Did K-9 Charlie Have The Surgery?

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When there is a perceived violation or injustice committed, it’s human nature to be defensive and fire back, and that’s exactly what appears to have happened with the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD).

In a memo dated Dec. 22, OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino reported to the Mayor and Council that an internal probe conducted by her investigators has found no proof K-9 Charlie had a surgery performed this month. The memo read, “After an extensive search of veterinary surgical facilities in the surrounding Maryland, Delaware and Virginia area, we were unable to confirm surgery had been performed on Charlie.”

From off-the-record conservations with former Officer Earl Campbell and what we have learned independently, such as the existence of pictures confirming Charlie’s procedure, we believe the surgery was completed, but absent an invoice it’s impossible to know for certain. However, above all, we do not believe Campbell would throw away a year-round salary and top-notch benefits for his family for nothing. It just doesn’t make sense.

We think the surgery did take place and wish Campbell would come forward with an invoice or some sort of concrete proof, but he’s clearly spooked because of the alleged threats being made against his family. He is adamant about moving forward and wants to put this chapter behind him.

That’s a shame but understandable.

In light of Campbell being unwilling to provide the needed proof, the OCPD’s internal investigation seems to be the last word, and that’s unfortunate.

A cursory investigation of our own finds the OCPD’s probe has at least a few holes and consequently we deem it without merit.

This investigation was launched, even though Campbell rejected the reimbursement offer from the city the day after it was extended. Clearly, the probe had alternative goals.

It was obvious the city would not cut a check to Campbell without an invoice of the surgery to include with documentation. No probe needed on that matter. Additionally, most vets require signed permission from the owner to discuss pet specifics and certainly Campbell would not do that. Therefore, no confirmation of surgery would be given to investigators.

Furthermore, at least three veterinarians, who conduct surgeries on K-9s, in the tri-state region cited by the OCPD were never contacted by investigators.

Some have suggested the probe was narrowed to those facilities routinely conducting these types of specific surgeries. Either way, that’s not what we would call “an extensive search”.

This situation has blown up into a mess, but we do not believe this should be the end of it, but at this point it’s up to Campbell to decide if there’s another chapter in this saga.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.