Blackwater Guard Kills NY Times' Dog

A dog at The New York Times Baghdad bureau was shot and killed by a Blackwater security guard in an incident last week, according to the security firm.

"The K-9 handler made several unsuccessful attempts to get the dog to retreat, including placing himself between the dogs," Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrell told Reuters. "When those efforts failed, the K-9 handler unfortunately was forced to use a pistol to protect the company's K-9 and himself."

While the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad declined to comment to ABC News, it is reportedly investigating the incident, The New York Times said in a story about the incident on its Web site.

Blackwater, a private security firm that provides protection to U.S. workers in Iraq, is currently under investigation after guards shot and killed 17 people on a street in Baghdad last September. The firm has maintained that the actions of its employees, many of whom are ex-military, were proper.

null

According to the newspaper, U.S. officials have taken some interest in the dog shooting.

"Investigators from the State Department have made two visits to The New York Times' news bureau in Baghdad," wrote New York Times reporter Maria Newman, who added that an employee from the bureau told her the dog, named Henish, was "born right near the checkpoint and grew up there from the time it was a puppy."

The incident occurred on the day that U.S. Embassy spokesman Phil Reeker was visiting the newspaper's bureau, located about 2 miles from the International Zone inside the Green Zone. It began when the Times dog went after one of the Blackwater dogs, which are used to sniff for bombs.

The New York Times' dog wasn't popular among the journalists in the area, and Iraqis who spoke to ABC News correspondents there said they were a little insulted by the attention the dog has garnered.

A spokeswoman for The New York Times declined to comment directly to ABC News. A Times' employee who asked not to be named said the bureau was "horrified" by the event.

'Clearly, There's a Dog Problem'

As it turns out, the Times Baghdad bureau is no stranger to aggressive dogs. Three dogs there -- including the late Henish -- aren't exactly known for their friendly nature.

In March 2007, Eason Jordan, a former CNN chief news executive, was attacked at the bureau by a dog named Scratchy and was later treated at the U.S. Military Combat Support Hospital.

"I was making the rounds of all the major news bureaus [to assess their safety], and on arrival at The New York Times bureau a dog came up to me and sniffed my hand," Jordan, who now is the chief executive of IraqSlogger, told ABCNEWS.com. "Then in an instant it bit into my hand really ferociously."

Jordan suffered three deep gashes to his right hand, and described the scene as a "bloody mess."

"The doctors wanted stitches, but it was at a place where it was impractical to do stitching," said Jordan. "They asked that I stay overnight, but in the midst of this they were bringing in true hardcore trauma victims -- all Iraqi -- including a 10-year-old and a man in his 50s. Both of them were so seriously hurt I questioned if they'd even survive."

While doctors were treating the other patients in the emergency room, Jordan said he snuck out.

Scratchy was taken into custody by the U.S. Army after the attack, said Jordan, but was later returned to the Times after the animal was cleared for rabies.

"The Times felt terrible the whole time, but one reason they did is probably because they knew their dog had attacked others before me," said Jordan, who described the dog as a mutt. "A photographer had been attacked in the chest and an Iraqi was bitten in the crotch."

"There's precedence for attacks on people on The New York Times compound," said Jordan. "Clearly there's a dog problem."

ABC News' Troy McMullen and Mike Gudgell contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...