K-9 Endy ~ Left In A Hot Patrol Truck Nearly 12 Hours…

K-9 Endy ~ Left In A Hot Patrol Truck Nearly 12 Hours…

K-9 Endy suffered an excruciatingly painful death because his handler left him in the patrol truck, parked in full sun, while the handler participated in July 4th activities for nearly 12 hours.

Please take a moment to reflect on K-9 Endy, an 8 yr old officer with the Cache County Sheriff’s Office in Logan Utah. K-9 Endy, a Belgian Malinois, died on July 3, 2017, when his handler, Deputy Jason Whittier, left  K-9 Officer Endy in the patrol truck after he arrived home from his shift at 12 pm. He parked the truck in an area with direct sunlight and exited the vehicle. Deputy Whittier then left his home and participated in family July 4th activities for the day. When he returned from the festivities at 11:30 pm, nearly 12 hours later, he realized that K-9 Endy was not in his kennel. Upon checking the truck Deputy Whittier discovered his partner deceased. The cause of death was heat exhaustion. The temperature on July 3 was 95 degrees. Deputy Whittier was reassigned and placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation. On July 19 Whittier was charged with a Class B misdemeanor aggravated cruelty to an animal and scheduled for a court appearance on August 28. The community was extremely upset that Deputy Whittier’s  suspension placed such a burden on him; no income yet bills and a family to provide for so they established a fundraising page to help him in his hour of need. They empathized with Deputy Whittier’s terrible plight and many wrote that he was a kind and noble man who simply made an honest mistake; an innocent mistake that could happen to anyone. Many posted comments under media articles sympathizing because he was understandably distracted by the July 4th festivities and being away from his home for nearly 12 hours. I’ve included the link to his fundraiser even though it ended August 22. Life is not always fair and hopefully, goodness and mercy will prevail for Deputy Whittier.

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The above of course is sarcasm. Police K9s are not “just dogs“, they are a vital part of a crime-fighting team whose work should be celebrated alongside their human handlers. K9s are the unsung heroes of any police department plus extremely loyal companions. Most importantly, they are the human officer’s partner. How can a man who took an oath to protect and serve fail to keep his partner, a sentient being, safe? 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 K9 partner? Because he forgot? The first rule in law enforcement ~ never abandon your partner! Whittier wasn’t on a 3-hour foot pursuit; he was enjoying family activities away from home on a holiday weekend. He disgraced the badge and failed the people of Cache County Utah. Most of all, he failed his partner K-9 Endy by leaving him to die in oppressive heat inside a vehicle, parked in direct sunlight, in 95-degree weather, for nearly 12 hours.

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K-9 Endy was Cache County Sheriff Department’s first K9 officer. He joined the department in September 2016 at age 7. Born in September 2008, K-9 Endy had been in law enforcement since April 2010 when he joined the Logan Police Department where he participated in more than 200 assignments ranging from drug and suspect searches to public demonstrations.  A Belgium Shepherd, his commands were in Dutch and his former Logan handler Eric Johnson said how much his children loved speaking Dutch to him. K-9 Endy had two handlers while with Logan PD. His second one, Logan police officer and K-9 handler Eric Johnson was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in September 2015 with a lengthy recovery time. Because Endy was a working dog, he needed a job to do and was subsequently sold to Cache County Sheriff’s Department where he was paired with Deputy Whittier. The Herald Journal did a feature on the new 4 legged officer in April 2016 in which Deputy Whittier described the one month bonding period he and the canine spent: “It was during this time that the pair truly transitioned from being merely a master and a dog to being buddies, he said.”

K-9 Endy continued to participate in school demonstrations which I think you’ll agree, he appeared to relish.

The Northern Utah Critical Incident Task Force, under the auspices of the Cache County Attorney’s Office, investigated K-9 Endy’s death.

Originally suspended by the Cache County Sheriff’s Department pending an investigation, Deputy Whittier was terminated by the department on August 18. He appeared in the First District Court in Logan on October 2 where he pleaded no contest to one count of aggravated cruelty to an animal, a class B misdemeanor. The probable cause statement says Whittier returned home from his shift around noon and parked his patrol vehicle outside his Cache County home, leaving K-9 Endy inside. Whittier returned home around 11:30 p.m. and realizing Endy was not in his outside kennel, discovered the dog dead inside his patrol vehicle. Experts at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab analyzed K-9 Endy’s remains and their findings “suggest fatal heat stroke as the cause of death,” according to the affidavit.

