Drug Policy

Another Cop-Kills-Dog Drug Raid

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Yet another cop-kills-the-family-dog story today, this one from Willits, California:

Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force agents, aided by a uniformed Willits police officer, serving a search warrant at 64 Franklin Avenue on July 27, shot and killed a family pet, an 8-year-old half-pit bull mix named Tonka.

When agents searched the home, they found nothing directly linking the residents to the arrest of Craig Anthony Gelber, the target of the search, according to MMCTF Commander Bob Nishiyama.

Apparently the raid came after police spotted their suspect at or near the residence with marijuana starts.

"I know the officer felt terrible," says [police chief] Nishiyama about the shooting. "You may have the nicest dog in the world, but we don't know it. Officers are authorized to defend themselves. We offered to take the dog and take care of it, but the family preferred to handle the arrangements themselves."

According to resident Anna White, Tonka's owner, the police shot her pet while it was in a fenced area on her front porch. "We found the shell casing outside by the fence area. Tonka then ran into our house, got onto my bed and died."

White described her bedroom following the search, claiming Tonka's body had been dumped from the bed onto the floor and items from her room dropped onto the body and into the dog's blood. "They destroyed our house and found nothing," says White. "Tonka lived long enough to die on my bed, which we shared each night."

Tonka was one of three dogs at the home. White's father was the only family member at home during the first part of the search. Her father got to the door after the shot had been fired, says White. The three dogs then ran into the home. Her father did not know at first Tonka had been shot since he was handcuffed and lying on the floor during the search.

Just collateral drug war damage. Nothing to see here.

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  1. Look at the bright side: two out of three dogs lived!

    What, too soon?

  2. “”We found the shell casing outside by the fence area. Tonka then ran into our house, got onto my bed and died.”

    “White described her bedroom following the search, claiming Tonka’s body had been dumped from the bed onto the floor and items from her room dropped onto the body and into the dog’s blood. “They destroyed our house and found nothing,” says White. “Tonka lived long enough to die on my bed, which we shared each night.”

    Speechless with rage.

    1. “Tonka lived long enough to die on my bed, which we shared each night.”

      Kinky!

  3. Two puppycide stories in one day is too harsh.

  4. a uniformed Willits police officer…shot and killed a family pet, an 8-year-old half-pit bull mix named Tonka

    Somebody enlighten me as to why the name of the mutt is pertinent. What about Tonka’s parents? Couldn’t they be reached for comment?

    1. Sorry, misplaced response:

      Federal Dog|8.4.10 @ 3:07PM|#

      “Somebody enlighten me as to why the name of the mutt is pertinent.”

      It is common practice to name the victims of any reported crime.

      1. “They destroyed our house and found nothing,” says White. “Tonka lived long enough to die on my bed, which we shared each night.”

        Since they quoted White who used Tonka’s name, they need to identify somewhere that Tonka is the dog.

        1. “Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force agents, aided by a uniformed Willits police officer, serving a search warrant at 64 Franklin Avenue on July 27, shot and killed a family pet, an 8-year-old half-pit bull mix named Tonka.”

          I think that covers it.

  5. “Somebody enlighten me as to why the name of the mutt is pertinent.”

    It is common practice to name the victims of any reported crime.

    1. It’s a dog. Not a human. A dog. Should journalists start listing the names of all the hamsters who die in an eco-arson?

        1. What about us? We have names. We…exist!

      1. The fact that it’s a dog and “not a human” automatically means the reporters should not mention its name? I’m not following.

        1. Subtraction sign/en-dash is a troll.

          1. I’m not following.

            It’s just a dog. Its name is not essential. Naming the dog is no more pertinent to the story than describing the weather at the time or the color of the house.

            1. “Get the name of the dog” is a common saying among J-school profs trying to stress the importance of details.

            2. Is the name of the resident essential. Is the name of the town essential?

      2. Well, they name the cops. As long as they’re keeping their standards low…

  6. Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force agents…the raid came after police spotted their suspect at or near the residence with marijuana starts.

    Huh, not real encouraging to see that in CA you still have pot being treated as MAJOR crime. Perhaps the crime was having a dog.

