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
When Denver Mayor Michael Hancock insisted that “Occupy Denver” choose a leader to deal with city and state officials, members of the movement picked a 3-year-old border collie.
“Shelby is closer to a person than any corporation: She can bleed, she can breed, and she can show emotion,” Occupy Denver quotes a Shelby supporter saying at the time of her election.
A press release from the group stated they reserved the right to elect a different leader in the future …
” … but for now, Shelby exhibits heart, warmth, and an appreciation for the group over personal ambition that Occupy Denver members feel are sorely lacking in the leaders some of them have voted for on national, state, and local levels.”
Shelby is expected to lead this Saturday’s Occupy Denver march, according to ABC 7. Occupy Denver said other “civic-minded dogs” (and their leash-holders) are invited to join the march.
The Occupy Denver group is occupying Civic Center Park, in front of the Capitol building on Broadway between Colfax and 14th avenues.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, border collie, corporations, denver, dog, dogs, elected, elects, leader, march, mayor, michael hancock, movement, occupy, occupy denver, pets, shelby, video, wealth
Last year, at an association meeting, a list of candidates and their qualificatons was announced.
Ms. Beatha Lee was described as being interested in neighborhood activities and the outdoors. She was a relatively new resident of the community who had experience overseeing an estate of 26 acres in Maine.
Apparently wanting to see a new face in the office, members unanimously elected Beatha Lee and the slate of candidates with whom she was running, reported the Washington Post.
A few weeks later, when the association’s newsletter came out, residents learned that Beatha Lee is a Wheaten terrier.
About 90 dogs live in the community (though they don’t have the right to vote), as well as about 250 human residents — some of whom found the news funny, some of whom didn’t.
“It was a first and last name, so everyone thought she was human. I’m not thrilled, I’m embarrassed,” said one.” Others saw it as a nice break in the monotony.
Dave Frederickson, who read the dog’s name and qualifications to the crowd at the annual meeting, said, “Many people, like myself, were amused. But some were extremely upset. I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone explaining things.”
Beatha belongs to the former assocation president, Mark Crawford, who inherited her in 2008 from his mother and stepfather in Maine.
Crawford had served three consecutive terms as president — the limit — and after his requests to run a fourth time were denied, he decided sign his dog up as a candidate, with himself as vice-president.
“We wanted to send a message to the neighborhood that they needed to get involved and get engaged. That they can’t count on the same people to do this year in and year out,” he said.
Crawford said nothing in the association bylaws states that the president has to be human.
Asked how Beatha was faring in the post, Crawford said, “Well, she delegates a lot … That’s what executives are supposed to do – delegate.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, annandale, beatha, beatha lee, civic association, dog, dog elected president, dogs, elected, election, hillbrook, neighborhood associatioin, pets, president, tall oaks, virginia, wheaten terrier
A three-legged dog beat out a three-legged cat in the race for mayor of a town in which I once toiled — Divide, Colorado.
Twenty-five dogs and cats entered the race, with each vote they received bringing in a one dollar donation to the local animal shelter, KKTV in southern Colorado reports.
In the end, elections officials report, it came down to a race between Spright, a small female mixed breed, and Walter the cat.
Spright received 4,755 votes; Walter racked up 4,213. Combined with other votes cast, the election raised $14,084 for the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter.
Divide is an unincorporated town on the north slope of Pikes Peak. (I worked there for a few summers during high school at a property development.)
Spright’s two-year term will begin with an official inauguration ceremony at noon Sunday at the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter at 308 Weaverville Road in Divide. There will be a BBQ cookout for all candidates and the public.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, cat, colorado, divide, dog, elected, election, elects, fundraising, mayor, mixed breed, news, ohmidog!, pets, shelter, spright, teller county regional animal shelter, three-legged, town, unincorporated, votes, voting, walter