The alleged mistreatment of eight-year-old K-9 Officer Jack, a Belgian Malinois with the Salisbury Police Department in North Carolina, continues to draw ire from dog lovers and animal advocates across the country. When an anonymous blogger submitted a “Letter to the Editor” to the Rowan Free Press, the description of the living conditions of Jack, set off a firestorm of criticism aimed at Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins.
The disturbing description of the dog’s living quarters included:
“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.”
So why has this happened? What some people allege to be a personal argument because Jack’s handler, Officer Fox resigned from the Salisbury Police Department to take a promotion and work with the Salisbury Sheriff’s Office may have placed Jack in the middle of a political clash. Officer Fox requested that Jack be allowed to come home with him and be adopted; Chief Collins denied the request.
Since Monday, animal lovers, humane society representatives and PETA began calling the City Hall and the police department asking for a clarification of the circumstances and why Jack had been incarcerated in a 6’x8′ pen for two weeks.
An official statement was posted on Wednesday from the Salisbury Police Department refuting all of the allegations and stating that Jack is being reassigned to another officer and has not “aged out” according to Andy Efird, the K-9 Unit commander.
Early this morning, the Humane Society of Rowan County posted the following about Jack’s situation and the latest update on their Facebook page:
“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.”
K-9 officers are often kept on duty for ten years before they are retired, but there are always special cases where the dog’s emotional and physical concerns become priorities. In a follow-up “Letter to the Editor” the same writer asked more questions – none of which have been answered:
“What financial sense does it make to invest the incredible number of man hours required to get a Jack to accept a new handler? Would it make sense to invest a year in training when Jack will then be 9 years old as opposed to starting with a new canine who will have years of service left? Has anyone asked a professional trainer (and please, name him so verification can be made) if they would recommend assigning Jack to a new handler instead?”
Hundreds of posts on the Humane Society of Rowan County’s Facebook denounce the decision of Chief Collins pertaining to K-9 Jack.
The following are links and contact numbers:
Police Chief Rory Collins: 704-638-2133; by email email@example.com
Humane Society: 704-636-5700
John Sofley, Salisbury, NC Interim City Manager: 704-638-5309
Mayor Paul Woodson: 704-638-5231704-638-5231 at City Hall; 704-633-5411 at Vogue Cleaner’s
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