We’re not sure we totally buy his argument — we even think it smells a little like one of those Texas tall tales – but we’re 100 percent behind John Mark Cobern’s fight to bring his dog to work in the Titus County Courthouse.
After being notified by the county commissioners that he can no longer keep Belle in his office during the workday, Cobern, the Titus County Attorney, is asking for a ruling from the state attorney general.
Cobern maintains that he keeps Belle with him for protection, and that Belle makes the courthouse a safer place, according to the Austin American-Statesman
“The primary reason for bringing my dog to the county office was to make my office a safer work environment,” he told the attorney general, noting his job puts him in contact with “the mentally ill and potentially unstable individuals.”
As you already know — because you’ve seen the picture — Belle is not a German shepherd, Belgian malinois or Rottweiler.
She’s a dachshund. And she’s 16. And she suffers from a glandular ailment.
Even though it’s a little difficult picturing Belle accosting deranged gunmen, subduing prison escapees or breaking up fights, we don’t totally rule out there could be an action hero beneath her greying fur.
We don’t think Cobern should have to lay legal groundwork to be able to bring his dog to work, but if that’s the route he has chosen he should probably emphasize the calming effect Belle can have, and the ways she can assist him in doing his duty that don’t involve detecting bombs or striking fear into the hearts of thugs.
For Belle is clearly no Texas-sized attack dog.
The commissioners say they decided to ban Belle, and all non-service animals, from the courthouse in Mount Pleasant after a complaint was received about her — but who the complaint came from, and what exactly it was, have not been reported.
Titus County Commissioner Thomas Hockaday took the matter to his colleagues and it was approved, despite opposition from Titus County Judge Brian Lee, who questioned commissioners’ authority to regulate what goes on in the offices of elected officials, such as the county attorney.
Cobern has had Belle since he started law school in Houston. “She laid in my lap for hours at a time while I studied,” he said. “She was always with me, and she is always with me now. I can’t go to the bathroom by myself.”
At the courthouse, Belle spends her time in Cobern’s private office, separate from where his staff is and where the public enters. The glandular ailment Belle suffers from killed an earlier dog of Cobern’s.
Cobern has asked Attorney General Greg Abbott for an official opinion on whether the county commissioners have the authority to regulate whether he — also an elected official — can bring his dog to work.
Abbott is reportedly a dog lover himself, and considers his dog, Oreo, part of his family.
Assuming Belle has not caused severe carnage at the Titus County Courthouse, we hope the attorney general bases his ruling not on dusty law books, but on the heart.
(Photo: Cobern and Belle, courtesy of Cobern)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attorney general, ban, belle, commissioners, county attorney, courthouse, courthouse dogs, dachshund, dog, dogs at work, elected, greg abbott, john mark cobern, office, officials, opinion, pets, protection, ruling, security, texas, titus county, work
Commissioners in Fairfield County Ohio voted unanimously to stop gassing dogs to death at the county shelter in Lancaster — but not until after allegations surfaced that some dogs who survived the gas chamber were being incinerated while still alive.
In a 3-0 vote, the county commissioners yesterday approved immediately switching the euthanasia procedure at the dog shelter to lethal injection, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
The campaign to euthanize by injection in Fairfield County had gone on for more than 10 years. Fairfield County was among about 10 of the state’s 88 counties that still use gas to euthanize dogs. It’s also where, witnesses say, there have been instances where dogs who survived the procedure were cremated while still clinging to life.
Fairfield County Dog Warden Mike Miller has said he euthanizes four to six individually caged dogs at a time with carbon monoxide because it is cheaper than injection and avoids the liability of someone getting hurt. The dog carcasses are then burned in the crematory located next to the gas chamber, the Dispatch reported.
The Dispatch story makes no mention of the alleged burning of live animals, but in a piece on Examiner.com, written by Ariel Wulff, a correspondent we know and trust, says citizens at the commissioner’s meeting spoke of some cases where dogs came out of the shelter alive, only to be thrown into the incinerator with the dead:
“… Eyewitnesses and former workers at the shelter have said that the gassing is fraught with problems; from overfilling the gassing cage with as many as twice the allotted animals, to untrained workers being forced to euthanize, and animals being burned alive.”
