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

PTSD: Secrets, Lies and Closed Doors…

PTSD: Secrets, Lies and Closed Doors…

PTSD is brutal

Those of us who suffer from it often morphs into another person just to deal with the demons in our head. Some hide by purposely not disclosing anything about the incident(s) or events, even to spouses or significant others. Some lie when asked. I usually do. When people ask me about my childhood I answer with what they expect to hear ~ “it was good” when in reality it was a nightmare full of horrors. Many of us compartmentalize by locking the trauma behind a closed door. For many men and women who’ve been through war, the battles continue long after the guns go silent. Sadly, their pain is often compounded by a VA system that is rife with problems and at best, difficult to navigate. Often the wait time is 60 days if not longer. A person who served our country in war should not return home only to do battle with the government agency that is supposed to be their lifeline. Many have a revolving door of therapists which in my opinion prevents the formation of that important bond, the continuity which is an integral component in the healing process. I’ve spoken to veterans that have had to “prove” to the VA that their brains are somehow hardwired differently now after returning from war. Why? Who knows why some engage in battle and return unscathed by the sound of gunfire, bombs, and smell of death while others are profoundly affected.

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I’ve blogged in the past about the constant almost year-round gunfire in the Western Mountains of Maine. Coupled with the firecrackers/fireworks from late spring to November, someone could go bonkers, especially a war veteran who is triggered by the unexpected sound of gunfire. In my July 4, 2016, post called Caution! Major Whine Around The Corner… I ranted how the never-ending firecrackers and sound of gunshots disrupt our lives to the point where I’ve decided to list my house next spring.  Shortly after I posted that I had a chance conversation with a man I know slightly from living down the road. He used to wave at me and The Germs whenever we walked by.  We were at the dump of all places and I was still ranting about the incessant noise that emanates from our mountains. I learned he was a Vietnam veteran and suffers from PTSD. He told me he’d tried everything but because the gunshots and firecrackers are on any given day, there’s no way to avoid them. Knowing the noise was worse in the warmer months I asked if turning on the AC worked but he didn’t have one. We don’t really need them because of being in the mountains and the ones I’d brought with me when I moved didn’t fit my windows as I have casements. I did, however, buy one that would fit just to block the noise out. The next day we took one of our older ones down (he doesn’t have casement windows) and offered it to him. He was reluctant but after I explained it was just sitting there and really would help, he accepted it. For a military veteran, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be subjected to unexpected random noise like that. I read where many veterans with PTSD place signs in their yards:

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I’m not sure there’s a specific scientific reason, empirical evidence that can answer that question. And honestly, why should they have to prove themselves? PTSD has been accepted as a valid and legitimate medical diagnosis. Yet every day many veterans fight not only the demons in their head but the inane bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration, a government branch that was created to help our returning heroes, not treat them as second-class citizens. They gave their all; is this really the best America has to offer in return? 

 

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For more information about PTSD and veterans, please visit these sights:

Military With PTSD

The PTSD Help Network

War (What Is It Good For)  🎤🎤🎤

Edwin Starr

1970

 

K9 Lina ~ The Blame Game Part 3…

K9 Lina ~ The Blame Game Part 3…

The conclusion of K9 Lina’s tragic story was so bizarre that it’s taken me awhile to not just fact check but to comprehend what I was reading. I had written about K9 Lina’s hot car death shortly after it happened in September 2016 but opted not to blog about it; in November I changed my mind. I began to research to so that I could bring my original story current. What I began to find, for the lack of a better word, disturbed me so I continued to dig even after posting The Senseless Death of K9 Lina…Part 1 . The very same day I made a startling discovery which I  briefly touched upon in my post  Made An Unusual Discovery . What I’d uncovered made it necessary to write a second post entitled Death of K9 Lina ~ The Aftermath Part 2. This will be (I hope) the final post in K9 Lina’s sad trilogy. I’m also going to deviate from my usual post style by using fewer hyperlinks and photos because all the details leading up to her death including the timeline of her handler has been given in the first two parts as well as photographs. Instead, I’m going to focus on what I stumbled upon but first, how that came to pass.

