The city of Schenectady is trying to get a handle on how many unlicensed dogs live there, and it’s calling on school crossing guards to help with the counting.
Crossing guards and code enforcement officers, who’ll be sweeping through neighborhoods this summer, anyway, looking for housing code violations, will be conducting Schenectady’s doggy census — aimed at getting a count of how many dogs are in the city.
The next step is making sure their owners have licensed them.
The city, in which only 1,400 dogs are licensed, suspects there could be ten times more that are unlicensed — as many as 15,000. With licenses costing up to $20, the sweep will easily pay for itself down the road.
The problem was getting the city council’s approval for spending $22,000 to hire people to go door to door, inquiring if homeowners have dogs, according to the Albany Times Union.
A surplus in the overtime budget for code enforcement officers and school crossing guards provided a way around that, allowing the city — without the council having to approve new spending — to turn interested crossing guards and code enforcement officers into temporary canine census takers.
City Clerk Chuck Thorne said the census, to be spread out over several summers, could easily lead to a doubling of dog licenses, which would bring in $36,000 to $40,000 in revenue, and that’s not even counting fines.
Licenses are $13.50 for a neutered or spayed dog and $20.50 for an unfixed dog. For seniors, rates are $3.50 for neutered dogs and $10.50 for unneutered. A valid rabies vaccination certificate is needed for a license.
The census takers will determine through interviews if a homeowner has dogs, how many, and whether they are licensed. If a person is not home and there are indications a dog is in the house — such as barking, or a yard strewn with rawhide chews — the census taker will leave a letter stating the person has 21 days to get a license or face a possible ticket.
(Photo: Mayor Gary McCarthy announcing plans to reduce crime, get homes up to code and crack down on unlicensed dogs in Schenectady; by Skip Dickstein / Times Union)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 16th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, canine, census, city, counting, crossing guards, dog, dogs, licenses, licensing, mayor, pets, registration, schenectady, school crossing guards
Police in Baltimore shot and killed a family’s pit bull when the dog ran out of his home as police were chasing a suspect.
“He wasn’t just our dog. He was our family,” Stacey Fields said of the family’s dog, Kincaid. “It’s a horrible thing seeing your dog that you love laying on the ground dead and bloody.”
Fields said a suspect being chased down an alley ran into their basement stairwell, with police in pursuit.
Kincaid ran out of his home during the commotion, and Baltimore police say he charged at the officers.
WJZ reported the dog was shot three times, twice in the head
“He was just barking like ‘Hey, what are doing in my yard? Who are you?’” Fields said.
“If it was a Cockapoo or a Chihuahua it probably wouldn’t have happened,” she said. “If he had pulled his mace, Kincaid would still be here.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 3rd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baltimore, breeds, charged, chase, city, dogs, killed, maryland, officers, pets, pit bull, pitbull, police, pursuit, shot, stacey fields, suspect
Baltimore City Police Officer Dan Waskiewicz will be honored today by the Baltimore Humane Society for the compassion he displayed responding to a call about a “vicious” dog.
When Waskiewicz earlier this year arrived at the location where the vicious dog had been reported, in south Baltimore, he saw a pit bull being chased by children, who were throwing bottles at the dog.
The officer called the dog, who ran over with tail between legs and sat down next to him.
Waskiewicz, a rookie and recent graduate of the police academy, put the dog in his squad car and took it to Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). He returned to BARCS during the next few days to visit. Three days after receiving the call, with no owners coming forward, Waskiewicz adopted the dog, who’s now named Bo.
Officer Waskiewicz passed the story and photo along back in May to a pit bull rescue group in northeast Pennsylvania, which blogged about it. The photo went viral, turning Waskiewicz into something of an Internet folk hero.
“So often we hear stories where law enforcement officers rush to judgment with violent action,” said Jen Swanson, Baltimore Humane Society executive director. Waskiewicz, she said, observed the situation calmly before he acted. “He saved the life of an innocent animal and avoided what could have been a situation with a tragic ending.”
