USMC war dog “Caesar von Steuben” is x-rayed by Navy corpsmen after being wounded on patrol during the fight for Bougainville.
As with most of the dogs that fought with the United States military in World War II, the three year old German shepherd had been a civilian, owned by a family in the Bronx who volunteered him for service, one of thousands of families to offer their pet up for the war effort.
Only a select few were accepted into service, and even then they would undergo rigorous training to prepare them for life in the combat zone. In total, 1,074 dogs were ‘enlisted’ in the Marine Corps, and 29 would die in combat, along with just under 200 fatalities from disease or accidents. After the war, an outcry ended plans to euthanize the remaining veteran animals, and instead they were put through demilitarization training, with almost universal success. Many were returned to their families, although in more than a few cases, the Marine handler would bring the dog back to civilian life with him.
In Caesar’s case, he recovered from his wound quickly, and he received an official commendation for his communication runs prior to his wounding, including completing his ninth and final one while injured. Returned to service however, he would be killed in combat while fighting on Okinawa in 1945.
By Jane Barrie
THE Communication Workers Union says the tongue-in-cheek treat is making fun of a serious threat to posties.
POSTIES are barking mad after a dog bone called Postman’s Leg was launched in stores across Scotland.
They say the natural beef bone, more than a foot long, is making fun of dog attacks on postal workers.
But the manufacturers of the £1.49 treat insist the name is purely tongue-in-cheek and pet owners see the joke with several thousand of the bones sold every week.
A spokesman for the Communication Workers Union said: “Whilst we appreciate the intended humour in the name, over 26,000 postal workers have been attacked and injured by dogs in the last six years.
“Two postmen were nearly killed in attacks in 2007 and 2008, and many others have lost fingers and parts of limbs.
“Reckless and negligent owners who fail to act when their animals attack and injure postal workers or anyone visiting their home, can now face prosecution.”
More than 26,000 posties have been attacked since 2008
The Postman’s Leg bone is sold all over the UK and Europe and is produced by Dugdale Davies Pet Treats, based in Lancashire.
The firm’s director, Phil Garvey, said: “The name is in no way intended to make light of the excellent work done by the Royal Mail.
“Our logo features a picture of a cartoon dog, which is why we decided on Postman’s Leg as the name, hopefully providing a little amusement.
“We recognise there is nothing remotely amusing about the problems faced by postal workers, especially with regard to dangerous dogs.
“But we would hope they too would see that it is meant purely to be tongue-in-cheek.”
Royal Mail said they were not anti-dogs, but support responsible ownership.
Their spokesman added: “Dog attacks are a significant hazard faced by postal workers on a daily basis.
“Since April 2011, there have been over 5500 attacks on Royal Mail postmen and women, some leading to a permanent, disabling injury.
“Attacks have resulted in the loss of 4100 working days due to injuries.
“Nobody should have to endure this and postal workers should not be at increased risk of such attacks simply because of the job they do.”
Bereaved owners argue that when police shoot dogs it a violates their Fourth Amendment rights
Lexie, a Labrador mix, was barking in fear when the police arrived at her owner’s suburban Detroit house early in the morning last November. The officers, responding to a call about a dog roaming the area, arrived with dog-catching gear. Yet they didn’t help the one-year-old dog, who had been left outside the house, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court: Instead, they pulled out their guns and shot Lexie eight times.
“The only thing I’m gonna do is shoot it anyway,” the lawsuit quotes an officer saying. “I do not like dogs.”
Such a response, animal advocates say, is not uncommon among law enforcement officers in America who are often ill-equipped to deal with animals in the line of duty. And now bereaved owners like Brittany Preston, Lexie’s owner, are suing cities and police departments, expressing outrage at what they see as an abuse of power by police. Animal activists, meanwhile, are turning to state legislatures to combat the problem, with demands for better police training in dealing with pets.
There are no official tallies of dog killings by police, but media reports suggest there are, at minimum, dozens every year, and possibly many more. When it comes to Preston’s dog, officials from the city of St. Clair Shores and the dog owner agree on little. City police say the dog attacked, prompting officers to open fire in self-defense. But the lawsuit filed by Preston cites police audio recordings to argue that the November 2013 shooting was premeditated, prompted by officers eager to kill a dog. Preston is suing the city for violating her Fourth Amendment right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
“We want whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Christopher Olson, Preston’s lawyer. “Before this case I wasn’t a dog shooting lawyer, but I am now.”
St. Clair Shores defended the officers’ actions.
“The animal was only put down after a decision was made that it was in the best interest of the residents,” said city attorney Robert Ihrie, who is defending the city in the lawsuit. “Sometimes police officers are in a position where they need to make very quick decisions for the protection of themselves and others.”
The Fourth Amendment argument gained traction in 2005, when the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels sued the city and the police department because officers had killed dogs during a gang raid in 1998. A federal appeals judge found that “the Fourth Amendment forbids the killing of a person’s dog… when that destruction is unnecessary,” and the Hells Angels ultimately won $1.8 million in damages. In addition to the St. Clair lawsuit, other lawsuits stemming from police shootings of dogs are being planned or filed in Idaho, California, and Nevada.
