Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach, while serving in Afghanistan, made a promise to Casey, the explosive-detecting yellow Lab who worked alongside him.
“I promised her if we made it out of alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Gundlach said.
Gundlach, after completing his military service and enrolling at the University of Wisconsin, managed to find out that Casey had finished her military service and been sent to work for the state of the Iowa, detecting explosives.
Knowing it was probably just the first round of a long bureaucratic battle, Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds, explaining the connection he felt with the four-year-old dog who’d been both lifesaver and companion. Gundlach wears a tattoo on his right forearm depicting Casey with angel wings and a halo.
But, as reported by the Associated Press, things happened quickly.
“He’s been putting a case together for the last two months, sending me pictures,” Reynolds said. “ … It just tugged on your heart.”
Reynolds got in touch with the Iowa Elk’s Association, and it agreed to donate $8,500 to buy another dog for the fire marshal’s office.
Then, he got in touch with Gundlach, telling him that he needed to come to the state Capitol in Des Moines on Friday to plead his case before a “bureaucratic oversight committee.”
Gundlach, 25, showed up with his parents.
Reynolds told Gundlach the meeting had been delayed, but invited he and his parents to attend an Armed Services Day celebration in the rotunda.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians were already there, and knew — unlike Gundlach — what was about to happen.
That’s when Casey appeared.
A ceremony was held in which Gov. Terry Branstad officially retired Casey from active duty, thanking her for “a job well done.”
Casey was given to Gundlach, who put his head in his hands and cried.
“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I owe her. I’ll just try to give her the best life I can.” During the 150 missions they performed together, Gundlach said Casey never missed an explosive. He credits her for making it back home safely. “I wouldn’t be here … any kids I ever had wouldn’t exist if Casey hadn’t been here,” he said.
His father, Glen Gundlach, seemed just as surprised.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “The state of Iowa, I love ‘em.”
(Photos: Charlie Neibergall / AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, armed services day, bureaucracy, capitol, casey, des moines, detecting, dog, dogs, explosives, fire, government, iowa, marine, marshal, military, pets, ray reynolds, reunion, reunited, ross gundlach, state
“It’s ludicrous that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down,” Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said.
Owners who fail to follow the edict will be subject to fines of £500, or about $785.
Paterson said the move will allow all lost, stray or abandoned dogs to be traced back to their owners, ensuring people are held accountable for their animals.
The creation of a database of all dog owners in England will allow also law enforcement officials to track down the owners of dogs seized for aggressive or other bad behavior, The Telegraph reported. But government officials insist the move is aimed primarily at saving dogs.
Paterson said that 110,000 dogs were lost a year and microchipping will speed up the tracing of their owners. Around 6,000 dogs are put down each year, while strays cost the taxpayer and welfare charities £57 million a year.
“I am determined to put an end to this and ease the pressure on charities and councils to find new homes for these dogs,” he said. “Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners. It makes it easier to get their pet back if it strays and easier to trace if it’s stolen.”
As of 2016 police officers and local authorities will have the power to check to see if dogs have been fitted with microchips. Owners who have not complied will be given one last chance to do so before fines are issued.
Government officials said dogs won’t be swept up randomly or without cause: “Clearly the police and local authorities will not be seeking out law-abiding responsible owners to check …” a spokesman said.
Paterson said that the microchipping will be free for all dog owners because it is being subsidized by the Dogs Trust charity.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, accountability, animals, british, dogs, england, environment, fines, government, lost, mandate, mandatory, microchip, microchipping, microchips, owen paterson, owners, pets, strays, uk
Here’s an in-depth report out of Canada on the rising concerns about chicken jerky treats from China.
CBC television’s Tom Harrington looks at the lack of pet food regulations in this Marketplace segment, called “Fighting For Fido.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: america, animals, canada, cbc, chicken, china, chinese, dead, dogs, dying, fda, government, health, jerky, marketplace, news, pet food, pets, regulations, regulatory, report, safety, sick, tom harrington, treats
It has been about three months since we last checked in on Wausau, Wisconsin, and that ridiculous two-dog limit it imposes on its residents.
At the time, Melissa Lecker and her husband James were being told by the city they must part with two of their four dogs.
James and Melissa had moved there three months earlier, for jobs, and bought a house — unaware of the city’s two-dog rule.
When they were notified they were in violation of it, they requested an exemption, pointing out that their two golden retrievers were 13 years old, and probably wouldn’t be around much longer anyway.
Most of the bureaucrats they appealed to acted like, well, bureaucrats. They declined to discuss an exception, and the Leckers decided that, rather than part with a family member, the only thing they could do was move.
