Back when he was the Republican candidate for governor of Florida, Rick Scott and his staff did their best to let the public know his family adopted a rescue dog.
They even held a contest to allow the public to name the dog, who would become “Reagan.”
So, to some, it seemed strange that the Labrador retriever hadn’t been seen again since Scott took office, in January of 2011.
The Tampa Bay Times, albeit it two years later, finally solved the mystery — but not until after getting quite a runaround.
The Times last week asked both Scott’s current and former communications directors what happened to Reagan, but both refused to answer.
Brian Burgess, communications director during the campaign and for more than a year after Scott took office, told two Times reporters he thought it was strange that they would ask, and declined to answer.
When pressed, he referred all questions about the dog to Melissa Sellers, the governor’s new communications director. Sellers told reporters she was too busy to find an answer to the question.
A spokesman for the governor’s wife also declined to respond to questions about Reagan, saying only that they have one dog — a rescued 7-year-old Lab named Tallee.
What was the governor’s office trying to hide, reporters wondered. Why weren’t the communications directors, uh, communicating? And where was Reagan, the dog the Scott family made such a big deal about when they rescued him?
Commenters at the time praised Scott for getting a rescue dog, instead of a purebred like Bo, the president’s Portuguese water dog.
“The Scott family is proud to announce that the name (chosen by you) for their newly adopted pup is Reagan!” read Scott’s announcement on his Facebook page. “Thanks to everyone who participated in the fun contest.”
But apparently they were less proud to announce what became of Reagan, and how they ended up with a dog named Tallee.
This week, Times reporters were able to ask the governor himself, and learned that Reagan, due to behavioral issues, had been returned to the grooming and boarding business they got him from.
Scott said Reagan never bit anyone, but that he “scared the living daylights” out of people at the mansion. One kitchen employee threatened to quit because of the dog, he said, and photographer Eric Tournay was frightened when the dog “barked like crazy” every time he saw him with a camera.
“He was a rescue dog,” Scott said, “and he couldn’t be around anybody that was carrying anything.”
About a month after the family moved to the governor’s mansion, they gave the dog back to his prior owner, the governor said.
Tallee, he said, has a much different personality.
Based on his description, Tallee sounds more needy, submissive and controllable.
(Photo: Reagan, from Facebook)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 16th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, answers, avoidance, candidate, communications, contest, directors, disappeared, dog, facebook, florida, governor, labrador, naming, news media, politics, reagan, republican, rescue, retriever, rick scott, tallee, tampa bay times, whatever happened
Webb shot and killed his neighbor’s black Labrador with a .357 magnum pistol in 1998, entered an Alford plea to charges of cruelty to animals and disorderly conduct and received two three-month sentences, both of which were deferred and later dismissed.
While the court case was sealed, it somehow became unsealed, got circulated on the Internet and was anonymously mailed earlier this week to The Billings Gazette.
“Fifteen years ago, I was attacked by a dog in my own front yard and I defended myself,” Webb, of Billings Heights, said Monday. “I have documentation, because I hired a private investigator at the time, that the dog had attacked a FedEx driver and UPS and the owner’s neighbor.”
Webb said he didn’t know who leaked the sealed documents. They initially appeared Sunday on a liberal political blog and on Twitter.
“I have no idea who is doing that. I have no idea,” said his opponent, Democrat Wanda Grinde.
According to The Billings Gazette, the documents state that Webb struck a neighbor’s black Lab with his pistol and then shot the the dog as it ran away. The bullet killed the dog and ricocheted into a second black Labrador.
Webb told the court that on the night of the incident, the two dogs charged down a hill toward him. He said he jumped in the bed of his pick-up truck until the dogs left. Then, he said, he went inside his house, got his pistol and headed up the hill to talk to their owner. He didn’t see the owner, though, and said the dogs confronted him again on his way home. He struck one of the dogs as it lunged at him and fired his gun.
The owner of the dogs, Lyla Mercer, said she heard the shot while she standing by their kennels, from which they had escaped.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1998, animal, animals, black lab, candidate, court case, cruelty, dog, dogs, election, killed, labrador, leak, leaked, leaks, montana, pets, politics, roger webb, sealed, self defense, senate, shot
Our original plan was to simply post this song and dedicate it to Marylanders who have pit bull type dogs as companions — they being stressed out now over the state’s highest court badmouthing their loved ones, and the implications that might carry.
But then, as sometimes happens, we got fascinated with its backstory, and attempted to pin down the song’s history, which is difficult to do nowadays with all the bogus flotsam — like pit bull myths — that bobs to the surface on the Internet.
We think we got to the root of it, though, and we still dedicate it to Maryland pit bull owners, whose dogs aren’t nearly as “inherently dangerous” as sweeping, ill-informed court rulings.
To them we dedicate all three versions of the song we’re showing you here, even the Yugoslavian one.
We began, above, with one by Lulu Belle and Scotty, a husband and wife, both now deceased, from the mountains of North Carolina. It was recorded during a radio performance, which Lulu Belle only slightly flubbed.
