Elephant Butte is going to let Blue continue to roam, at least within the one-acre confines of a wireless electric fence.
Officials in the New Mexico town voted Wednesday to make some amendments in their leash law.
As a result, Blue — an Australian heeler who was abandoned in town more than 10 years ago and has since become a mostly respected resident — can continue to hang out at the Butte General Store and watch the world go by.
Caretakers of the store, who feed Blue, initially sought an exemption from town leash laws for the dog, citing his friendly demeanor and long-time presence in the community.
After the town declined, a compromise was reached, and approved in a council vote, according to the Associated Press.
Invisible Fence of New Mexico donated a fence that gives Blue about an acre of territory to roam around the store. The system delivers an electric jolt when Blue crosses the perimeter, as he’s done once so far.
“They did a lot of training with him, but it’s going to take a while,” said Janice Conner, who owns the general store with husband Bob Owen.
Blue, who has repeatedly run away from homes that have tried to adopt him, has spent most of his time around the store since the death about two years ago of the owner of Casa Taco, Blue’s previous hangout.
Community members have built him an air-conditioned and heated dog house and store visitors regularly donate for his care.
The debate over what to do about Blue led to some positive changes in the town’s dog law. Under the new ordinance, pet owners must be given warnings before a dog can be picked up by animal control, and any complaints about a dog must be verified before pet owners are cited.
On top of that, Conner said, the controversy led to Blue making 3,700 Facebook friends.
“In his name, people have donated money to people with other dogs in need,” she said in a telephone interview. “Dogs have been adopted through his Facebook page. All around, it has been a real positive thing.”
While Blue has rarely exhibited aggressive behavior, some residents began complaining about Blue after a fatal pit bull attack in neighboring Truth or Consequences. Based on a complaint from a resident who said Blue was following her, Elephant Butte issued a citation for a leash law violation to Owen, even though he wasn’t the dog’s official owner.
Albuquerque attorney Hilary Noskin took up Blue’s cause and, in addition to representing Owen, negotiated with the city to grant Blue a leash law exemption.
(Photo: From Blue’s Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, australian cattle dog, blue, bob owen, butte general store, city council, community, compromise, dog, electic, elephant butte, exemption, fence, heeler, invisible, janice conner, leash laws, new miexico, pets, wireless
Blue’s not totally destitute. He has an air conditioned dog house, $1,800 in savings, a Facebook page and a lawyer, who’s now working to get him an exemption from local leash laws so he can continue his free and rambling lifestyle.
Abandoned as a puppy 10 years ago, Blue, also known as Bluedog, was left at Casa Taco and cared for by the owner, who died two years ago, according to the Associated Press.
Janice Conner, co-owner of Butte General Store and Marina, took over feeding Blue after that. But when a citizen complained about Blue following her and her dog on walks, someone in the city decided that Blue should receive a citation for being off leash, and issued it to Conner’s husband, Bob Owen.
Albuquerque attorney Hilary Noskin offered her legal services, and is trying to get Owen, who doesn’t officially own the dog, off the hook — and win an exemption that would allow Blue to live out the rest of his years, preferably untethered, in front of the store he now calls home.
“He’s one of my favorite clients,” says Noskin. “He is a sweet, sweet dog. He doesn’t meet any vicious dog standards. Somebody said he snarls … but I am not sure I believe that.”
City Manager Alan Briley says the city has received complaints about Blue snapping and growling and almost being hit by cars crossing the street.
Blue has resisted efforts to adopt him, always making his way back to the store. Local residents have donated more than $1,800 his care, Conner said, and they’ve also built him a dog house with heating pads for the winter and air conditioning for the summer.
“Everybody just loves this dog. People who can’t afford a dog bring their kids here to play with Blue. … He is the only dog I know who got four plates of Thanksgiving dinner at his dog house,” she said.
Conner says she has collected more than 1,100 signatures in support of Blue, who is on Facebook as Bluedog EB-Mascot.
“He was here before we became a city” she said, “so all we are asking for is for the city to grandfather him in as a representative of the community.”
(Photo: From Blue’s Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air conditioned, australian cattle dog, blue, blue dog, bluedog, butte general store, casa taco, citation, citizens, city council, communal dog, dog house, donations, elephant butte, everybodys dog, exemption, facebook, heated, hilary noskin, homeless, janice conner, lawyer, leash laws, new mexico, off-leash, residents, savings account, stray, wanderer
The Marlins have welcomed Mark Buehrle to Miami, but his dogs are another matter.
One of the former White Sox pitcher’s four dogs is a pit bull, and “pit bull types” are banned in Miami-Dade.
So Buehrle, his wife Jamie, their two young children and four dogs are residing in nearby Broward County — but making their opinions about the discriminatory law known.