At the same time, animal-rights activists are lobbying police departments to implement pet training for all officers. Several states including Illinois and Colorado have enacted measures to reduce dog shootings, and others states are considering legislation. In 2011, the Department of Justice published a report on dog-related police incidents, which included advice on how to handle dogs without killing them.
“It’s much more likely that a cop is going to encounter a dog than a terrorist, yet there’s no training,” said Ledy Van Kavage, an attorney for the advocacy group Best Friends Animal Society. “If you have a fear or hatred of dogs, then you shouldn’t be a police officer, just like if you have a hatred of different social groups.”
Brian Kilcommons, a professional dog-trainer who has trained more than 40,000 dogs and published books on the subject, said some police officers accidentally antagonize dogs right from the start, without even trying. “Police officers go into a situation with full testosterone body language, trying to control the situation,” he said. “That’s exactly what will set a dog off.” Kilcommons is developing an app that could help police officers evaluate the best way to handle a dog, including tips on reading body language and non-lethal strategies for containing them. “A bag of treats goes a long way,” he said.
But Jim Crosby, a retired Lieutenant with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Florida who now works in dog training, said there are sometimes cases that require police force.
“If you’re executing a high-risk, hard-going entry with an armed suspect, the officers don’t have time to play nice and throw cookies at the dog,” said Crosby, who was commenting on police handling of dogs in general and not any specific case. But he emphasized that such situations are few and far between: “Police absolutely have the right to protect themselves against a reasonable and viable threat—but the presence of a dog is not necessarily a reasonable or viable threat.”
Ronald Janota, a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the Illinois State Police who now serves as an expert witness on use of force, acknowledged that officers are often at “heightened awareness” when confronting dogs. “If you’re the first or second through the door, you don’t have time to put a collar on the dog if the dog is literally lunging at you,” he said. “If you’re entering the house legally, you have the right to protect yourself.”
Regardless of the circumstances, a dog’s death at the hands of police can be devastating to owners.
“People are getting married later, if at all, people are having children later, if at all, and pets are filling an emotional niche,” Kilcommons said. “Before, if you had a dog and it got killed, you got another one. Now dogs are in our homes and in our hearts. They’re not replaceable. So when they’re injured or killed, people are retaliating.”
In St. Clair Shores, where Lexie died, the city is fighting the lawsuit but the police department now requires its officers to undergo animal control training.
Van Kavage said that kind of training is crucial, even if just to instill a sense of trust in the police.
“If a cop shoots your pet, do you think you’re ever going to trust a cop again?” she said. “To control a dog, 99% of the time you don’t need a gun. You just need to yell ‘sit!’ ‘stay!’”
Correction: The original version of this story misidentified the person who said, “To control a dog, 99% of the time you don’t need a gun. You just need to yell ‘sit!’ ‘stay!’” It was Ledy Van Kavage.
A new study offers scientific backing to a long-reported anecdotal phenomenon. But canine envy is a little different from the human kind.
This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.
We’ve long treated our dogs like humans, dressing them in sweaters, letting them sleep in our beds—even painting their nails. So it makes sense that we’re eager to attribute their canine behavior to human emotions, crediting a wagging tail to joy or lowered eyes to shame. Yet while research has shown dogs feel love and affection, more complicated emotions like embarrassment and guiltdon’t seem to be in their repertoire.
• But here’s one that might be: Scientists at UC San Diego have found evidence suggesting that dogs could actually be capable of jealousy.
• Although Charles Darwin wrote about dogs’ jealousy in 1871 and dog owners have been quick to offer anecdotal evidence ever since, there’s never been scientific proof of the phenomenon.
• This experiment involved 36 dogs and their owners. The owners petted an animated toy dog while their real dog was in the room. They also petted and played with a jack-o-lantern, and sat reading a noise-making children’s book. Observers wrote down and cataloged the dogs’ reactions to each of these three situations, which ranged from biting, barking, and pushing at either the toy or the owner.
• The dogs were more likely to show signs of aggression, attention-seeking behavior, and a heightened interest in their owners when the fake dog was the object of affection. Most of the dogs clearly thought the stuffed dog was real: 86 percent inspected and sniffed its butt at some point during the experiment.
• “We can’t really speak to the dogs’ subjective experiences, of course,” study author and psychology professor Christine Harris said in a release. “But it looks as though they were motivated to protect an important social relationship.”
• So is this behavior really the green-eyed monster as we know it? Not quite. Researchers called the envious emotion that dogs experience a “primordial” type of jealousy rather than the complicated thoughts that torment adult humans.
• Infants show this instinctive kind of jealousy, too, when their mothers shower affection on another baby. The scientists behind the study say this could be evidence that jealousy is an innate emotion, like fear or anger, that humans share in common with other social creatures.
• So if it seems like Fido is giving you the cold paw after you’ve shown some love to another dog, it might not be your imagination.