CREATED Feb. 18, 2013
FORT MYERS - A national organization stepping in tonight against a Fort Myers police officer accused of striking his K-9 partner. The animal rights group PETA is asking that the officer involved not be allowed to work with animals anymore, in particular his partner “Euro”. Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason has the latest on a story you'll only see on Fox 4.
PETA posted a call for action on their website that's gotten more than 2 million hits. They're not happy this dog is still with his handler and they're petitioning people for help.
Madeleine Doran is a local animal rights activist, rescuing abused dogs and doing her part to educate the public. When she watched our report about Fort Myers police officer George Sanford striking his K-9 partner, “Euro”, she was angry.
Madeleine Doran: "I'm very upset about it. I just want the Chief to do his job and reassign Euro to someone who will follow correct training techniques."
Euro still lives with officer Sanford, even though Sanford was recently reprimanded for striking the dog last October. When police investigated the incident the department's lead K-9 trainer stated he saw Sanford hit Euro before on two separate occasions. But Sanford told us it wasn't abuse.
Officer George Sanford: "Yes, I did smack Euro in the nose twice, two or three times."
PETA feels that's unacceptable and is getting involved, saying its: "Office is now being inundated with calls and e-mails from people who are outraged."
PETA recently posted an ‘action alert’ on its website asking people to: "Please urge Fort Myers officials to secure Euro's safety and to reassign Sanford to non-animal-related duties."
Madeleine Doran: "Euro is the victim and every day that passes and Euro stays with officer Sanford it scares me."
Doran not only has serious concerns about Euro, but with potential dog abuse throughout FMPD's K-9 division. This, after Sanford told us his treatment of Euro is minor compared to how other K-9 handlers treat their dogs.
Officer George Sanford: "Because the other handlers have done things to their dogs that are a lot worse that what I've done to him, you know, just smack him in the nose."
Mike Mason: "Do you think they should look into the bigger problem if there is one?”
Madeleine Doran: "I do, if officer Sanford, who alluded in the interview with you, Mike, that there is one then I think he needs to speak up…but it needs to be an outside investigation, i do not believe it should be internal."
Doran tried to schedule a public meeting with Chief Doug Baker to discuss the situation but says Baker refused to meet with her. Baker has also declined to speak with us about it. Doran now plans to address city council members when they meet on March 4th.