Friday, August 08, 2008

As an Owner of Two Labs...

Like many Americans today, I have become some what disaffected by tragic news. Suicides, bombs, domestic violence, etc., etc. We see these things all the time. Most of them certainly touch at some level, but we become a little cold and disconnected from such news because we see such huge quantities of information. We have to protect ourselves from this and so we choose to ignore it.

However, for some reason, I was struck by the story of the Maryland mayor whose home was invaded by law enforcement and they killed the family's two Labrador Retrievers. This family's dogs, noted for barking at first, but licking you to death once they know you, were shot by a SWAT team in a drub bust that went very bad. Mayor Cheye Calvo of Berwyn Heights in Prince Georges County (just a few miles from where I lived when I worked in DC) was in his underwear and shaving when the door was knocked down and their dogs killed. It appears the mayor's wife was a victim of identity theft by drug dealers.

The plan was simple, drug dealers in one city mail the contraband to unsuspecting people in other cities (with explicit instructions to leave such on the porch at a specific time) and the carrier in the second city waits and runs out and gets it when it is dropped off without the stated recipient knowing a thing. This time, law enforcement was following the package so the carrier made himself scarce and in this case, the mayor's family casually brought the package in and their lives changed dramatically. Law enforcement was following the package from its origins and was ready to jump. In addition to killing the family's beloved pets, they terrorized the mayor and his wife with very frightening interrogative methods.

The agencies involved quickly discovered that this was a mistake and the ones they attacked were victims in their own right. Instead of immediately taking responsibility and clearing the family, they left doubt in the minds of many and claimed to have acted properly. "Heads will roll" because of this I am sure.

Now, back to my point. Dog owners love their pets and over the years I have own a few canines hear and there. None compare to my two Labs. They are my "little girls" whom I would almost have a bigger struggle doing without as I would my own children. Dog owners in general and Lab owners in particular, simply feel this way. I may by blowing the loss out of proportion when one looks at all the tragic news out there. On the other hand, if you don't own pets, don't be too quick to dismiss this very real tragedy. My sympathies go to this family and my hope is that law enforcement develops approaches to avoid such mistakes in the future.

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Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review.

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