A Good Samaritan picked up a lost dog in Henderson, Nevada last month and brought him to a local vet. The vet scanned him for a chip and determined he had an owner. The vet then called AC to pick up the dog. Right then and there, either the vet or the ACO (or both) should have contacted the owner. But that did not happen. Instead, the ACO loaded the dog onto his truck then went on several other calls.
Meanwhile the dog’s family, Jim Whipple and his 17 year old son Brandon, were actively searching for him. Mr. Chops had been rescued by the Whipples many years ago and was well-loved:
The Whipples say Mr. Chops loved to play with socks and was full of energy.
“If something was going on, he was always there to comfort you.”
At 4:30 pm, the ACO returned to the shelter, parked the truck and left for the day. It was 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mr. Chops suffered in the heat, trying to claw his way out of the cage, until he finally died. His remains were discovered the next day when the ACO returned to work. The police department, which runs AC in Henderson, is investigating itself in the matter and won’t comment on the investigation. They will say however that in future, the policy will be to brings dogs back to the shelter in a more timely manner and to check the truck to verify there are no animals on it before leaving for the day. Ya think?
Although I said it at the beginning, it’s worth repeating: all that sucks. Mr. Chops’ agonizing death was entirely preventable. The dog never should have been loaded onto the truck in the first place. A microchip, as we are so often scolded by various AC outfits, is supposed to protect your pet. But as has been reported way too frequently on this blog, microchips only work when AC does their job. Government investigating itself is unacceptable. The fact that there was no existing policy which required ACOs to check the trucks before leaving them for the day is inexcusable.
What doesn’t suck:
When the Henderson police realized that Mr. Chops was dead, they wanted to notify the owners:
The family was notified in person by a Henderson Police deputy chief, people from Animal Control and a grief counselor.
By sending these particular people to the Whipples’ home to deliver the tragic news, the Henderson PD not only demonstrated empathy for the family but also respect for the fact that to most owners, pets are family. They recognized that in all likelihood, the news would be heartbreaking for the Whipples.
And while many of us might be tempted to issue a call for someone’s head as a result of the needless suffering and death of our beloved family member, Mr. Chops’ people responded differently:
The Whipples say while they hope to see policy changes, they do not want to see the officer who left Mr. Chops in the back of the truck to lose his job.
The Whipple family was obviously devastated, but says they realize it was a tragic mistake.
“Honestly, I understand people make mistakes they can forget things. I often forget things, but it is a life. He is gone,” Brandon Whipple said.
“We as a family are concerned about the poor individual that made the mistake and left him in because they have the grief to live with,” Jim Whipple said.
Both father and son saying they hope that everyone can learn from Mr. Chops’ death.
Yes, I believe we all just did. Thank you.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)