Miami Animal Police

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Sgt. Burt Tash prepares to take down an errant vole.

“Ha ha ha! Gnawed scrotum.”

~ Phil Ken Sebben on Miami Animal Police

Miami Animal Police is an American television reality show that debuted in 2004 on the Fox News Network. Watched by foxes all over the world, it depicts the activities of Miami's Special Animal Task Force (SATF), a shadowy government organization whose job is to police Miami searching for instances of animal cruelty. SATF officers are dedicated to tracking down, arresting and, if necessary, killing any animals in Miami that have committed a crime. Criminal animals such as these are known by the officers as "cranimals".

While Miami has a long history of "cranimality", the problem has escalated in recent years. Animal psychologists theorize that this is because Miami has become awash with drugs and fun powder, causing a sharp rise in animal crime - especially within the horse community.

Horse crime[edit | edit source]

In one celebrated episode of the show, the Miami Animal Police tracked down a horse until they had it holed up and pinned down in a warehouse. The horse had been dealing crack all over the city, and wasn't going to give in easily. It fired at SATF officers through a window with an M-15, but the team were unfazed. They returned fire and dropped the animal. In this manner, another bad apple was removed from the otherwise law abiding horse community.

The links between drugs and cranimality[edit | edit source]

The drug problem in Miami extended to the animal community through household pets. Bored with their daily regime of eating, sleeping and crapping in the yard, pets soon got wise to their owners cocaine haul. Dogs and cats became hooked and began stealing their owners cars. If the owners tried to take the animal to the vet for a one way trip to oblivion, the animal would often shoot down the owner in a dog fight. They would then take over the supply and begin dealing to horses and chickens. The problem consequently spread throughout the animal community, and cranimality increased as a result.

The beginnings of crime in household pets lead to the famous introduction from early versions of the show:

Meet the Miami Animal Police, they take a lot of shit, but they seem to enjoy themselves. Think of them as a flesh wall between you and that Spaniel on a speedball shoving your daughter into a sack.

Psychological effects of drugs on animals[edit | edit source]

Animals turn to crime largely to get money to feed their expensive drug habits, but drugs themselves also have an affect on behaviour, causing the animal to go on a crime spree for the sheer excitement of it. A cow, for example, normally wanders about aimlessly, mooing and looking at sticks. But a cow, all monged out on crack cocaine, will want to go stealing a tractor and drive it up the freeway while shooting milk at passing Winnibagos.

Tortoise crime[edit | edit source]

Drugs certainly played a role in the episode of the show where a tortoise stole a bus and proceeded to drive it very very slowly through the downtown area without regard for the safety of the passengers or passersby. Nobody was hurt, largely because the passengers were able to just open the doors and walk away from the bus. But after it ignored warnings from SATF officers, the tortoise had to be destroyed in a controlled explosion and the bus rolled into a nearby bottle bank, denting it and causing 25 dollars worth of damage.

The SAFT Team[edit | edit source]

The team SATF team deal with nearly 2,500 calls a month, making their lives busy as there are only three of them.

Some of the more celebrated episodes featured the following story lines:

  • a loose alligator with a carbine rifle causes a 9-mile backup on the freeway
  • a python is found shooting up in a public restroom
  • a cult of rats that sacrifice children is discovered.

The team is comprised of the following individuals:

Sgt. Burt Tash: Animal Investigations Supervisor[edit | edit source]

Would you like to touch some puppies?

When Sgt. Burt Tash arrived at the SATF headquarters seven months ago, he was looking, he says, for a toilet. With 23 years of police work under his belt, Sgt. Tash had been face to face with child abusers, murderers and thieves - so the last thing he wanted to do was more police work. But when he was caught short on a local freeway, he stopped by the poice restroom at animal central, and just got chatting. Within minutes, they'd got him to sign a form - for the chief's wife's birthday card, they said - and next thing he know he was out on the street, hunting down rabbits with a special radar.

Sgt. Tash is vocal about his feeling that people who mistreat animals are just as guilty as other types of criminals, but when it comes down to it, he couldn't care less about any kind of criminal. He just wants to make enough dollars to replace the horrible wallpaper in his kitchen, so that he can retire and: "git to drinkin' without feeling sick all the time".

Dierdree (Buffy) Borg: Animal Cruelty Investigator[edit | edit source]

Buffy Borg spent ten years cleaning dog kennels, administering feline shots, answering phones — whatever was required of her, until she realised that she was never going to get paid, so she took a shotgun to the lot of them. After a further fifteen years in a correctional facility, Buffy became very nervous of rabbits, doves, armadillos, lizards … even alligators. She consequently decided to devote her life to killing them.

Buffy has been with SATF for over a year, and although she has the air of a woman who's seen it all, she readily admits that there's "...probably lots of things that I haven't seen, like most of Malaysia for example."

Most frustrating to her are dead postal workers, which are "cases where you have a postal worker that died and you're almost certain that a labrador puppy caused that death — either by poisoning, foul play or some other way, but there [are] no witnesses, no information, nothing. It's a non-case."

However, when Buffy does close a case, she says it's "the best thing in the world. You just shove the animal in a bag, throw it in a pit and go home and watch TV"

Sergio (Tort) Tortilla: Animal Exterminator[edit | edit source]

Animal exterminator Sergio Tortilla is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He's also one of the few real "veterans" of SATF, where he's worked for the past 18 years. For Tort, the leap from Air Force to SATF was a logical one even if, in the end, he just used a car. There's nothing better for hunting down an errant giraffe than a phantom F-15 led with hot tracer and stinger missiles.

In his most famous case, he shot down Jake, a boxer, who had been living in his own feces, was nearly 30 pounds underweight, and had a heroin supply chain stretching as far as Cuba. For Tort, Jake is a constant reminder of why he does the job he does:

"My favorite part of the job is trying to make an animal's life into batter," he explains, "and I expect everyone to take care of their pets like I do mine - quickly, and with a minimum of mess."

Sandor Savalas[edit | edit source]

They never catch me! Heh! I stay on zee vacation, man...

The nemesis of the Miami Animal Police team is "Sandor Savalas", a drug running guinea pig that travels on false passports. Acting on tip offs, the team have got close to shooting Savalas on a number of occasions, but they always miss because, in the words of Sergio Tort, "the damned thing just runs too fast, and we keep shooting each other in the foot". Savalas is well protected by a team of earthworms who also do his dirty work for him, like bringing in his consignments of fresh grass every week by plane. Though still at large, the team are confident that they can get Savalas. "We'll get him", says Buffy Borg, "because being still at large, we're able to go anywhere we want, so once we know where he is, we can go there and finish him off".