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Tag: connecticut

On the way to Provincetown

With the sun in our faces, a coffee — both venti and bold — in my cupholder, and a gas tank half empty, we’re departing Connecticut for the 3-hour drive (we hope) to Provincetown, located at the wispy tip of Cape Cod.

We won’t be making it in time to see Provincetown get its official award as the dog-friendliest town in America, but we’ll be pulling in at some point.

Already we have veered off the course taken by John Steinbeck and Charley. His first stop after crossing the sound was to visit his son, at a school called Eaglebrook in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Our route is veering widely east, through Providence, along Cape Cod and up to the island’s northern tip.

The honor of being the dog-friendliest town is being bestowed on Provincetown today by Dog Fancy magazine, which put it at the top of its list of the of dog-friendliest cities in its 2010 DogTown USA contest.

The criteria used to select the winning city included dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, events celebrating dogs and their owners, ample veterinary care, abundant pet supply and other services, and municipal laws that support and protect all pets.

Provincetown’s Pilgrim Bark Park finished at No. 2 in the magazine’s national dog park ratings, and Dog Fancy editor Ernie Slone called Provincetown “an entire town where virtually every establishment opens its doors to dogs – even the bank.”

We’ll see about that – chances are, it being a ritzy sort of area, we’ll be needing to visit a bank.

The drive, I expect, will be an invigorating one. Already the trees are showing a tiny tinge of fall color, a hint of the breathtaking blast and crisper temperatures that lie ahead as the season progresses and we go further north.

Come to think of it, my gas tank isn’t half empty after all; it’s half full.

Dead pit bull found in bag hanging from tree

Animal control officers in Connecticut are asking for the public’s help in solving the mystery of a dead pit bull found in a trash bag hanging from a tree near a highway.

Authorities say bloody clothing, needles and syringes were also in the bag, found near a highway in the town of Orange on Saturday. It’s not clear how the dog, a 1- to 2-year-old female, died, according to the Register Citizen in Litchfield County.

The pit bull had puncture wounds on its shoulder and officials are looking into whether it was used in dogfighting rings. A necropsy is being conducted at the University of Connecticut.

The resident who found the bag called police about 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Officers took pictures of the bag in the tree and left it with the resident, who buried the dog with the bag and its other contents in his yard, Assistant Animal Control Officer Linda Schaff said.

After being called about the incident, Schaff went to pick up the dog Sunday, which is when the resident disinterred the animal and turned it over to her.

Anyone with information on the dog is asked to call the shelter at 203-389-5991.

Great moments in deer hunting history

Deer_on_golf_course

 
For some reason, even though I’m in Baltimore, I’m feeling a bit of unease about Ridgefield, Connecticut’s plan to allow deer hunting on the Ridgefield Golf Course.

True, nobody’s playing golf there in the winter — so, thankfully, we don’t have to worry about hunters getting hit with golf balls.

But given the course is a popular place for sledders, snow-shoers and cross-country skiers in the winter, the plan to allow bow-hunting seems a little ill-advised.

The managed deer hunt – designed to reduce the herd — extends only into the wooded areas, and it’s only on weekdays, and only for three weeks, and there will be signs posted at all the course’s entry points warning the public about the hunt, according to the News-Times in Danbury.

“The hunt will take place in the woods, in swampland,” said Tony Steger, the course’s superintendent. “The people who come to the course in winter are out in the middle of the fairways.”

Surely there will be no risk for those enjoying snow sports — given arrows, like golf balls, always go where they are intended.

And, if not, well … FORE!

Probation granted in bird fighting case

You don’t hear much about the scourge of finch fighting, or canary brawls.

But apparently, just like dogfighting, they exist.

A Connecticut judge has granted probation to 15 of 19 men arrested in connection with a bird-fighting operation in Shelton, Conn, the Associated Press reports.

Authorities arrested the Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey residents, all natives of Brazil, after a July 26 raid at a Shelton home that led to the seizure of 150 birds, mostly saffron finches and canaries.

Here’s a CNN story from back when they were arrested.

The judge agreed to drop charges of cruelty to animals and illegal gambling if the men stay out of trouble during a one-year probation period.

The homeowner, 42-year-old Jurames Goulart is due in court Thursday. Three other men’s cases are pending. The birds are now at animal sanctuaries.

Homeward rebound: The saga of Lady

After nearly seven months missing on the cold mean streets of Middletown, Connecticut, a wayward hound named Lady has been found — but the family that had adopted her before she ran off doesn’t want her anymore.

Not exactly the happy ending of a Disney movie, but it’s not quite as hard-boiled as it sounds. The adoptive family had only had Lady for a few hours when, while on a walk, she bolted.

That was back in November. Ever since then animal control officers have been trying to track her down as reports came in about her being spotted in different parts of town. At one point, she was seen negotiating the rugged terrain of Wesleyan University. Another time she was spotted in a family’s backyard dog house.

Each time, though, according to the Middletown Press, she would elude authorities.

“She obviously has very good survival instincts to last through the frigid winter,” Middletown Animal Control Officer Gail Petras said. “It’s rare we have a dog like this that’s out for so long.”

Petras said those who spotted Lady about town in the first two months — after she was adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society and then fled — reported she was dragging a long, bright pink leash behind her. Later sightings had her pulling a short pink leash. After that, reports had her pulling no leash at all.

