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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Sargebaby
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Sargebaby 05/22/10 - 05:23 pm
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Some day, all wrongs will be

Some day, all wrongs will be righted, Po Po, Sugar, Rascal, and Wrango, will frolic in the loving sight of God who was pleased by their creation. For those who abuse animals, or each other, may God have mercy on your souls, I cannot!

Sargebaby
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Sargebaby 05/22/10 - 05:26 pm
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LL, maybe it would be

LL, maybe it would be possible for someone to support this action, in the form of donations for the testing!

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 05:34 pm
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Again, you are posting all of

Again, you are posting all of your so-called information on a one-sided story, Little Lamb. I don't want to "throw punches" with you anymore, I really don't. Whether you believe it or not I'm not that kind of person. But that vet, if she had a problem putting down the dog, should never have done it. If she were any kind of an ethical person she wouldn't have done it. Have you not thought that it's strange that it WAS done and THEN she went to the media? You're right, something IS fishy. Officer Pettit did what was recommended to him BY HER. It sounds like there's a problem with meth in Waynesboro - THAT should be looked into by the media, not a man who did what he was told was right for his animal. This is not about money for him, I promise you. Seems to me like he was a pawn to cover up something a lot more nefarious - not unlikely when you have people in highly regarded positions in the middle of meth-heads. Just another kink to throw into the conspiracy theory!

Little Lamb
49036
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 05:35 pm
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Sarge, you are beginning to

Sarge, you are beginning to write like Avnery ! ! !

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 05:35 pm
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Amen sargebaby about those

Amen sargebaby about those who abuse animals....God will see their justice!!!

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 05:39 pm
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amc yearsssss ago when i

amc yearsssss ago when i worked for a vet clinic...when someone came in to put a dog to sleep....there was nothing they could do...in fact ill never forget it....a man came in to have his beautiful colley put to sleep...becauseeeeeeeee his kids would not take care of it..i.e.. groom it...nothing the vet could do..........but they did take the dog........to that mans knowledge...they did put the dog to sleep.......but instead the animal clinic found it another home...but without doubt...something is not right with all of this...

Little Lamb
49036
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 05:48 pm
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Ms. McKinney. Thank you for

Ms. McKinney. Thank you for bringing up some good information here. I predict that the Augusta Chronicle will quickly lose interest in this story. Do you think that the Waynesboro True Citizen might pick up the charge and print in-depth articles that make the story less one-sided than you believe this article to be? I hope so. It will be troubling if the Waynesboro Police Department does not call in outside experts.

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 05:57 pm
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by the way..i found out about

by the way..i found out about all of this thru facebook....the story has gotten that far

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 06:06 pm
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Little Lamb - I would hope

Little Lamb - I would hope the Chronicle would drop it. I know nothing about the True Citizen. Like I said before, if they want to do an investigation by all means do it. It's just infuriating and disheartening to read such awful things about someone that could not possibly part of something like this. I hope that WPD DOES bring in someone who could look at all angles and not pass judgement without ALL the facts being presented. My BIGGEST beef is really not with all of you, even though I STRONGLY disagree with some of the opinions stated here (could you tell? lol). I have a problem with the vet, the media, and the chief (because he did not stand behind his man - being wishy-washy doesn't work in ANY situation). I definitely agree that outside experts are necessary here.

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 06:24 pm
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Dogmommy - That is a HORRIBLE

Dogmommy - That is a HORRIBLE story!! To think that that man would do that b/c his kids wouldn't take care of the dog? What was wrong with HIM?? He could have brushed it, fed it, etc. I'm glad the collie found another home - sounds like the murderous previous owner certainly didn't deserve the dog! What I was talking about though was that the vet shouldn't have put Popo to sleep if she thought he was healthy, as she said in the article. Ethically, she should have said a resounding "NO", you know? It's all just a big mess. It hurts that someone I care about has been slandered in all of this, b/c HE is hurt. It's like being kicked when you're already down for him, and he feels like he has no one on his side. If any of you live in the area, I beg you - PLEASE go by and talk to him. Meet him. He's a beautiful person who loved his dog, and this is all wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

IntegrityMatters
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IntegrityMatters 05/22/10 - 06:27 pm
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@Little Lamb - you do know

@Little Lamb - you do know the dog was cremated, right? No further toxicology will be done. (how convenient!)