The ceremony will take place at 2:30 p.m. in the Adoption Center at the Baltimore Humane Society on 1601 Nicodemus Road in Reisterstown. The public is invited.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animals, award, baltimore, baltimore humane, baltimore humane society, barcs, bo, call, city, dan waskiewicz, dog, dogs, honor, jen swanson, officer, pets, photo, pit bull, pit bulls, police, vicious, viral
Courtesy of the blog ModifiedK9, and courtesy of Dan Waskiewicz, here’s a police officer meets pit bull story with the best kind of ending.
Modified K9 is a pit bull-loving group in Pennsylvania that works to improve the image and future of pit bulls through education, training, rescuing, rehabilitating, rehoming.
Dan Waskiewicz is a Baltimore police officer, who wrote Modified K9 a letter about his experience a few months back responding to a vicious dog call in the city.
Here’s his note:
I’m a Police Officer in Baltimore City. I am originally from Wilkes-Barre, and I am a fan of your organization and Pit Bulls. Today I received a call while on duty about a vicious dog chasing kids.
Going on my own approach, being a dog lover, I got out of my car and called the “vicious dog” over to me.
The dog came over with it’s tail between it’s legs and panting. I grabbed my water bottle and the dog sat down next to me and began licking my pants. I started giving the dog water. I brought the dog over and waited for the pound to show up.
My partner was not a fan of dogs and was startled by my approach. I suggested to him that this dog cannot be put down, and should be taken to a shelter. We took it upon ourselves to take the dog to the shelter, and transported it in the back seat in the back of our patrol car.
Then I decided that I wanted to keep the dog, and spoke to the shelter about the steps to take to adopt it. The dog was originally kept outside and was filthy, and now it just might have a new home…”
That new home was with Waskiewicz, where the pit bull, now named Bo, resides with his other dogs.
His act drew praise from Modified K9, and lots of commenters.
“Instead of assuming the dog to be vicious and shoot it dead, (as we see so many times before) he analyzes the situation, and sees a nervous dog that needs help,” the blog post reads. “Instead of letting animal control pick up the dog, and let it disappear, or be put down, he personally takes it to a shelter, IN HIS CRUISER!!! Finally, he offers the pup a new forever home!”
We couldn’t agree more: Dan is the man.
(Photos: Dan Waskiewicz, via ModifiedK9)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: account, adopted, animals, baltimore, blog, call, city, dan waskiewicz, dogs, image, law enforcement, modified k9, modifiedk9, note, officer, perceptions, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, police, rescue, shelters, stereotypes, vicious, vicious dog
It has been about three months since we last checked in on Wausau, Wisconsin, and that ridiculous two-dog limit it imposes on its residents.
At the time, Melissa Lecker and her husband James were being told by the city they must part with two of their four dogs.
James and Melissa had moved there three months earlier, for jobs, and bought a house — unaware of the city’s two-dog rule.
When they were notified they were in violation of it, they requested an exemption, pointing out that their two golden retrievers were 13 years old, and probably wouldn’t be around much longer anyway.
Most of the bureaucrats they appealed to acted like, well, bureaucrats. They declined to discuss an exception, and the Leckers decided that, rather than part with a family member, the only thing they could do was move.
After some media coverage about their situation, and the city’s two-dog limit, the city council began reviewing the law, and the mayor notified the Leckers that, until the council decided whether to change ordinance, they wouldn’t be fined.
As Melissa Lecker wrote in a recent opinion piece in the Wausau Daily Herald:
In March, Mayor Jim Tipple told us we would not be fined and would not have to give up the dogs. We took our home off the market and began to settle in to our new home and new city, hoping to put the past behind us as the city drafted a new ordinance …
The city began considering a revised and slightly more liberal ordinance that would limit households to five pets — any combination of dogs and cats, as long as the total didn’t rise above five.
Given the Leckers have three cats, in addition to their four dogs, they’d still be over the limit, and, according to Melissa, the mayor told them that once a new law was in place they could be fined.
“I am glad change is coming. But it doesn’t help us,” Melissa wrote.
