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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Nat the Cat
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Nat the Cat 05/22/10 - 12:20 pm
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Lamb, I'm dying here,

Lamb, I'm dying here, LOL...gravy train? It looks like you are going to "sniff" this mystery out.

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 12:23 pm
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hmmmmmm.......

hmmmmmm.......

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 12:26 pm
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im still curious as to why

im still curious as to why the dog was taken to two vets. as to why the first vet didnt do it.................u def have me thinking me thinking little lamb

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 12:30 pm
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and have to say have never

and have to say have never heard where they supply their own dogs...or LEASE them out?? where i come from the city owns them, trains them etc until they retire them to their partner

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 12:30 pm
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The first vet was actually

The first vet was actually trying to treat the dog, since the vet thought that the owner would want to try medical treatment and give it time to work. If Petitt had taken the dog back to Gradous, Gradous would likely have said that you need to give the anti-seizure drugs a few more days to check the effectiveness.

Nat the Cat
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Nat the Cat 05/22/10 - 12:39 pm
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JMO--I don't think Gradous

JMO--I don't think Gradous wanted to put Po Po down, [Lamb is right...the anti-seizure medication could not possibly have had time to work], and Gradous may have even called Ford for a second opionion or referral. But in either event, Pettit insisted that Ford put the dog down. The big question, of course, is WHY?

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 12:40 pm
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i know the meds do take time

i know the meds do take time and 2 days was def not enuf time...hmmmm so the first one wanted to treat the dog and that is why the guy took his dog to the second one???.......ok def something without a doubt is not right...

PUPPYMOMMA
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PUPPYMOMMA 05/22/10 - 01:09 pm
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I'm always sorry to hear of a

I'm always sorry to hear of a dog having to be "put down", even if it's for the better. It is like losing a family member. My dog has been on anti-seizure medication for about a year and a half. If you saw him in the yard you would not know. He had one episode where he had repeat seizures ,5-6 in one day, this was before he went on medication. He will still have seizures occasionally, milder than what it would be without treatment. They are a scary thing to witness and they need time to adjust when they are coming out of a seizure. There is potential for dog bites and they need to be supervised. You have to watch out for other dogs too when this happens. They smell weakness and can bite the seizing animal. My dog will have excess saliva, may defecate ,always urinate during or after a seizure. My dog was also recently diagnosed with heart problems. The meds are working and he seems fine but 2 weeks ago I thought I would lose him or have to make the 'decision'. Quality of life is fine , he's a bit slower but otherwise okay. Many pet owners think their dog may have been poisoned and it could be cardiac problems because the symptoms may be similar and it can come on quick. His lympth nodes swelled,he was panting heavily,lethargic,couldn't seem to breathe. We shouldn't be so quick to judge ,especially since you can't believe everything you read. More of this story will answer more of our questions. P.S. Maybe the trainer took his dog to a different vet for euthanasia because it's hard to go back into the office afterwards. I did that myself once,when I got a new puppy I went to a different vet. I couldn't stop remembering about "Smiley' and what I had to do.

IntegrityMatters
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IntegrityMatters 05/22/10 - 01:19 pm
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Hmmm... lots of crazy

Hmmm... lots of crazy questions out there. Was there insurance on Po Po? If there was, he would have been worth a lot more if he was "killed in the line of duty." I doubt he could have cashed out for seizures. There is definitely something fishy in Waynesboro.

IntegrityMatters
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IntegrityMatters 05/22/10 - 01:21 pm
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Also, isn't it ironic that

Also, isn't it ironic that the officer had a new dog ready to go?

AutumnLeaves
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AutumnLeaves 05/22/10 - 01:56 pm
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I prefer to give the officer

I prefer to give the officer the benefit of the doubt. Men that handle and train those dogs bond with them; I cannot see him putting that dog down for no reason. If he has done nothing wrong I hate to see this man going through both the stress of losing his dog and an investigation, too. I hope it will all turn out right and I am sorry for the loss of his and the department's dog and everything else that they are going through.

30cal
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30cal 05/22/10 - 03:20 pm
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I have had SEVERAL

I have had SEVERAL performance , working and schutzund dogs over the years and would NEVER put one down if A vet THOUGHT there might be a chance for them. SOMETHING STINKS here ithink a full investigation is in order along with an autopsiy into this officers death. AND Y E S he is considered an officer.This is a strange case and needs a full investageon. maybe the S.P.C.A. and P.E.T.A. should be called in. THE VET has no reason to make up a story like this.

