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Common sense was lacking in police dog's death

Mulberry police Officer Sara Movahedi was given a canine partner, Sam Diesel, with money raised by local Wal-Mart employees. The dog was left alone Monday in a police car with the air conditioner on. The dog died after the air conditioner failed

Michael Wilson | The Ledger

Mulberry police Officer Sara Movahedi was given a canine partner, Sam Diesel, with money raised by local Wal-Mart employees. The dog was left alone Monday in a police car with the air conditioner on. The dog died after the air conditioner failed

It is tragic that the Mulberry Police Department — charged with protecting its citizens — could not use the slightest bit of common sense to protect one of its own. The practice of locking a police dog in a cruiser in mid-90-degree sun, even with the air conditioning on, and leaving it unattended for an hour or more, insults one's intelligence.

If the Police Department cannot address a clear policy for caring for these loyal animals — such as a room within its air-conditioned headquarters — it is best they leave dogs in the hands of people who care for them.

James Wightman, St. Petersburg

No more canine duty

I grieve for Sam Diesel, the police dog who died while locked in a police car for hours in Mulberry, while the officer in charge of the dog did paperwork in her office. How could a law enforcement officer assigned to the canine unit leave a helpless animal in a car for that length of time? Diesel died while suffering horribly by being cooked to death.

Diesel was in the care of Officer Sara Movahedi, who left the car running and then found out later that the air conditioning had failed. Now I read that she will be given another police dog named Silvo upon her return. It is my opinion that Officer Movahedi should not be returned to canine duty. Police Chief Lawerence Cavallero says this brutal incident was not Movahedi's fault. Whose fault was it then?

M. Kapaun, New Port Richey

Punish the officer

With the cost of gas what it is today, why are police leaving patrol cars running outside the police station for more than an hour as stated, especially with an animal that employees of Wal-Mart had collected $12,625 to purchase? Why did she not take her partner, Sam Diesel, inside with her when she realized she was going to be in her station for as long as she was? Has nobody ever heard of Murphy's Law?

Your article states that Mulberry police Chief Lawrence Cavallaro said Officer Sara Movahedi "wasn't at fault in the incident."

This is essentially a gross miscarriage of justice. If this had been done by John Q. Public he would have been cited and hauled into court to answer for his actions. The city of Mulberry is practicing a double standard when it comes to application of law: one set for law enforcement and one set for ordinary citizens.

Officer Movahedi should be censured for her actions or at least be required to pay for the procurement and training of a replacement. Police dogs are deemed to be law enforcement officers when performing their duties and Officer Sam Diesel was on the job at the time.

Douglas Robb, Tampa

Save money and lives

I am very upset to read about a police officer leaving a police dog in the car with the engine running and the air on, but never checking to make sure all was well.

I have a solution for all police departments: Due to the fact that citizens are cutting back on gas usage and dollars spent, how about police doing the same? That way you would save many animals' lives but also join us in conserving, which seems like a good idea for police departments.

They could even save the money that you spend on the heat alarms. Any officer that allows an animal to die in a hot car no matter what the reason should be prosecuted just like an ordinary citizen.

Joanne McWethy, New Port Richey

A partner unprotected

I don't understand why Officer Sara Movahedi left her canine partner, Sam Diesel, in a patrol car while she was working at the police station. I could slightly understand this horrible tragedy if Officer Movahedi was working a crime scene and had to leave Sam Diesel in the running patrol car for reasons unclear to the average citizen.

I find it hard to believe that the Mulberry station had no empty room for Officer Diesel to rest in air conditioning until his next call. While I realize the car malfunctioned, there is no reason to have left this animal in the car.

If Officer Movahedi cannot protect her partner from death by heat, how does she protect the public?

Kathleen Matecki, St. Pete Beach

Animal cruelty

Police dogs should be better protected. They risk their lives to serve the officers and our community. I cannot imagine how the dog that roasted alive in the police cruiser felt being abandoned.

In this summer heat, why would anyone leave an animal in a car long enough to die in the first place? When a dog trained to serve receives such uncompassionate treatment, isn't that defined as animal cruelty?

Louise Kahle, St. Petersburg

Take taxpayers off hook for rot at Fannie, Freddie July 24, commentary by John McCain

McCain offered more ad than analysis

I was intrigued at seeing an opinion page piece in Thursday's St. Petersburg Times authored by John McCain. From the headline I was expecting a thoughtful analysis of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac situation — and especially after reading his zinger about the threat from these two being a "tribute to crony capitalism."

But wait a minute. A few paragraphs later this opinion pieced turns into a free political advertisement with his words "If elected …"

You all were either gullible or culpable in running this where you did. This is not a sterling example of the high standards of journalistic integrity which we have come to expect from the Times. Twenty lashes with the wet spaghetti.

Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach

Take taxpayers off hook for rot at Fannie, Freddie July 24, commentary by John McCain

Does he remember?

This column from John McCain says that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "are the poster children for a lack of transparency and accountability."

McCain seems to be afflicted with selective memory. Does the name Phil Gramm mean anything at all to him? Gramm, a former senator and until recently McCain's top economic adviser, had a very large helping hand in this current mortgage crisis. It was his legislation that took away most government oversight of lending institutions, from Wall Street to Fannie and Freddie. Lending institutions went on a frenzy of giving mortgages to people who clearly should never have had a mortgage to begin with. This caused the large bubble of the housing boom. Greed is just the beginning of the reasons for the avenue of blame.