“We have decided as a family it is best for us to leave Wausau. We’ve signed a contract with a Realtor and have begun preparing our house for sale. We’ve also found a home in Stevens Point we are interested in buying. Regardless of what Wausau does at its June City Council meeting, we feel this is no longer where we belong.”
City officials say the ordinance was passed in 1989 to curb animal nuisance complaints, but as Keene Winters, a member of the city council, noted in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Herald, it has now become a divisive issue.
“Soon, we could have pet owners and non-pet owners locked in a cage match for municipal supremacy,” he wrote.
“There does not seem to be any evidence that the three-dog households already among us create any unusual nuisance,” Winters wrote. “So sending out our police to compel 125 of our neighbors to make a “Sophie’s choice” and eliminate a member of their family is likely to be greeted as unfairly punitive.
“I can see no compelling public interest in the two-dog limit that would warrant imposing such a heartwrenching penalty on so many of our neighbors.”
Winters said he favors allowing people to have up to five well-behaved dogs, assuming they license them. (Only about 30 percent of Wausau’s dogs are registered, he says.)
The city council is meeting tonight on the issue, and it appears divided on whether the ordinance should be altered or kept intact.
The Daily Herald, in an editorial yesterday, came out against the limit — which now restricts a family to two dogs and three cats – saying other existing laws are sufficient for addressing pet-related problems:
“The City Council should do away with the limit on pets, and it should make sure local law enforcement has what it needs to enforce the rules that do make a difference in residents’ lives.”
Under one proposal, residents could get a special “pet fancier’s” permit, allowing them to own up to five animals. In other words, the only change would be moving from a limit of two dogs and three cats to a limit of five pets total, in any combination.
How positively liberating.
Meanwhile, between the confusion, the city’s intrusive rules, and what Lecker describes as the heavy-handed enforcement of them, it has been enough to lead at least one family to wave goodbye to Wausau.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bureaucracy, city, city council, dog, dogs, government, james lecker, jim tipple, laws, leaving, limit, maximum, mayor, melissa lecker, moving, municipalities, number, owners, ownership, pet, pets, rules, town, two dog limit, wausua, wisconsin
When we hear about it, we like to pounce on big dog discrimination before it happens.
So let’s talk about Middletown, New York, where city officials think it would be a good idea to require all renters whose dogs tip the scales at more than 25 pounds to carry liability insurance.
This makes about as much sense as Wausau, Wisconsin’s two-dog limit, our topic Friday.
What fear-mongering, fact-ignoring, bandwagon-jumping city officials need to get through their heads, once and for all, is that it’s not the size of the dog, the breed of the dog, or even the number of dogs that cause dog problems — it’s the dog owner.
Be it “nuisance” or “danger” they are trying to protect us from, that’s who they need to be going after.
Not family’s like the Lecker’s in Wausau, who have four dogs, but bought a house not knowing the town limited households to two, and now face a choice between moving or ditching two dogs.
And not responsible dog-owning renters who, in the case of Middletown, might find themselves paying up to $300 a year to ensure any dog bigger than a breadbox.
Singling out breeds and setting arbitrary weight limits is doggie discrimination, pure and simple. (We’d argue the proposed Middletown law discriminates against renters as well.)
In Middletown, the Common Council is looking at a proposal that would require tenants to get at least $100,000 worth of liability insurance on dogs weighing over 25 pounds, according to the Times Herald-Record.
The proposed law is in response to a rising number of dog bites, city officials said. According to Mayor Joe DeStefano dog bites are covered under most homeowners’ policies, so the law would target only renters. The proposal doesn’t single out any breeds, but city officials have said they are concerned about the rising number of pit bulls in the city.
The city says there were 94 reported dog bites in Middletown over the past three years. Of them, 79 were from “large-breed” dogs, 37 of them from pit bulls or pit bull mixes. It also says two city employees have been attacked by pit bulls in recent months while on the job.
I wonder how many of those pit bulls were really pit bulls, as opposed to a convenient designation. I wonder, in the case of all those ”pit bull mixes,” why what else is in the mix isn’t mentioned. And I wonder, when it comes to those “large-breed” dogs doing the majority of the biting, if the city is referring to all dogs over 25 pounds.