After some media coverage about their situation, and the city’s two-dog limit, the city council began reviewing the law, and the mayor notified the Leckers that, until the council decided whether to change ordinance, they wouldn’t be fined.
As Melissa Lecker wrote in a recent opinion piece in the Wausau Daily Herald:
In March, Mayor Jim Tipple told us we would not be fined and would not have to give up the dogs. We took our home off the market and began to settle in to our new home and new city, hoping to put the past behind us as the city drafted a new ordinance …
The city began considering a revised and slightly more liberal ordinance that would limit households to five pets — any combination of dogs and cats, as long as the total didn’t rise above five.
Given the Leckers have three cats, in addition to their four dogs, they’d still be over the limit, and, according to Melissa, the mayor told them that once a new law was in place they could be fined.
“I am glad change is coming. But it doesn’t help us,” Melissa wrote.
“We have decided as a family it is best for us to leave Wausau. We’ve signed a contract with a Realtor and have begun preparing our house for sale. We’ve also found a home in Stevens Point we are interested in buying. Regardless of what Wausau does at its June City Council meeting, we feel this is no longer where we belong.”
City officials say the ordinance was passed in 1989 to curb animal nuisance complaints, but as Keene Winters, a member of the city council, noted in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Herald, it has now become a divisive issue.
“Soon, we could have pet owners and non-pet owners locked in a cage match for municipal supremacy,” he wrote.
“There does not seem to be any evidence that the three-dog households already among us create any unusual nuisance,” Winters wrote. “So sending out our police to compel 125 of our neighbors to make a “Sophie’s choice” and eliminate a member of their family is likely to be greeted as unfairly punitive.
“I can see no compelling public interest in the two-dog limit that would warrant imposing such a heartwrenching penalty on so many of our neighbors.”
Winters said he favors allowing people to have up to five well-behaved dogs, assuming they license them. (Only about 30 percent of Wausau’s dogs are registered, he says.)
The city council is meeting tonight on the issue, and it appears divided on whether the ordinance should be altered or kept intact.
The Daily Herald, in an editorial yesterday, came out against the limit — which now restricts a family to two dogs and three cats – saying other existing laws are sufficient for addressing pet-related problems:
“The City Council should do away with the limit on pets, and it should make sure local law enforcement has what it needs to enforce the rules that do make a difference in residents’ lives.”
Under one proposal, residents could get a special “pet fancier’s” permit, allowing them to own up to five animals. In other words, the only change would be moving from a limit of two dogs and three cats to a limit of five pets total, in any combination.
How positively liberating.
Meanwhile, between the confusion, the city’s intrusive rules, and what Lecker describes as the heavy-handed enforcement of them, it has been enough to lead at least one family to wave goodbye to Wausau.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bureaucracy, city, city council, dog, dogs, government, james lecker, jim tipple, laws, leaving, limit, maximum, mayor, melissa lecker, moving, municipalities, number, owners, ownership, pet, pets, rules, town, two dog limit, wausua, wisconsin
In Wausau, that’s two dogs too many.
While the town is letting them keep the children (it hasn’t sought to limit those), it’s insisting the Leckers get rid of two of their dogs, or get out of town.
James, 29, a website developer for Midwest Communications, and Melissa, 32, who works in social services, moved to Wausau from Stevens Point for job reasons in January, and bought a house.
They were unaware that local law prohibits residents from having more than two dogs — and they didn’t learn that was the case until a police officer mistakenly stopped at their house while investigating another matter.
They’ve requested an exception from the city and been told there’s no chance of that.
So now they’ll be leaving, even though they expect to lose $15,000 on their home.
“I couldn’t sleep for a week. I’m not eating; there’s just so much stress,” Melissa Lecker told the Green Bay Press Gazette. “I know that sounds kind of crazy, but I either have to get rid of two family members or lose $15,000, and either way it’s stressful.”
City officials say the ordinance was passed in 1989 to curb animal nuisance complaints, and there seems little interest on their part in either changing the law, or granting exceptions. The law also limits pet owners to three three cats, three rabbits or three gerbils.
(We can only guess that’s to cut down on nuisance gerbil complaints.)
Jim Brezinski, the city council member whose district includes the Leckers’ home, said he doesn’t plan to intervene and that the issue should “go through the appropriate channels.”
But there aren’t really any channels to go through.
“Our current ordinance doesn’t allow for a variance,” Wausau city attorney Anne Jacobson told WAOW.com.
Lisa Rasmussen, chairwoman of Public Health and Safety, said she opposes increasing the number of allowable dogs, Fox News reported.
“I hope we can work something out,” Melissa Lecker said. “But they are just being so mean. My dogs didn’t bother anyone.”