In the first few days after K9 Lina’s hot car death hit the news, I was reviewing articles online and came across one called, Social Media Backlash Prompts Online Support Group After K9 Officer’s Death  , written by an Arkansas reporter on September 11 ~ two days after Lina died.  I don’t have an active Facebook account but wanted to see the “social backlash”  the article said was being generated on Facebook so asked my daughter if I could use her iPad for the afternoon. I quickly found what I believed was the backlash; a public support group for Deputy Cornelison called Supporters Of Jonathan Cornelison  What I found particularly interesting is that the page was created on September 10, the day after K9 Lina’s death.

One thing led to another, like a domino effect but the single most riveting finding was that his support group members were adamant that the deputy was a good kid, this was an accident that could have happened to anyone, and the town was standing behind him. Many, many prayers were offered for this great guy yet none for K9 Lina. I was disgusted by the never-ending sanctimonious posts and stopped looking at the page. A few days later I caved, once again borrowed my daughters iPad and was immediately shocked by several things. A photo was posted by one of Deputy Cornelison’s  relatives of an ad she’d placed in the local paper about donating towards “Lina’s Law” plus writing to the Arkansas state representatives about implementing a law requiring heat sensors in all K9 vehicles hence Lina’s Law. Even though the support page is public, I vacillated about posting screenshots. I am going to make an exception however with the one explaining Lina’s Law only because it also addresses another issue. I chose to cover her first name and photo but everything can be viewed on Supporters Of Jonathan Cornelison :

I also noticed that the number of group members had grown exponentially in just a few days but that the common theme remained; he’s a good kid, great guy, this wasn’t his fault and prayers. I must say, Madison County residents certainly stand by their man. Once again, barely a word about Lina or nary a prayer for her or how she suffered in a virtual oven of death. I noticed that the reporter of the article which first caught my eye was now a group member as were several MCSO employees. The consensus was that Sheriff Morgan was to blame for Lina’s death because he wouldn’t approve $700 to purchase a heat sensor device. Members posted that had they known the sheriff didn’t approve the cost they would have donated the monies so a system could have been installed in the good kid’s vehicle. One of Deputy Cornelison’s  fellow K9 handlers addresses it here as well as in other areas of social media. I take umbrage at this handler’s posting because a heat sensor unit is meant to be utilized while the handler and K9 are working.  And while they’re also a virtual lifesaver if a K9 remains in a vehicle too long, I doubt they are meant to serve as a technical dog sitter in the middle of a very hot day for over five (5) hours while the handler is off duty and fixing lawnmowers, paying bills, meeting at a local sports bar and so forth. In my opinion, that type of behavior is irresponsible and negligent. While I am not a law enforcement officer, I have one in my immediate family plus have been friends with many during my life, especially during the years I was involved in Schutzhund training and competition with my own dogs. What this does tell me is that “great kid” aside, Deputy Cornelison had no strong ties to K9 Lina despite the fact that he was vocal about the need for a K9 and helped solicit funds to purchase her. When you train and handle a dog, they become just as close to you as any human partner. You wouldn’t lock your human partner in a car for hours and walk away from them. Not anywhere or anytime but especially not in a southern town nicknamed Crossroads of the Ozarks in 90-degree mid-day heat! How can you forget you have a dog in your car? Not a misstep. Just ignorant and uncaring.

As I wrote earlier, the support group is public so anyone can read it however in order to comment you must be a member. A relative of Deputy Cornelison (the same relative that put the Lina’s Law ad in the paper) posted on September 10 ~ the day the page was created, thanking everyone for their support of Cornelison. Then I saw it ~ staring at me from my laptop screen. I vividly remember the moment as confusion rapidly set in and my heartbeat quickened. A group member responded to the relative’s post of thanks. Who was this member? Close family of a disgraced former handler in a state over 300 miles away! This member went on to describe the disgraced handler, his dead K9, his family and his service record. Both family members commiserated on how unfair it was to the officers and prayed. Honest to God I had to shut my laptop down because reading that exchange took K9 Lina’s saga completely over the top for me. I didn’t look at the support group for several days and when I did more shocks. Another close family member of the disgraced handler from 300 miles away was a group member as well who was commenting and receiving sympathy. I  actually wondered if handlers whose K9 partners died because of the handler’s negligence reached out to each other through social media ~ something akin to a club or unofficial group.  Perhaps they do… Finally someone asked if anyone knew about a service for Lina but apparently, no one did. On September 23, Matt Durrett, 4th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney for Washington County announced he was not pressing criminal charges against Deputy Cornelison because there was insufficient evidence to prove that he intended to hurt K9 Lina. Then on September 26, Sheriff Morgan announced the disciplinary action Deputy Cornelison would be subject to which included suspension without pay for 60 days. I checked the support group later in the week and found they had erupted in joy that no charges were brought. They also opened a bank account so that people could contribute to the Cornelison family as the deputy would be without pay for 60 days. The chatter blaming Sheriff Morgan for K9 Lina’s death continued and this was posted:

