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In defense of a decent man and a fine deputy

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Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 12:00 am

I am writing in response to Lodi News-Sentinel coverage about two stray dogs supposedly left in a field by a Sheriff’s deputy. I’d like to add some perspective.

Let me begin by saying that I am the proud owner of three German shepherd dogs that are like our children. That said ... our dogs have never broken out of our yard in the country, because we make sure they are safe and secure at all times.

When it is going to be an exceptionally hot day, our dogs are indoors — whether we are home or not. Is it always convenient? No but it is part of the responsibility of dog ownership.

This brings me to the point of my column. As I understand a portion of this situation, an officer responded to a call from a homeowner stating that two stray dogs were mauling their pet cat. The officer was not just cruising down the road and picked up a few stray dogs.

In an effort to diffuse the attack situation, the officer placed the two dogs in the back seat of his patrol car. He checked their collars and neither dog had any type of tag stating ownership, rabies vaccine or any other defining information.

He then proceeded to call Animal Control. Being a weekend, they were not open. He then called Lodi Animal Control. They told the officer that they would not take the animals. He called every available animal agency in the area, and no one would accept the animals.

It is mentioned that only one of the dogs had a microchip. If none of the animal agencies would accept the dogs, how was the chip supposed to have been read?

Now the circumstances were this: The officer has two dogs in his back seat and nowhere to place them. What if someone having a life or death emergency called 911 for help? This officer would not be able to respond because he has two dogs in his vehicle. At best, response time in the county is 20 minutes ... sometimes longer.

If this officer was the closest officer and could not respond because he had two dogs in his vehicle, I would think that to be a more grievous situation.

I might interject that this same officer had tried to do a good deed prior to this case. He rescued a dog and placed it in the back seat of his vehicle. The dog chewed up the seat belt in the back seat of the cruiser and the officer was reprimanded for having the dog in his vehicle.

Using any sort of common sense, you know that you could not put the dogs back in the location they had been retrieved from, because of the damage they had already caused to someone else’s pet. So you try to move them a safe distance from the situation, but close enough to find their way home and next to a plentiful canal so they will have an available water source to hydrate and stay cool. Which is exactly what the officer did ...

If these were my untagged dogs and this had happened, I wouldn’t have expected the officer to do anything different.

You see, ultimately, it is the dog owner’s responsibility to make sure that their dogs are tagged, licensed, vaccinated and safely sheltered at all times. It isn’t any different than when you have a child under the age of 18. They are always your responsibility.

While it is easy to point a finger and complain that you were done an injustice, it is tougher to accept accountability for your own part of this story.

This officer is a good and decent family man. He is an asset to our community. Being a local man, born and raised in the area, he has a keen sense of what goes on in our county, knowledge of the territory and always keeps a level-headed approach to any given situation. I sleep better at night knowing he is on our patrol.

For this reason, it will be great travesty if he is removed from safeguarding our area. It is not deserved nor is it right.

If you wish to contact me regarding any aspect of this letter, you may reach me at 209-333-1538 or gr8pbunch@ yahoo.com.

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