As animal lovers and spokespeople for Best Friends Animal Society, the Buehrles are featured in a new public service announcement in support of legislation (HB 997 /SB 1322) that would overturn the breed-specific law, passed in 1989.
Miami-Dade is the only county in Florida with such a ban, due to an exemption in state law, Best Friends says.
Florida State Representative Carlos Trujillo and Senator Jim Norman are leading the legislative effort, along with the help of Best Friends Animal Society. The bill has yet to be placed on the committee agenda in the Senate.
Jamie Buehrle also has started a Change.org petition urging support of the legislation.
In her blog, she said Slater, their adopted 18-month-old American Staffordshire terrier, is a member of the family:
“We had always agreed to make sure that wherever Mark ended up playing, Slater would be welcome. So, when Mark had the opportunity to sign with the Miami Marlins we were harshly confronted with Miami-Dade County’s 20-year-old pit bull terrier ban and immediately knew we would have to live a county over in Broward.
“Mark and I are fortunate to have the resources to accommodate Slater,” she wrote. “But it breaks our hearts that so many families are faced with losing their family pet simply because a local government has deemed their dog ‘dangerous’ based on nothing more than appearance. We can’t imagine ever having to give Slater up simply because a city says we can’t have him. Not only would we be distraught at that prospect, but our kids would be devastated.”
A spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society says the ban — it applies to any dog resembling a pit bull, without any consideration of a dog’s behavior — causes severe hardship to hundreds of responsible owners of friendly, properly supervised, well-socialized pets.
Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends, says breed-discriminatory laws are expensive and ineffective, citing a study by the economic research firm John Dunham and Associates that estimates Miami-Dade County spends more than $3 million a year to enforce the current law.
“In these tough economic times, laws that waste precious taxpayer dollars while failing to accomplish what they set out to do should be repealed,” said VanKavage. “The simple truth is breed is not a factor in bites. Many studies, along with the experience of Best Friends Animal Society, show that breed discriminatory laws are ineffective and result in the deaths of hundreds of pets in Miami-Dade each year.”
Twelve states, including Florida, prohibit canine profiling, but Florida’s law grandfathered Miami-Dade’s provision. HB 997/SB 1322 would give pet owners in Miami-Dade the same right as pet owners throughout the state.
Ohio, the only state that designates a breed of dog as vicious, is in the process of repealing its breed discriminatory law, with a Senate vote on HB 14 expected next week.
“This is America,” VanKavage said. “Responsible dog owners should be allowed to own whatever type of dog they choose, regardless of appearance. Reckless owners should be prevented from owning any dog.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american staffordshire terrier, animals, ban, best friends, best friends animal society, bites, breed bans, breed-specific, county, discrimination, discriminatory, dogs, exemption, expensive, family, florida, hb 997, ineffective, jamie buehrle, law, ledy vankavage, legislation, mark buehrle, marlins, miami, miami-dade, ohio, overturn, petition, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, pitcher, public service announcement, sb 1322, slater, states, study
Three-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey may have to mush without marijuana in next year’s race.
Iditarod Trail Committee officials have announced plans to test mushers for drugs and alcohol in March. Officials haven’t decided who will get tested, or when, where and how it will be done. “It might be random. It might be a group of mushers at a specific checkpoint,” said Stan Hooley, executive director of the committee.
Alaska law allows for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, provided the use occurs at home. In addition, Mackey, as a throat cancer survivor, has a medical marijuana card that entitles him to use the drug legally for medical purposes.
Mackey admits marijuana has helped him stay awake and focused through the 1,100-mile race, but he insists it doesn’t give him an edge.
“It isn’t the reason I’ve won three years in a row,” Mackey told the Anchorage Daily News. ”I think it’s a little bit ridiculous,” he said of the new policy. ”It is a dog race, not a human race. It doesn’t affect the outcome of the race.”
While Iditarod dogs have long been tested for a lengthy list of prohibited substances, the humans they are pulling — despite the Iditarod having had an informal drug and alcohol policy since 1984 — never have.
Mackey doesn’t blame the Iditarod board for creating the new policy, but he contends he is being targeted by other mushers jealous of his three straight Iditarod titles.
Despite his medical marijuana clearance, Mackey said he will not pursue a therapeutic use exemption; instead, he’ll just abstain for a while.
“I’m going to pee in their little cup,” he said. “And laugh in their face.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, alcohol, champion, dogs, drug, drugs, edge, exemption, iditarod, lance mackey, law, mackey, marijuana, medical, mush, mushing, policy, prohibited, race, sled dogs, sports, substances, test, tested, testing, tests, therapeutic, throat cancer, trail committee