Next we offer you this rendition — combining a 1926 recording by Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers with some Walt Disney animation, circa 1924, in which a dog catcher gets his due. Don’t try this at home, for it would make you a terrorist, and, in the U.S., only courts and governments are allowed to instill terror.
It cuts the song short, leaving out a last verse, so here are the full lyrics:
Me and old Lem Briggs and old Bill Brown
Took a load of corn to town
Old Jim dog, the on’ery pup
He just naturally followed us up
Every time I come to town
The boys go to kicking my dog around
Makes no difference if he’s a hound
Ya gotta quit kicking my dog around
As we driv’ past the country store
A passel of yaps came out the door
Jim he scooted behind a box
Showered him with sticks and rocks
They tied a tin can to his tail
And run him past the county jail
That just naturally makes me sore
Bill he cussed and Lem he swore
Me and Lem Briggs and old Bill Brown
Lost no time a-getting down
We whupped them fellers to the ground
For kickin’ my old dog, Jim, around
Jim seed his duty there and then
He sure let into those gentlemen
He sure messed up that townhouse square
With rags and meat and hide and hair
While Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers are credited with first recording the song, it was written 14 years earlier and copyrighted in 1912 by Webb M. Oungst and Cy Perkins, a pseudonym for Mrs. William Stark, wife of a famous publisher of ragtime music.
Mrs. Stark used the pseudonym, it is said, because she was afraid the song would be rejected if it was known that a woman had written it.
The same year, Champ Clark, a Missouri Democrat adopted it as his theme song in his campaign for the presidential nomination. He lost. Woodrow Wilson won.
Given the exposure, though, the song became briefly popular, and Witmark & Sons purchased the copyright for $10,000. Some accounts say the payments weren’t met, which led to a lawsuit.
The Second Missouri Infantry chose it as their marching song, and there are those who have pushed over the years for it to become the state song, which given the state’s not yet totally forgotten and overcome reputation for puppy mills probably would be a mistake.
I think it makes a better theme song for pit bulls, for no breed or type of dog gets more kicked around than them.
Here’s the original sheet music
And here’s the version recorded by Yugoslavian — back when it was still Yugoslavia — pop singer Diego Varagic, “Krcma Na Putu Za Tenesi.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: appeals court, campaign, campaign song, candidate, champ clark, diego varagic, folk, gid tanner, history, inherently dangerous, lulu belle and scotty, maryland, missouri, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, presidential, ragtime, sheet music, skillet lickers, song, versions, video, walt disney, who wrote, ya gotta quit kickin' my dog around, you gotta quick kicking my dog around, yugoslavia
A Michigan politician was bitten three times by a dog while campaigning — just days before the beginning of National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
Republican Ann M. Doyle said she passed out on the way to the hospital, where she received one stitch. On the other hand, she got lots of publicity out of it, and what she thinks will be a sympathy vote, from the dog’s owner.
Doyle, who’s running for the 94th District state House of Representatives seat, was handing out literature in Frankenmuth Township when a dog came running ran at her and bit her three times, according to MLive.com. The dog’s owner heard the commotion and called it off.
She said the homeowner helped her into his car to take her to the hospital, but that after that she passed out on the way. At the hospital, Doyle, a fourth-term Saginaw County commissioner who lives in Tittabawassee Township, received one stitch on her right forearm.
“I’m the one that went on their property,” Doyle said. “I put myself into his territory, so if I were a dog, would I try to protect my space? Probably, I don’t know if I would have lunged.”
Doyle received a call from the dog’s owner later that night, who offered to let her put a campaign sign on her property.
National Dog Bite Prevention week started Sunday, accompanid by the traditional release of dog bite statistics from the U.S. Postal Service, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and insurance companies.
About 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year and more than half of the victims are children, the CDCP says. About 800,000 of those seek medical attention for the bites. Less than half of those require treatment. The Insurance Information Institute estimated that nearly $479 million in dog bite claims were paid by all insurance companies in 2011, up from $413 million in 2010.
(Top photo: Brittney Lohmiller / The Saginaw News)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ann doyle, bites, candidate, commissioner, dog, dog bite prevention week, dog bites, dogs, house of representatives, michigan, pets, politician, politics, saginaw county, statistics
Since it was a 25-year-old story when we first wrote about it, and since it’s nearing 30 now, we haven’t weighed in too much during this latest rebirth of the saga of Seamus, the dog Mitt Romney put on the roof of his car for a trip to Canada.
But now comes a report that, after arriving in Canada, Seamus ran away. (And who could blame him?)
The Observer.com report, on the blog Politicker, seems to imply that Seamus ran away for good, but it’s a little vague, and the new developments, if they can be called that, are based on pretty flimsy reporting:
“Mitt Romney may not have told the whole truth about the scandalous tale of his Irish Setter, Seamus, being strapped to the roof of his car during a 12-hour family road trip to Canada. According to a trusted Politicker tipster, two of Mr. Romney’s sons had an off-record conversation with reporters where they revealed the dog ran away when they reached their destination on that infamous journey in 1983.”
Romney’s wife, Ann, has previously been reported as saying Seamus survived the trip and went on to live to a “ripe old age” — one would presume with the same family.
