CT Veterinarian Facing Animal Cruelty Charges Returns To Work

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Not too long ago, I wrote a very disturbing post about a Connecticut veterinarian charged with animal cruelty and third-degree larceny in connection with his “treatment” of a dog named Monster.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

I’ve been away since then, and just returned to work today. While going through my google alerts, this morning,  I learned that the veterinarian in question has also returned to work while his case winds its way through the courts. And while I understand that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and everyone is entitled to due process, the thought of this man being allowed near another animal, much less being allowed to “treat” another animal disgusts me.

To recap, Dr. Dr. Amr Wasfi of Black Rock Animal Hospital in Bridgeport is accused of:

  • Lying about Monster’s condition
  • Performing unnecessary surgery
  • Failing to provide Monster with adequate food and water
  • Keeping Monster in the hospital for a prolonged period
  • Refusing to let Monster’s owner see the dog while Monster was at the hospital
  • Charging Monster’s owner for the unnecessary surgery

Wasfi is also accused of abusing a kitten that was in his care. According to someone who allegedly witnessed the incident, Wasfi “hit a kitten that was under anesthesia so hard that the kitten’s intestines popped out of an incision.” The same witness said Wasfi was “agitated” and that he “threw surgical tools around the room.”

The witness was reportedly fired from the animal hospital after confiding to another employee that she planned to report the matter.

The initial court appearance

Wasfi was arrested last month, but posted a $10,000 bond and was released. Then, on May 8, he reportedly entered no plea to the charges. During Wasfi’s appearance that day, Superior Court Judge William Holden also granted Wasfi’s lawyer’s request to continue the matter until June 7 so the attorney could have more to time to “examine the evidence.”

Since then, Bridgeport police have warned the public not to take their pets to Black Rock Animal Hospital.

“We just want the public to be aware that if they were considering bringing their animals here, just to understand some of the criminal charges we uncovered here,” Bridgeport Police Capt. Brian Fitzgerald told the media.

Scary details about Wasfi’s past emerge

Published reports have also provided some valuable — and frightening — insight into Wasfi’s past. Specifically, they show that this is not the first time he’s been in trouble. Apparently, he had his license revoked in 1996, when the Connecticut Board of Veterinary Medicine found him guilty of “unskillfulness toward an animal.” His license was reinstated in 2003 contingent upon the successful completion of a five-year probationary period.He reportedly completed his probation on April 30, 2008.

Fast-forward to this year when, as the press reports, Connecticut authorities spent months investigating Wasfi prior to his arrest. The investigation stemmed from numerous complaints “about pets whose conditions worsened instead of improving after being treated by the veterinarian.”

Now, maybe some of you don’t think it’s fair to rush to judgment. Maybe some of you don’t believe in convicting someone in the court of public opinion without knowing all of the facts. Maybe some of you actually believe in second chances. Sometimes, I do, too. But not in this case.


Alexandra Bogdanovic is a paralegal and the owner/founder of In Brief Legal Writing Services. She is also an award-winning author and journalist whose interests include animal welfare and animal law. All opinions expressed in this forum are her own. Any information pertaining to legal matters is intended solely for general audiences and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Along Came A Spider… And Caused A New York Car Crash

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Time for another confession. I hate spiders. Hate! With a capital “h.” I’m not necessarily afraid of them. I just don’t like them. I don’t care how big they are. I don’t care whether they’re venomous or not. I don’t care how beneficial they are to the environment. I’m just not a fan.

Apparently I’m not alone.

Bringing a whole new meaning to distracted driving

According to numerous news reports, a spider caused a recent car crash in Cairo, New York. Or, more accurately, the driver’s reaction to finding a spider in her car caused the crash.

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In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

The Town of Cairo Police Department detailed the April 10 incident on its Facebook page, saying:

“After investigating today’s crash on Silver Spur Road we feel it necessary to bring up a contributing factor that is not covered too often. It is believed that the operator of the vehicle noticed a SPIDER in the drivers area with her as she was driving. The operator panicked and crashed suffering a leg injury from the crash. We know that it is easier for some drivers than others but PLEASE, try to teach new drivers and yourselves to overcome the fear and pull over to a safe place. Lives depend on it.”