Whittier’s sentencing is scheduled for November 13 where he could face a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. I find it interesting that this media and video reports that Whittier pleaded guilty. Without going into great detail, there’s a difference between the two pleas.

A memorial service for K-9 Endy, which was open to the public, was held Wednesday, August 2 in front of the Cache County Sheriff’s Office. It was a beautiful service and many people paid tribute to this remarkable dog. There’s a video in this article that shows how much the community, his former department, and handlers along with the Cache County Sheriff’s Department, respected and honored him.  The entire service was paid for by a private donor who wished to remain anonymous. Such a touching and kind gesture to close a tragically dark time.

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After reading and researching K-9 Endy’s death, I must admit that I admire Cache County Sheriff Chad Jenson. Unlike many departments, he never attempted to circle the wagons around the handler but rather, he launched a proper investigation, followed by naming the deputy and announcing his suspension. He explained that the K9 vehicle had a temperature safety unit but like most systems, only worked if the vehicle was running. He added that the systems were being upgraded to the type that alerts the handler. 

But it was these words by the sheriff that gave me a glimmer of hope that departments across America are finally realizing that these magnificent K9s are team members and not a disposable commodity:

“I say to all of you and I say to Endy: that your life was not lost in vain,” he said. “As I pledge to you Endy: We will be better. We will do better.

If only I was assigned to investigate a K9’s hot car death because my Fact-Finding Investigation would be as follows:

Fact – You were issued a K9 to train and work with.

Fact – You carelessly allowed the K9 to die in your issued vehicle.

Fact – You’re fired!

Fact – I’m recommending you be charged with injuring a police service animal, a third-degree felony in Utah punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

If I could ask former Deputy Whittier one question, it would be if his daylong festivities was worth his partner’s life?

K-9 Endy
EOW July 3, 2017
Cache County Sheriff’s Department
Logan UT
He has gone home to rest for the final time
Officer Kilo Endy is 10-42 … Good Boy Endy

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.

 

 

Endy's Tennis Ball
K-9 Endy’s Tennis Ball

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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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

 

Finally! Answers To My Visual Problem

Finally! Answers To My Visual Problem

I’m so daft I can’t find the post I did about not being able to see following eye surgery a tad over one year ago. Let me preface this post by saying the reason I don’t read and comment more on blogs I follow is I can barely read. I have cheater glasses in every room of my house because after my eye surgery last October I completely lost my ability to read or do anything close without glasses. If the &%$#* ophthalmologist had told me this in advance I never would have gone through with the surgery (which I just found out I didn’t need). I can’t use my iPad nor my iPhone unless I tell my buddy Siri what I want for the simple reason I can’t see. I have the font on my Mac so huge one would think I was 90. That’s a pain in itself because it’s so big that I have to continuously scroll right and left just to read a page. I think as some people hit their 40’s they gradually lose their near vision; finding themselves looking harder, squinting perhaps. With me it was instant. Bam!  As I wrote in the post I can’t find, the visual problems have worsened. The glasses the ophthalmologist RX for me in December never worked (progressive lenses). His snotty staff tried to say it was because I didn’t know how to “look out of” progressive lenses. Gee, I’ve been wearing them since 1989 as I needed them for distance and the middle area. Never wore them to knit, read, write on computer or cook. My efforts to get an appointment with the ophthalmologist fell on deaf ears because in March when I insisted on seeing him they booked me at the end of July. That didn’t sit well with me because I’ve been gong to him since he opened his practice here which is at least 10 years. Even though I told his staff I was falling over stones outside, dog toys inside, and a few times over parking bump thingys in parking lots they wouldn’t budge. Told them I could no longer drive or hike with my dogs, had increased headaches but they wouldn’t budge. If you read my original post you will recall that I took the RX glasses to his office along with a nicely worded letter listing everything that was happening. The secretary acted like I was an axe murderer when I asked that she sign a copy of the letter indicating she had received the glasses. Glad I recorded the whole encounter. That got me nowhere. Then I thought perhaps his staff (which I honestly never liked) didn’t tell him so I wrote a second letter and spent $19 to send it certified with restricted delivery. He signed for it and a few days later I received a handwritten note from the office manager saying if I didn’t pay for the glasses they would turn me over to a collection agency and by the way, they no longer wanted me as a patient. Like I would ever go back. Screw you lady.

