March 27, 2008
There's a truth in broadcasting: People sit up and pay attention to news stories about kids and animals. That truth was reinforced last week, and this, by the response we got to the reports we brought you on the death sentence of 'Eagle' the police dog in Mitchell County.
When the police dog's handler took a job in another jurisdiction, the county commission, citing fear of legal liability 'if the dog got out and bit somebody," voted to kill the dog.
The dog's handler had already pleaded with the commission to release Eagle to his care, but they refused. The commission indicated that they may be swayed to let Eagle live-- if another government would take him, thus relieving them of responsibility.
Well, it wasn't long before three governments lined up to get him, and Tuesday night, the Mitchell County Commission did the right, just, and correct thing: they voted to release Eagle to the City of Boston.
This provides a very small town with limited resources a ready-trained police dog. Just as importantly, it allows a K-9 'officer' to continue his working life. The key word here is: LIFE.
Had not WALB broadcast this story to South Georgia, does anyone doubt that Eagle would be dead now, or headed to a date with the needle? An applauding end to a life he spent serving the public good; treated no better than a worn-out police car that gets sold for scrap, later to become a filing cabinet or refrigerator.
In Eagle's case, all the pieces came together to produce a happy ending: TV news focused the light of truth on a bad situation, the public rose up, elected officials did the proper thing, and everyone's interest is served.