Vet claims Waynesboro K-9 didn't have to die

Meth-related poisoning is called into question

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The Waynesboro, Ga., Police Department has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a police dog after the veterinarian who euthanized it said the dog did not appear to have been beyond help, as its handler claimed.

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Po Po, a 2-year-old German shepherd, was put down two days after he stepped in meth-producing chemicals, Petitt said.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Po Po, a 2-year-old German shepherd, was put down two days after he stepped in meth-producing chemicals, Petitt said.

The department held a memorial service for the dog, Po Po, on Wednesday, where Officer Bruce Petitt said the dog had stepped in meth-producing chemicals during a warrant service two days before and apparently ingested or absorbed them.

Petitt said a veterinarian had told him it was too late to save the dog, so it had been put down.

But Friday, Dr. Sarah Ford, the veterinarian who put the dog to sleep, said Po Po did not appear to have symptoms of poisoning.

"I work with dogs every day that have been poisoned by different chemicals, and he certainly didn't exhibit any symptoms that a poisoned dog would have," said Ford, of the Burke County Animal Hospital.

Ford said Petitt made an appointment two days after the chemical contact strictly for euthanasia. No toxicology reports were filed through her office.

But Petitt acknowledged that a urine test was performed by an Augusta lab and that no trace of narcotics was found.

Petitt, who has been a handler since 1980, told Ford that Po Po was having 10 seizures a day.

"When I saw the dog, I was expecting to see some out-of-it, drooling, staggering type situation," Ford said, "but that dog was normal."

Because the dog was Petitt's personal property, Ford said law obligates her to honor his request for euthanasia, but not before recommending alternate care.

"Because the dog acted normal, I said that we should really hospitalize the dog and give him a chance," she said. "Every canine unit that I've ever talked to would give their right arm for the dog and give them every last chance."

Petitt denies that these suggestions were ever made. He said Ford commented that Po Po was either losing or had already lost his vision.

"If anybody would have given me any possibility that this dog could recover, there's no way I would be going through this or putting my kids and half of my department through this," Petitt said Friday. "If Dr. Ford said she said there was anything that could save him then she's an absolute liar."

Another veterinarian, Dr. Bruce Gradous, saw the dog before it was brought to Ford.

Gradous would not discuss his treatment of Po Po, but Petitt said Gradous put the dog on anti-seizure medication and flushed its system with IVs. He said Gradous was the one who suggested that Po Po had come into contact with meth.

Seizure medication, however, didn't seem to improve the dog's conditions, Petitt said. Gradous was ready to put Po Po to sleep, but Petitt said he wasn't ready and waited a day before taking the dog to Ford.

Police Chief Karl Allen said he had just learned of Ford's complaints Friday morning and that the department would investigate but he could give no further details.

Though Po Po belonged to Pettit, the city was about to contract to lease the dog for $1,000 per month. Documents were to have been signed by the City Council's Public Safety Committee on May 17, according to Chairman Richard Byne.

The committee still plans to lease Dee-Moe, another dog of Petitt's. Byne said the committee was comfortable staying with the handler because of Po Po's success.

"This is a big investigation because the dog has done such a great job," Byne said. "I think Officer Petitt is a great officer and we respect him very much, but this is something we need to follow up on."

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mable8
2
Points
mable8 05/22/10 - 12:49 am
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0
Someone should tell Dr Sarah

Someone should tell Dr Sarah Ford that not all dogs who have been poisoned drool or foam at the mouth---there are a multitude of symptoms, including seizures, that can be exhibited even when different dogs ingest the same poison. And if, in fact, she did tell Officer Pettit his dog was losing or had lost his vision, then what was her problem? Seems to me that such a statement would verify there was something terribly wrong with the animal. Furthermore, good qualified vets will often refuse to euthanize a healthy dog, regardless of the owner's request. In the event the owner continues to insist on euthanasia, the vet will request the dog be turned over to them and later find a new home for the dog. In my book, lady, you are not a good vet.

ghsfrshmn
2
Points
ghsfrshmn 05/22/10 - 01:29 am
0
0
well something is definitely

well something is definitely wrong somewhere in this story, who knows what it is though.

gunnerhall123
0
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gunnerhall123 05/22/10 - 02:48 am
0
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Hey Mable, what vet school

