Peck. I’ve read one or two media reports that said “people” had claimed that Peck had started leaving K-9 Bak in the patrol car on his days off but I’ve encountered so many discrepancies with this case that I’m not sure what’s true and what’s not except that a noble K9 (often called a #BlueDog) died an excruciating death, alone in a patrol car, when the outside temperatures hovered at 100 degrees.

On August 5, Peck returned to his vehicle and found his K9 partner dead inside at which point he notified Undersheriff John Smith. It was reported that as officers approached Peck’s vehicle they could smell a decomposing animal. An internal investigation was launched and Peck was terminated on August 8. A criminal investigation however continued and on August 29 District Attorney Jason Hicks office charged Matthew Peck 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. Peck’s bond was set at $5,000 and his first appearance was yesterday,  November 2, at the Stephens County Courthouse. Court documents state that Peck found  K-9 Bak dead at approximately 10:40 a.m. August 5, 2016.

 In my original post on K-9 Bak, I  wrote about the physiological effect heat exhaustion has on a canine so won’t repeat it other than to say the dog suffers terribly. I have a feeling that K-9 Bak was crated inside the patrol vehicle although I could be wrong. The reason I think this is twofold. If Peck truly had started leaving the dog in the vehicle on his days off it would be easier to clean urine and feces out of a crate as opposed to the car seat. Secondly, even if August 3 was the first time Peck left Bak in the vehicle, after 38 hours Peck would have opened the door to utter destruction yet none of the media reports mentioned a damaged car. A trapped canine will literally shred the interior of a vehicle in an attempt to escape the oppressive heat. As the heat rises, the trapped dog will claw, bite and/or try to chew their way out.

k9-officer-article-image

This is the interior of a police cruiser from Montville Township Police Department in Ohio. K-9 Beny was trapped inside the police vehicle for four hours on September 28, 2014, and died. As the heat rose, K-9 Beny, trapped inside the car, tried to claw, bite and chew his way out. The temperature that day was 80 degrees. His handler, Sgt. Brett Harrison was charged with two counts of animal cruelty but only found guilty of one. He remains a sergeant with the Montville PD but is no longer a handler.

 

This has been an unbelievingly difficult story to follow because of all the inaccuracies I’ve discovered. For example, in the hometown newspaper, The Duncan Banner, one article said that K-9 Bak died on August 5 yet another one of their articles said he died on August 24. Then there’s the mainstream media ~ the local affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. One would report that Peck discovered K-9 Bak when he approached the vehicle that morning while another said:

On Friday morning, as Beck was driving to court, according to WXIN (Indianapolis), he noticed the smell coming from the back of his patrol car. On seeing the rotting body of his partner in the back, Peck went straight to his superior, Undersheriff John Smith.

I’ve often wondered how well reporters fact check because through my K9 advocacy work I find a multitude of errors and often one reporter writes verbatim what another reporter has already written. 

On November 2, Matthew Peck had a Preliminary Hearing Conference which I chose not to attend as it is very basic. At the conference, he was scheduled for a Preliminary Hearing in front of a Special Judge on November 30, 2016, at 9am which I planned to attend. At this hearing, the prosecutor will prove to the judge that a crime was committed and witnesses will testify.  If the judge agrees then a trial date is set. Since Preliminary Hearing Conferences can be continued before the date it’s scheduled and often on the actual date, I was paying a bit extra to buy my plane ticket with cancellation insurance. I researched package deals last night (flight, hotel and car rental) and was going to make my purchase this afternoon. Then an email arrived from the assistant district attorney; Matthew Peck has been deployed and will be leaving before November 30. Amazing! Six years with the Sheriff’s Department and not once was he deployed but now that he’s facing a felony charge ~ poof. Did I also mention his father is with the OSP and he has a brother in law enforcement as well?

Peck was in the military at some point and probably remained active with the National Guard. Somehow it doesn’t seem right that he can leave with this charge pending but this is the United States where we are innocent until proven guilty.

Peck Military
Undated photo of Matthew Peck

So where do I go from here? With Peck deployed the trial will be postponed for a long time. Emotions surrounding K-9 Bak’s horrific death will go by the wayside. His name will come up in a Google search as he joins the growing list of K9s who die in hot cars; his life reduced to a mere number. People will move on and forget about a noble and devoted dog who contributed so much to both the Stephens County Sheriffs Department as well as the community he served faithfully for six years. And what about Matthew Peck? What made him so void of humanity that he could essentially murder his partner in such an unconscionable way?  What kind of human, especially one sworn to serve and protect, does something so savage?

Where did K-9 Bak come from? Was he imported as many working dogs are or from a United States breeder?  Where did he live/work prior to joining the department when he was 2? Was he fully trained when he became an officer for Stephens County? What was the plan for him as he approached retirement? There are too many questions that need to be answered and until they are, I simply cannot chalk Bak’s life up to a statistic and forget about it. I have come to care about this issue more than I intended when I first wrote about it. I’ve invested myself and simply put, need to see it through.

As for the ever-increasing number of K9 hot car deaths? Perhaps the only thing that could prevent 100% of these deaths is a policy that required officers to never leave a dog alone in a vehicle.

In closing, I read an article in September about how the community K9 Bak served united to honor him with a memorial. Such a beautiful act of compassion and love…



K-9 Bak

EOW August 5, 2016

Stephens County Sheriff’s Department

He has gone home to rest for the final time

“Officer Kilo Bak is 10-42 … Good Boy Bak”

 

K9

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.