Police did not say whether the arachnid was injured in the crash, nor did they say whether  the New York state DMV has any plans to require “spider desensitization” for new drivers (sarcasm fully intended).

The fear is real…

Arachnophobia is generally defined as “an abnormal and persistent fear of spiders.” It affects approximately 30 percent of Americans and ranks third in terms of phobias affecting people around the world. Only the fear of death and the fear of public speaking are more common.

So why the universal fear and loathing? There are several theories. Some say it can be traced back to ancient times, when many civilizations viewed them as a source of water and food contamination. Others say it stems from the once widely held belief that spiders caused the deadly outbreak of bubonic plague in the 14th century. Another, more recent theory is that  it’s simply a matter of perception; people who suffer from arachnophobia are unable to accept that only a tiny percentage of the 63,000 known spider species pose a serious threat to people.

A (very) short list of harmful spiders found in the United States

When most Americans think about scary spiders, three come to mind. These are the black widow, the brown recluse and the hobo spider.

The black widow

In all, there are approximately 30 different types of black widow spider. Of these, three are commonly found in the United States. These are the Northern widow, the Southern widow and the Western widow. As you can tell by their names, these spiders are fairly widespread. It is also widely regarded as “one of the most dangerous spiders to humans,” and is known to be “the most venomous spider in North America.”

Fortunately, only a fully grown female’s venom packs enough of a punch to affect people. You can recognize (and  therefore avoid) a female black widow by her shiny black body and distinctive red markings resembling an hour-glass that are found on her belly.

With sufficient provocation, an adult female black widow can inflict a venomous bite that can cause the following symptoms in people:

  • chest pain
  • stomach pain
  • anxiety
  • painful, cramping muscles
  • numbness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • light sensitivity
  • headache
  • heavy sweating and salivating

However, severe reactions and fatalities are not as common as we may fear. As statistics provided by the National Poison Data Center indicate,  approximately 1,800 Americans were bitten by black widows in 2013. More than 1,000 of them did not seek medical treatment. Of the 800 who did,  there were only 14 “significant” cases, and there were no fatalities.

This is not to say you should ignore any symptoms you are experiencing if you have been or believe you have been bitten by a female black widow — or any other spider for that matter. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

The brown recluse

Talk about  a spider with a bad reputation. These arachnids, which are universally feared due to the potentially devastating effects of their venom, are most commonly found in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.

Although they do have distinctive markings that resemble violins, experts say the best way to identify a brown recluse is by its eyes. This is because the brown recluse has only six eyes, as opposed to eight. Although the shade of brown varies, these spiders have uniform coloration on their bellies. They are approximately  three-eighths of an inch long and about three-sixteenths of an inch wide (about 1 centimeter long and half a centimeter wide). Females tend to be larger, but males have longer legs.

Like most spiders, the brown recluse will only bite if it is accidentally disturbed or deliberately provoked. Because its venom can pack a wallop, the National Institutes of Health advise anyone who is bitten to seek medical treatment immediately.

Experts stress that symptoms of a brown recluse bite will vary based on the person’s sensitivity to venom and the amount of venom injected. In people with heightened sensitivity or in cases where a lot of venom is injected, a blister may form at the bite site. The blister may burst and become an ugly, open, gangrenous wound. Recovery from such a severe bite can take weeks, and sometimes months.

In less severe cases, symptoms may  include itching, chills, fever, nausea, sweating and generally feeling lousy.

The hobo spider

Although they have a fearsome appearance, these spiders may be less of a threat to people than once thought. Originally from Europe, they are now found in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah).

Hobo spiders have long legs, a brown body, and a grayish abdomen with yellowish markings. On average, they are  1/4 to 1/2 inch long with a leg span of approximately 1-2 inches. Even so, proper identification is tricky because they resemble so many other species found in the region.

Although they are sometimes called an “aggressive house spider,” hobo spiders don’t bite people unless they are actively hunting or deliberately or inadvertently “trapped” against someone’s skin.

Symptoms of a hobo spider bite include redness and pain at the bite site and involuntary muscle movement lasting for several hours. However, experts say there is no longer any reason to believe that hobo spider venom causes the same type of tissue damage as brown recluse venom.

