Burglars poisoned two dogs — including a Richmond, California K-9 police officer’s service animal — in a sneaky attack on the officer’s home last Friday. It was a well-planned, targeted attack, according to the description of events given by police Lt. Bisa French.
Someone first poisoned a family pet, a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever. The officer’s wife called the officer. He returned home, secured his Belgian Malinois police K9 in a kennel, and then the two of them rushed the sick lab to the vet.
While they were gone, someone then poisoned the police dog and robbed the house, netting five guns and some other unnamed items.
The officer’s name is being withheld to protect his privacy since law enforcement has good reason to believe from the sequence of events that someone deliberately targeted the victim. The police department is particularly upset because there was no benefit to the burglar to poisoning the second dog, which was locked in a kennel where it couldn’t have attacked the criminal.
The crime goes far beyond a cruel prank. According to the US Police Canine Association, the cost of a specialized K-9 dog is around $2,500 to $4,000 — and that’s before you add in the price of the training, food, and veterinary bills. A highly trained dual-purpose dog can cost as much as $10,000.
But the economic harm is only part of the story. Human K-9 officers develop a close bond with their four-legged partner and consider them “a part of the family,” French pointed out.
Despite the quick vet attention, the first poisoned dog died within 24 hours. Fortunately, the police K-9 is now recovering.
A $10,000 reward is being offered by two Richmond police unions if someone shares information that leads to the conviction of the person or persons who committed the crime. You can call (510) 232-8477 if you know something.
For most of us, a burglar who poisons dogs has crossed a line. That person isn’t just taking a pet. He’s taking a piece of our hearts.