A petition on Change.org, supporting an exception for the Leckers, says the family went before Wausau’s Public Health and Safety Committee to request a one-time variance that would allow them to keep all four of their dogs long enough for the two eldest ones to die, but that the committee denied the Lecker’s request.
“Now, because the Leckers innocently opened their door to accommodate a police officer who stopped by the family’s property accidentally, they are in danger of having to pay a $300 fine for each day that all of their dogs, their family members, remain in their home … a daily fine that could add up to more than $9,000 in a given month … fines they will face simply because they love their pets, or, as Wausau sees it, too many of their pets,” the petition says.
(Photo: Green Bay Press Gazette)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, city, council, dog, dogs, fines, four dogs, government, james lecker, law, liberty, limits, melissa lecker, move, moved, officials, ownership, pet, pets, restrictions, two dog limit, two dogs, wausau, wisconsin
The five-year-old shepherd — retired from duty early after killing a cat — slipped out of his collar and ran off from Detroit’s Metro Airport while his new owner, a Toledo woman, was taking him for a bathroom break.
It took animal control officers and police — two of whom were bitten in the process — about two hours to capture the dog, named Arco, after he was spotted running near train tracks in Romulus yesterday afternoon, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Arco is now at the Romulus Animal Shelter and will be quarantined for 10 days before being released back to his new owner.
The dog had arrived on a flight from Arizona, where he’d been under the care of Rescued Helpers, Inc., in Tucson for the past seven months.
According to WXYZ, the rescue organization stepped in when they heard Arco, after his government service was over, was to be euthanized.
Rescued Helpers vice president and founder Nadine Karsevar said Arco wasn’t aggressive and that, while under the organization’s care, had taken part in parades and other events.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, airport, animals, arco, bomb-sniffing, capitol, detroit, dogs, escape, euthanasia, euthanized, government, pets, police, rescue, rescued helpers, romulus, shepherd, white house
There will always be a sourpuss or two who points out “it’s only a dog” and complains it’s a waste of taxpayer money, but I like this trend of rescue workers saving dogs — and capturing their own heroics on video.
It’s happened at least twice on Wednesday, so I can officially call it a trend.
In Fargo, North Dakota, a dog named Jake, clinging for dear life to a chunk of ice, was pulled from the partially frozen Red River by a fire department rescuer wearing a cam.
And in Lincoln County, N.C., the unidentified dog above was carried to safety after being stuck on a dam in the fast-moving South Fork River — all captured by a fire department member filming from the riverbank.
“This is B-Roll video that was shot at the scene of a rescue of a dog off of a low head dam in Lincoln County,” reads the description of the rescue. ”Rescue crews successfully rescued this dog off of the dam and he was taken to a local vet for evaluation and treatment of a head injury and possible hypothermia.”
The video, like the one in Fargo, was posted on YouTube, for the public to see and the media to grab.
What with cutbacks to staff at newspapers and televisions stations, and an increasing reliance on reader/viewer-submitted news, this works out well all the way around. Citizens get served and protected and entertained. Firefighters, police and rescue personnel get some good publicity. The news media gets somebody else to do its work for free.
Come to think of it, it serves us bloggers pretty well, too.
So keep saving those dogs, and putting out those fires, and don’t forget to send us some B-Roll.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, b-roll, cameras, cams, communications, dam, dog, dogs, emergency, fargo, fire departments, government, heroes, heroics, lincoln county, lincolnton, news, news media, north carolina, north dakota, personnel, pets, rescue, rescued, river, saved, saving, south fork river, supplied, trend, video
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul portrays himself as a Rottweiler, and his opponents as shih tzus, in a new campaign ad.
The ad, being broadcast in both Iowa and New Hampshire, is called “Big Dog,” and it accuses the other candidates of being all bark and no bite when it comes to cutting government spending.
“Testosterone-laden,” the Des Moines Register called it.
While his opponents may whine “like little shih tzus,” Ron Paul, according to the ad, will pounce on out of control federal government spending, cutting it by $1 trillion in the first year and eliminating five federal agencies.
As we’ve been telling you in this series, dogs are being used like never before to sway public opinion — and we wouldn’t be surprised if other candidates seized on the dog theme, portraying themselves, or their opponents as particular breeds.
Imagine the possibilities: Rick Perry as a well-groomed but oblivious Afghan hound; Michele Bachmann as a flighty Irish setter; Mitt Romney as a collie, programmed to, when he’s not riding on the top of cars, save people who have fallen into wells; Rick Santorum as a Presa Canario-Chihuahua mix; Newt Gingrich as a grumpy old bulldog; Herman Cain as a frisky pointer who missed his neutering appointment.