But what I wonder most of all, since the requirement would do nothing to actually address the problem, is what purpose — beyond fattening up insurance companies — it would serve.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, big dogs, big dow owners, city, dangerous, discrimination, dogs, insurance, landlords, laws, liability, mandatory, middletown, new york, nuisance, pets, renters, required, requirement, tenants, wausau, wisconsin
In Wausau, that’s two dogs too many.
While the town is letting them keep the children (it hasn’t sought to limit those), it’s insisting the Leckers get rid of two of their dogs, or get out of town.
James, 29, a website developer for Midwest Communications, and Melissa, 32, who works in social services, moved to Wausau from Stevens Point for job reasons in January, and bought a house.
They were unaware that local law prohibits residents from having more than two dogs — and they didn’t learn that was the case until a police officer mistakenly stopped at their house while investigating another matter.
They’ve requested an exception from the city and been told there’s no chance of that.
So now they’ll be leaving, even though they expect to lose $15,000 on their home.
“I couldn’t sleep for a week. I’m not eating; there’s just so much stress,” Melissa Lecker told the Green Bay Press Gazette. “I know that sounds kind of crazy, but I either have to get rid of two family members or lose $15,000, and either way it’s stressful.”
City officials say the ordinance was passed in 1989 to curb animal nuisance complaints, and there seems little interest on their part in either changing the law, or granting exceptions. The law also limits pet owners to three three cats, three rabbits or three gerbils.
(We can only guess that’s to cut down on nuisance gerbil complaints.)
Jim Brezinski, the city council member whose district includes the Leckers’ home, said he doesn’t plan to intervene and that the issue should “go through the appropriate channels.”
But there aren’t really any channels to go through.
“Our current ordinance doesn’t allow for a variance,” Wausau city attorney Anne Jacobson told WAOW.com.
Lisa Rasmussen, chairwoman of Public Health and Safety, said she opposes increasing the number of allowable dogs, Fox News reported.
“I hope we can work something out,” Melissa Lecker said. “But they are just being so mean. My dogs didn’t bother anyone.”
A petition on Change.org, supporting an exception for the Leckers, says the family went before Wausau’s Public Health and Safety Committee to request a one-time variance that would allow them to keep all four of their dogs long enough for the two eldest ones to die, but that the committee denied the Lecker’s request.
“Now, because the Leckers innocently opened their door to accommodate a police officer who stopped by the family’s property accidentally, they are in danger of having to pay a $300 fine for each day that all of their dogs, their family members, remain in their home … a daily fine that could add up to more than $9,000 in a given month … fines they will face simply because they love their pets, or, as Wausau sees it, too many of their pets,” the petition says.
(Photo: Green Bay Press Gazette)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, city, council, dog, dogs, fines, four dogs, government, james lecker, law, liberty, limits, melissa lecker, move, moved, officials, ownership, pet, pets, restrictions, two dog limit, two dogs, wausau, wisconsin
Today, she’s up and around, and scheduled to appear at a press conference where her sad but inspiring story will be told.
Baltimore City Animal Control picked the emaciated dog up Feb. 13. The bottom third of her rear leg was missing, leading officers to believe she had been hit by a train.
Staff at the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), examined her, and promptly dubbed her Kisses because of her sweet disposition and all the licks she gave them, despite the pain she clearly had to be in.
As bleak as her outlook was, BARCS staff — “seeing her strength and will to live” — dipped into its Franky Fund, created to help homeless animals in need of immediate medical care, in hopes she could be saved.
BARCS contacted Essex Middle River Veterinary Center, which agreed to take a look at the dog.
BARCS staff assumed Kisses would have the rest of her leg amputated, but Dr. Joseph Zulty and his staff instead recommended closing the wound and raising funds to get her a prosthetic device.
The surgery was a success and Kisses has been fitted for a prosthetic. A member of the veterinary center staff took her home to provide foster care during her recovery, and BARCS reports that the hospital staff member plans to keep her.
BARCS & Essex Middle River Veterinary Center are holding a press conference this afternoon to tell the story of Kisses.