I’m still not convinced…

That’s all well and good. But as far as I’m concerned, I’ll just keep my distance from anything that looks scary and has more than two eyes. And hopefully they’ll stay away from me.

There Is No Punishment Harsh Enough In Kitten Drowning Case

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As many of you know I was a police reporter for more than 20 years. In my career I covered everything from the aftermath of 9/11 in the New York City suburbs to homicides, courthouse shootings and airplane crashes. So I’ve seen a lot of nasty stuff. To this day, I can’t forget those things. I never will.

And to this day, nothing makes my blood boil more than an animal cruelty case. As far as I’m concerned, there is no punishment harsh enough for anyone who deliberately hurts or kills an animal. I mean think about it. If someone is sick and twisted enough to hurt or kill an animal, they probably won’t think twice about hurting or killing a human being.

Alleged kitten killer arrested

So if what I recently about Junsong Zhang, 21, of Queens, New York, is actually true, they should just lock him up and get rid of the key. Now.

According to published reports, Zhang killed two kittens on January 22, 2019. He allegedly did so by putting them in a cage, putting the cage in the bathtub, turning on the tap, and leaving for nearly an hour.

As Zhang reportedly told authorities, the animals were “lying in the water and not breathing.” So he allegedly put them in a plastic bag and took them to the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan.

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In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

In a criminal complaint cited by the New York Daily News, a forensic veterinarian said both kittens were “healthy, and that one kitten had torn nails on its right front paw, left front paw and right back paw.”

A postmortem assessment confirmed that the kittens had drowned. They were just seven months old.

New York City prosecutors told the media that Zhang intended to “cause extreme physical pain” to the animals. As a result, he was arrested earlier this month and charged with two counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

Zhang was reportedly “released under supervision” and ordered to surrender his passport pending future court appearances.

Possible punishment upon conviction

Under Section 353-a of New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law, someone is guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals when he or she, “intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal with aggravated cruelty.” In this context, aggravated cruelty is defined as conduct that: “(i) is intended to cause extreme physical pain;  or (ii) is done or carried out in an especially depraved or sadistic manner.”

Aggravated cruelty to animals is a felony in New York. The maximum punishment upon conviction is two years in prison.

And as far as I’m concerned, that’s just not good enough.

Pit Bulls As Police Dogs — Now That’s Cool!

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Time for another confession. I love pit bulls. I think they are so cool. I’d definitely get one (or more) if I could. But unfortunately, I am allergic to dogs, I live in a small house, and the pet I do have is definitely an only child. So I’ll just have to “settle” for a pit bull in a cat costume.

I’ll also take any chance I can get to advocate for these wonderful dogs, which are all too frequently exploited, vilified and discarded by irresponsible and ignorant people. And I’m not the only one.

Recently I came across an article about a program that trains rescued pit bulls as police dogs. No, I am not kidding. Along with German Shepherd Dogs and Belgian Malinois, Bloodhounds, Dutch Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers and similar breeds, some American law enforcement agencies are using pit bulls as police dogs.

As a former cops and courts reporter, and as someone who volunteered at a local animal shelter for several years, I think that is pretty (bleeping) awesome. In fact, I think it’s so awesome, I’ve probably written about it before. But if I did, it was more than a year ago… so I’m going to write about it again.

Animal Farm Foundation + Sector K9 = Success

The story that caught my attention was about Sector K9’s latest graduating class, starring Pepper, Hype, and Maverick. All three are pit bulls, all of them were pulled from animal shelters around the country, and each of them now has a second chance at life.

K-9 Demonstration at Puttin’ On The Dog, 2018. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

Grant funding from the New York-based Animal Farm Foundation allows Sector K9 to train rescued pit bulls as police dogs. But not only that. The  Midlothian, Texas organization trains their handlers, too. Once they’ve completed the program, some of the canine and human partners hit the streets in search of drugs and guns. Others head “back to school,” where they help provide a secure learning environment for kids. All of them are expected to participate in community out reach, and act as ambassadors for the breed.

“Participating in our Police Detection Dog Donation Program is more than conducting a sniff of a vehicle or a building. It’s about educating school kids and sharing your K9 with the community at events,” Sector K9 says. “We carefully select departments and handlers who share these values.”