Hey Mable, what vet school did you go to?

reader54
324
Points
reader54 05/22/10 - 02:54 am
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Supply and demand. Now,

Supply and demand. Now, Pettite's other dog is worth more to the department and thus to Petite. Free markets at work.

sdrwtcn
0
Points
sdrwtcn 05/22/10 - 04:20 am
0
0
This dog knew something that

This dog knew something that nobody wanted told!

popodadie
0
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popodadie 05/22/10 - 04:41 am
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I am not going to attempt to

I am not going to attempt to argue every ignorant statement that someone makes on this forum. Some folks just like to post stupid statements to draw attention to themselves, ie the dog knew something that nobody wanted told.

Dr. Ford is right, most handler's would give their right arm to save their dogs, and I would. Do any of you realize what it takes, how many hours, months worth of time it takes to train a dog to perform this job. Do any of you commenting on this, have any idea how bonded you get not just training, but for those 12 hour shifts riding around together. Do any of you understand how dedicated to the job the dog becomes, how much they enjoy getting ready for work, how they are up and ready when you go to the kennel at 6 am, open the door and they run as fast as they can to the car, because they are ready to get at it. Knowing all of this, my question was, and not to Dr. Ford because she was not his vet, but my question was, what kind of quality of life will this dog have?

The statement that I up'd the value of my dog and myself by getting rid of one for the other is just plain stupid.

PoPo would have moments of completely normal behavior after this incident, whatever the incident was. Then he would just flip like a switch, and no one could go near him. I am not a vet, dont pretend to be, but it was explained to me, that a dog will blame his hurt, his injury his seizure, on the one he loves the most, the handler and this is why he was reacting to me.

The responsibility that comes with handling such a dog is beyond the average dog owners ability to comprehend. I not only have to think about the public that he will work around, but family and friends at home, and yes the dog himself.

I welcome the "investigation". I can not stop anyone from making idiotic comments, that is your right. I wish you could understand how it feels to have to make such a decision, and then have it questioned by someone who not once, was ever in contact with this dog. I know of no Dr. or Vet that can diagnose a dog, only having less than 5 minutes of contact, and none of that contact was for treatment. She was right about me making the appointment to put him down. She was right that it was 2 days after the initial contact. What the reported did not say, nor the "DR." was that these episodes, seizures or whatever, were coming one after another at this point. For a dog that was so proud to work and serve, that was no chance at life.

sdrwtcn
0
Points
sdrwtcn 05/22/10 - 05:41 am
0
0
I apologize for my ignorant

I apologize for my ignorant statement, I am shocked by the beastiality of this entire situation.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 05/22/10 - 06:23 am
0
0
Glad I'm not a dog!

Glad I'm not a dog!

sdrwtcn
0
Points
sdrwtcn 05/22/10 - 06:48 am
0
0
I know, it's ruff!

I know, it's ruff!

IntegrityMatters
0
Points
IntegrityMatters 05/22/10 - 07:14 am
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Who cleaned up all the meth

Who cleaned up all the meth making chemicals? Waynesboro PD? There's a lot wrong with this story. None of the comments from the first vet are his comments...they are the officer's, who admits no chemicals were found. Then he takes the dog to a second vet. Why not go back to the first vet? There are a lot of inconsistencies here. Seems like the vet may have a point.

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 05/22/10 - 08:05 am
0
0
I agree Integrity. First vet

I agree Integrity. First vet guesses the dog's been poisoned and does a treatment for it. The officer takes it to be put down after only a day or so of using the anti-seizure medicines. The second believes that the dog isn't dying but puts it down anyway and AFTERWARDS voices her opinions to the public. None of this article adds up.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 05/22/10 - 08:06 am
0
0
The dog belonged to the

The dog belonged to the handler, so why is this news? I don't know this man but have known enough K-9 handlers to know something is not right with this story. Putting down an animal that they have worked so hard to train and bond with is not a decision made lightly. Those making money comments should reread the story - the dog was worth $ 1000 a month alive if contracted. If this person cared more about money then the animal, he wouldn't have put him down. Whether right or wrong by the first or second vet, it would seem to me this handler had reason to believe the animal was suffering and made a difficult decision he believed to be best. If we are going to speculate in rediculous - does this vet have ties to any other handlers? Does she have a stake in the contract if another handler is awarded it?

