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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Update on Luke Stribling, Puppy Killer…

Update on Luke Stribling, Puppy Killer…

Ever since I launched my petition something has bothered me  ~ the media discrepancies in some Florida outlets. It didn’t make sense (yes I’m one of THOSE people who needs an answer) that two media reports would give a completely different version than other media sources about a single event; the first time Luke Stribling took  his puppy Julian to a vet for a broken leg on June 12. Since I wrote the petition, it was extremely important that it be accurate. So I went back the other day to look at the two original  media articles and to my shock they had been changed. Gone was all the damning indictments against both the first veterinarian and animal services for allowing Luke to take an abused puppy home. If I hadn’t archived the original stories I would have thought I definitely lost my marbles. So I emailed each reporter to subtly ask why the change yet neither responded. Hmmmmm.

I contacted Orlando Animal Services to put in a records request under FOIA. They hit my in box the next day. Impressive! Then I reached out to the first veterinary practice and was finally able to connect with the practice manager. You see, the two media reports said that when Stribling brought his puppy in for a broken leg the treating vet became suspicious, did an MRI which revealed even more fractures. Both stories went on to say that the veterinary practice notified authorities but there was “insufficient evidence to seize the puppy” so little Julian went home with Stribling. Not sure if it was over zealous reporting, misinformation, or misconstruing information received but the first veterinary practice never became suspicious because the story Luke told was plausible; Julian caught his leg in the dock slot as he was being walked. They didn’t do an MRI and in fact the practice doesn’t even have an MRI machine. No additional fractures were found and they never called animal services. It bothered me that the two initial media reports gave such detailed yet erroneous information because  what they reported is the type of thing that can tarnish reputations. So I edited my petition today and explained why.

Sadly, everything that occurred when Stribling brought his dead puppy to the vet on June 26 is true. In fact, its even worse than reported.  Reading that poor baby’s necropsy report was difficult for I could actually visualize his last minutes of life and it was disturbing. Forget that I’m a nurse who’s seen more than my share of “gruesome”. Forget that I’m a volunteer disaster nurse with DHHS and have been activated to several equally gruesome disasters. Sitting in a chair reading that report brought tears to my eyes ~ a lot of them

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Even though I’ve survived brutality, I’ve never understood why people feel the need to inflict harm. Do they have mutated chromosomes? Or is their gene pool deficient? And how the hell did this pollutant of life, Stribling, manage to reach age 20 without anyone noticing his low frustration tolerance  or propensity for anger? Anger that in an innocent puppy’s case led to a violent death? Frustration and anger are related emotions, but they’re not identical. Some people are able to control anger or frustration and channel these feelings to nondestructive outlets. I get angry sometimes with automated phone systems that seem like an endless merry go round i.e. press this for that, press that for this only to wind up reaching the persons voice mail, leave a message and never get a callback. Frustrating and invokes anger. Yet I don’t throw the phone at the wall or scream when I finally reach a human. Well ~ there WAS that one time after I’d hung up that I threw the phone at the fireplace mantle but we’ll chalk that up to cabin fever as I was homebound. Alone with a broken leg in a wheelchair. In Maine where there’s still snow in April. I actually broke my leg in a terrible snowstorm on wait for it………….April 1!

But all joking aside, why did I toss a phone in an isolated event rooted in frustration while others, like several of the gunmen who committed mass murders, kill people?  Why does someone like Luke Stribling  exhibit a frightening lack of control because his little 7 1/2 pound puppy tinkled on the floor? Such a loss of control that  he punched, kicked and slapped Julian and till he eventually killed him. The necropsy report indicates the severity of the puppy’s injuries and that they’d been going on for some time. He lived in virtual fear of his owner yet no one noticed? No one saw that Luke had anger management issues? Well that is other than Luke’s friends who told investigators AFTER Julian’s death that Luke punched and kicked the puppy for tinkle accidents.

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What Is It With These Psycho Cops???

What Is It With These Psycho Cops???

In OK, former Stephens County Sheriff’s  Deputy Matthew Peck murdered his LEO partner K9 Bak, just as if he’d shot him. To leave a dog trapped in a hot car, without food, without water, and without air for 38 hours when the outside temperature hovered near 100 degrees is both sadistic and the sign of an underlying mental health issue. Most of all, it is criminal! Peck FAILED to go to the squad car one time; what kind of person does that?

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K9 Bak

K9 Bak was an integral and vital member of the Stephens County Sheriffs Dept. for (6) years, since he was 2 years old. There were plans for his retirement at some point as he was now 8. This begs the question, why would a human LEO treat his K9 partner of (4) years in such a callous, inhumane and sadistic manner? How can a man who took an oath to protect and serve fail to keep his partner who was a living, sentient being, safe? He failed his partner, he failed a living animal, he failed the people of OK. A charge of “animal cruelty” is insufficient for a crime this heinous, with absolutely no respect for life. When a dog is subjected to increased body temperature for an extended period of time, they suffer greatly. Dogs feel heat differently than humans do. They sweat differently too. Dogs sweat by panting and by sweating from their paws. However, a dog trapped in a hot car can’t effectively rid its body of enough of the heat by panting and sweating ~ simply because there’s not enough cool, fresh air to replace the heated, stale air. Therefore, a dog breathing in warm/hot air for too long will suffer heat stroke …and will surely die.
In simple terms, heat stroke occurs when a dog loses its natural ability to regulate its body temperature. Dogs don’t sweat all over their bodies the way humans do. Canine body temperature is primarily regulated through respiration (i.e., panting). If a dog’s respiratory tract cannot evacuate heat quickly enough, heat stroke can occur. The dog’s internal organs begin to fail as does brain cellular activity. They suffer terrible and death is slow and agonizing. The only bright spot in this atrocity is that Sheriff Wayne McKinney did the right thing by terminating Matthew Peck, unlike many police departments who “circle the wagons” around handlers who cause the death of their K9s because of negligence.

Fortunately, the majority of K9 handlers are kind, compassionate officers who treat their K9 partners with respect and kindness; always monitoring their needs. I’m not sure where  I saw this but think  it’s appropriate.

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.

Finally, K9 Bak’s EOW is listed as Friday August 5, 2016 however since he was trapped  in the car since Wednesday August 3, no one REALLY knows when this loyal K9 died.

**Matthew Peck has been charged with “Animal Cruelty” which to thousands of people is not an appropriate charge for the wanton murder of a K9. If anyone is interested in ensuring that the killer of  LEO K9 Bak is charged appropriately, please consider both signing and sharing this petition.

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