Thursday, July 02, 2009

Where is the disciplinary procedure?

I am shocked and very angry about the story over the deaths of two German Shepherd dogs who died when they were left in a parked private car outside the Nottinghamshire force's headquarters while a the Police Officer went inside. He returned to find them both dead. Experts said it was so hot - temperatures reached 86F (30C) - they would have died within 30 minutes. It emerged that the dog handler was on duty at the time and the dogs were left in his private car, parked in the main staff car park outside the headquarters. The deaths were immediately referred to the RSPCA and the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Under the Animal Welfare Act, the officer responsible could be jailed for six months or fined £20,000. A force spokesman said the officer had not been suspended and refused to say how long the animals had been left in the car. The dogs were found at 2.15pm as temperatures outside the building in Arnold, Notts, reached 29.3 degrees Centigrade, the hottest day in the area for three years.

The spokesman said: "The welfare of all animals owned by Nottinghamshire Police is of paramount importance and we endeavour to take every measure possible to ensure their well-being and safety." The IPCC said it would not be investigating and referred the matter back to Nottinghamshire.

...So where is the standard disciplinary procedure over these deaths? I am angry that this Police Officer has not been suspended but has been allowed home to prepare his case at leisure and then maybe have a chat with the RSPCA next week. I think that the IPCC should investigate the deaths of these defenseless animals in the same way as any other death in Police custody. The Police spokesman is also an annoying hypocrite when he states "The welfare of all animals owned by Nottinghamshire Police is of paramount importance and we endeavour to take every measure possible to ensure their well-being and safety." yet the Officer has not been suspended or named.

It is common sense not to leave animals in locked cars. You know yourself just how hot it gets in cars and you are glad to get out and escape the heat. Any workman looks after his tools and guards against theft from vehicles. These highly trained Police dogs are the tools of the handler's trade and they should be cared for with the same diligence as all the other resources. This Officer would have been trained in animal welfare and he has not just ignored common sense but in my view has been guilty of gross misconduct and should be dismissed after the formalities have been done. I hope the RSPCA brings this case to court and this officer is sent to prison for his crimes.

The fundamental difference with this case is that the dogs' deaths was an accident. You're comparing the - almost certainly distraught dog-handler - to chavs from rough council estates, who treat their pet animals as nothing more than punch bags.

It was a tragic accident. The IPCC needs to investigate, which I understand that it is doing, but this has been a tragic accident.

One momentary lapse of concentration and it could happen to any of us. Police dogs generally end up 'retiring' with their handler; this must show just how much respect each has for one and other.

As a nation of animal lovers, of course we're going to be angry and upset, of course you should make comment on this, but not everything is black and white. The poor chap who handled these dogs must truly be in absolute hell. He'll be investigated, possibly fined and a hefty disciplinary added to his record, but he does not deserve the same treatment as Mr & Mrs Chav on a dodgy estate somewhere in London who allow their dogs to die through complete neglect.

It is so, so sad, it really is.
Bpbbi, thank you for leaving a comment. I just want this Officer to be treated the same way as any other member of the public regardless of job or housing status. The Nottinghamshire Police Force recently featured in the You Tube video wildly using a Taser stun gun which most viewers did not consider to be reasonable force. The punishment in all cases should fit the crime and that includes avoidable accidents.
This is indeed a very sad and tragic case, the suffering of those dogs is intolerable to think about and I do have some sympathy for the policeman in question.

BUT the big difference between the policeman and Mr and Mrs Chav is that the former is a trained dog handler and should be aware on no circumstances to leave dogs in a car on a hot day. He is after the "expert" in this case.

Yes we can all have one, or more, momentary lapses of concentration but leaving two big dogs in your own car for a period of time would be pushing it a bit. At some point he must have remembered his duty of care towards these animals and returned to collect them. His lack of action was reponsible for the death of these dogs through complete neglect and reflects poorly on the standard of the Police Force in that region.

However if the man has any decency, and I'm sure he has, the feeling of guilt he has causing this suffering and discredit he has done to the Force will be a worse punishment then a heavy fine and disciplinary comments on his record.

Hello John. I respectfully must disagree with the first element of your comment. Be the dog handler trained or not, it was a very tragic accident.

By definition, with Mr and Mrs Chav it never is. This shows a certain level of intent on the Chavs' part, unlike that of the Police dog-handler.

Intent in itself is a crime.

I concur wholeheartedly with your closing sentiment, that the guilt and the sleepless nights will be a more suitable punishment to this individual than a fine or the loss of this job.

I fear, though, that this may not be enough for the anti-Police factions that exist within our society. Luckily, they're not the ones in charge though.
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