  7. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    1. No kidding. I wasn’t expecting my ball kick for two more days.

      Are we getting a bonus this week?

  8. Thanks for ruining our sleep. Again.

  9. “We offered to take the dog and take care of it, but the family preferred to handle the arrangements themselves.”

    Yeah, I wonder why? Shitbag.

  10. I have got to stop reading this shit. I am going to lose my mind.

    1. But you won’t, because Balko has mastered the art of rubbernecking voyeurism + love of puppies + fear of authority. It’s cheap, momentarily gratifying, and oddly unimportant, like an ice-cream sandwich, and who ever turns down one of those?

  11. Dogtown PA: Patrons of the Dogtown Dunkin Donuts were shocked today when a member of the local dog pack entered the donut shop without permission and killed a police officer. When Officer Bob approached the dog, the dog bit the Officer, who died later at a local hospital.
    The leader of the local pack, Sparky, refused to identify the dog involved. He defended the dog’s actions, saying that there was a reasonable suspicion that there were treats in the store and that the dog was impelled to investigate. He maintained that Officer Bob approached the dog “in a threatening manner.”
    “Don’t get me wrong. I like police officers,” Pack Leader Sparky said. “but dogs are entitled to defend themselves. Our pack member did nothing wrong.”

  12. Forgive my naivety but, what is a marijuana start?

    1. Baby marijuana plant.

      1. I wouldn’t trust most cops to be able to distinguish between marijuana starts and a flat of peonies from Home Depot.

        1. Funny story:

          I worked for a municipality for a while. I was often called on to identify noxious weeds for the grass police. One day while out looking at a front yard that was not traditional, no grass, I noticed a well maintained back yard with some nice landscaping. Upon further examination, from across the street, I noticed two pot plants growing in the backyard on the porch in plain view. (corner lot, large plants) To this day you will see two plants back there every summer. A cop used to sit on the side street from which you could see the plants clocking traffic, with the plants in full view if the cop turned around.

          Never underestimate the stupidity an inability of public servants and most of all cops.

    2. Don’t start with the marijuana.

  13. Is Reason ever going to get around to putting up a post about the mosque they want to build at Ground Zero?

    1. Who the fuck would want to do that?

      1. Their silence on the subject is shameful.

        1. It is right up there with Matt Welch’s silence on the issue of John McCain’s fitness for office.

    2. Is that some sort of weird performance art I dont get?

      1. At least it isn’t a Muslim Reason donator that is a porn theater owner on trial for putting up a mosque in NY story.

        We would get 10 of those a day.

    3. There were two today…

  14. I’d put my cat up against a pit bull any day. The cop wouldn’t even see him coming.

    1. only if you threw the cat at the cop from a blind. you only think cats are stealthy. Now a mouse on the other had is really really stealthy. You never hear of a cop killing a mouse, ever.

      1. Ha! I blew a fucking mouse away. Little bastard came at me. I had to defend myself and keep the situation under control. Splattered that little fucker all over the place.

        Never did find any drugs, though.

  15. So, I gather that the dog was on the other side of a fence when the cop shot it. That is “an officer defending himself” how, exactly?

    That whole throwing the dead dog onto the ground thing, and then throwing the citizen’s belongings into the pool of blood, that strikes me as being pretty fucking psychopathic, you know?

    I’m also kind of wondering why someone who apparently had no connection to any crime was handcuffed and thrown onto the porch while the search was going on.

    God, I hate these fuckers. But, not to worry, all those good cops on the force will no doubt see to it that justice is done. Right? Right?

    1. Dog reached for a gun.

    2. “I’m also kind of wondering why someone who apparently had no connection to any crime was handcuffed and thrown onto the porch while the search was going on.”

      A friend of mine’s a defense attorney back home – he had a client recently who wanted to sue the city. The cops were trying to do a raid on the house next door, his dog started barking, they shot his dog.

      (There weren’t any fucking drugs in the house, of course. Wrong house! Again.)

