MEDIA RELEASE: In Defense of Animals Assists Colton Police Following Furor Over Dog Dragging by ASO
Colton, Calif. (April 16, 2021) – Following the release of viral footage of an Animal Services Officer (ASO) dragging an injured dog in Colton, Calif., that sparked public outrage, In Defense of Animals has worked with the Colton Police Department to ensure cruelty like this never happens again.
On March 22, 2021, an officer responded to a report of an incapacitated dog suspected to have been hit by a car. The ASO looped the dog’s neck with a “catchpole” and dragged him across concrete while he was urinating involuntarily, gasping, and possibly experiencing a seizure. The officer refused assistance from a bystander who offered to help carry the dog and instead wrapped a leash around the dog’s torso to lift him into a truck.
Catchpoles are designed to place a safe distance between a frightened and possibly combative canine and the handler. It should go without saying that an incapacitated animal should never be dragged.
The dog was taken to a nearby vet for treatment, where it was discovered he had been severely neglected and was suffering from matted fur embedded with ticks and foxtails, dental disease, and ear infections. He was transferred to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services and then to their shelter in Jurupa Valley, where he is now getting the care he needs.
In Defense of Animals responded to the incident by contacting the Colton Police Department to urge the department to reassign the ASO, and was pleased to learn that it was done the day following the incident.
In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign Director, Doll Stanley, also made arrangements with Lt. Raymond Mendez to donate a wheeled stretcher for the humane and viable moving of incapacitated animals, and advised on further resources for training officers in the safe and humane handling of incapacitated and uncooperative animals.
Lt. Mendez sent photos of officers with the newly-built stretcher to In Defense of Animals and said, “We really appreciate you donating this much needed equipment to our animal services team here at the Colton Police Department… this is going to help us out a lot.”
“Incidents of abuse and mishandling of animals by animal services officers are common and the public is watching and reporting. While it’s unclear if the ASO was afraid of being bitten or wasn’t trained to handled incapacitated animals, it’s commendable that Colton officials acted immediately and ethically, even before social media activated. We urge the Colton Police Department to ensure that the reassignment is permanent,” said Stanley.
“It is our mission not just to call for accountability when individuals entrusted with animals treat them cruelly, or aren’t properly trained to handle the many types of situations they will encounter. We are working to enlighten officials on the value of hiring compassionate personnel and affording ASOs with the training and equipment that supports a professional animal control department,” added Stanley.
In Defense of Animals learned that the Colton ASO at issue has received death threats and cruel social media attacks. “We do not condone the improper or cruel handling of animals, and comprehend the rage and hurt that caring people experience when they see cruelty. However, we cultivate resentment and shut doors for change when our attacks victimize the offender,” added Stanley.
The public at large has a disdain for “dog-catchers” and animal “control” officers. It is time that all communities, whether small or large, elevate their animal control officers to Animal “Services” Officers like Colton Police Department, or even better to Animal Protection Officers.
Contact: Doll Stanley, Doll@idausa.org, (662) 809-4483
In Defense of Animals has served animals and communities in the Deep South for 28 years. The organization carries out educational initiatives and directly rescues and rehomes abused, neglected and homeless animals through its Hope Animal Sanctuary in Carroll County, Mississippi. Its Justice for Animals campaign aids law enforcement and courts to prevent, investigate and prosecute animal cruelty, and works with legislators to both create and improve animal protection laws. www.idausa.org/justice4animals
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 37-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and its hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org
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