30cal
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30cal 05/22/10 - 03:29 pm
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MY new dog TANK was having

MY new dog TANK was having seizures not eating passing blood vomiting etc. after 3visits to a lady vet north of waynesboro and a few hundred $ my companion is back to normal.IT seem they dont care for or value their K-9s enough. maybe i should apply seems this guy has a money making racket going ,plus i could buy a already certified unit for less then they are paying .CHIEF call me i need a job you save money

Nat the Cat
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Nat the Cat 05/22/10 - 03:49 pm
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Integrity may have hit on

Integrity may have hit on something with a young, 2 year old dog "killed in the line of duty," for insurance proceeds. Especially with another dog conveniently, and coincidentally waiting in the wings.
I hope he is wrong!
I just don't buy "stepping into chemicals." Sorry!

Please know that I am not accusing anyone of anything, but if it is found that one of God's creatures was deliberately killed for Insurance [blood] money, I will definitely have something to say about it! That is not what I call "putting a suffering dog to sleep." I call it murder of an innocent animal for profit--not homocide, for all of the humanist here, and not slaughter for food as in the beef industry.

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 03:51 pm
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I thought the Augusta

I thought the Augusta Chronicle only allowed "respectful conversation, not personal attacks or harassment of others". What do you people think you're doing to this man and his family? I've know him since I was a little girl, and I know how he treats his animals - has ALWAYS treated his animals. Can any of you IDIOTS say the same thing??? No. You can't. Officer Pettit has always treated his animals with love and respect. I feel even more horrified and baffled that people that he's worked with for years would even begin question his integrity. Every single one of you - readers, reporters, vets, co-workers, and yes even his CHIEF should be ashamed of yourselves. How DARE you accuse him of such a heinous act of cruelty and greed? Maybe you should look at yourselves a little harder. You've got some things to work on.

30cal
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30cal 05/22/10 - 04:00 pm
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AMcKinney= perhaps you should

AMcKinney= perhaps you should show some compassion for the dog he had no choices here. Butas Nat the cat says its hard ,real hard to buy the story of stepping in chemicals. A full investigation will clear things up and maybe save another animal this type of death .THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE ,and save lives

30cal
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30cal 05/22/10 - 04:07 pm
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I do feel sorry for this

I do feel sorry for this officers and departments loss. things like this always break my heart ( iam a true animal lover)I wish the officer family or department no ill will but it is only fair to the deceased and all future K-9's to get to the bottom of what really happened here. the fauld could be as simple as a lab mistake but we need to know to protect our officers both 2 and 4 legged GOD BLESS THEM ALL

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 04:10 pm
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AMcKinney asked: I've know

AMcKinney asked:

I've know him since I was a little girl, and I know how he treats his animals. How DARE you accuse him of such a heinous act of cruelty and greed?

No one here has accused officer Petitt of cruelty or greed. People here have raised legitimate questions because elements of officer Petitt's story lead to reasonable doubt. No one here supports a lynching; but we are hoping for an honest investigation and not a whitewash (or would that be "bluewash"?).

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.

I hope the Waynesboro police department will bring in independent investigators and not do the whole investigation in house.

gunnerhall123
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gunnerhall123 05/22/10 - 04:17 pm
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@mable8. That wasn't my

@mable8. That wasn't my question. My question was. What vet school did you go to?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 04:28 pm
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AMcKinney wrote: I've known

AMcKinney wrote:

I've known him since I was a little girl, and I know how he treats his animals.

Well, Ms. McKinney, do you think that the Waynesboro police department should not investigate the conflict between the two veterinarians' stories and the story told by officer Petitt merely because you have known Petitt since you were a little girl ? ? ? ? ? Investigations, when they are done correctly, can clear the air and lead to reconciliation and a calm spirit. Please let the investigations continue without putting down the posters on this forum.

How, exactly, did AMcKinney "put down" the posters on this forum, you ask? Well, she posted the following:

Every single one of you - readers, reporters, vets, co-workers, and yes even his CHIEF should be ashamed of yourselves. How DARE you accuse him of such a heinous act of cruelty and greed? Maybe you should look at yourselves a little harder. You've got some things to work on.

P.S. She also said:

Can any of you IDIOTS say the same thing????

Nat the Cat
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Nat the Cat 05/22/10 - 04:46 pm
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AMcKinney is certainly a

AMcKinney is certainly a favorable "character witness," for Officer Pettit which will, of course, be given the proper consideration, but speculation is a right of all posters as it is of the AC itself. When it adds up--I'll shut-up.

But this is what I do not understand:

(1) Why would a seasoned handler allow his dog to enter a "meth house" without some sort of foot protectors/muzzle knowing that dangerous chemicals are used in the manufacturing of Meth, and then allow his dog to step in deadly chemicals, and then permit his dog to lick that deadly chemical off of his paws?
AND
(2) Why would a trained drug dog, sniff a deadly chemical, then proceed to "step in it," and lick it off his paws only to die.

