A Boise County woman who for the past two years has been actively promoting the training of police officers in handling dog encounters contacted the Statesman to give props to some Treasure Valley officers whom she felt showed extra care and concern for a wayward and injured dog Wednesday.
“Media generally covers when law enforcement shoots dogs,” said Edith Williams, founder of the group Idaho for Canine Encounter Education, which emphasizes non-lethal methods police can use for dealing with aggressive dogs. “Rarely do they cover when they go above and beyond to get a dog to medical care when one has been injured in a hit-and-run — especially when it’s a bully breed. I just think we need to give law enforcement credit when they are kind and compassionate to critters.”
This is a simple story — and one that plays out every day someplace in Idaho.
“We do things all the time, and you don’t hear anything. And you do one thing, and you hear lots of things,” said Middleton Police Sgt. Steve Walker, surprised but pleased by the positive feedback he’s received from helping an injured animal. “Either way, it’s not going to change what we do.”
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The story of this dog’s rescue also underscores the quiet, year-round effort made by volunteers with animal rescue organizations across the state.
This dog, an unneutered male bully breed, was found lying in the middle of Idaho Highway 44 near Middleton. Williams’ daughter, Sandra, came upon the injured dog while on her way to work just after 6 a.m. Wednesday. She circled around, called 911 to report the injured animal and directed traffic around the dog until she could get it to move off the highway. She was uncertain of its injuries and or its mental state, so she stayed at a safe distance until help arrived. Once off the highway, the dog disappeared into the darkness.
At about 6:30 a.m., Middleton Police Sgt. Walker arrived at the scene. He set off on foot to look for the dog, walking about a quarter mile in the snow. But the dog was gone.
“I happen to live in that area, so I started looking around,” Walker said.
About an hour later, a resident who works at West Valley Humane Society in Caldwell contacted the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office about the stray, injured dog.
Walker said when he arrived, the dog was lying under a tree. He worked with Deputy Bryce Moore, a canine handler for the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, to load the 50-pound dog into the sheriff’s vehicle. Sometimes injured animals are aggressive, but this one wasn’t.
“It was pretty calm,” said Walker, who previously worked as a canine officer with Moore for several years in Canyon County before joining the Middleton Police Department a year ago.
The dog found on the highway Wednesday had no tags, collar or chip. It was transported to West Valley Humane Society, which works with Boise Bully Breed Rescue. A volunteer with that group took the dog to All Valley Animal Care Center in Meridian.
Cathleen Catti, founder of Boise Bully Breed, said the dog was bleeding from its ear, so it may have suffered brain damage when it was hit. She said they’ll have to wait and see how the dog does because the rescue can’t afford a $2,500 MRI to find out for sure how bad the head injury is. X-rays show the dog also has pelvic injuries, which an orthopedic surgeon was assessing Thursday afternoon.
“He was hit really hard by whoever hit him and took off,” Catti said. “From what it sounds like, it’s not going to be good. But the pelvic injury may not require surgery.”
She said her group has seven dogs receiving treatment at All Valley, which gives the nonprofit a 25 percent discount. Anyone who would like to contribute to the treatment of the dog found near Middleton Wednesday can donate through the group’s Web site.
Note: We’ll do an update on this story when we know more. Happy New Year.