And although I agree that the taxpayers should not be burdened with this debacle, do we have a choice at this juncture? I think not, considering that to let Fannie and Freddie fail would be a disaster to the whole economy.

To be a good and effective leader, McCain has to be in touch with reality. And after reading this column, I think he clearly is not.

Matthew Mahoney, Seminole

Capitalism is an amoral model July 23, letter

Rule of the bottom line

This letter writer, very succinctly, hit the nail on the head. "Corporate responsibility" is truly an oxymoron. We seem to have digressed to a point in this so-called democratic society where "business" overrides all else and subs for "anything goes" as long as it doesn't interfere with the bottom line. This is especially true when it comes to the degradation of the human environment (morally and politically), which of late manifests itself in the dedicated production of violence in all its many forms and is presented auspiciously under the label of "good business."

Somehow, in the name of expediency, there are many significant numbers left out of American "business equations," and we the public end up suffering over some very costly and undesirable end products.

Harold Sansing, Dunnellon

Blame Congress | July 20, letter

Political enterprise

The letter writer wants us to blame Congress for permitting the free enterprise system to operate freely, for allowing all of us the freedom to make our own mistakes (and take responsibility for them), and, heaven forefend, for elected officials wanting to get themselves re-elected, by, it might be pointed out, the same constituents who elected them to the Congress in the first place.

Such views are obviously self-rebutted.

Andrew Long, St. Petersburg

Will you trust a bumbling bureaucracy July 17, letter about universal health care

A job for government

The government can be held accountable more easily than private companies. Private insurance companies are money-grubbing. They pay their executives outrageously high salaries. The money that goes to plush executives suites or skyscraping monuments to big insurance companies ought to be going into facilities for health care, patients and physicians, not into the pockets of the executives and their shareholders.

Privatization has created a rash of health insurance companies all looking for angles to rip off the system and leave patients with the least amount of care. If a government system needs fixing, an efficiency expert can tighten things up.

Nancy Ogden, St. Petersburg

Dr. Michael DeBakey: 1908-2008

A surgeon with heart

More than a physician, Dr. Michael DeBakey was a humanitarian. In the early 1960s on Mother's Day, my family and I were visiting my mother and father in the Bronx, N.Y, My father was suffering from an arterial leg blockage that the doctors could not treat. He was in imminent danger of losing his leg. My mother mentioned that she heard of a Dr. DeBakey who operated on disc jockey Martin Block.

I said I would call his office in Texas. I then called and left a message. We left to go home thinking that the call would be in vain. At 10:30 p.m. my mother called and said that Dr. DeBakey had called back, told her a bed was waiting for my father in Texas and to be on a plane the next day. He received Dacron grafts that saved his leg. Subsequently his other leg went bad and I called Dr. DeBakey on a Sunday. He responded shortly and my father was in Texas once more for another graft.

In later years, a man who washed dishes in one of my restaurants had a son with a serious heart condition. I had him call Dr. DeBakey, and the boy was airlifted to Texas, operated on and returned to New York without any charge. Dr. DeBakey was not only a giant of medicine, he was also a giant of mankind.

Bennett Hoffman, Clearwater

Lab to get $2M from county | July 23, story

County priorities askew

On one hand we have a 10 percent budget reduction spread equally among all Pinellas County offices as opposed to making some tough decisions and prioritizing what's more important — like public safety. Hundreds of employees are being laid off, actual people, in addition to vacant positions. On the other hand we have the same keepers of our money handing it out to lure to the area a private company promising jobs. Where are our priorities?

This deal certainly doesn't show any loyalty to our own employees. And then for a county commissioner to say about these laid-off workers that, "maybe they will be one of the lucky ones to get those jobs" is just ludicrous. I'm sure those people the commissioner is responsible for laying off don't feel lucky right now!

Jim Main, Seminole

Lab to get $2M from county | July 23, story

Workers deserve better

I would like to thank the Pinellas County commissioners for "finding" $2-million. It is my hope that they will find additional funding for all of the 911 responders, including fire rescue and the Sheriff's Office. Maybe if they continue to look around they might find another million or two.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all of the county workers, sheriff's deputies and employees who were laid off. We appreciate your dedication and service to Pinellas County.

I was saddened by County Commissioner Susan Latvala's statements after announcing an incentive program to lure Draper Laboratory to this county. Her comments were unnecessary. She said, "Maybe they (the laid-off workers) will be one of the lucky ones to get these jobs."

I am sure these words were not comforting to these dedicated workers along with their families. How many years will they have to struggle through to get these jobs? What about the "unlucky ones"?

Bill Zazeckie, Palm Harbor

Beware of wily coyotes. No, really July 17, Howard Troxler column

Don't let pets roam

I'm a Howard Troxler fan who is on a very different page about this topic. Keep your domestic pets inside. It's the law and it's for their well-being. We have packed so many people into this county that the remaining wildlife is doing the best it can to survive. Humans share the planet with many other species but tend to forget that. Sorry, Howard, I can't agree with you on this one.

Robyn Dalton, Largo

Common sense was lacking in police dog's death 07/25/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 27, 2008 7:10pm]
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