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Alameda police euthanize purloined pup

Submitted by on 1, May 17, 2010 – 12:44 pm4 Comments

Photo courtesy of the Alameda Police Department.

Alameda police have euthanized a “dangerous” dog whose owners allegedly stole him from the Alameda Animal Shelter early Wednesday morning, the day after an Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered the dog put down.

Alameda Police Lt. Sean Lynch said that Max, the three-year-old, 70-pound pit bull, was collected from a shelter in Reno, Nev. and put down in Alameda on Saturday.

“We don’t take these lightly,” Lynch told reporters Monday. “It’s an emotional thing. We understand that.”

Meanwhile, one of the dog’s owners, Richard Arlan Cochran Sr., 57, is facing charges of burglary, conspiracy and possession of stolen property. He is in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $40,000 bail. Cochran has a hearing Tuesday morning in Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland where he may enter a plea. Police have said Cochran admitted he planned to take the dog.

The dog’s other owner and Cochran’s girlfriend, Melissa Perry, 38, was last contacted in Reno, Nev. Police said they have a warrant for Perry’s arrest on the same charges Cochran is facing, and that they are still investigating the case.

When contacted by the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported that Perry was cited by Reno police for possession of stolen property and released, Perry said she was more concerned about her dog’s welfare than her own.

“I don’t care about going to jail,” Perry told the Chronicle. “It’s not about me, it’s about Max. He’s my protector. That’s my companion. That’s my best friend.”

Lynch said he recommended the dog be euthanized after two separate bite incidents. He said Max bit a veterinary tech in the face in January, requiring the tech to get 13 stitches. Police learned that Max didn’t have a current rabies shot at that time, Lynch said.

Max also bit a family friend visiting Cochran and Perry at the Islander motel in March, causing significant lacerations and tearing to his arm, Lynch said.

He said Cochran planned to break Max out of the Alameda Animal Shelter on Fortmann Way several days before the judge affirmed a ruling to euthanize the dog. Someone broke into the shelter last Wednesday, cutting through a cyclone fence surrounding the perimeter of the shelter and cutting the lock off a kennel before taking the dog.

Lynch also said the couple had planned to leave the state.

“I stand by this decision. The judge affirmed the decision,” Lynch said. “Clearly, the owners of this dog were never planning to follow the court order.”

Police found the dog late last week in Reno and transported him back to Alameda on Saturday, Lynch said.

Lynch said Alameda police euthanize or or two dogs deemed dangerous each year. He said the rules regarding how bite incidents are handled and how a dog is deemed dangerous are laid out in the city’s municipal code and state law.

“It’s not a common thing,” he said.


  • Nick says:

    This is sad for everybody involved. The dog, its victims, the owners…

    Obviously not your standard “burglary, conspiracy and possession of stolen property”. Let’s hope justice will be understanding and won’t punish these people too harshly, they obviously have been through a lot already.

  • Jon Spangler says:


    I have very little sympathy for dog owners who knowingly hold on to a dangerous dog with a history of violence, or who are willing to commit crimes that jeopardize public safety. Fleeing across state lines is not exactly a parking ticket, either. They considered themselves above the law, which is not acceptable.

    These owners were irresponsible and did not deserve the responsibility of having a pet. They failed to get their dog vaccinated for rabies, for heaven’s sake!

    Nothing that they did to “retrieve” their dog was justifiable, and I hope they learn their lessons when and after they face the charges in court.

  • Edward c. says:

    Why not go after the real criminal. The man that actually cut yhe fence and the lock. I would hope the courts will view this as a crime of love . If you love something then you will protect it with your life!!!!

  • Nick says:

    Jon, I understand and, in part, share your point-of-view. It’s just that sentences for “burglary, conspiracy and possession of stolen property” are harsh based on greed. They aim to deter such greedy acts and/or prevent them from re-occurring. I’m OK with my tax dollars contributing to such sentences.

    As Edwards says, breaking into this shelter to reclaim their dog was a crime of love, no greed involved. I’m not OK with my tax dollars contributing to incarcerate these people, it’d serve no purpose for this particular crime. Some community service so they can reflect on their actions and to pay for the shelter damages would seem adequate, that’s what I meant. Thanks.

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