More information about the Franky Fund can be found at the BARCS website.
(Photo courtesy of BARCS)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, city, device, dog, dogs, donate, essex middle river veterinary clinic, foster, franky fund, funds, hit, injured, joseph zulty, kisses, leg, licks, medical, missing, mix, pets, pit bull, press conference, prosthetic, railroad, rear, severed, shelters, sick, stray, tracks, train, veterinarian, veterinary
A vigil is being held in New York Saturday in honor of Nick Santino, the soap opera actor who took his own life after putting his dog down.
Santino, according to friends and family, was distraught and feeling guilty after having his pit bull Rocco euthanized — a step acquaintances say he took after his condo board instituted rules against pit bulls and other restrictions against dogs.
“Rocco trusted me and I failed him,” Santino wrote in a suicide note. “He didn’t deserve this.”
Santino was allowed to keep his dog under a grandfather clause, but according to friends, he was being harassed about his dog by the board and fellow residents.
In response to the incident, the Animal Farm Foundation, in conjunction with the National Canine Research Council, had scheduled a press conference on on the social, financial, and legal challenges and discrimination facing pet owners in New York City, but canceled it in the wake of a police officer’s death in the city.
Instead, it’s coordinating a vigil that starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, outside of One Lincoln Plaza, 20 West 64th St.
“The recent death of Nick Santino and his dog Rocco highlight the important role pets play in American lives, but it also illustrates the social, financial, and legal challenges facing pet owners, especially in urban areas like New York City,” the foundation said in a press release.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal farm foundation, animals, bans, breed, breed-specific, city, condo, discrimination, dogs, euthanized, manhattan, national canine research council, new york, nick santino, pets, pit bull, pitbull, restrictions, rocco, rules, suicide, vigil
All dogs whose owners apply for a city license in the next three months will be eligible.
In April, five newly-licensed dogs will be randomly chosen to compete for the title, which will go to the dog who captures the most online votes for best exemplifying “Chicago’s spirit.”
Finalists will get dog-friendly cruise tickets, a tea party in their honor at the Palmer House Hilton, and gift bags filled with dog treats and accessories.
The winner gets a custom-designed, ruby and topaz dog tag in the shape of the Chicago flag; a weekend stay at the Palmer House Hilton, a photo shoot at Urban Out Sitters and a story in Chicagoland Tails magazine.
The city’s thinking, as explained in the Sun-Times, is that dangling a carrot in front of the 470,000 Chicago owners of unlicensed dogs will both help educate those who aren’t aware of the long-ignored requirement and inspire more people to license their dogs.
Those who spurn the carrot will face the stick — namely, fines of up to $200 for failure to license your dog.
“I don’t think it’s fair to ticket people who are not even aware of the legal obligation,” City Clerk Susana Mendoza said. “First, we’ll educate, then follow up with a strong enforcement campaign.”
There are believed to be about 500,000 dogs in Chicago, but even after a surge in registrations sparked by talk of the impending crackdown, fewer than 30,000 are licensed, the Sun-Times reported.
Under the crackdown, the city won’t be setting up roadblocks, raiding dog parks or stopping dog owners at random, Mendoza said. But they will be acting on any complaints.
“We’re not gonna go out there in mass droves and try to stop people legally walking their pet, but there are plenty of other opportunties,” she said. “When you see dogs running on beaches, it’s fair to go up to those individuals and ask if their dogs are licensed.”
The license fee for spayed or neutered dogs is $5; it’s $50 for dogs who aren’t fixed. To purchase a dog license, owners must show proof that their dogs have been vaccinated for rabies. The dog license is a sticker affixed to the rabies tag.
Licenses can be purchased online at www.chicityclerk.com. Applications will also be mailed to dog owners who call (312) 744-DOGS (3647).
(Photo: from Golden Creek Kennels)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, carrot, chicago, citations, city, contest, crackdown, dog, dog licenses, dog of distinction, dogs, licenses, neuter, persuasion, pets, rabies, spay, stick, tickets, unlicensed, vaccination