In a way, I hate to see dogs dragged into something as sleazy as politics, but with dogs being used to sell everything from toilet paper to insurance, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
(All of our Woof in Advertising selections can be found archived here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, afghan hound, animals, bark, big dog, big dog ad, bite, breeds, bulldog, campaign, candidate, chihuahua, collie, dogs, dogs in advertising, election, government, herman cain, irish setter, michele bachman, mitt romney, newt gingrich, pets, pointer, politics, presa canario, presidential, republican, rick perry, rick santorum, ron paul, rottweiler, shih-tzu, spending, stereotypes, woof in advertising
No, that’s not the ice cream man rolling down the streets of Lisichansk, a city of 100,000 in Ukraine.
It’s a crematorium on wheels, purchased by the city to more handily dispose of stray dogs — sometimes while they are still alive — as part of the country’s efforts to clean up its streets before next year’s Euro 2012 soccer championship.
(About two and a half minutes into the video above you can see city officials showing off their mobile crematorium.)
The vehicle is staffed by three employees — a driver, an oven operator and another who shoots strays with a syringe gun, paralyzing them.
The crematorium is capable of burning 40 kilos worth of dogs and cats at a time.
Lisichansk is not alone in trying to clear the streets of strays before the soccer championship, being co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland.
The cities of Kiev, Lviv, Kharkiv and Donetsk — all of which are hosting matches — have stray removal programs underway. In Kharkiv and Kiev, plans have been made to open shelters for strays found in the vicinity of Euro 2012 stadiums, but some other cities opt for extermination instead.
Sometimes, Lisichansk lends its mobile crematorium to neighboring jurisdictions. How thoughtful.
Despite protests, from inside and outside the country, the stray removal program continues, and the mobile crematorium — which features temperatures of 900 degrees — keeps rolling.
A petition appealing to Ukrainian authorities to stop cremating live animals can be found on the website Care2.
According to the petition, Ukraine — rather than focusing on spaying and neutering and finding homes for strays — has long opted for less humane practices.
Stray dogs and cats were previously killed using an illegal poison called ditiline that paralyzed their respiratory muscles are paralyzed.
Officials consider the crematorium ” more modern” and “environmentally safe,” the petition says.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alive, animal control, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, burn, burned, burning, championship, crematorium, dogs, euro 2012, football, government, lisichansk, mobile crematorium, oven, petition, pets, poison, poland, soccer, stray dogs, strays, ukraine
Sausage — though even his name is in dispute — is a ginger-colored mutt, who, like other strays in the city, is registered but owned by no one and allowed to roam the streets at will.
(Unlike places such as Fayetteville, North Carolina.)
Whenever there’s a demonstration, Sausage shows up — always siding with the protesters, observers say.
He has ”appeared on the front of just about every newspaper in Greece and wagged his tail on TV screens and websites around the world,” Reuters reports:
“On Wednesday when state workers marched against government cuts, Sausage was in his usual spot at the front, egging on the crowd with a hearty “Gav!” (Greek for “Woof!”), tripping up baton-wielding officers as they charged down the steps.”
The Reuters article says Sausage (Loukanikos in Greek) is also known as Kanellos, or Cinnamon, and as Dog No. 1842, according to his registration with the city’s Stray Animal Service.
Anna Makri, head of the department, said it was once sued because Sausage bit someone. ”He’s a loveable dog, but he’s a little bit hot-blooded,” she said.
Even with that, though, he and the other estimated 2,000 stray dogs in Athens aren’t rounded up, jailed or euthanized. Instead, the city pays to feed them, registers them, gives them collars and tags, spays, neuters, microchips and vaccinates them — then releases them back to the streets.
“In most European countries, they solve this problem with euthanasia. But Greek culture is against that. Our law is about rehabilitating the dogs,” said Makri. “People here take care of them and love them. They are like everyone’s dog.”
Even with the financial crisis and all the unrest, the stray dog program, set up in 2003, continues.
The program was briefly interrupted by a reorganization in recent months, but it has resumed, according to Deputy Mayor Angelos Antonopoulos, who is a veterinarian.
“The municipality takes especial care of him because he’s so lovable.,” Antonopoulos said of Sausage. ”And he’s also a symbol — a symbol of freedom.”
(Photo: Yannis Behrakis /Reuters)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angelos antonopoulos, animals, Athens, crisis, culture, demonstrations, dog, dogs, euthanasia, everyones dog, fayetteville, financial, freedom, government, Greece, greek, mayhem, north carolina, pets, riots, sausage, stray dogs, strays, unrest