Saving money, saving lives

According to the Animal Foundation, law enforcement agencies often spend a small fortune (more than $20,000) to acquire one purebred, purpose-bred dog capable of doing the same jobs as a Sector K9 graduate.

On the other hand, Animal Farm Foundation’s grant allows authorities to acquire K9s at no cost. Just as importantly, it improves the quality of life in the communities they serve while giving the dogs opportunities to do meaningful work.

So far, brief bios for more than 30 detection dogs and their partners are featured on the Animal Foundation’s website.

There’s also plenty of praise for the dogs from the people who know them best.

“The best thing about having K9 Wilson is that he did not just benefit one community. He has brought several communities together because other agencies have contacted us to do searches for them as well, thus creating a partnership between our communities,” says Officer Lucky Huff of the Quinton Police Department in Oklahoma.

At a time when law enforcement is often maligned by politicians and the press, having a pit bull as a partner can actually help kids overcome their distrust of the police, another officer says.
“[The program] benefits the community a great deal by impacting young kids and bringing them closer to the police department as a whole with the help of K9 Athena’s presence. Hopefully, after they meet Athena, they walk away with a better outlook on police officers,” says Office Jody Bullard, who is assigned to the Dallas Independent School District.

Paws up, don’t shoot!

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These days, much is made about fatal or near-fatal encounters between police officers and civilians — and rightly so. However, there are other stories that don’t get as much publicity. These are the stories about the lethal or near-lethal encounters between police officers and “dangerous” dogs.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

Most — but not all — of these encounters tend to occur when the officer is on or approaching someone’s property.  Sadly, these stories usually end badly — for the dogs.

For example, as reported by Red Alert Politics, a Minnesota police officer recently shot two family pets, both of which are also emotional support animals.  The officer allegedly shot one of the dogs, a Staffordshire terrier, in the face, causing serious injuries.

“Jennifer LeMay, the dogs’ owner, released security footage of the shooting. The video shows an officer climbing over a seven-foot tall fence and entering the yard housing two Staffordshire terriers,” according to media accounts.

“The officer backpedaled and drew his gun as Circo ran towards him. The dog stopped about five feet in front of the man, then, wagging his tail, slowly approached the officer.  The officer shot the first dog in the face, which fell and fled, and then shot multiple times at the second dog, Rocko, which briefly ran into the camera footage.”

Police claim the dog “charged” at the officer, prompting the use of force.

LeMay emphatically refutes that claim, however.

“He was wagging his tail,” LeMay said about Ciroc. “My dog wasn’t even moving, lunging toward him or anything.”

“My dogs were doing their job on my property,” she continued. “We have a right to be safe in our yard.”

In a Facebook post following the incident, the Minneapolis police chief called for an investigation and said the department “will be implementing updated mandatory training specifically for officers identifying effective tools and tactical strategies with police and dog encounters.”

Meanwhile, the LeMay family is faced with thousands in veterinary bills stemming from the injuries to both dogs. LeMay is reportedly pursuing legal recourse.

But there is hope. Another article tells another story. In this case, the officer did the right thing.

According to the account, “Oklahoma police officer Storm Barrett responded to a call about two angry pit bulls who were running wild in a busy area of El Reno. Luckily, the former dog handler knew exactly what to do. Instead of trying to use force, Officer Barrett got up onto the hood of his cruiser. He pulled a bystander onto the car with him.”
Concerned that the dogs could harm children at a nearby school, Barrett distracted them until backup arrived.
“Both dogs were captured ten minutes later and returned to their owner – who was given a citation for allowing the dogs to get loose,” the report states.

A happy ending for Cranberry the pit bull-mix

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Every so often, I come across a story that makes me want to put my fist through the wall, or kick someone’s butt, or both. This was one of them. But at least it seems to have a happy ending.

A heartbreaking story…

Back in November, a Philadelphia cop allegedly decided he didn’t want his dog any more. So he allegedly got rid of her.

According to published reports, he just threw her away. Literally. Luckily, a Good Samaritan found her in the trash bag in a park where she was allegedly abandoned.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

“The Good Samaritan and her dog came upon a garbage bag and as they got closer found a dog’s head was visible. The Good Samaritan called the PSPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team who sent two officers to the scene to rescue the dog and bring it back to the shelter to receive the medical care it needed,” the Pennsylvania SPCA said in a March 23 press release.