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Meanwhile back at the farm I have to keep buying different numbered cheater glasses. I also see large halos around lights. On October 6 I fell extremely hard in my vet’s parking lot because I didn’t see an errant stone (this is the country so stones/rocks everywhere). That did it! While he was doing her acupuncture  I burst into tears. He told me about the multi practitioner eye center he goes to which like everything else is a two-hour drive one way. Yesterday was my appointment and before the doctor even dilated my eyes she could see the problem; my corneas are covered with scar tissue that developed from the surgery. If the original surgeon had just fit me in instead of making me wait an unrealistic four months the problem could have been fixed and I wouldn’t have had my quality of life go down the tubes. Now my biggest problem is that the new practice (a five floor building) can’t fit me in until December 2. A month so I guess that’s not to terribly bad. The procedure to fix my problem is simple and done with laser. Even the new doctor asked why the original doctor didn’t see me sooner which surprised me as they usually stick together. I was tempted to say because he’s an asshole but instead said “I don’t know”.

As for his office turning me over to collection go ahead.  I’m tired of people bullying me and I’ve kept phone bills that show all the times I’ve called him, receipts for all the visits to his optometry department plus documented my falls and everything else. So bring it on…

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Hello Epiphany! I’ve Been Waiting For You…

Hello Epiphany! I’ve Been Waiting For You…

The recent death of Pennsylvania DOC K9 Totti has galvanized me into action more than any issue in many years. K9 Totti, a two-year old yellow lab, was left by her handler, Sgt. Chad Holland, in the car on a day when the temperature outside was in the high 80’s. Unlike some police cars, the DOC vehicles do not have safety monitoring equipment installed that could save a trapped K9. Instead, Holland left K9 Tottie for over two hours while he attended a training session. The temperature inside the car would have rapidly escalated to over 100 degrees. There is no doubt in my mind that this poor dog suffered. When Holland realized his negligence, he and coworkers rushed to the vehicle and took actions to cool the still breathing K9 down. They then took her a veterinary facility where she was treated. I know I put the timeline in a previous post but this is  germane  so please bare with me ( failed to notice until today that in this timeline issued by the DOC they referred to K9 Totti as male when in fact the dog the officer was female):

12:15 p.m.- Dog handler stored training items in his vehicle at the end of a training session
2:44 p.m.- Dog handler realized Totti was locked in the car. Dog handler and other Drug Interdiction Union staff cooled Totti down with water and carefully placed him in ice to reduce body temperature.
2:58 p.m.- Totti was placed in truck and driven to vet clinic.
4:15 p.m.- Totti’s body temperature was back to normal, but creatine levels were high; blood sugar was low but being treated; heart rate remained elevated
7:30 p.m.- Totti passed away

The key words for me here is “creatinine levels” as they indicate Totti suffered acute and irreversible renal failure because her body was subjected to a very high temperature for several hours. It dawned on me today why this dogs death has resonated with me on such a passionate level; my own dog Callie Ann who died last November.  Yes Callie had lymphoma however THAT is not the reason she died. I have been reluctant to go into great detail surrounding her death for several reasons ~ the primary being that nothing could bring her back. I could publicly flog the person responsible yet it wouldn’t change the outcome. At the end of the day my black angel still wouldn’t be by my side.

