The Daily News, Friday, August 6, 1999
Rudy: Dog deaths cop error
Sez city will rethink rules
By HELEN PETERSON, K.C. BAKER and JOHN MARZULLI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Mayor Giuliani yesterday said two cops made a mistake when they put two Rottweilers in a broiling patrol car trunk -- killing them -- and announced the NYPD will review procedures for transporting animals.
His statements came amid a firestorm of out rage over the actions of the two officers, who placed the dogs in the trunk in Brooklyn and then drove 45 minutes to a Manhattan pound during last week's heat wave.
When they arrived at the E. 110th St. animal shelter, the dogs, Endiya and Tank, were dead.
"I can understand why they had the procedures," said Giuliani of the apparently common NYPD practice of transporting dogs in closed trunks.
"They made a mistake in terms of the conditions that day in which it was very, very hot," he said. Inspector Michael Collins, a police spokesman, said the incldent is under review.
Officers Michael Gallo and Alex Tacoronte spotted the Rottweillers attacking a smaller dog July 28 around 9 p.m. They allegedly had been unleashed by the owner's teenage son, who sicced them on the smaller pooch.
The cops summoned a sergeant and Emergency Service Unit officers, who are specially trained to handle dangerous dogs.
Giuliani and police officials suggested the elite ESU cops may have erred by not following guidelines about transporting animals.
"The two police officers involved relied on [ESU], who you have to see as the experts, and ESU said the way we do it is to transport them in the trunk," Giuliani said. "It was a mistake, and I am sure that it is a mistake they will rectify."
Emergency Service training directs officers to ensure that dogs have proper ventilation when transporting them in hot weather.
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said the cops "feel as bad as any one" about what happened. He said he welcomed new, clearer guidelines for cops to follow.
Rottweiler owner Ruby Thomas said she received an outpouring of support from sympathetic, dog-loving New Yorkers.
"I'm very sad that I lost my dogs, but I hope this will change the policy," she said. "I hope the police open their eyes and see what's going on. I just hope it doesn't continue."
Thomas has filed a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
Several dog owners called the Daily News offering to donate puppies to replace the Rottweilers, while animal activists rapped the policy of putting dogs in car trunks in any weather conditions. "No animal belongs in a trunk, ever," said Daphna Machminovitch of the group People for the Ethical Treatment forAnimals.