      He had to tell the guy not to pursue it – the city had restrictions in place for just such an event that basically meant the guy would maybe win fifty bucks, max, if he even prevailed in court. Cops, as we can all see from stories like this, can excuse *any* brutality as self-defense, even when they literally shoot dogs in pens or put twenty rounds into old, blind lap dogs.

  16. Shit like this is why i hate cops and advocate killing the fuckers. If they did this to my dog they better kill me. Because if they don’t I guarantee the cop that did it will wake up with his house on fire. Fuck him and his family.

    1. Ah, the Radley Balko outraged poster boy of the thread. As predictable as sunrise.

  17. I sent this e-mail to the Major Crimes Task Force address:

    Are dogs that are on the other side of the fence a dangerous animal that require the force of a gun to put down?

    Are all of your officers pathetic cowards, or just the ones who shoot dogs who are on the opposite side of a fence?

    Do these officers learn their cowardice from you, or is this part of an overall program?

    Are all of your officers sociopaths, or simply the ones who murder harmless animals and then dump the possessions of innocent people into said animals’ pools of blood?

    The actions of your department disgust me and the excuses you use to pardon those disgusting actions are even worse.

  18. Sweet Athena, Balko, do you just drink yourself to sleep each night? Or kickbox a cop-shaped dummy 6 hours a day?

    I have to mark my hard copy of Reason so my wife knows which articles not to read (hint: they’re mostly yours) so that she doesn’t become a raging paranoid. I’ve been reading you for 7+ years and I still have about 4-5 days/month that I basically stop functioning due to your journalism. How the hell do YOU deal with it all?

    1. The Jacket confers special powers on those it selects as wearers.

      No other explanation works as well.

    2. Perhaps if you weren’t such a rubbernecking voyeur who delights in Balko’s penchant for the disproportionate, you’d get those 4-5 days back real quick.

  19. You know I wonder. Is this shit ever going to end. Stop the world! I want off now.

    1. No, it won’t. I thought after the Missouri dog shooting that enough people would be sick of it, but that hasn’t happened. I no longer believe the cops will ever get better, they will only get worse. So we might as well start shooting them now and get it over with.

      1. If people start defend dogs like livestock or property it might.

  20. Not that the distinction should matter, but should marijuana starts be reason to suspect major criminal activity in CA at this point? Doesn’t like half the state have a card that lets them grow the shit legally?

  21. “I know the officer felt terrible,” says [police chief] Nishiyama about the shooting. “You may have the nicest dog in the world, but we don’t know it. Officers are authorized to defend themselves. We offered to take the dog and take care of it, but the family preferred to handle the arrangements themselves.”

    You guys have to admit that’s a lot better than “Fuck you, the officer’s life was in danger, you’re lucky we didn’t shoot the goldfish and the hamster, too, and here’s a ticket for having a dead dog on your floor.”

    1. Why, because the pig lied and said anybody felt anything for the family? Pigs don’t feel for citizens in situations like this, ever. They just make nasty jokes about it.

  22. Whenever I see the phrase “uniformed police officer” my mind always thinks it says “uninformed police officer” at first.

    I’m not sure if that reflects badly on me or on them.

  23. Obviously the officer deserves the same fate he inflicted on the dog.

  24. It looks like the “get a warrant and come back” door mat will need an addendum that reads shoot “my dog and win a personal exhibition of my marksman skills.”

    1. Lets fix that sentence shall we?

      It looks like the “Get a warrant and come back.” doormat will need an addendum that reads “Shoot my dog and win a personal exhibition of my marksman skills.”

  25. I’m tempted to switch from Che Guevara pistol targets to “uninformed officer” targets; or at least put them in the rotation.

  26. Isn’t there a site that covers all the dogs shot on raids?

  27. I guess it is different when the shoe is on the other foot. “Anyone who kills a federal law enforcement animal will face fines and up to 10 years in prison….” (http://www.slate.com/id/2195529/)

  28. Hey Radley, I know your dog-shooting stories are the bomb and everything, but every time you bottomfeed for those stories, perhaps you should reflect on a quote from one of your own posts: “The number of cops intentionally killed while on duty is small enough?especially when compared to the total number of cops working?that nine additional gunfire deaths over six months may well just be a statistical hiccup.”