If you ask my opionion, Officer Pettit is "stepping in it," every time he opens his mouth!

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 04:58 pm
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I stand by what I said

I stand by what I said earlier. An investigation, you say? Go ahead. You'll only find good things about officer Pettit. I am certainly more qualified than any of you to know about him and the kind of person he is. I'm sorry that you feel you can pass judgement on him from one newspaper article. Have any of you spoken to him personally? Were any of you there when the dog was put down? Since when do we forego making our own decisions based upon one damn newspaper article? You think you can belittle me and make me feel badly about what I've written here - you can't. I know without a doubt in my SOUL what really happened in this circumstance. You want an investigation? Why don't you let it happen without forming a NEGATIVE opinion?? I will stand behind officer Pettit and those who know his character and his heart. I agree that things don't "add up" - but those things do NOT reflect upon officer Pettit in the least. I never said, "don't do the investigation". But the negative comments I've read on here about Officer Pettit and his choices have been very hurtful. Now that I'm calmer, I would ASK you all to not make quick judgements based upon this article. 30cal, I have two dogs of my own. They are like my children. I have PLENTY of compassion for Popo, and I trust Officer Pettit's knowledge of his animal. You didn't raise him, train him, love him, or work with him. Nor were you there when he was taken to the vet either time OR when he was put down. The fact of the matter is that this article gives a one-sided, unfavorable view of Officer Pettit's decision about HIS DOG. Very few things in this messed-up world are as they seem, and the media is very good at causing strife when there should be none.

fd1962
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fd1962 05/22/10 - 05:06 pm
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Waynesboro World: This is
Unpublished

Waynesboro World: This is definitely a job for Detective Clouseau.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 05/22/10 - 05:22 pm
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Rarely does 2+2 =4 in

Rarely does 2+2 =4 in Waynesboro.

I bet Castle and Beckett would have this case wrapped up in an hour.

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 05:47 pm
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And Little Lamb - what an

And Little Lamb - what an innocuous name for someone so venomous - you are the MASTER at taking statements out of context and re-posting them to make a bad situation worse. I applaud you for your creativity. The "idiots" I was referring to were those people who, along with the media, look only for the negative or the drama in this situation. This so-called "investigation" should never have become an issue. It is clearly an attack on Officer Pettit by people that should know better.

Sargebaby
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Sargebaby 05/22/10 - 05:58 pm
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Right now, it appears that

Right now, it appears that there is no clear resolve to this sad situation. One thing for sure, if any impropriety took place, anywhere, anytime, God will sort it out! No comments from you, Baron! We already know where you stand on God issues!

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 06:02 pm
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then call the media an

then call the media an "idiot" not the rest of everyone..........my heart does go out to the officer..but they are right...things just dont add up!! he had seizures and after only 2 days was put down? that is the part i dont understand...dogs have and live with seizures all the time...mine did..he lived a very normal life....true popo might not have been able to return to work...but he probably would have had a long normal life with meds..that is what bothers me...and those are facts if i am correct..the dog was put down only 2 days after started having the seizures....that is wrong!!!!

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 06:04 pm
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and it most definatly needs

and it most definatly needs to be investigated..someone (of those 3) seems to have been in the wrong or one of them has lied

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 06:06 pm
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Sargebaby, I agree with you

Sargebaby, I agree with you whole-heartedly!! It IS a sad situation, and God WILL sort it out - in spite of what is written or said by ANY of us. It's a shame that any of this had to happen to begin with. We have to trust that the REAL truth will come out.

Little Lamb
46096
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 06:22 pm
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The following is a re-post

The following is a re-post from 9:44 this morning:
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
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.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
The following is new: The investigation should include a toxicological necropsy of the animal's blood and tissue. They should test for crystal meth and for the precursor chemicals that are used to manufacture crystal meth. I predict none of those chemicals will be found in the blood of the cadaver, especially at levels that would cause seizures. It is possible that chemicals can cause seizures, but seizures is not the usual symptom of chemical poisoning. Dr. Ford did us a service by listing some of the symptoms.

If the toxicological necropsy shows low chemical concentrations, then the "my dog stepped in chemicals, licked his feet, and started having seizures" story starts a chain of events that begins to fold like a house of cards.

The insurance money motive looms more and more interesting.

If the Waynesboro police captain is worried about his budget, he will be hesitant to spend much money on this investigation. The insurance company (if there is one) would have a great financial interest unless the policy payout costs less than the cost of a toxicological necropsy.

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