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I have no idea why or what led up to it but assume that, like most social media forums, there is an abundance of private conversations. Finally, at the end of September into early October, several group members commented on K9 Lina in passing. To be brutally honest by this time I was thoroughly sickened and disgusted by what I read and rarely looked at the support group. The defense of the “good kid”, sparse mention of his deceased K9 partner, blame shifting, Bible quotes, endless prayers for the deputy yet not for the dog who suffered horribly while the good kid ran around doing errands and having a meeting in a cool sports bar. Endless condemnation of people who don’t understand; of how great a guy he is, of how accidents can happen to anybody, of how the sheriff was responsible for K9 Lina’s death because he wouldn’t approve a $700 heat sensor system. The common theme of “a little mistake anyone could have made” and the myriad of excuses given!  The ugly reality is a handler left his partner in a hot car too long because he FORGOT about her.  Yes, it’s a shame the vehicle wasn’t  safety-equipped but that’s not why Lina died. She died because she was left in a vehicle the handler knew had no backup heat sensors. She died because Deputy Cornelison FAILED to have his partners back!

Then finally! On November 15, Deputy Cornelison’s wife posted K9 Lina’s obituary and a link to her memorial which was held on November 12, 2016. One of the MCSO deputies commented “If you scroll to the bottom of the obituary there is a recording of her last call”; I chose not to.

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At this point, I decided to blog K9 Lina’s tragic story if for no other reason than to try and make sense of it. However, try as I might that never happened. I rarely looked at Deputy Cornelison’s support group because nothing changed. The members continued to support him by extolling his virtues (and to be fair he probably is a nice person), blame shifting was still there plus a plethora of excuses for this “accident”. Several spoke about how hard he worked which was also blamed on the sheriff, and how busy he was when not working as a deputy for MCSO. Life is hard these days for many people; long hours in a competitive world, children that need to be driven to after-school activities, and even like Jonathan Cornelison did on the day of Lina’s death ~ help a friend out. However, none of that justifies leaving a K9, your partner plus the taxpayers K9 dog, trapped in a hot vehicle during a hot day. His supporters repeatedly write “He’s only human” to which I say K9 Lina paid a devastating price because of his “humanity”.

A young beautiful dog is dead and the handler not only needs to take full responsibility for her death but he should be held criminally responsible. Because at the end of the day, a loyal K9 Officer suffered and died after being let down by the person she trusted most. To me, that is a horrible mistake, not a little one to be trivialized by his Facebook supporters. Again I am not in law enforcement but if I was and one of my fellow officers left his K9 partner that long in a hot car with obviously no thought as to “where is my partner, and how is she doing”, I  would think twice about having him as my backup. However judging from the comments on his support page, I  seriously doubt that would ever happen.

 In Part 2  I posted a screenshot of The Madison County Record which went online approximately 1.5 hours after K9 Lina’s death. It said:

The Record received an anonymous tip from a person Friday afternoon stating that Lina’s death was from being left in the car. At that time, Morgan told The Record that the incident was under investigation and details surrounding the death were unavailable.

That has never been explained but on September 12, 2016, the MCSO gave a detailed release to the Madison County Record  of the financial costs involved in K9 Lina’s purchase and training.

The final twist in K9 Lina’s story? As of December 4, 2016, she is not listed on the

Madison County Sheriff Office Memorial page.