Other reports indicate Seamus moved in with Romney’s sister — but don’t say why — and that he lived happily on a farm until his death.
Politicker reported that Romney’s campaign has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the most recent twist in the old story.
Seamus’ story first came to light in a 2007 Boston Globe profile of Romney. The family was on its annual drive to Ontario, to visit Romney’s father’s cottage in the gated Beach O’ Pines community on Lake Huron. The story included details about Romney’s son noting a brown fluid dripping down the rear window, apparently from the dog, who was in a crate on the roof, with a barrier in front to shield him from the wind. It recounts a gas station stop where Seamus and car were hosed down before moving on.
The original story didn’t get into what became of Seamus, and the reporter, Neil Swidey, doesn’t answer the question in a recent article about the story’s continued resurgence.
So we’ll join in asking the question that other bloggers — including Dogs Against Romney — are raising: Whatever happened to Seamus?
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, campaign, candidate, car, crate, crate gate, dogs, irish setter, mitt romney, observer, off the record, pets, politicker, politics, presidential, ran away, republican, roof, rooftop, runaway, seamus, station wagon, vacation, whatever happened to seamus
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul portrays himself as a Rottweiler, and his opponents as shih tzus, in a new campaign ad.
The ad, being broadcast in both Iowa and New Hampshire, is called “Big Dog,” and it accuses the other candidates of being all bark and no bite when it comes to cutting government spending.
“Testosterone-laden,” the Des Moines Register called it.
While his opponents may whine “like little shih tzus,” Ron Paul, according to the ad, will pounce on out of control federal government spending, cutting it by $1 trillion in the first year and eliminating five federal agencies.
As we’ve been telling you in this series, dogs are being used like never before to sway public opinion — and we wouldn’t be surprised if other candidates seized on the dog theme, portraying themselves, or their opponents as particular breeds.
Imagine the possibilities: Rick Perry as a well-groomed but oblivious Afghan hound; Michele Bachmann as a flighty Irish setter; Mitt Romney as a collie, programmed to, when he’s not riding on the top of cars, save people who have fallen into wells; Rick Santorum as a Presa Canario-Chihuahua mix; Newt Gingrich as a grumpy old bulldog; Herman Cain as a frisky pointer who missed his neutering appointment.
In a way, I hate to see dogs dragged into something as sleazy as politics, but with dogs being used to sell everything from toilet paper to insurance, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
(All of our Woof in Advertising selections can be found archived here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, afghan hound, animals, bark, big dog, big dog ad, bite, breeds, bulldog, campaign, candidate, chihuahua, collie, dogs, dogs in advertising, election, government, herman cain, irish setter, michele bachman, mitt romney, newt gingrich, pets, pointer, politics, presa canario, presidential, republican, rick perry, rick santorum, ron paul, rottweiler, shih-tzu, spending, stereotypes, woof in advertising
Does what you name a dog shape that dog’s personality? Will “Killer” turn out to be one? Of course not. Dogs, or for that matter, people, don’t always live up to their names, which is fortunate for Young Boozer.
It was while driving through Alabama last week that I first became aware — through a campaign ad on the radio — of Young Boozer, a former banker who is running for state treasurer.
I started scouting for his campaign signs, but, amid the thousands of candidate signs stuck in the ground last week, I couldn’t find one bearing his name, which is just as well because I would have been tempted to take it.
I did find his campaign ad online though (above), which ends with the tagline: “Funny name, serious leadership.”
Young Boozer captured 64 percent of the vote in the primary, the Gadsden Times reports.
Young Boozer– he’s actually Young Boozer III, meaning there were two other Young Boozers before him — will face Democratic candidate Charley Grimsley in the general election.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does america, alabama, campaign, candidate, dog's country, dogscountry, election, funny name, george wallace jr., politics, road trip, state, travels, treasurer, u.s.. america, young boozer
The idea is, as with the Michael Vick chew toy (see below), dog owners will purchase the candidate toy they would most like to see chewed up and spat out, thereby determining which candidate is most likely,come election time, to be “dog tucker,” which means dog food in New Zealand and Australia.
Masterpet will monitor sales of the toys, and report results on the political blog kiwiblog.co.nz.
Masterpet North Island sales manager Peter Couchman urged people to make their choice quickly, saying that, as with politicians, the toy’s shelf life might be limited.
“Early data in our reverse poll (the “dog tucker” poll) suggests a preference for Helen Clark. But this is one poll she may not want to be ahead in,” he said.
Early figures had Clark (she’s the incumbent, and a member of the Labour Party) cornering 59 per cent of the chew toy market, far ahead of Key (he’s the multi-millionaire challenger, representing the National Party).
Masterpets offered a list of tips for those considering a purchase, including ”Wear suitable ear protection when supervising your dog’s playtime with the toy. As with real politicians, the squealing can become quite deafening… If your dog destroys the politician in the first five minutes don’t hold this against your dog – the media do it every week.”
Posted by jwoestendiek September 26th, 2008 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: candidate, chew, chew toy, clark, dog, election, Key, michael vick, new zealand, news, poll, prime minister, toy