It’s bad enough that we are constantly bombarded with tragic stories about police killing friendly family pets for often no reason at all, and it’s just as sad to learn that police aren’t even treating their own K-9s well. Jack is a Belgian Malinois police dog who has been forced to live in a squalid cement pen for the last two weeks. Why? Apparently because his partner decided to take a promotion with the sheriff’s department.
This comes from friends of Jack in an anonymous letter to the editor of Rowan Free Press:
♦ Behind the Salisbury Police Department (Salisbury, N.C.), in a cramped chain-link and cement dog run, a Belgian Malinois named “Jack” has been imprisoned, day and night, for almost two weeks.
Jack sleeps, exposed to the elements, on the cold cement often with his urine and feces his only company. He is not properly exercised, and his body shows signs of deteriorating muscle mass. At night you can hear the dog’s whimpering. He also shows signs of separation anxiety and social isolation, which can result in aggression in breeds such as Jack’s.
Jack has aged out of K-9 duty and should be retired. The timing would have been good for him to retire with his handler, Officer Fox, who would dearly love to be with Jack. Dogs are customarily retired to their handler’s care and protection. Yet Chief Rory Collins said no and has instead subjected Jack to inhumane conditions. Is this action out of spite because officer Fox took a job with the Sheriff’s Office? Who can blame deputy Fox for trying to better his lot?
Our photographer was able to take photos from behind the police department, where Jack displays signs of separation anxiety, physical neglect, and discomfort. Jack is located in one of the two 6’ x 8’ pens on the cement yard behind the police headquarters building. Jack has many friends in the Police Department, but they fear for their jobs to speak out.
Police Chief Collins’ peculiar choice came on the heels of Fox’s resignation and employment with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. Collins would be well aware that the small pen is intended to house the high-energy dog breeds employed by Salisbury PD for only a few hours while a handler is busy in court or otherwise. No K-9 should ever be caged in such conditions for longer than a few hours.
Is Collins’ animal cruelty due to a grudge held over Fox’s departure to work in the Sheriff’s Office? Officers are disturbed by the Chief’s petty behavior at the aging dog’s expense. It does nothing for the department’s crumbling morale.
When Fox recently resigned and took a job with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, he requested to adopt the dutiful Jack, with whom he worked closely. Jack had aged out of K-9 duty and would have to be retired, and the bond between Jack and his handler Officer Fox was very close. You can imagine the emptiness these two experience at each other’s loss.
Why would Collins deny Jack a caring home at the time he is due to retire from K-9 duty and instead subject him to cruelty and inhumane treatment?
High energy dogs such as this Belgian Malinois bond closely with their handlers and require frequent exercise, closeness, and attention. The relationship between dogs such as Jack and their handlers are central to their well-being. At retirement, continuing the Malinois’ relationship with his handler is considered to be in the dog’s best interest. Police Chief Collins’ decision to pen such a dog in a cramped environment that is isolated and exposed to the elements with no consideration of his age or even common humane treatment is one he has made with ample knowledge of the unique requirements of such a breed.
Salisbury municipal officials and institutions created to prevent this type of animal treatment should be contacted at once.
Andy Efird, K-9 Unit Commander: 704-638-2124; by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Police Chief Rory Collins: 704-638-2133; by email email@example.com
John Sofley, Salisbury, NC Interim City Manager: 704-638-5309; 704-638-5222; by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Paul Woodson: 704-638-5231 at City Hall; 704-633-5411 at Vogue Cleaner’s; by email Paul.Woodson@salisburync.gov
Humane Society: 704-636-5700; Humane Society of Rowan County’s Facebook page
For more government officials’ contact information, click here.
Please email and call the above numbers night and day until this egregious injustice is undone and Jack is reunited with his handler. Do not accept the Chief euthanizing the dog or giving him to a rookie cop with no K-9 experience. Such a choice would endanger a rookie cop with no K-9 experience.
Tell others about Jack’s plight. Let the whole world know this inhumane treatment of a loyal service dog must end immediately.
About police dogs and their retirement: http://www.nationalpolicedogfoundation.org/faq/faq.html#What_happens_if_the_handler_gets_out_of_the_program_before_the_dog_is_ready_to_retire__
Learn more about the special needs and care of Belgian Malinois K-9s: http://bayareadogtrainer.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/note-to-the-american-public-belgian-malinois-look-dont-touch/
Rowan Free Press’ original post can be found here.
UPDATE: Press release from the City of Salisbury on 10/28 (I just came across this now) that says Jack is receiving excellent care. Read it in its entirety here.
UPDATE: From the Humane Society of Rowan County on 10/29:
The HSRC appreciates the outpouring of concern and support for Jack, the Salisbury Police Dept. canine officer who recently was retired but not allowed to live with his former partner. The decision to retire Jack was reversed by the SPD, and Jack was moved from the holding pen and placed in a private home until a new handler can be obtained for him. The HSRC plans to maintain communication with the SPD regarding Jack and his future.
UPDATE: From the Humane Society of Rowan County later on 10/29:
I wish Jack could know all the love and concern that’s coming his way. Lt. Efird told me today that Jack is in a privately owned boarding facility, the name of which is not being released out of respect for the privacy of the owners. I asked about the feasibility of uniting Jack, after so many years with one partner, with a new partner. Lt. Efird reiterated what he’d told me Monday, that he believes Jack will adjust well to a new partner. He might be taken out of aggressive duty and used in drug searches, etc.
UPDATE: From an outside source on 10/29:
I just spoke the county manager. This story is VERY inaccurate. The K-9 is perfectly healthy, has not aged out and will be reassigned to another officer. This boy has such a great disposition that several officers has requested to be his partner. They are aware of this story and who wrote it. Two TV stations have come out today to do stories.They will be aired showing the K-9 and the true facts. His partner did request to take him but since he is healthy and can continue to work, he again will be reassigned.