Deputy put on leave after 2 police dogs die in hot SUV

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A Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy was placed on administrative leave this week after the two police dogs he cared for were left inside a sweltering county vehicle overnight, killing them, authorities said.

Metro daily – Deputy Steve Benoy, left, of the Bexar County Sheriff K9 Unit salutes as he holds his dog Blitz, as taps are played for Andor, badge number 007, who was retired today during a memorial service after passing away June 27, 2007, Friday, July 6, 2007

Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Benoy, who has been with the office for 23 years, is on a 10-day leave while the department investigates the deaths of the two Belgian Malinois. Although authorities said they believe the dogs suffered from apparent heat exhaustion, Animal Care Services is conducting a necropsy.

According to Deputy Chief Ronald “Dale” Bennett, Benoy drove the dogs to his Adkins home, 23 miles east of San Antonio, after he got off work around 2 p.m. Tuesday, just like he did every day.

“He had a routine,” Bennett said.

But Benoy then left town for the night. When he returned home Wednesday, the dogs weren’t where he usually keeps them when at home, Bennett said.

Instead, Benoy found the dogs where he had left them: in a county-owned Chevrolet Tahoe fitted with dog kennels. Animal Care Services was called to retrieve the bodies.

Officials did not immediately release the names and ages of the dogs, but Bennett said one was a narcotics dog and the other was assigned to patrol.

“It’s just a very tragic accident,” Bennett said, adding that Benoy “is completely devastated.”

Benoy, who Bennett said has been a K-9 handler for 13 years and spent 10 years before that on patrol, declined to comment Thursday on the deaths.

The sheriff’s office is conducting dual investigations, one to rule out animal cruelty and the other for administrative purposes. Bennett said a decision on any further action against Benoy won’t be made until the investigation is complete.

“After the 10 days, it depends on what the investigation reveals,” Bennett said, adding that Benoy is “one of my most dedicated guys.”

According to state law, a person could face a charge of animal cruelty if the offense is committed “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.” The charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

Two years ago, a Bexar County K-9 named Duke died of medical complications after he was left in a patrol car for 15 minutes with the air-conditioning running. Duke hadn’t been acting normal earlier in the day, officials said at the time, and his handler was making arrangements to take him to the veterinarian. No charges were brought in that case.

Handlers take their animals home overnight, Bennett said, and the county pays for their kennels. Benoy has other dogs of his own and also raises horses, he said. The county’s policy regarding care requirements for police dogs was not immediately available Thursday.

Sharon Gregory, the executive secretary of the Veterinary Medical Association of Bexar County who also manages a vet clinic, said handlers work with their police dogs during the day and go home together at night.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Deputy-put-on-leave-after-2-police-dogs-die-in-3737733.php#ixzz229GTB6RZ

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Florida man flies, rescues, his 1,000th animal

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“What a great guy, I would like to shake his hand for being such a wonderful savior of death row dogs!”

GREENVILLE, Ala. (AP) – On a recent June day, Jeff Bennett flew his four-seat plane from the mangrove-dotted Florida Keys, past some angry thunder clouds to the fertile hills of Greenville, Ala. His mission: to save 23 dogs destined for death row.

Bennett, a 53-year-old retired businessman, donates his time, fuel and plane to Pilots N Paws, a South Carolina-based charity that enlists small plane pilots to transport animals from overcrowded shelters that have high euthanasia rates to foster homes, rescue groups and less-crowded shelters that don’t kill the animals.

Bennett’s been airlifting animals for more than 3 years. Bennett is a dog lover; he has four of his own, including one that he adopted after a flight.

He’s carried mostly dogs, some cats, the occasional snake and once, a potbellied pig – earning his small Cirrus aircraft the nickname “All Species Airways” around the Pilots N Paws community.

But this month was special. On the Greenville trip, Bennett picked up his 1,000th animal.

“This is a mile marker,” said Bennett, who had a pointy party hat decorated with pirates picked out for the special canine.

It’s a number few of Pilots N Paws’ 2,800 volunteer pilots reach, said Deborah Boies, the group’s president and co-founder.

“We have only one other pilot who has accomplished that goal,” said Boies. “It’s extremely unique. He is truly one of the most dedicated people to Pilots N Paws.”

The dogs arrived soon after Bennett landed at the small, one-runway airport. They were in two vans, crowded into cages. Some barked and others trembled with fear. A small army of volunteers stood by to help Bennett transfer the dogs into his empty crates.

“OK everybody, if one of the dogs gets loose, don’t chase it, get down on the ground and just call it to you,” said Rebecca Harshman, a volunteer in Alabama who fosters dogs and helps ferry animals to the airport if a Pilots N Paws flight arrives.

One by one, paperwork was checked, photos were snapped with Bennett in front of the plane and then the dogs were loaded into a crate and into the plane. Bennett had taken out two of his plane’s four seats to accommodate all the dogs; even then, an extra puppy had to ride on the lap of a reporter back to Florida.

It was decided that Rex, a floppy-eared, mixed-breed puppy was Bennett’s 1,000th animal. He kissed the pup’s snout and hugged him tight.

Soon after, the plane took off, bound for Florida.

The dogs barked during the ascent, then grew quiet. Bennett stopped in Lakeland and Naples to unload the dogs, who were greeted by new volunteers that would give them new homes.

News Link:-http://www.ktiv.com/story/18842536/florida-man-flies-rescues-his-1000th-animal

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