In early March, the night before a bad snowstorm, Lady showed up in Ruth and Cliff Drechsler-Martells’ doghouse. They left food for her and, while she’d eat it, she wouldn’t let them near her. When they approached, she ran away.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Lady — a hound mix, about two years old, picked out another house, walked through the open door and curled up on the living room floor. The homeowners, holding a barbecue, assumed she’d been brought by a guest. After all their guests left, Lady was still there. The hound was still wearing her tags from the Humane Society, and her adopters were contacted.

Shocked to hear Lady was still alive, the owners told Petras they couldn’t take her back because they’d gotten another dog in the interim.

The Drechsler-Martells are considering adopting Lady, but aren’t sure she’d get along with their 9-year-old dog.

Petras said Lady loves other dogs; she is spayed and she has all of her shots, and she can be reached in care of Middletown Animal Control at 860-344-3298.

Mailman mauled, dogs executed, owner ???

A postal worker was hospitalized with 22 puncture wounds and broken bones after he was attacked by two pitbulls while on his route in Norwich, Connecticut.

The two pitbulls have been euthanized.

The owner meanwhile, if this video from News Channel 8 is any indication, seems to have taken it all in … belch …. stride.

David Holland, who owns the dogs, says they got loose through the back fence. He told the TV reporter that it was the neighbor’s fault for not reporting it.

“Why she didn’t report it to me or call the police, like they usually do.”

Holland, according to the reporter, was laughing and joking while looking at the yard smeared with blood. Police say they have been called to the house 28 times and the history extends to the dogs two parents, who were put down after a vicious attack on a Meals on Wheels driver.

“They was protecting this house,” Holland said in explaining the dogs’ attack on the mailman.

The mailman was rescued from the dogs by a carpenter who was working nearby, heard the screams and ran to his aid, using a hammer to drive the dogs off.

“Of course I feel bad, who wouldn’t feel bad? It’s a grown man, like, if you saw the way he was screaming you would feel bad,” the dog’s owner said. When the reporter pointed out that Holland was smiling, he said, “I’m smiling because you pissing me the f— off.”

Police say they have arrested Holland and charged him with the dog attack, but there could be more serious charges pending, including a possible felony because of his history.

Stubby’s tale: When pit bulls were heroes

Given the Pentagon’s decision to ban pit bulls and other “dangerous” dog breeds from Army housing, we thought it would be a good time to revisit Stubby, the stray pit bull who became the most decorated canine soldier of World War 1.

At war’s end, Stubby was treated like a hero. Doors were opened for him, as opposed to being slammed in his face. Today, in light of a recently approved Pentagon policy, soldiers returning home — if they have a pit bull, Rottweiler, chow or Doberman Pinscher in their family — won’t be allowed to keep them if they live on a military base. (Thanks for fighting for our “freedom,” though.)

It’s just the latest breed-specific slap in the face to pit bulls, a breed that once served not just in battle (Stubby saw action in 17), but as corporate mascots (Nipper for RCA Victor) and TV show characters (Petey on “Our Gang”).

Stubby, though he entered the armed forces surreptitiously, was the only dog to be promoted to “Sergeant” through combat.

Stubby was found on the Yale campus — parts of which were being used as a training encampment — in 1917. He was taken in by John Robert Conroy and other soldiers, marched alongside them through training and, when time came to ship out to France, was smuggled aboard the USS Minnesota in an overcoat.

Overseas, he served as a morale-booster, sentry and more.

In April 1918, Stubby, along with the 102nd Infantry, participated in the raid on the German held town of Schieprey. As the Germans withdrew they threw hand grenades at the pursing allies, one of which wounded Stubby in the foreleg.

In the Argonne, Stubby was credited with ferreting out a German spy and holding on to the seat of his pants until soldiers arrived to complete the capture.

Stubby eventually ended up in a hospital when his master, Corporal J. Robert Conroy, was wounded. After doing hospital duty, he and Conroy returned to their unit, and served for the remainder of the way.

At war’s end, he was smuggled back home.

Upon his return, he was made a lifetime member of the American legion. He marched in every legion parade and attended every legion convention from the end of the war until his death. He met three presidents — Wilson, Harding and Coolidge.

In 1921 General Pershing, commander of American Forces during the War, awarded Stubby a gold hero dog’s medal that was commissioned by the Humane Education Society.

One New York City hotel, the Grand Hotel Majestic, lifted its ban on dogs so that Stubby could stay there enroute to one of many visits to Washington.

When Conroy went to Georgetown to study law, Stubby went along and served as mascot for the football team. Some say his halftime antics — he would push a football around the field with his nose — was the origin of the halftime show.

Stubby died in 1926. His obituary in the New York Times ran three columns wide for half a page.

His remains were mounted by a taxidermist and presented for display at the Smithsonian. From 2000 to 2003, he was loaned to the Connecticut National Guard Armory, where he was exhibited for three years.

All that history seems to be lost on the Pentagon — as does that of Rottweilers and Dobermans who have served the country, and continue to.

If remembering Stubby’s life isn’t enough to persuade the Pentagon that their action was rash, ill-conceived and discriminatory, then they should borrow from another chapter of his legacy, that being the last one:

They should take their new policy and stuff it.

(Photos and source material: Connecticut Military Department)