R.I.P., Diogee | Tailpipe | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

R.I.P., Diogee

Save That Dog — Kill Him!

Lawrence Meaney wanted his dog, Diogee, to die a natural death, and after 16 years (a biblical 112 in canine years) the border-collie mix was already beginning his inexorable drift toward doggy heaven. In recent years, Diogee's wagging tail and springy step had been slowed to a crawl by arthritis, and he often slept 20 hours a day. But it was still a good life.

Man and dog spent last June 3 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where Meaney was watching a Marlins game at the bar on the casino floor as Diogee dozed in the bed Meaney had made for him in his gray 2004 Toyota 4Runner. Just another lazy Saturday, Meaney says.

But wait. Can we throw some darkness into this balmy picture? The Seminole Police, whose scuffling, cowboy style of policing has resulted in some notoriously rough treatment of Hard Rock guests recently, were monitoring the parking garage. The cops spied Diogee in the truck, then started watching the clock. A subsequently produced police report claimed that three hours passed without a sign of Meaney. Meaney says it was 45 minutes.

"It wasn't like he was hanging from a noose," Meaney says. "He was on a cushion. There was bottled water, bandages, and ointment." Also, the windows were open, and the garage's third floor is shaded from the sun.

When Meaney got back to his truck, though, the cops told him he was under arrest for animal cruelty. As they tried to put cuffs on him, the police report says, Meaney tried to pull his hands out from behind his back and "continued to resist arrest." That was two felony charges. Would Meaney like to try for three?

Meaney tells it another way: As he was trying to explain how Diogee's medication made the dog lethargic, a Seminole cop "slammed my head against the car; then he twisted the cuffs on my wrists." A wound to his scalp from the incident required five stitches.

As if that weren't enough, Meaney says, the cop said to his partner, "Make sure you put down [in the police report] that he fell."

For Meaney, the crazy-making irony here is that the arrest, ostensibly executed in defense of Diogee, made it impossible for Meaney to care for his dog. As the police explained it, these were his options: Meaney could either pay a couple of thousand dollars for tests necessary for taking Diogee into custody (he didn't have the money) or he could agree to let the police put the dog to sleep.

With Meaney heading to a Fort Lauderdale jail cell (where he would spend five days), the choice got whittled down even further. Diogee was euthanized.

Meaney takes special exception to the portion of the police report that alleges he "did intentionally cause the unnecessary pain and suffering of the dog which resulted in the death of the dog." Nobody killed Diogee but the Seminole Police. And, oh yeah. Meaney, who is free now on a $2,500 bond, has to defend himself against two felony charges. No court date has been set.

Tailpipe is no Dog Whisperer, though he does have a little pooch of his own. But he knows a legitimate dog lover when he sees one. Meaney's fond description of his 16 years with Diogee makes him fit the profile.

Diogee's veterinarian, H.A. Brunz, wrote a letter that Meaney hopes will help keep him out of jail. "What happened to Diogee and Larry is an absolute atrocity, and there should be a thorough investigation," Brunz writes. "Even if Diogee had only a few days to live, it is not anyone's responsibility to put an animal to death under these circumstances except for the owner of that pet, end of story."

Finally, Tailpipe wonders: If your dog were in some sort of distress, would you rather see it in the hands of the Seminole Police or Lawrence Meaney?

Rudy in Drag

So you're a Republican and you're gay. Can Tailpipe say it sounds a little like being a vegan in a wolf pack? Sure, you believe in the venerable old ideas about keeping free enterprise unencumbered and shrinking the size of government. But most of your fellow travelers not only don't approve of your lifestyle but they've run entire campaigns based almost exclusively on vilifying... you.

Still, there's one candidate now in the mix who could actually reach out and resolve those simmering contradictions in your chest: Rudolph Giuliani. As mayor of New York, Giuliani backed same-sex civil unions and even went out in drag. Hell, after his most recent divorce, he crashed with friends who are a gay couple. He sure doesn't sound like a standard-issue bigot.

So some SoFla Republicans, in search of hopeful signs, recently turned out to meet a Giuliani representative at a meeting of a local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans. Speaking of contradictions, the Log Cabinites are led by a straight lady: former Wilton Manors mayor, professional cook, and woman of grandmotherly warmth Sandy Steen. At her townhome, about a dozen well-heeled, older gay gentlemen spread out in the living room, snacking on homemade cookies and hors d'oeuvres that she'd whipped up. Steen introduced her guests to Phil Consuegra, field director for Guiliani's presidential campaign in Broward County.

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Edmund Newton