The shelter has destroyed more than 180 dogs this year.
Wulff also authored a post at PetPardons.com, which has additional disturbing details, and recounts the shelters other problems over the years.
Other reports say as many as 16 animals have been gassed at once, and that exceeding the limit of six animals at a time is probably the reason some dogs survived the procedure.
(Photo courtesy of PETA)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alive, allegations, animals, burned, claims, commissioners, dog, dogs, ended, euthanasia, fairfield county, gas, gas chambers, gassing, halted, incinerated, ohio, pets, shelter, stopped, survivors
It’s not the outright ban some were hoping for, but the Forsyth County Commissioners last night approved limiting the practice of chaining or tethering dogs.
The board, by a 4-3 vote, approved an amendment to the North Carolina county’s animal-control ordinance that will make it illegal to tether a dog in such a way as to harm the animal.
The limits won’t go into effect for two years, to allow for a period of public education, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
The county’s animal-control advisory board had recommended a total ban on tethering.
Once the two-year grace period is over, it will be illegal to tether dogs in such a way that puts them at risk of choking or other injury, or if it causes the dog to behave neurotically or aggressively.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amendment, animal control, animals, anti-tethering, ban, behavior, chaining, choking, commissioners, dogs, forsyth county, harmful, injury, limits, north carolina, ordinance, pets, risk, tethering, tying, winston-salem
Worcester County Commissioners voted down a bill that would have established fines for owners of barking dogs, leading at least one citizen who supported the measure to howl.
Jack Davis, a Bishopville resident, made barking noises as he left the commissioners Tuesday night meeting in Snow Hill — in an attempt to show just how annoying the sound can be, according to DelmarvaNow.com.
“It’s really rough when you retire and you want to sit on your porch and in your yard, and hear dogs barking all day long,” Davis said.
In a 4-3 vote, the commissioners nixed legislation that would have levied fines on dog owners for uncontrolled barking and howling in the Maryland county.
“At what point do you start legislating cats and frogs and everything else?” said Commissioner Virgil Shockley.
Worcester County Animal Control would have been responsible for enforcement of the law, charging owners with a civil infraction, and up to a $500 fine, if their dogs barked for more than an hour.
Of the half-dozen residents who spoke at a public hearing on the issue, all were in favor of the law.
Animal Control Officer Susan Rantz said the county commissioners would be better off looking at the county’s chained dog law. ”I don’t understand how a fine is going to stop the dogs from barking,” Rantz said. ”There are reasons the dogs bark, and I think it’s because they are on
Posted by jwoestendiek May 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, barking, commissioners, dog, dogs, fine, fines, hearing, jack davis, law, legislation, maryland, news, nixed, nuisance, ohmidog!, pets, proposed, snow hill, susan rantz, virgil shockley, vote, voted down, worcester county
City officials in Hollywood (the one in Florida) are considering overturning a ban on dogs along the city’s oceanside Broadwalk (that’s not a typo, that’s what they call it).
Under a proposal from Commissioner Patty Asseff, dogs could be allowed to walk on the two-mile-long promenade — and even eat in beachside cafes.
What’s behind the possible change in policy? Clue: It starts with M and ends with Y. Some city officials see it as a way to bring more business to the shops and restaurants by the sea, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Three years ago, the city experimented with allowing dogs on the beach between Pershing and Custer streets during certain hours for a few hours a day. The experiment was such a success that it became permanent. As for the Broadwalk, though, dogs — unlike bicycles, roller skaters and rollerbladers — are banned.
Asseff announced her Broadwalk proposal at a town hall meeting last month as a way to compete with other cities that already allow dogs on the beach and to dine at beachside restaurants. The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at the April 21st city commission meeting.