IntegrityMatters
0
Points
IntegrityMatters 05/22/10 - 08:12 am
0
0
Martinez, there's been

Martinez, there's been several other articles in this paper and others (just Google it) talking about how the officer is bringing in his other dog to do the work. He still has his contract with the other dog. And I'm pretty sure the vet in Waynesboro is not training police dogs on the side. So the officer has his $1000/month either way. What's missing from the equation now?

beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 05/22/10 - 08:15 am
0
0
Well said PoPoDaddie. PoPo

Well said PoPoDaddie. PoPo was your dog, and it was your decision to do what was best for him after the siezures began from the poisoning. Who knows, maybe the Dr. has a kinship with the people from the meth bust and is trying to protect them from possible murder charges of a K-9 police officer. I'd say no man who has raised and trained a K-9 such as PoPo would ever put down his best friend without good reason. It's a sad day when these things have to be done for the sake of a true friend. My heart is sad for you daddie. Thumbs up for Dr.Gradous, to this day still the best vet. in this area.

Little Lamb
48973
Points
Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 08:44 am
0
0
What relevance is this

What relevance is this statement from the article above?

Officer Bruce Petitt acknowledged that a urine test was performed by an Augusta lab and that no trace of narcotics was found.

Crystal meth is not a narcotic, and none of the chemicals that go into the manufacture of crystal meth are narcotics. Therefore, a urine test for narcotics is meaningless.

Little Lamb
48973
Points
Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 11:19 am
0
0
I think it is unprofessional

I think it is unprofessional for veterinarian Sarah Ford to be making these claims to news media. The owner was seeing the seizures and was making what he believed to be the best choice for the dog and the family. The veterinarian should stop circulating opinions in the news media.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I am adding to my earlier post. I now am coming to realize that Dr. Ford is doing the community a service by pointing out inconsistencies in officer Petitt's story. Please accept my apologies, Dr. Ford.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 05/22/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
gunnerhall123: You don't have

gunnerhall123: You don't have to be a vet to acquire common knowledge--if you want to take your pet to that vet, sobeit.

akmoose
149
Points
akmoose 05/22/10 - 09:16 am
0
0
Actually the best vet that we

Actually the best vet that we ever had in this area was Dr. Jim Alexander. Dr. Gradous was responsible for very poor care of one of my mom's dogs, I know he's quite popular for some people but to each their own. And if he was the one that first treated the dog then why wasn't he the one that the dog was taken back to? Especially since "she wasn't his vet."?

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 05/22/10 - 09:21 am
0
0
If the police department
Unpublished

If the police department needs a K-9 dog they need to purchase one. Leasing one from a deputy on payroll is ludicrous. If they can afford to pay this officer $1000 a month for a dog, they can afford to buy their own. The handler should not be allowed to make decisions on a k-9 dog that are predicated on personal or monetary considerations. The officer can explain to the cows come home why this situation went the way it did but all the jibber jabber isn't going to do away with the smell of it. It is a conflict of interest.
Seems like the deputy just couldn't wait to get the dog put down, maybe it was time to phase out a used piece of leasing equipment in favor of a newer model.

ispy4u
0
Points
ispy4u 05/22/10 - 09:22 am
0
0
This is not the Kennedy

This is not the Kennedy assassination. I believe the handler must have had a good faith belief that the dog was beyond help.

beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 05/22/10 - 09:42 am
0
0
Why is it ludicris to lease

Why is it ludicris to lease an already trained dog?

corgimom
38344
Points
corgimom 05/22/10 - 09:55 am
0
0
Officer Pettit- you don't

Officer Pettit- you don't have to explain anything to anyone. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your wonderful friend and partner.