After Callie’s initial chemo dose, her lymphs reduced by 90% and her oncologist was extremely optimistic. During the week until her next chemo she became quite nauseous. It didn’t stop so I decided she needed to be seen. I checked her temperature and it was slightly elevated. Not wanting to subject a nauseous dog to a two-hour car ride to the specialty practice, I opted to take her to our local veterinarian of many years. She started an IV and put Callie and me in a cluttered back room. I laid on the floor next to her, constantly talking and petting her. She seemed warmer so I asked them to check her temperature; it was elevated to 103.2. The vet assured me this was fine and said “that shows her immune system is working”. Something in my gut didn’t feel right but I am not a veterinarian so I stayed silent. We spent several hours in that room with the vet’s children coming in and out as they apparently stay at the practice after school. I asked again to have her temperature checked and the male tech openly expressed his annoyance via his body language and audible sighs. I insisted and her temperature was now 105. I called out to the vet saying that Callie was in danger but she assured me she wasn’t. At this point I began to panic and emailed her oncologist in literal desperation. My email opened with “Please help me”. He responded and said Callie needed to be hospitalized and TREATED. A few minutes later someone from the specialty practice called the veterinarian asking if she was going to treat and admit Callie. She said no, that actually she was closing early and if I wanted Callie to have further care I could take her to an animal emergency clinic. When she hung up with them she turned and told me the same thing. We left and drove straight down to Portland. The specialty practice also has a 24 hour Animal Emergency Clinic in the same building so that’s where I wanted her as opposed to an emergency clinic that was a bit closer. The Animal Emergency Clinic and the specialty practices collaborate so closely that I knew this was best for Callie. When we arrived they took her from our car into the building via stretcher. A few minutes later the technician came out to tell me Callie’s temperature was over 107. My heart dropped when I heard that number because I knew that it was extremely high and she risked organ damage. They immediately gave Callie a cold bath and were able to lower her temperature. But that begged the question ~ what were her internal organs doing? Having an ultrasound was an option and I chose to pay extra money to have the internist come in and do it that night. I was thrilled when she arrived to see it was Dr. Sarah Noble, my German Shepherd Sasha’s internist whom I have come to respect tremendously in the three years she has been treating Sasha. The ultrasound was good and her labs were somewhat acceptable so her prognosis was guarded. Time would tell. We spent the night at a local motel and went back early in the morning. The Animal Emergency Clinic transferred Callie over to the specialty practice even though she stayed in the same area. As soon as Dr. Noble entered the room I knew by her face that my time with Callie was drawing to an end. Her creatine levels would not stabilize and she was in acute renal failure that they could not reverse. It was from having a high temperature for several hours without treatment. They told me the exam room was “yours for as long as you need it”. I spent four hours with my angel, telling her how loved she was, how much joy she had brought to my life, and how I never, ever expected this to happen. I would have paid any price, done anything if only I could have changed the outcome. When I saw that she was becoming uncomfortable I summoned Dr. Noble. At 1:15 pm on Friday November 6, 2015 I said goodbye to the best friend I’ve ever had.

 

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I then embarked on what I called “The Crazy Train of Grief” which literally lasted for two months. I did things I’d never done before such as hacking my hair off in the bathroom, not eating, cooking, cleaning the house, paying bills ~ I merely existed. I shared my intense grief with another woman who lost her “heart” dog several weeks after I lost Callie. We bonded because we both had loved and lost beautiful black angels who filled our lives with unbridled joy. The pictures I post every Sunday morning at 7:33 am along with a prayer is my special tribute to these incredible dogs who blessed our lives. Until the day comes when each of us meet our black angels again, my weekly ritual must suffice.
Callie’s premature and unnecessary death also prompted me to become a “helicopter” dog owner, a word usually applied to parents. I oversee every aspect of Sasha’s treatment, get copies of every lab result and progress report which I then scan into the computer. I’m respectful to all the veterinarians on her team because they’re all consummate professionals. However I’m not afraid to ask a question (or 100) if there’s something I don’t understand and basically micromanage all her treatment. I learned trough Callie Ann’s death to never take what a veterinarian says as gospel if it raises an internal red flag. I only wish I hadn’t been so trusting last November.

So for this reason,  K9 Totti’s tragic and unnecessary death has provoked me into action. I’ve collaborated on a petition which now has over 100k signatures, checked and double checked facts by email with the reporters who wrote various articles, and created a firestorm on Twitter. I’m not writing this to call attention to the negligence of K9 Totti’s handler; I do that through other venues. Instead, I’m writing it because I finally understand just why this K9s death is so intently personal to me.

Ending with a quote that I use as a signature for my email!

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