Target: Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker
Goal: Refuse to let Houston Police Department delay in investigating a cop’s role in killing a local dog
For many dog owners, taking their canine best friend on a road trip around town is an everyday occurrence, but for one Houston couple it turned out to be the last time they would see their precious dog alive. Josie Garcia’s husband had gone out to give a friend a ride, and took their 14-year-old chihuahua Guero with him. A police officer pulled the car over near a highway for neglecting to use a turn signal, and as often happens with such minor traffic stops, the officer used the opportunity to search the vehicle. The officer allegedly found a controlled substance belonging to the passenger, and arrested both men. Garcia’s husband pleaded with the officer to let him call his wife or even the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) to pick up the dog. Despite the BARC facility being conveniently two blocks away, the officer refused, insisting the nearly blind old dog would be fine by himself, and had the truck towed without Guero in it.
Josie Garcia finally got a call from her husband from jail and started pasting flyers around the area. A kind stranger called her after he had tried to sweep Guero up off the highway, but rush hour traffic prevented his efforts. Garcia found Guero’s body on the shoulder of the nearby highway three days after he had been abandoned. She took the brave step of filing a complaint with Houston Police Department (HPD) Internal Affairs, and even crammed her story into three minutes for the city council. Mayor Annise Parker denounced the cop’s actions, publicly apologized for the family’s suffering, and said she would look into the issue. However, a HPD spokesperson told Craig Malisow of the Houston Press that internal investigations often take up to six months, which seems outlandish for such a simple case – especially considering that Mr. Garcia did nothing wrong and has had all charges dismissed.
By signing this petition, you are calling on Mayor Parker to do more than just apologize: the city council must make sure an incident such as this one never happens again. You are urging Mayor Parker and the HPD to press for rapid investigation and disciplinary action against the officer who forced Garcia to abandon his blind old dog by a highway.
Dear Mayor Annise Parker,
I am highly disappointed, as I am sure you are, in the recent actions of one Houston police officer who left an old, nearly blind dog near a highway after arresting his owner merely for failing to use a turn signal. No family should have to search, as the Garcias did, for their dog’s body on the highway because an officer refuses to believe that it is his problem.
I urge you to mobilize the HPD on this issue, and to investigate the complaint filed by the Garcias immediately: this should be a simple case, but the department’s insistence that it could take up to six months shows that it cares little for the suffering of this family. I am urging you to pursue appropriate disciplinary action against the officer responsible for Guero’s death. I am calling on you to make sure that the HPD follows an explicit policy for handling pets in similar law enforcement situations, so that another family does not have to endure a similar occurrence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Columbo222 via Wikimedia Commons