    Surely a smart guy like you knows what I’m talking about.

    1. You’re talking about the plain fact that cops aren’t in much danger at all in the United States, and there’s absolutely no reason for their current terror campaign against The Little People?

  29. my question is can nothing be done about this? i mean if the dog was fenced in then there was NO immediate danger to the police. so they had NO RIGHT to kill that animal. I know if it was me, i would take it public and to court

    1. There’s no point, really. Cops’ rules of engagement are intentionally vague so they can justify anything, even shit that has to make anybody laugh bitterly like “I really needed that tazer to calm down that angry eight-year-old. Also, body armor.”

      Sure you did, you big giant puss.

  30. wow i am going to shoot a cop…seriously just straight shoot one in the face! They can go lay on there bed and bleed to death.

    Fuck the police.

  31. The San Francisco Police, Officer Nasir to be exact, shot in COLD blood my best friend for five wonderful years and my soul-mate “Tip-Turtle”! The officer used an illegal elephant dropping python round to execute the sweetest most loved dog ever to bless this nasty city, half a block from a dog walking park narrowly missing me! The officer shot him in the face as he smiled at me, like “Got him!”. He then left the scene, cops closed Indiana Street for nearly four hours while they rearranged the scene and collected the spent shells and the round that I watched enter his face and exit his rear. Like a cartoon in slow motion a clothes line of blood stretched and dripped as my buddy turned to me as if to say, “What did I do wrong daddy?” I am 42 years old and I’ve seen everything you could imagine and to this day I cry every day and mourn every day, reliving this evil unnecessary act of MURDER! The whole police report was a fabrication and no lawyer would take my case! I gave up but the Police need to stop shooting dogs, there are way to many alternatives. This wasn’t just a dog, he was my life and my only family! I HATE YOU OFFICER NASIR! I wouldn’t want to be you on judgement day! thanks,
    Charles Ken Blanton Jr.
    ckblanton01@gmail.com

  32. Typical storm-trooper bullshit

  33. In Loving Memory of Tip Turtle, February 19, 2004

    Tip, you were the sweetest and most loving soul we’ve ever known.
    One of Gods most perfect Creations.Perfection that doesn’t exist outside of you.
    Perfection that makes following in your footsteps impossible.

    In\[p-my grief I used to cry & worry about you and wonder where you were.
    And then I realized I was crying not for you, but for myself.
    I know now that you were only a gift. A gift given to us for only a short time.
    In time I started believing that you went to a much better place.
    A place where Lily & Wes Turtle were already waiting for you.

    I often
    wonder what God could have been thinking to let you be taken from us so suddenly.
    It wasn’t just a tragedy but it was so abrupt. It was to soon to have you taken away from us.
    Taken away from us forever without so much as a warning. But there is never really a warning.
    Is there? Because if there was. . . .

    We learned that in time we would remember you without thinking of that
    last horrible moment we all shared together. The final moment that your eyes
    would close forever. The moment that we knew what a broken heart
    truly felt like.

    As time went by we learned that we could talk about you without being consumed by anger, sadness & grief.
    We could remember everything wonderful & special about you that we kept bottled up inside for so long.
    You touched so many people in so many ways.
    You brought happiness to their lives and love into their hearts. It makes me so proud to
    hear your friends remember their “Tip Turtle” stories.

    February 19, 2004. A day I will never forget or overlook. The day that changed all of our
    lives forever.
    It’s now been three years and I still don’t have your picture hanging on a wall or sitting on a shelf.
    I’ve put them up only to take it down again. They are tucked away safely with your collar & one
    of your favorite toys. One of these days…Tip, one of these days!

    It’s time for me to end this because I could go on forever and ever.
    We love you and miss you Tip and with every day that comes and goes
    we love and miss you that much more. More than we did three years ago and more than we did yesterday.
    It’s those of us that love you the most, those of us that you had to leave behind that
    truly suffer the most.

    xoxoFOREVER

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