Don’t hit the Broadwalk just yet, though. A $50 fine for strolling down the promenade with your dog is still in effect.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: allowing, animals, ban, beach, beachside, boardwalk, broadwalk, city, commissioners, dining, dining with dog, doggie dining, dogs, florida, hollywood, news, oceanside, ohmidog!, overturn, permission, pets, policy, promenade, proposal, restaurants, walk
County commissioners in Bucks County, Pa., are unanimously in favor of establishing a dog park at Core Creek Park in Middletown — but not in agreement over how much it should cost.
While all county commissioners support the concept, one is concerned by the estimated cost, set at $350,000 by county Parks and Recreation director Bill Mitchell.
“That’s way too much money,” said Commissioner Diane Marseglia. “I hope in the future we can have talks about scaling it back. I am completely confused about that cost estimate because the last price I thought I heard was about $100,000 and I thought that was too much.”
The 2.6-acre dog park is planned for near the Tollgate Road entrance of Core Creek Park, next to the 24-hour fishing spot on Lake Luxembourg, according to Phillyburbs.com.
Mitchell said the commissioners could vote to send the project out for bids by mid-September and that it could be finished by the end of the year.
Mitchell said dog park users will have to register and pay a yearly membership fee. The park will include a 2-acre fenced-in area for larger dogs (more than 25 pounds) and a 0.6-acre area for smaller dogs (25 pounds or less).
“When I was young, you could take a dog to an open field and let it run, but with all the development, those open fields are less and less,” said Newtown Township resident Patrick Flanigan, who has helped collect about 1,000 signatures on petitions in support of the dog park.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bucks county, commissioners, core creek, costs, county, dog park, dogs, lake luxembourg, langhorne, middletown, off-leash, parks, pennsylvania, pets, unleashed
Dogs that attack or threaten people or other pets in Washington County, Maryland, would get 18 months to improve their behavior before being labeled “vicious and dangerous” under changes to the animal control ordinance proposed Tuesday.
Currently, animals can be labeled “vicious and dangerous” after only one attack, which has led to protests from owners who say their pets were otherwise well-behaved, said Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, which enforces the ordinance.
The Washington County Commissioners discussed the proposal at their meeting Tuesday, according to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
The proposed change creates a separate designation for “potentially vicious and dangerous animal,” under which first-time offenders could take steps to get the label lifted.
Once designated “potentially vicious and dangerous,” an animal would have to be kept confined and would have to complete an approved training course, if ordered. The owner could also be ordered to take a “good citizenship” course. If there were no additional attacks within 18 months, the label would be lifted.
“Vicious and dangerous” animals must be kept confined and muzzled, and animal control officers may impound them if they are in violation. If the owner does not appeal within a specified time period, the impounded animal may be disposed of, the ordinance says.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attacks, behavior, bites, commissioners, confined, dangerous, dog, dogs, humane society, impound, maryland, muzzled, muzzles, pets, proposal, vicious, washington county
The president of the SPCA in Cecil County says she has called for an investigation into the treatment of animals at the facility near Chesapeake City in light of allegations raised by the public, former volunteers and state Delegate Michael Smigiel.
Nancy Schwerzler, president of the SPCA board, called Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler’s office requesting a formal investigation of the abuse claims, according to the Cecil Whig.
“We are requesting an outside, impartial investigation to get to the bottom of this,” Schwerzler said.
Delegate Smigiel posted the allegations on his blog, including the claims of two former employees who described in affidavits abuse of dogs and cats that included shooting them with a .22 caliber rifle.
A large crowd was expected at the county commissioners meeting last night, including some of those citizens who have been picketing the facility.
Smigiel says he has received one or two complaints a week about the facility in the six years he has served as delegate.
They include animals dying during spay/neuter surgery, a high rate of euthanasia, little or no screening of adopters, unclean conditions, inadequate medical care, and the shelter’s director using the facility to provide grooming, boarding and treatment of her own dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, attorney general, cats, cecil county spca, commissioners, conditions, delegate, dogs, euthanasia, investigation, maryland, michael smigiel, nancy schwerzler, news, ohmidog!, shelter, shooting, shot