This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

The Barking Lot (06/27/09)

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of this just in
Written by my lovely wife, Jennifer and me.  It opens with the weekend dog walking forecast followed by the main blog from dog lover, Jennifer. Then it
s DOGS IN THE NEWS and our close. Enjoy!

We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors. 

TODAY:  Slight chance of a thunderstorm. High of 79.  "A"

SUNDAY:  Sunny. High of 82. "A"


Our main blog this week updates a story we first reported on The Barking Lot last summer. This, to me, is a perfect talk radio topic. Pay close attention to the details and gather it all to form your opinion for the question I will pose.

Berwyn Heights, Maryland is a town of about 3,000, or less than one-tenth the size of Franklin, Wisconsin.

On July 29, 2008, members of a SWAT team were parked in unmarked black vans down the street from the town mayor, Cheye Calvo. They sat, and waited, and waited, ready to pounce.

Calvo works part-time as the mayor and also as director of expansion for the SEED Foundation, a group that operates public boarding schools. His wife (are you soaking in the details) is a finance officer for the state.

Calvo walked his dogs upon returning home early, saw the vehicles and assumed there was a party in the neighborhood.

Why were the authorities keeping a bead on the Calvo residence? A package containing 32 pounds of drugs had been delivered to the front door by undercover officers. A police dog at a shipping facility in Arizona sniffed the package that was identified as marijuana. So the SWAT team waited for someone to answer the door and accept the goods.

Calvo’s live-in mother-in law answered the door, but told the delivery person to place it on a table on the porch.

The SWAT team continues its vigil until Calvo arrives home and takes the package inside. Calvo would later say he brought the big package that was addressed to his wife into the house because he thought it was something for his garden.

He begins to change clothes when he hears a scream. It’s his mother-in-law. Calvo looks out a window to see SWAT team members in full gear running onto his property.

The raid was on.

"I heard a loud crash and then 'bang, bang, bang,' "Calvo said. “I hit the floor."

Calvo said the SWAT team shot his 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, Payton, near the front door and then his 4-year-old dog, Chase, also a black Lab, as the dog ran into a back room.

Calvo is in his underwear and socks. It isn’t long before he’s in his underwear and handcuffs. His mother-in-law is also handcuffed and they are questioned for hours while surrounded by the dead dogs and pools of their blood.

"My government blew through my doors and killed my dogs," Calvo said. "They thought we were drug dealers, and we were treated as such. I don't think they really ever considered that we weren't."

The Prince George’s Sheriff’s Office expressed sorrow later but defended the actions of the officers.

"I understand they have a job to do, but it didn't have to go like that," Calvo said, arguing the police could have knocked on his door and asked him about the package.

"I've never done drugs in my life. Anyone who knows me knows that I am so adamantly opposed to them."

Police said yesterday that, when they seized the package during the raid, it was unopened.

The police chief of the small town said county police and the Sheriff's Office had not notified his department of the raid and that town police could have conducted the search without a SWAT team.

"You can't tell me the chief of police of a municipality wouldn't have been able to knock on the door of the mayor of that municipality, gain his confidence and enter the residence," police chief Patrick Murphy said. "It would not have been a necessity to shoot and kill this man's dogs."

That was late July 2008. In early September 2008, the Prince George's County Sheriff's Office announced that after an internal review, its deputies were justified when they shot and killed the two dogs.

The sheriff said that one dog was engaging an officer and that the second dog was running toward a second officer at the time of the shootings. Needless to say, the mayor was not happy.

An examination found that one dog was shot four times and the other twice, including once in the dog's back legs. Calvo’s assertion was that neither of his dogs was threatening officers during the raid and that one dog was shot from behind as he fled into a back room.

Calvo and Tomsic were cleared of any wrongdoing, innocent victims of a drug smuggling scheme where packages addressed to unsuspecting individuals are intercepted by a FedEx deliveryman.

But one official said about the SWAT team that, “"the guys did what they were supposed to do. They had a legitimate court order to be there. Unfortunately, we had to engage the animals, but that engagement was justified."

An investigation showed 7-year-old Payton was shot four times, twice in the chest and twice in the head. One of the shots entered through his mouth and lodged in the back of his neck. Four-year-old Chase was shot twice. One bullet entered the dog's back left leg, then lodged in his right back leg. The other entered his side and passed through his chest.

Calvo contended the number of gunshot wounds to the two dogs clearly shows the actions of the SWAT team were "unbelievably excessive."

A Sheriff’s Department official said each shooting was reviewed in detail. He claimed the first dog was engaging officers near the front door and the second was shot as it ran away from the deputy who fired and toward an officer standing in an adjacent hallway with his back turned.

At the time, Calvo hoped an FBI investigation into the raid would find other details, including why officers did not know they were raiding the home of a mayor.

That was early September of 2008.

Another ruling in the case was issued late last week.


Here is where the talk show host asks the listeners what side they come down on: the dog owners or the SWAT team.

I’m sure you’ve been following carefully.

Dog owners?

Police officers?

Late last week, the Prince George's County sheriff's office determined that deputies did nothing wrong when they raided the home of Mayor Calvo.

Calvo’s reaction?

"It's outrageous," he said. "Not only is he not admitting any wrongdoing, but he's saying this went down the way it was supposed to and he's actually commending his police officers for what they did."

Sheriff Michael Jackson continued to offer the same argument, that the scream by Calvo's mother-in-law justified the shooting.

Jackson said the scream, “threw out the procedure of knocking and announcing, because now [officers were] compromised."

Anyone who has followed my career knows that 99.99999% of the time, I am fully in support of law enforcement. Not this time.

The SWAT team should have been given more thorough instructions from higher ups that this was the small town mayor’s house. Am I asking for special treatment? No way. I am asking for appropriate treatment.

This was a terrible over-reaction on the part of overzealous officers who should have used other tactics for the mayor, and not those for real drug dealers.

It is time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.

One of the most widely reported dog stories of the week took place right here in Wisconsin. As the story goes, a dog was the distraction in a fatal accident.

Another is this one: Meet a candidate for SCUMBAG OF THE WEEK.

A man rushing to take his dog to the vet is blamed for an accident.

How about some good news? I love a happy ending.

Could a lost dog be traced to a U.S. serviceman in Saudi Arabia?

Here's another Barking Lot update. Remember Earp?

Women inmates are taking care of pets until they're ready for adoption.

In recent weeks, we've reported that dogs can sniff out just about anything. That includes diabetes.

Here's a lesson to be learned. Don't leave your dog unattended, even in Oshkosh where there are, yes, bad people.

Pet owners, are your dogs and cats just as important as your kids? The answer.... Here's more.

OK. You really love your pet. Even though it could spread as many as 30 diseases?

Do you know this woman? She stole a $600 dog collar.

Odds are your dog's name is Joe, John,  or Harry. Here's proof.

Walk a dog, lose weight.

Remember these summer safety tips for dogs.

Check out this picture....

Josh McCullough, left, and Trin Updegrove along with Luna are seen on the courtyard of the Piazza at Schmidt's in Philadelphia. The six-building, mixed-use complex is home to galleries, shops and studios, restaurants, hundreds of apartments and tens of thousands of square feet of office space. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Notice the crowds around these two guys. Could it be folks have an aversion to or downright fear of pit bulls?

I've got no problem against any laws to prevent the proliferation of pitt bulls or reduce their presence in public.

That's it for this week.

Thanks for stopping by.

For those of you who've been asking...

1) Yes, Jennifer will return soon.

2) No, we don't have a dog yet.

Our closing video looks at how you can teach dogs some new tricks.Thanks again for visiting.

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