I picked up a True Citizen and can't find anything about meth busts in Waynesboro apart from this story. No one I've asked knows anything about meth or a meth cleanup in Waynesboro, including some local law enforcement.
People are only suspicious because the facts don't add up. Hope it gets sorted out sooner than later.

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 06:38 pm
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An investigation into any

An investigation into any drug-related activities would not be discussed with citizens. The reason being that you never know who's involved, and vital information could be compromised. It doesn't matter how close you are to that officer. The facts DON'T add up, true. Hopefully it WILL get sorted out before an innocent man gets taken down for something he didn't do.

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 06:43 pm
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this is saying anything about

this is saying anything about the officer particular....its just something isnt right somewhere...yes that was horrible...it happened 20 years ago and i remember it this well....just because he said he was tired of his kids not taking care of it....well helloooo he is the adult..they were kids...o that [filtered word] me off to no end...and what a wonderful vet to have not actually put that dog to sleep! in turn when i had to put 2 of my babies down long after i no longer worked there...needless to say i went there to have it done....they were so kind...i held them in my arms and layed on the floor afterwards with them.....as i just recently had to do with my other baby....this is the one the k9 officer i was with at the time gave to me....so yes i have lived with a k9 officer and i do know for a fact how things go...in fact after they retired after me and my ex split...i got to keep the dog....so yes i know how excited they are when its time for work..somehow someway..that dog knew when my ex was just getting ready for work..britt (police dog) would start pacing and pacing..he just knew..but he was a happy dog even after he didnt go to work anymore...so the officer saying what kind of life would the dog have if he couldnt go to work anymore??......popo would have been just fine...and he would be alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sooo in any degree the officer jumped a bit too soon without even trying meds etc to see what would work and what wouldnt...that in itself makes me mad....popo would have been just fine if he couldnt work anymore....just like all the others have been when they retired!!!!!

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 06:44 pm
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and now i see the dog was

and now i see the dog was cremated??? hmm most police dogs have an actual buriel...they deserve that and then some...in norfolk, va they have actual funerals for them!!!!!!!!!...

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 06:46 pm
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no no if they came across a

no no if they came across a meth lab the public WOULD know..they mite not give out details but they most certainly would know about it

popofan
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popofan 05/22/10 - 06:56 pm
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As the name states, I was a

As the name states, I was a big fan of PoPo. Being so I am also a friend of Officer Petitt and agree with AMcKinney he is a man of character the likes you don't see very often these days. He would not have put PoPo down if he thought he could be saved. The fact that these assumptions are being made about a good friend makes my blood boil. Do any of you know that for the last six months that PoPo was being used by the city of Waynesboro for FREE. In that time he helped to sieze over $60,000 in drug related arrests? Do you know that Officer Petitt provided ALL of the equipment and certifications for PoPo at no cost to the city? Do you know what all of this cost? Sure the city could have purchase a dog, but they, not Officer Petitt, decided to "lease" a K9 and the price the city would pay. PoPo filled a need this city, and county, has needed for a long time. It must be nice to sit on your computer and make smug comments on something you obviosly know nothing about.

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 07:00 pm
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They had a memorial for the

They had a memorial for the dog - full police honors! The town even flew their flags at half-mast for him from what I'm told. I don't believe the public would know - unless they do things differently there. In my hometown we don't know until after the fact. I'm an EMT and we work VERY closely with the police - they don't even tell US when we have to treat patients in those situations (which kinda sux!!). It's "too dangerous for the officers involved", is what we're told.

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 07:06 pm
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oh ok...that makes me feel

oh ok...that makes me feel better!! i was thinking how sad ..do u know how old popo was?..................and we dont know when they are going to do a bust before hand..but the pulic knows immediatly after......but i dont think anyone really is putting the officer down or that he didnt love his dog.(at least not me anyway)..but something just isnt right with this whole story.but the officer did mention in his own comment on here....that it wouldnt have been a life if popo couldnt go to work....that just simply isnt true........what do u think happens when they retire the dogs....they dont go to work and live a happy rest of their life.....just like humans..