Judging by the picture, her rescuers intervened in the nick of time…

With a happy ending

As Cranberry recovered from her ordeal, authorities tried to figure out exactly how she ended up in such a horrible predicament. And their efforts paid off.

Last week,  Michael Long, a Philadelphia police officer, was arrested on several charges including two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

“This arrest today is the culmination of an investigation conducted by our officers and the Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs Unit,” said Nicole Wilson Director of Humane Law Enforcement. “We look forward to the opportunity to see justice through the courts in this matter.”

Regardless of the outcome, it also looks like Long will lose his job since he has reportedly been “suspended with intent to dismiss.”

Most importantly, Cranberry got adopted and has been living with her new family since December.

Hartford reaches settlement with owners of slain St. Bernard

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Eleven years ago, a couple of cops shot and killed a St. Bernard because it growled at them. And they did it in front of a little girl.

This wasn’t a pit bull or a Rottweiler or a Doberman. It was a St. Bernard. And no, it wasn’t Cujo. It was a family pet. And the cops shot it in front of a little kid.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

To me there is no excuse. There is no justification. And there is not enough money in the world to make up for what they did.

But recently, after a lengthy court battle, the Harris family finally got justice for themselves and Seven, their slain St. Bernard.  Specifically, the Connecticut city of Hartford reached a settlement with the family and agreed to pay them more than $800,000, which “includes damages and legal costs.”

To me an apology would have meant more. But in my opinion, a man who is capable of shooting a dog in cold blood isn’t capable of the human decency, much less the compassion and humility necessary to make a proper apology.

Paws up, don’t shoot!

Police claim Seven “growled” and “sprinted at them” when they showed up at the Harris house without a warrant in 2006.

According to news reports, Sgt. Johnmichael O’Hare and Sgt. Anthony Pia went to the residence after a gang member told them that ” two guns were stashed in an abandoned car in the backyard of (Glenn) Harris’ home.”

The officers didn’t find what they were looking for and were about to leave the yard when Seven acted on instinct. That’s when O’Hare shot and killed him.

According to published reports, “Harris’ daughter, who was nearby, claimed she saw O’Hare put the third bullet in Seven’s head, and that he then told her: ‘Sorry Miss. Your dog isn’t going to make it.'”

See you in court

Glenn Harris took matters into his own hands in 2008. That’s when he filed a lawsuit against the officers alleging constitutional violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

But as we all know, the wheels of justice turn very, very slowly. In this case it was four years from the time Harris filed the suit until a jury returned its verdict. When it did, it sided with the cops.

Luckily the story didn’t end there.

In 2012, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York revisited the matter. And it reached a different conclusion. Specifically, Judge Rosemary Pooler found that the officers did nothing wrong when they followed up on the tip, However she also said they did not have the right to set foot on the property without a warrant.

If only the cops had figured that out in the first place…

More than 100 puppies rescued after wild ride

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If ever there was a heartbreaking and heartwarming story, this is it.

According to published reports, police rescued more than 100 puppies — described as “varying breed types (including many toy and smaller breeds)” — after the truck carrying them crashed in upstate New York.

“The driver, Emily Woodrum of Missouri, was delivering 103 puppies of varying breeds to local pet stores on Tuesday when she lost control of the truck and crashed in the town of Avoca, New York,” NBC News reports.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

The speeding vehicle — reportedly bound for “local pet stores” — ended up in a ditch, where it overturned. Luckily, only five puppies were hurt. Of those, only two were hurt badly enough to require extensive treatment.

That’s the good news. Now here’s the sad part.

The Finger Lakes SPCA, which responded to the scene and cared for more than 80 puppies after the Jan. 24 wreck, suspects that they came from a puppy mill. With no proof, however, the animals’ fate is uncertain.

“No health issues that would indicate an animal cruelty concern could be ascertained by veterinary medical professionals who examined the puppies. We are not aware of any other specific laws that would have allowed the transfer of ownership of these puppies to our agency nor were we directed by law enforcement to retain the animals,” the organization said in an update posted on its website.