My closing thoughts on this senseless tragedy are as follows. This offense by Deputy Cornelison is multi-faceted. I can’t think of anything more offensive than to kill your partner, either by act or omission. For those who serve in the line of fire, they put near blind trust in their partners. To break that trust, even though their partner is a K9 Officer, becomes an issue for every other man and woman in the department. It begs the question “If you fail to protect your own partner, will you protect me when my back is turned?”
The other side of this issue is that a K9 is a significant investment for a department. The average cost of training and acquiring a K9 and then to train the K9 handler can cost in excess of $20,000. Then, depending on whether or not advanced training perhaps up to $30,000 on average.
If a law enforcement officer is found to be neglectful in the protection of his K9 partner he should be dismissed from his position as a K9 Handler and any other charges as deemed appropriate by the Prosecutor’s Office. He should not be allowed a “pass go card”.

Instead, Deputy Jonathan Cornelison got a  Facebook support page which as of December 3, 2016, had 671 members which include the family of the disgraced handler 300 miles away.

Our planet is truly insane

The first to sense the hostility of a suspect,

The first to react to protect his master.

The first to enter where danger lurks.

The first to detect the hidden intruder.

The first to take action against violence.

The first to sense his master’s joy.

The first to know his master’s sorrow or fear.

The first to give his life in defense of his master.

The last to be forgotten by those who work with others like him.

They know him as a “Partner,” not just an animal.

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Made An Unusual Discovery…

Made An Unusual Discovery…

As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am passionate about K9 deaths due to handler negligence, especially hot car deaths. To digress a bit, I fact check everything several times using different sources because I’ve come to find that mainstream media is often rife with errors. For example with a recent K9 death there were four different ages given for the dog and worse, some media referred to the K9 as male while others wrote female. The K9 (who was killed in the line of duty) was a male.

I was doing research and fact checking data on a K9 who was part of a department in one of our southern states. Because of handler neglect the dog was forgotten for over five hours in a locked patrol car that didn’t  have heat sensors. This occurred during the middle of the day when the heat is highest plus in the south states it’s always hotter  and more humid than their northern counterparts. Sadly the K9 died.   During the course of reading I stumbled upon something that almost made me vault from the chair in shock. Another K9 died in a hot car death due to egregious negligence earlier in 2015. This happened in a southern state as well but a different one. When I checked the distance, there is over 300 miles between the two locations; it wasn’t as if the two departments were even remotely close to one another. I don’t know about you but with the exception of relatives and old acquaintances I don’t arbitrarily know people who live 300 miles away. Yet I found a connection between these two handlers and it was a somewhat new connection; they weren’t old social media friends. I even checked as far back as I could on the youngest handler but he had never lived nor worked in the other state. I should mention that I discovered the connection on a social media site and the individuals involved were rather cryptic in their comments which is to be expected. However finding a connection of any type seemed odd and out-of-place. That I began to wonder; do these disgraced law enforcement officers purposely reach out to each other? I know that officers who have lost a K9 in the line of duty or due to sickness or age after retirement are often comforted by other handlers who have lost their  K9 partner in a similar way. That seems appropriate and normal. But for two officers whose negligence alone was the cause of death in  otherwise healthy K9s  to be corresponding (one handler has been charged with a felony and fired by his department) ~ now that seems very strange.

So I’m on a mission. Yes America is a free country and the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech however something isn’t right here. Is there a secret group reserved just for police officers whose carelessness and negligence are the direct cause of their K9 partners life?

If there is a great physical distance between two small town police departments, how did they suddenly begin communicating after the death of their dogs? It almost smacks of collusion and I definitely don’t like it.

When a handler loses their K9 partner they are usually devastated. On June 24, 2016, retired Clearwater, Florida K9 Officer Major  was laid to rest due to medical issues. He served the Clearwater Police Department and the city of Clearwater for six years before being retired in 2014. Below is a touching tribute written by his partner, Sgt. Michael Spitaleri:

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Saying GoodBye To Major

To my faithful partner,

Today has been the most difficult day of my career. I made the decision to end your pain and suffering, however I’m hurting far more than I anticipated. I already miss you, buddy.

I remember picking you up from the airport right before we began K-9 school together. My first impression wasn’t accurate. I thought you were small and you appeared to be a bit timid at first glance. I honestly didn’t know if you had what it took to be a police dog. Nonetheless, we started K-9 school together in November of 2008. I quickly learned my initial assessment was wrong. You proved yourself to me time and time again. Your willingness to please me, your loyalty, and your fearlessness was very apparent as we progressed and graduated K-9 school in March 2009.

