Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Florida: Police officer Ashley Reed, 27, who is facing animal cruelty charges, ordered to turn in her work vehicle

FLORIDA -- A Hollywood police officer suspended amid allegations she neglected and abused her dog was ordered Tuesday to turn in her take-home patrol car.

However, Officer Ashley Reed, 27, a three-year veteran of the force, will be allowed to continue living rent-free as part of the department's Officer Next Door Program until the outcome of her case is determined. That process could take several weeks.

Reed was charged with misdemeanor animal neglect Monday after staff at the Hollywood Animal Clinic reported to police that her 16-month old male pit bull, Hurricane, was suffering from severe malnutrition and had injuries on his face, stomach and feet.

Reed dropped the dog off at the clinic late Sunday, Hollywood Police Capt. Tony Rode said.

Monday's suspension is Reed's second for 2003. She was suspended in January for reporting extra duty hours when ordered not to work them, records show. Last month, she was reassigned from patrol to administrative duty.

A review of her personnel file revealed Reed was the subject of at least three internal affairs investigations in the past three years.

She was given several unsatisfactory performance evaluations in 2002 and 2003 for mishandling property, disregarding the safety of a citizen who called for help, failing to comply with the department's arrest policy and failing to submit written reports.

She submitted her resignation April 24, 2001 and then rescinded it the same day, records show.

Until the city decides her fate, however, it will continue paying her monthly rent of $925.

Reed is one of about a dozen officers living rent-free in what the department calls "high service demand neighborhoods." In return, they sign a contract promising to stay in the residences, mostly single-family homes, for three years. Reed moved into the small Hollywood home in May 2002, police department attorney Joel Cantor said.

"That privilege can be yanked away at any time," Cantor said. "It depends on how the chief dictates the future of this officer. If the officer continues as a uniformed police officer, then she may very well continue in the program.''

The Officer Next Door program, which began five years ago, costs about $100,000 a year and is funded by drug forfeiture money.

(Sun Sentinel - December 24, 2003)


Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Florida: Hollywood Police Officer Ashley Reed, 27, a three-year veteran, was charged by her own department with misdemeanor animal neglect

FLORIDA -- A Hollywood police officer was suspended Monday amid allegations she abused and neglected her dog.

Officer Ashley Reed, 27, a three-year veteran, was charged by her own department with misdemeanor animal neglect and was issued a notice to appear in court, Hollywood police Capt. Tony Rode said.

The dog, a male pit bull named Hurricane, "appeared to be suffering from severe malnutrition coupled with signs of neglect and/or abuse to the face, the stomach and the feet," Rode said.

Detectives from the department's animal abuse unit opened an investigation Monday morning after being contacted by the Hollywood Animal Hospital.

Staff at the animal clinic declined to comment and referred all questions to police. Officers would not say how the hospital came to examine the animal.

"She will not get the dog back," Rode said. "Hollywood police have put a hold on the animal so that it not be returned, pending a court order."

In addition, he said, Reed "was issued a notice to appear in lieu of a physical arrest and [was] immediately suspended by authority of the chief of police."

Reed already was the focus of an unrelated investigation by the internal affairs unit for ongoing performance-related issues. Last month, she was reassigned from patrol duty to administrative duty, Rode said.

(Sun Sentinel - December 23, 2003)

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Florida: Wanda Beltran Arrested After Family Pit Bull Attacks Children

FLORIDA -- A Lake Worth woman has been arrested on child-neglect charges for leaving her 3-year-old and teenage daughters home alone with a pit bull that attacked them, police said Monday.

The attacks at the home of Wanda Beltran, 35, occurred Oct. 9, but police said they had to wait for a judge to issue a warrant before they could arrest her Sunday morning.

In the attacks, Beltran's 3-year-old required stitches for multiple cuts to her face and forehead. According to the police report, half of her right eyelid was torn. The skin from her older sister's right elbow was gone, and there were two 2-inch purple-and-blue cuts on it, the report said. Both her children were treated at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

Beltran told officers the dog was outside when she left for work and one of the girls must have let the animal in the house. According to the police report, Beltran said her ex-boyfriend had trained the 2-year-old dog to fight, but had hoped to rehabilitate the dog.

The oldest girl, who police only described as 12 to 15 years old, was in the bedroom watching television when she heard her 3-year-old sister scream. When she went to investigate, the younger girl was on one side of the room bleeding and the dog was on the other side ready to attack again, the report said. The older girl grabbed her sister and started to run outside, but before she made it, the dog bit and held on to her elbow. Despite the pain, the report said, she continued running, dragging the dog outside.

A neighbor who saw the commotion and tried to help was bitten in the stomach by the dog.

Beltran, coming home from work, arrived as her pit bull was mauling the neighbor's dog. She grabbed her animal, holding it in the middle of the 400 block of North H Street until police arrived and made her put the dog in her car.

Beltran was charged with felony child neglect causing great bodily harm.

Her bail was set at $5,000.

(Sun Sentinel - December 2, 2003)