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Tag: commission

Get off your butt, Butte


A proposal that would have allowed leashed dogs — leashed dogs! — at all public parks in Butte appears all but dead.

While Butte-Silver Bow County commissioners endorsed the idea of looking at a second dog park, they didn’t budge Wednesday night when it came to a proposal to alter the local law that bans dogs — even those on leashes — in all of the other parks in Butte.

Because, as one commissioner said, “dogs don’t belong in parks.”

Even in a town as stuck in the past as Butte — the “richest hill on earth,” the home of our good friend, the Auditor — that kind of thinking can only be described as medieval.

The council endorsed a measure 7-4 Wednesday night that would open the door for future designated dog park areas, like the one that exists at Skyline Park on Butte’s east side, but the local law that bans all dogs in all other parks appears likely to stay in place for now, the Montana Standard reported today.

Commissioners recently approved an “emergency ordinance” allowing leashed dogs in Skyline.

But it hasn’t acted on a broader proposal to allow leashed dogs in all parks, on public trails and in open spaces.

Commissioner John Sorich moved that the council reject that proposal but leave open the possibility of having other designated dog areas.

“I too love dogs,” Sorich said. “I have a 10-week-old puppy I’m trying to train, but I don’t believe they belong in parks. I don’t have a problem with walking trails.”

Other commissioners backing the ban say many dogs are mean, and leave messes behind them.

“We spent a long time getting dogs out of parks in Butte-Silver Bow County, and a large majority (of people) don’t want to go back,” Commissioner Jim Fisher said. “I’m a messenger for the people, and they are telling me no dogs in parks.”

Ordinances ban dogs from all parks in the county, but not from public trails.

Commissioner Bill Andersen said dogs are an important part of many people’s lives and should be allowed in more parks.

“I like my dog better than most people,” he said.

Kelley Christensen, the county’s special events coordinator, also spoke in favor of the proposal to open parks up to dogs, saying many people have dogs and they should be welcome in more parks.

“We feel this is giving our community a way to walk out in nature with their pets,” she said.

Opening parks in the county to leashed dogs was part of a proposal put forth by Parks Director E. Jay Ellington. He said the ban and large “no dogs allowed” posted at parks signs sent an unwelcome message about Butte.

Ellington recently announced he was leaving Butte to take a parks job in Texas.

(Photo: Walter Hinick / Montana Standard)

Dog-killing artist gets monster commission

Sometimes artists can sink as low as … well, NFL quarterbacks and the designers of cell phone applications.

Back in 1977,  when he was 25, artist Tom Otterness produced “Shot Dog Film,” in which he chained and killed a small dog he adopted from a shelter for that purpose. The dog’s slow death is shown  repeatedly in the movie.

Now the Brooklyn-based sculptor has been commissioned for $750,000 by a mysterious donor to sculpt whimsical bronze lions and cubs as a gift to be installed outside the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library.

Downtown’s Community Board 1, in a 23-7 vote last week, “wholeheartedly” gave the project its blessing, according to the New York Post, despite outrage from animal lovers.

Otterness is best known for his bulbous bronze people and creatures, which can be found at various locations around New York, such as at the 14th Street subway station in Manhattan.

In 2008, the sculptor apologized for killing a dog for his “avante garde” movie:

“Thirty years ago when I was 25 years old, I made a film in which I shot a dog. It was an indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for. Many of us have experienced profound emotional turmoil and despair. Few have made the mistake I made. I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

Not everyone has.

“Otterness’ new work won’t be one that PETA members will be rushing to see,” Colleen O’Brien, a PETA spokeswoman, told New York’s Metro. “Any man who would adopt a dog and then film himself shooting the animal needs a good psychiatrist — not another art show.”

Kayla can stay, landlord must pay

The landlords of a Boston apartment building have been ordered to pay $25,000 to a tenant with HIV/AIDS for trying to force the man to get rid of his dog.

The ruling,  issued by the  Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, pertained to a mutt named Kayla, who — though not a service dog or a certified therapy dog — provided emotional support to her owner.

The complaint was brought against the owners of the Brighton Gardens building by Richard M. Blake, who was diagnosed with HIV infection more than two decades ago, according to the Boston Globe.

After his diagnosis, Blake isolated himself and rarely left the house.

“He was depressed, basically lounging around the apartment all day long, and his weight rose and blood pressure got out of control,’’ said Denise McWilliams, general counsel for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.

Blake’s doctor recommended a dog to help lift Blake’s mood and improve his mental and physical health.

“She’s just given me sort of a routine in my life,’’ Blake said of the boxer mix he got in 2008. “She’s given me a lot of joy. Animals just seem to make it hard for you to be in a bad mood … Ever since I have had her, the walks and the tons of exercise I do with her have helped.’’

Blake said his landlord gave him permission to get the dog, but two months later tenants were notified that a no-pet policy in their leases would be enforced.

After unsuccessful attempts to get the landlords to make an exception, Blake filed a complaint with the state commission in December, 2008.

In its ruling, the commission said that evidence “supports a finding that requiring Complainant to give up his dog would seriously jeopardize his emotional and physical well-being.’’

Greyhound races bite dust in New Hampshire

greyhoundGreyhound racing appears headed for an end in New Hampshire.

The state’s two dog racing tracks won permission yesterday to drop all racing dates.

Paul Kelley, executive director of the state Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission said commissioners approved applications from both the Lodge at Belmont and Seabrook Greyhound Park to cease dog racing and operate solely as simulcast betting centers, and as host to charitable gambling events, the Union Leader reported.

The move comes as a new state budget bill  takes effect July 1, allowing tracks to drop their live racing and continue simulcast wagering. The decision could be the end of greyhound racing in the state. A third track, in Hinsdale, closed late last year.

Rick Newman, who represents the Belmont track said the decision was a financial one. “It costs a lot more money to run live racing than we get from it,” he said.

The Grey2K USA group, which fought to end greyhound racing, said the budget bill removed the last reason for tracks to continue dog racing.