K9 OFFICER Tank would have given his life for the officer handler. Officer Miller had no regard for the life of his partner and it is a tragedy - one that is both horrifying and preventable. Military troops and police officers everywhere entrust their lives to dogs that lead them through danger everyday. These dogs need to be respected and protected not disregarded as poor Tank was. The result of Officer Miller's gross negligence was a death sentence for Tank.
There should be a Law in EVERY state in our country that says, any dog that is a K9 officer, should anyone ever cause their death due to negligence of any kind, shall be charged with murder of a law enforcement officer. Punishment for Tank's death should be pursued at a level equal to the death of any other police officer. Officer Miller did selfishly and negligently leave his partner and fellow officer in harms way and that action, in effect; did cause the death of Tank!!!
I want to advocate for tougher felony animal cruelty laws in this state and across the country. I believe stiffer penalties would go a long way toward putting an end to animal cruelty and neglect which leads to horrific and preventable deaths of animals who cannot speak for themselves.
It's time for the people of South Carolina and across the country to stand up. If we have a public outcry in these cases, maybe we can deter anyone else who may think of leaving an animal in a car for any amount of time.
I would propose a bill aimed at improving current legislation for animal welfare on issues such as animal abuse and neglect. In the last month, two high profile cases have spotlighted the urgency for changes to be made to update laws in order to better protect dogs.
In addition to proposing stiffer fines and penalties, I would also propose establishing a database of convicted animal abusers - for example: if a convicted abuser wants to go and adopt an animal at any humane society or shelter in South Carolina (and throughout the United States for that matter) – their name would pop up and the shelter is legally obligated to not release any animal to that person’s custody. People charged and convicted of animal cruelty would also have to pay an annual fee for so many years that would be contributed to a Humane Society or Association, mandated community service in an animal rescue center for a lengthy amount of time and have their name, photo and address registered in a database that would be shared with animal shelters and pet stores.
According to PETA.org, parked cars are deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paw pads.
In one of the two cases referenced above, a bulldog was rescued from a hot car by Spartanburg police. An officer said he was called to Westgate Mall on Sunday after someone reported a dog had been left inside a car. The officer said he saw the dog in between the seats with a lot of saliva around its mouth. It was said the dog had a chain around its neck that was hooked to something in the car. The dog began to vomit, its tongue was purple and was too weak to even drink the water the officers were trying to give it. The poor dog died the following day. Tony Davis was arrested, charged with ill treatment of animals and taken to the Spartanburg County Detention Center (without a second thought, as it should have been, from the Officer’s who rescued that dog).
The need for stronger laws against animal abuse and neglect was then further highlighted after a disturbing case of what is in my opinion, animal cruelty and neglect of K9 Officer Tank in Bennettsville, S.C. last week. In this tragic case, Tank, a Black Labrador Retriever, was laid to rest in a tiny gray casket in an area near the department's training grounds off of State Street as a result of his handler’s lack of concern, negligence and cruel lack of compassion for his fellow officer.
Bennettsville Police Chief Larry McNeil says Tank's partner “accidentally” left him in the car Monday outside the police department. The engine was off and the windows were rolled up. McNeil says the officer stopped by the department to do some work and didn't think he was going to be there very long, so he left Tank inside the car. It has been said that Tank was four years old and had worked with Bennettsville police for three years in explosives detection. What happened when Officer Miller neglected his partner which resulted in Tank’s death? Was he convicted of animal abuse, cruelty or even neglect? Nope, nothing. We need justice. We MUST have ZERO tolerance!!!!
Bennettsville Police Chief Larry McNeil and former Mayor Lucy Mills-Parson seem to somehow be trying to justify the crime committed by Officer Miller. Rather, they should advocate the safety of our animals and prosecute these “so-called mistakes” to the fullest extent of the law. Again, we MUST have ZERO tolerance!!!!
Let the laws of the country be upheld even against those who are entrusted to serve and protect those laws. Justice is suppose to be blind and swift to the aggressors of the law, so in the same way a civilian can be charged for murder of an officer - let them too be charged for those same infractions of the laws as well as their punishments. 60 days suspended without pay and then a 90 day probation is an injustice for Tank and all other living beings.
This cannot continue to happen. There MUST be a CHANGE. The law MUST be changed to include SEVERE charges for killing a police officer. ALL police officers, 2 or 4 legged. They serve on the same force. We all need to do our part in being the voice of this poor officer dog and any and all other animals who are left in hot cars to die. JUSTICE FOR TANK!!!!