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 07:10 pm
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popofan..i do know about

popofan..i do know about k9..first hand....sounds tho, like things are alot different there than in a big city

Little Lamb
49036
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 07:24 pm
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It is now 8:23 p.m. Within

It is now 8:23 p.m. Within the next hour and a half, Sylvia Cooper's Sunday column will be posted to the web edition of the Chronicle. Are the odds greater than 50/50 that Po Po will be part of her column?

popofan
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popofan 05/22/10 - 07:25 pm
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dogmommy..they are differnt

dogmommy..they are differnt here. We have a huge problem with drugs that seems to have been overlooked for sometime by the police department here. In fact a lot of things seem to be swept under the rug if you know what I mean. I moved here a few years ago and thought it was a nice little town. Boy did I get a wake up call quickly. Then last year I met PoPo and Officer Petitt and thought there might be hope. This was before the long uphill battle to allow PoPo to start work. Have you ever seen a city not welcome a K9 unit? The city itself welcomed the idea, just certain members of the police force were, and still are, opposed to the idea of having a K9 unit in the city. So in regards to your comment about things being different here, they certainly are.

AMcKinney
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AMcKinney 05/22/10 - 07:31 pm
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AMEN POPOFAN!!!! THANK

AMEN POPOFAN!!!! THANK you!!! And ohhhh dogmommy - big cities and small towns are entirely different creatures, for sure. It's who you know not what you know, and who's in which official's pocket! Sad, but a true fact. These same people have absolutely NO problems trying to destroy the careers or the hearts of people who stand in the way of illegal dealings. Satan is certainly alive and well and working hard, and we're all getting sucked into his b.s.!! I say again - if you're able and in the area please meet Officer Pettit. He's a GREAT man! :-)

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 07:31 pm
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again I am sure the officers

again I am sure the officers heart is heavy and sad.....my heart does go out to him..........maybe no one told him of meds that could help popo..i dunno....guess none of us do.......but no matter Im sure his heart is breaking

Little Lamb
49036
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 07:37 pm
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. . .

. . .

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 07:33 pm
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i live pretty far...i live

i live pretty far...i live just south of DC...

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 07:34 pm
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i do hope this is all just

i do hope this is all just some media BS and all ends up being ok for the officer!!

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 07:37 pm
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ur kidding..why would they

ur kidding..why would they not want a k9 unit?? and u mean that officer is the only k9 ?? o my word!!!!

Little Lamb
49036
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 08:21 pm
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IntegrityMatters wrote: I

IntegrityMatters wrote:

I picked up a True Citizen and can't find anything about meth busts in Waynesboro apart from this story. No one I've asked knows anything about meth or a meth cleanup in Waynesboro, including some local law enforcement.

This is very interesting. The foundation of officer Pettit's story rests upon the allegation that Po Po ingested or absorbed through his paws poison at a drug raid at a house where a meth lab operated - - - and that it was necessary to bring the dog into the house to "sniff" out evidence.

From what we can gather from Chronicle reporter Bianca Cain's stories, the raid must have occurred on May 17. **(see below)

Was there a drug raid or not? If so, what is the address of the house? It should be a public record, and the True Citizen should provide answers.

Instead of a true drug raid, was the dog involved in a training exercise? Was it an exercise under the auspices of the Waynesboro Police Department or was it a duo training exercise between Pettit and Po Po only?
= = = = = = = = = = = =
Edited to add: I was incorrect is surmising that the raid (or demonstration) was on May 17. Bianca Cain's earlier article says that Po Po died on May 14. So the raid itself must have been a few days earlier. - LL

dogmommy
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dogmommy 05/22/10 - 07:41 pm
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dont get me wrong...still

dont get me wrong...still they need to get to the bottom of all this

Little Lamb
49036
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 07:43 pm
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The May 17 date is

The May 17 date is significant, because reporter Bianca Cain wrote:

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.

Instead of a true drug raid, was the dog involved in a demonstration exercise? Was Pettit trying to demonstrate to police and purchasing officials that the $1,000 a month would pay off? Were there any chemicals at the location where such a demonstration was staged?

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