All Hail The Village Idiot of Haverford Township: Commissioner Larry Holmes

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carla's picture
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News Of Delaware County > News

Haverford commissioner growls after K-9 dog snaps at child

Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
By Lois Pugliosi

HAVERFORD — Commissioner Larry Holmes wants to end the police department’s nascent K-9 program, or at least terminate its first four-legged employee, Nitro, after the dog bit and tore his son’s T-shirt at a public meeting last week.

The incident occurred at the Feb. 4 work session, to which Holmes brought his 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son, Ryan, because his wife was out and he was baby-sitting.

“I thought there wasn’t a safer place in the township” said Holmes.

Also present were Police K-9 Officer Mark Semerad and Nitro, who joined the force in November 2012.

A 1-year-old German shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix, Nitro is trained in narcotics detection and patrol work. Semerad brought Nitro to the meeting because he thought the Delaware County Kennel Club was going to make a presentation. As it turned out, that event is scheduled in March.

Holmes said he and his children greeted and patted Nitro without incident when they arrived. Semerad remained seated in the back of the room with Nitro for about 30 minutes. Ryan Holmes sat in front of them, playing quietly with a plush penguin toy in his lap.

According to the Holmes’ account, Nitro began pulling at the sleeve of Ryan’s jacket, hanging from his chair, and Semerad pulled the dog back.

Semerad subsequently got up to leave and was on his way out when Nitro “lunged into the row at my son ... from behind, grabbed his shirt and tore the shirt, right around his upper arm,” Holmes said....Holmes was among those opposed when the board voted 5-4 on Sept. 10, 2012, to establish the program with purchase of two dogs, training and equipment for $32,000.

Proponents said K-9s would help combat crime and drugs, thereby “making the community safer.” Police plan to have a total of four K-9 teams.

However, what happened last week “validates all my fears about these dogs,” Holmes said.

“They aren’t safe. This dog certainly isn’t safe and has to leave the force immediately,” he added. “I don’t want to exploit anything, but if anyone needed a sign from God that this is a bad idea, the commissioner who was dead set against it had his son scared to death by a dog, which acted inappropriately, dangerously and out of control.”

Holmes told his colleagues what happened in an emergency session, insisting that “this dog goes and the program needs to end ... The dogs are a mistake.”

“I want the whole program finished and no matter what, I don’t want this dog to work in Haverford Township,” Holmes said Friday. “Nitro cannot be part of Haverford’s police force anymore. That is my position as a father and a commissioner.”

Nitro was taken off duty. A professional evaluation was scheduled Friday.

When contacted, Police Chief Carmen Pettine said he’s looking into the matter, but does not believe that Nitro is aggressive or dangerous.

“There was no injury, no cut, no scratch,” Pettine noted, maintaining that Nitro reached to get the toy Ryan was holding. “He’s still a puppy. He’s only a year old and not a mature dog yet. The pup in him wants to get the toy,”

It is wrong to punish animals for human error and stupid human tricks.

Haverford Township Commissioner Larry Holmes decided to bring his kids to work at Haverford Township because he had childcare issues, right? That's fine if you are going to watch them and not depend on others to do so, right? So what parent in their right mind allows their children to be close to a police dog trained to narcotics?

Enter Larry Holmes 6th ward commissioner of Haverford Township. Larry Holmes did a stupid human trick and now Larry Holmes wants the police dog fired, basically? Larry Holmes should not have anything to say over the fate of that police dog should he? Isn't he somewhat conflicted since he is very personally involved?

He was in the wrong, he put his children in harms way by putting them in front of a working dog, didn't he? A service dog and working dogs aren't supposed to be there except to do their jobs, right?

A police dog is not a fuzzy bunny if there are any issues of liability, Holmes should be held responsible and accountable.

If Haverford Township decides to repurpose this police dog to another force, Larry Holmes should be the one paying any extraneous costs. Not the taxpayers, not the police department.

Everyone with two brain cells knows that you do not go near police dogs. That is a working dog, not a stuffed animal, and a young one trained to narcotics at that. I found this thing on the web on "How Stuff Works" that talks about K9 training. I thought it might be helpful to post it:

Police Dog Drug Training:

People often wonder if dogs sniff out hidden drugs because they want to eat them, or because they're addicted to drugs themselves. In fact, the dogs have absolutely no interest in drugs. What they're actually looking for is their favorite toy. Their training has led them to associate that toy with the smell of drugs.

The toy used most often is a white towel. Police dogs love to play a vigorous game of tug-of-war with their favorite towel. To begin the training, the handler simply plays with the dog and the towel, which has been carefully washed so that it has no scent of its own. Later, a bag of marijuana is rolled up inside the towel. After playing for a while, the dog starts to recognize the smell of marijuana as the smell of his favorite toy. The handler then hides the towel, with the drugs, in various places. Whenever the dog sniffs out the drugs, he digs and scratches, trying to get at his toy. He soon comes to learn that if he sniffs out the smell of drugs, as soon as he finds them he'll be rewarded with a game of tug-of-war.

It is wrong to punish animals for human error and stupid human tricks.

Just my two cents and if you think Larry should stop and think about what he is repsonsible for here, as per the Haverford Township's public Website, here is how you contact him:

6th Ward

Larry Holmes, Esquire

2109 Chestnut Avenue

Ardmore, PA 19003

610-642-0334

lholmes@dilworthlaw.com

Save Nitro the police dog. Ditch Larry Holmes instead. It's win-win on so many levels and if Holmes doesn't like this opinion, c'est dommage. (And he is a lawyer, so I imagine he won't like being blogged about even if he is a public elected official open to public scrutiny, right?

My opinion is my right and LOTS AND LOTS of people share it. The other looming question is Holmes never wanted K-9s so is this mostly politically motivated as well? If so can we say shame on him for not having more sense with small children, toys, and a police dog AND for using all of the above to get his own way with regard to police dogs in Haverford Township?

Haverford Patch: Report: Haverford Police Dog Attacks Commissioner's Son
The boy was uninjured in the alleged attack, which occurred on February 4.
By Tom Sunnergren
Email the author
6:33 pm

Commissioner Explains Why Police Dogs Are Needed
First Ward commissioner Steve D'Emilio explains why police dogs will benefit the township.

By Lane Blackmer
Email the author
September 24, 2012

It is wrong to punish animals for human error and stupid human tricks.

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carla's picture
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My bad for leaving the Delco Times out of the mix - see the comments on their website under the article http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2013/02/10/news/doc511877e83925b660161384.txt

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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

carla's picture
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http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2013/02/12/news/doc511b0f2646c76464319725.txt

Check this article out. It is an interesting follow up

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Here's a thought... THEY NEVER SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT THE DOGS! If you can live in this township and not be sickened by the constant waste of money by people like First Ward Commissioner Steve D'Emilio then good for you but it makes me sick.  These dogs are almost as bad as our $14,000 clock.

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seidelaj's picture
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While I realize this post does not fully apply to this thread, I would like to express my concern about the lack of

support I have gotten from Larry Holmes. We have had parking problems on our street for several years, I have repeatedly

reached out to Larry for any advice/intervention. Seems some folks just have too many cars around here and they continue to

dump them for months on my street. This creates a real problem, especially on holidays and weekends when family and friends try

to visit. Laryy just skates along doing nothing while tempers boil and cars get vandalized. I sure wish I could get some help before

there is more trouble and possibly violence.

Anybody out there with similar concerns? Just wonding what public (elected) officials are doing to earn their salary?

Best,

AJ

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