dogmommy
0
Points
dogmommy 05/22/10 - 09:58 am
0
0
well for starters..i do know

well for starters..i do know what it takes to train the dogs...and live with one!! and what they mean to us all!!!!!..my ex is k9 and several of my best friends are as well
but there is medicine for siezures..i had a lab that had to take it everyday and he lived a perfectly normal life...Im sorry but the dog first, should have been in the hospital for tests first...at least give it some time..or a chance to see if meds might work.......this just doesnt make since to me...just 2 days after and the dog gets put down...just dont understand
he could have gotten better...who knows maybe not work again...but could have retired him.....(and yes they all live to work, but at some point they ALL retire and live out their life and dont go to work anymore)

dogmommy
0
Points
dogmommy 05/22/10 - 09:59 am
0
0
but my heart does go out to

but my heart does go out to you....loosing a partner/pet hurts as much as losing a loved one

boro-mom
0
Points
boro-mom 05/22/10 - 10:38 am
0
0
I find it interesting that a

I find it interesting that a few people on this site are immediately criticizing Dr. Ford without knowing all of the facts. She's a professional who wants the best for the animals in her care and also for the community in which she lives. Her only motive for speaking out was that Po Po's owner was quoting her over and over as saying the dog couldn't be helped. That was not her diagnosis. If you were constantly being misquoted, wouldn't you want to set the record straight too?
I read week after week in our local paper about the great things Po Po was doing and am convinced that there is a place for a K-9 unit on the city's force. But as a taxpayer in Waynesboro, I also appreciate her noticing something peculiar about this situation and asking for an investigation. If there was no wrong doing, then the investigation will show as much.

akmoose
149
Points
akmoose 05/22/10 - 10:42 am
0
0
Well said, boro-mom. As

Well said, boro-mom.
As animal lovers we're all sad that it ended the way it did, and I'm not saying Officer Petitt didn't care about Po Po, but the whole situation just doesn't sit right.

Nat the Cat
1
Points
Nat the Cat 05/22/10 - 11:32 am
0
0
20 Questions: The police

20 Questions:

The police didn't like the comment? The dog was going to make 1k a month? The dog went to two vets; Did Dr. Gradous first refuse to put Po Po down? Why was the dog tested for narcotics after being suspected of ingesting meth chemicals? Why isn't Gradous discussing the case? Why is Ford speaking up now after it is too late for Po Po? Did the anti-seizure medication cause a reaction in the dog? Ford's statement is directly contradictory to her action. Could she not have refused to perform the euthenasia if she thought the dog had a chance of recovery? Why did the dog go into a known "meth house" without protective foot wear or a muzzle to prevent the dog from licking deadly chemicals or inhaling them up his ultra-sensitive nose? Why didn't the Vet simply wait for the dog to exhibit some of the symptoms described by his handler like multiple seizures before putting Po Po down? Why is Pettit now calling Ford an "absolute liar," yesterday, but that Dr. Ford is "right," today? Did the dog die "in the line of duty?" If a man sees his beloved dog suffering in the least, should he put his pet down, or was this animal just a trained commodity with a newer younger dog in the wings capable of making even more money? How old was Po Po, just 2? Was Po Po already diagnosed with an illness, Dr. Gradous? Was Po Po's career over anyway, or was the newer dog a better dog? And why was there a newer dog if Po Po was only 2 years old? Was this story designed to make Pettit look like a hero, and Dr. Ford to look like the goat? Is money a motive in a dog training business? Is there a conflict of interest? I am sorry to say that I smell a big fat rat, or two....What a bizarre case!

dogmommy
0
Points
dogmommy 05/22/10 - 10:50 am
0
0
i agree if there is no wrong

i agree if there is no wrong doing the investigation will show as much......something just doesnt sit right with me either

Little Lamb
48973
Points
Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 10:54 am
0
0
I think L. Smith makes a good

I think L. Smith makes a good point here:

If the police department needs a K-9 dog they need to purchase one. Leasing one from a deputy on payroll is . . . a conflict of interest.

It would be like a police department employee setting up a gun dealership on the side and then the police department purchasing all guns and ammo from that employee. It would be like the police leasing surveillance equipment from an employee. I hope the Waynesboro city council starts discussing some ethics ordinances to say that no city employee shall profit from selling or leasing items or services to the city.

Little Lamb
48973
Points
Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 11:17 am
0
0
Veterinarian Sarah Ford

Veterinarian Sarah Ford said:

"Every canine unit that I've ever talked to would give their right arm for the dog and give them every last chance."

Probably so. But Waynesboro police department is not a "canine unit" in the traditional sense. Here we have a single police officer who owns and trains the dog and who leases out his dog's services to the police department for a fixed monthly fee. It's time to end the gravy train for officer Petitt.

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