As a team, we had immediate success on the road. During our first week together that March, you successfully tracked and located a man who threatened his wife with a knife. Our skills and ability got better day in and day out from that point. Throughout the years, we located dozens of criminals, illegal narcotics, firearms, and other items of evidentiary value. These arrests and finds wouldn’t have been possible without you. You made me look like a superstar at times; truth be told, I was nothing more than the guy who held your leash.

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Your reputation with our coworkers was highly respected. I always laughed when we would train with the SWAT team. During those training sessions we were around some of the toughest men I have ever had the privilege of working alongside. When I would get you out of the car I would watch as these tough men would find the nearest corner of the room in an attempt to be as far away from you as possible, because they thought you were “crazy.” You weren’t crazy; you were my protector. You were their protector. You knew no limits and you would stop at nothing to make sure we made it home safely to our families. You took your job seriously.

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I’ll never forget when I would try and key the radio to talk. It never failed; as soon as I got our call sign out “K4” to the dispatcher you would begin barking so loud they couldn’t hear a thing I was trying to say. I would get messages and/or requests from the dispatchers to repeat my transmissions. They knew I couldn’t stand it when you “talked” over me; however it was something you never grew out of. We still laugh about it to this day.

When you retired in 2014 due to medical conditions, the adjustment to being a normal dog was difficult for you. You would watch me get ready and run to the door in anticipation of going to work. I know you didn’t understand the reasons I retired you, however I did it because I loved you, buddy. I wanted to make sure your medical conditions didn’t get worse. I wanted you to live a good quality life during your retirement. You deserved that and I stand by my decision. Just like you looked out for me every single shift, it was my turn to look out for you and protect you.

Although I know you didn’t enjoy retirement like humans do, I’m proud to say you adjusted as much as you could. You became my wife’s dog. You became my children’s dog. You made sure they were protected when Daddy went to work with his new dog, Echo. You would lay by my kids’ door at night while they slept, almost as if to say “I got them, Daddy, you go to work, and they’ll be fine”. I felt at peace knowing you were home keeping them safe. Thank you for protecting them like you protected me for all of those years.

I could go on and on about you. You made me the K-9 handler that I am today. You never met a challenge that you didn’t rise to the occasion. You were a great partner and I am forever thankful for you.

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Major, I love you and I will always remember our time together. Please go find the nearest police officer when you get to heaven and tell them you are a police dog and you are reporting for duty.

Until I see you again………….

Love,

Dad

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

 

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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And No One Spoke For Her…

And No One Spoke For Her…

**Update** I learned on October 26 that when imposing the 60 day sentence minus 17 days already served on the man who raped his own daughter multiple times, Judge John C. McKeon also allowed this incestuous rapist to serve the 43 days at HIS DISCRETION! The BEST thing that could happen to this 12 year old girl that NO ONE spoke for is to get as far away from Montana as possible and never look back. I pray she has a relative in another state because her mother, grandmother, court and Montana ALL failed her.

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As a survivor of horrific childhood abuse ~ physical, emotional and sexual,  I think I’m qualified to chime in on a recent case in Montana that makes me question if the system has evolved at all in the past 30 years. When I was a little girl children had no rights; we were like chattel. We “belonged” to our parents and therefore were not given the right to speak or defend ourselves. Even if by some miracle we were given the opportunity to do so, a few simple words from a parent would negate anything we said.

This particular case involved a 40-year-old man who raped a 12-year-old girl multiple times. The victim? His own daughter.

Her life will never be the same I guarantee. With counseling and a strong support system she *might*  move past it to lead a productive life but make no mistake  ~ “it” will never truly leave her. Instead, the insidious evil of her repeated rape will remain buried within her soul and without rhyme or reason will rear its ugliness when least expected. be594676b96285c1216c20e61941f49a

The district attorney, whom I commend, had an arrangement with the defense attorney for  the father to serve 25 years in prison. As this predator  (who admitted to raping his daughter (3) times) stood before the bench on October 4, 2016, he expected to be sentenced to 25 years. However District Judge John C. McKeon shocked everyone by imposing a sentence of 60 days with 17 days credit for time served.  This despicable,  abhorrent,  predatory creature masquerading as a man will serve 43 days for violating a child, HIS child, in one of the most egregious  ways possible.

