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Monday, 22 February 2010

Nottinghamshire Police Officer prosecuted for police dogs deaths

In July last year I blogged about the cruel deaths of two Nottinghamshire police dogs, you can read it here. The worst part about the case, where two police dogs, Jay-Jay and Jet were left to basically boil alive in a police vehicle by their handler, PC Mark Johnson was the apparent cover up by Nottinghamshire police force and certainly a silence from them.

Kevin Guise from the Police Dog and Mounted Section laid flowers at the site in memory of Jay-Jay and Jet.

However today, PC Johnson was found guilty by Nottinghamshire Magistrates of animal cruelty and was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £2,500 costs.

On the Guardian website, PC Johnson said;
Johnson, 39, said he was severely depressed and was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder when he left the dogs in the car. He said that repeated investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission had made his life "hell on earth" and convinced him that they were "out to get him".
I am appalled that PC Johnson was allowed to be in charge of police dogs, who depend on their handlers, if he was genuinely suffering from depression.

Also, shouldn't his line managers by therefore fined for neglect of duty for allowing the officer to be on duty in the first place?  If these repeated investigations were affecting this police officer's attitude in such a way why did no one spot this?
Paul Taylor, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said that although the officer had been devoted to his dogs, they had died in terrible pain owing to his mistake. "His failure in this case is an aberration of his normal high standards," Taylor said. "However, his actions had catastrophic consequences for the two dogs in the car."
If this police officer's mental illness was so bad that on a day when it was nearly 30 degrees he could allow two dogs to stay locked in a car with no ventilation, he could have also done similar to a prisoner as well, this police officer should clearly not have been on active duty at all.
An assistant chief constable of the Nottinghamshire police, Peter Davies, said dog handlers must now take their animals directly to kennels on arrival at work and that a fob system was being piloted alerting handlers to temperature changes inside vehicles.
I am pleased that the Nottinghamsire police force has belatedly made some changes to their dog handling procedures, but it sounds like that either the PC's mental illness is just being used as an excuse or they genuinely have not really learned from this tragic incident.

It is a great pity that assistant chief constable Peter Davies didn't take a little more notice of these police dogs and their handler while they were alive and serving on duty.

Let us hope it is not repeated by any police dog handler ever.  This was an appalling animal cruelty case and I am not entirely sure justice has been served today.

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