“While we too abhor puppy mills, we know of no means to legally confiscate animals only because there is a strong likelihood that a puppy came from one.”

With no other recourse, the Finger Lakes SPCA said it returned all but four of the puppies to the transportation company the next day. The company did cover costs stemming from the puppies’ medical care and shelter, the organization said.

As of last Wednesday, the Finger Lakes SPCA said it was pursuing a “formal release of ownership for these animals.”

This story is guaranteed to make you smile

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If this story doesn’t make you smile, you don’t have a heart. Or you maybe you do have one… and it’s made of stone.

Apparently a little girl, untainted by cynicism, bitterness, skepticism, anger, or any other emotions that typically cloud adult minds, has decided to “share the love” with law enforcement officers across the country.

Black and white photograph of New York Police Department barriers taken by Alexandra Bogdanovic
NYPD barriers. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

As reported by a local NBC TV affiliate in Mobile, Alabama, Rosalyn Baldwin embarked on her mission after “learning about the heroic and sacrificial efforts of many law enforcement officers.” Specifically, Rosalyn, age seven, decided to “offer hugs to all the law enforcement officers that crossed her path.”

So far, her plan to hug law enforcement officers in one major city in every state is off to a good start. In addition to Mobile, she has hugged law enforcement officers in Louisiana and Mississippi.

“Law enforcement officials say they’re thankful she has a heart to spread love to everyone,” Mobile TV station WPMI reports.

During a recent visit to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, the deputies got hugs, and  “officially hugged by Rosalyn” stickers to mark the occasion. In return, they gave her some souvenirs to remember them by.

As it stands, it’s a lesson none of us should forget. After all, in a world so full of hate, it’s amazing what a little bit of love can do.

So long, Mr. President…

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It’s happening. Whether we like it or not.

On Friday, Donald J. Trump — (alleged) scumbag, misogynist, bully, and world-class suck up to Vladimir Putin — will become President of the United States, and by default, “leader of the free world.”

For a lot of Americans — and a lot of people around the world — it is a sad and scary thought.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

I must admit, I’m not a fan. But personally, I have always respected the Office of the President even if I haven’t always respected the man in office. So as soon as he is officially inaugurated, I will try to afford Mr. Trump the courtesy owed to a man in his new position, and I will try to give him the benefit of the doubt.

It is only right. After all, I did the same for the outgoing president — and for the record, I’m not a huge fan of his, either.

But, if nothing else, President Obama (or more accurately, someone from his public relations staff) was nice enough to respond to my letter. In December 2014, I wrote to Mr. Obama in order to “express my profound disappointment” in his “ongoing lack of support and respect for American law enforcement officers.”

Yes, I am quoting from my own letter.

I also said, in pertinent part:

The fact that some officers engage in reprehensible conduct cannot and should not be denied. Those who in any way violate the laws they are sworn to uphold should be held fully accountable, and anger and frustration when that fails to occur is understandable.

Yet what you willingly fail to realize is that those officers are the exception to the rule. The truth is the vast majority of American police officers are decent, honest, dedicated, hard-working men and women.

The truth is that these officers put their lives on the line every single day. Targeted by killers, drug dealers and gangs, they go to work knowing they may not come home. Undermined by agenda-driven politicians and activists, they nevertheless put themselves in harm’s way to ensure that citizens can exercise their right to engage in civil disobedience.

Furthermore, as long as our youth are allowed, if not encouraged, to believe the tragic loss of lives in New York City, Ferguson, and elsewhere is simply about race, that’s all it will ever be about. The divisiveness currently being fomented by professional agitators and activists will prevail. We will never make any meaningful progress; we will never learn to understand and respect each other’s differences; our country will never heal.

Four months later I received a response (form letter) from the White House “signed” by President Obama. Here’s an excerpt:

“Law enforcement officials have incredibly difficult jobs and put their lives at risk to protect us. And they are most effective when people have confidence in the system. That is why my Administration is working to enhance community policing, and also to strengthen trust and accountability between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.

I am deeply committed to the promise of what our Nation can be, and my Administration will keep pushing for progress through ongoing initiatives, continued engagement with communities and other targeted efforts.”

But sadly, nearly two years later, nothing has changed.

Here’s hoping it will.