As shocking as this is, the events surrounding this case become even more disturbing. The victim’s mother, who walked in on HER husband sexually abusing HER daughter, wrote the court in defense of her husband instead of her daughter. As he further justified the sentence, calling it “a just and proper decision”, Judge McKeon  cited statements from the victim’s mother and maternal grandmother, both of whom acknowledged the “horrible” nature of the crime while seeking leniency.

Judge John C. McKeon

“He needs help — not to spend 25 years locked up,” the victim’s mother wrote. His two sons need their father, she added, “even with very understandable restrictions.” She wrote that her husband “made a horrible choice” but a 25-year prison term was not the best punishment.”He needs help,” she wrote the court. “He has two sons that still love him and need their father in their lives, even with very understandable restrictions. I would like to see my children have an opportunity to heal the relationship with their father. Please give him the opportunity to work on fixing the relationships he destroyed. He is not a monster, just a man that really screwed up and has been paying in many ways.

The maternal grandmother wrote that the man’s “children, especially his sons, will be devastated if their Dad is no longer part of their lives.

Judge McKeon said the man’s family, friends, church, and employer had all voiced their support for him in court and that he weighed all these factors in handing down the sentence.

NO ONE SPOKE FOR THE VICTIM

Not her mother, maternal grandmother, social worker, an advocate for sexual abuse, a guidance counselor, church ~ no one!

Needless to say the community is outraged and a group called Justice 4 Montana started a petition  to Impeach Judge John McKeon which has over 99k signatures as of this evening.

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The petition names the father and shows his booking photo as do several media outlets. I however chose not to out of respect for the victim and must say I had to hunt for articles that did NOT give his name so that I could hyperlink. I also refuse to post a photo of a rapist. Interesting  article and video by People. ⬅︎

Reading about this travesty of justice took me back to a similar case  which ironically also happened in Montana. In 2007 a teacher at Billings High School, Stacey Dean Rambold, raped a 14-year-old freshman, Cherice Moralez over a 3 month period during the latter part of the year. Early in 2008 Cherice confided in someone from her church counseling group about the multiple rapes. One of her peers in the church group contacted Cherice’s  mother who notified police immediately. Despite coming from a loving and supportive family plus having a spunky  personality, Cherice began to deteriorate into the darkness as she became ostracized and bullied both at school and in the community. This beautiful girl who was just beginning to experience life, committed suicide on February 6, 2010, a few weeks shy of her 17th birthday.

Cherice Moralez

My heart aches for this poor girl.

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 The nightmare was far from over for Cherice’s family. Although  Rambold pled guilty,  District Judge G. Todd Baugh of Billings, Montana, sentenced the former high school teacher to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended, for sexual intercourse without consent. 31 DAYS in prison after suggesting the victim, Cherice, was equally responsible for the 2007 rape. Judge Baugh said that 14-year-old victim seemed “older than her chronological age.

Baugh said the victim looked older than her years and was “probably as much in control of the situation as was the defendant,” according to the Montana attorney general’s office.

Judge G. Todd Baugh Billings MT
Judge G. Todd Baugh, Billings MT

 After public outcry, Rambold was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Randal Spaulding in September 2014.

In an ironic and callous twist in 2015,  now retired Judge G. Todd Baugh had the lifetime achievement award bestowed upon him by his local bar association.

Judge G. Todd Baugh
Retired Judge G. Todd Baugh, Billings MT

Both of these cases are extremely disturbing as are other cases where rapists are given a slap on the wrist (Brock Turner comes to mind). Violate and degrade a child or woman and receive a “sentence” equal to serving a month in jail for unpaid traffic tickets?

The victims are often forced to sit through hours of testimony,  called to the witness stand to be cross-examined, often by a male, and forced to recall the horrific details of their abuse. When will we stand up for the youngest and most vulnerable victims of these unspeakable crimes and bring their perpetrators to justice, or is justice dead and gone?

The U.S. judicial system has victimized the victims for years by subjecting them to the process of investigations, only to allow rapists and pedophiles to get off on an ubiquitous technicality.

Is this what the justice system has evolved into?

And remember in the first case, no one even spoke for her!

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