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Tag: law

Dog’s bid to become governor of Kansas is crushed (by the man he would run against)

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Angus P. Woolley, a 3-year-old wire-haired Vizsla, will not be allowed to run for governor in Kansas.

The Kansas secretary of state’s office confirmed that decision last week.

The secretary of state, it should be pointed out, is running for governor.

“Officially, we will not allow a dog to run for governor,” said Bryan Caskey, director of elections for the Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach’s office. “There’s several laws that reference that the governor has to be an individual or a person, and so we are relying on that, and if a dog comes in to file for office, we will not allow that.”

Now it could be argued that a dog is an individual, and it could be pointed out that Kansas has no law specifically preventing dogs or other animals from running for office.

And it could be speculated, for amusement purposes, that Kobach, a Republican, is afraid of a little canine competition. Angus’ owner has suggested as much.

But, for now, it appears dogs in Kansas will not be eligible to run for state-wide elected office.

Toto, too.

angus2The dog’s owner, Terran Woolley, a dental hygienist in Hutchinson, filed paperwork last week to create a committee for the Angus, the Hutchinson News reported.

“I thought, ‘Hey, why not Angus?’ He’s a good dog, he’s smart. And I think he could provide better leadership than what we’ve had the last seven years in our state,” Woolley said.

Angus is at the third level of obedience school, Woolley said.

The Kobach campaign has not said what level of obedience school the secretary of state completed.

Woolley said the idea of the candidacy came from the number of teenagers announcing bids for governor because there is no age requirement to run for governor or some other statewide offices in Kansas.

In addition to Angus, six teenagers are trying to run in the 2018 governor’s race, according to the Kansas City Star.

That has led lawmakers to consider legislation requiring that people be at least 18 before they can become a candidate. The new bill would also mean dogs, cats and inmates and inanimate objects wouldn’t be able to run.

(Photos: Terran Wooley)

Colorado bill would prohibit discriminating against dogs because of their size

Pet-Property-Rules-SignApartment complexes have them. Homeowners associations have them. Motels have them, too — rules that allow dogs to be banned because of their size.

Now, a Colorado state representative wants to correct that long-running injustice, the Denver Post reports. He has introduced a bill that would stop HOA’s or landlords from blanket bans on dogs that exceed a specified weight.

It’s high time. Size restrictions, like breed restrictions, are ridiculous, imposed and enforced by people who just don’t know any better.

And, while not to diminish all the more serious examples of it in our history, they are a form of discrimination.

HB-1126, if passed, would stop HOA’s or landlords from banning large dogs.

“It doesn’t matter the breed or the size. In a lot of ways, it’s just: ‘is this a behaved dog?'” said Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver) in introducing the legislation. “I think this is a fairness issue and right now people with big dogs are being treated unequally.”

The bill, even if it passes, would not override bans against certain breeds that some cities, like Denver, have imposed, and it would not stop landlords from banning dogs altogether.

Rosenthal said he proposed the legislation after hearing from a constituent in Englewood whose two German shepherds kept her from being able to find a housing situation she could afford.

Christy Wooten said she searched for six months for properties that would allow her two dogs, but ran into size restrictions at every turn.

“No one would accept them, and they’re not mean dogs. They’re the sweetest things. I rescued them. It broke my heart,” she said.

As a result, she gave the dogs to her ex, who now resides out of state.

“I’m surprised. With how dog-friendly Colorado seems to be, it’s a disappointment,” said Wooten. “They think they’re aggressive and they’re not.”

The bill apparently would not apply to motels and hotels, probably the worst when it comes to discriminating against large dogs. Yes, they’ll promote how “dog friendly” they are to reel in customers, but the small print often will specify “no dogs over 25, 45, 50 pounds.”

That’s ruling out a lot of dogs (and customers) — all under the false belief that a large dog is likely to cause more damage. Worse yet, it’s the kind of mindless discrimination, based on misplaced fears, that some Americans have practiced throughout history, to everyone’s detriment.

Consider how this would look in the human realm: “No customers over 225 pounds.” “We apologize, but due to liability concerns, we cannot accept NFL or NBA players.” “Sorry, fatty, there’s no room for you.”

Colorado should pass this law, and so should every other state.

Scrooged: Shopping mall Santa turns away a little girl with a service dog

A young girl’s hopes to have her photo taken with Santa were dashed when she and her seizure-detecting service dog were turned away from an event at a New Hampshire shopping mall.

Feeling Scrooged, her mother took to Facebook to voice her disappointment about the shopping mall Santa snubbing her daughter, who has a neurological disorder called Rett Syndrome and suffers from seizures, CBS in Boston reported.

olivia“When he said Romeo can’t go in it made me sad,” said 11-year-old Olivia Twigg, whose dog attends school with her, alerts her to oncoming seizures and lays across her chest when she is having one.

“It was horrible. I just wanted to go home from the mall. It was awful,” said her mother, Jill Twigg.

The family waited in line with Romeo at the photos with Santa event at Nashua Pheasant Lane Mall, and had no intention of the dog being in the photo — just Olivia and Santa.

But as they moved up in line and neared that supposedly merry old soul, they were told not to come any closer, because Santa was allergic to dogs.

romeo“The woman taking the pictures told me I needed to remove the dog off the red carpet. I said no I’m not going to move him,'” Jill Twigg said. “He has to be able to see her. She said that was not acceptable.”

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, “allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.”

Jill Twigg said the family was told to return for “pet day,” or for the special needs event.

Twigg said she had no interest in that. “I want her to have a normal experience. She’s on a normal cheerleading team with normal children. We want to make sure she feels completely comfortable going wherever she wants at whatever time she wants.”

Cherry Hill Programs, the Santa experience provider for Pheasant Lane Mall, said they welcome all service dogs and planned to make a special appearance at the Twigg’s home.

It’s not my decision, but if I were them, I’d tell them to stuff it.

Tethering dogs in Forsyth County can now lead to fines

tetherAs of yesterday, tethering a dog in Forsyth County can get you a fine of $50 the first time, up to $500 for repeated offenses.

After a year-long grace period, during which violators only received warnings, animal control officers can now issue citations to those who tie their dogs to stationary objects outside with chains, cables rope or wires.

An exception is allowed to owners who tether their dogs for short periods under supervision.

Lt. David Morris, interim director of Forsyth County Animal Control, believes that the ordinance, passed in October of 2016, is already having a positive impact.

“Once the tethering ordinance passed, people started calling about it,” Morris told the Winston-Salem Journal.

From Jan. 1, 2016, through Nov. 9, 2016, Forsyth County Animal Control had 98 tethering complaints compared with 355 for the same period this year.

“We’ve been giving them warnings and giving them information on the new tethering ordinance and what’s expected of them, and also giving them information on things like UNchain Winston and people that can help them,” Morris said.

UNchain Winston provides assistance and builds fences to improve the welfare of dogs in the Winston-Salem area.

Under the ordinance, it is illegal to tie dogs to trees, tires, fences, dog houses, porches and stakes in the ground unless the owner or caretaker is supervising it.

Specifically, it reads, “No person shall tether, fasten, chain, tie, or restrain a dog, or cause such restraining of a dog, to a tree, fence, post, dog house, or other stationary object.”

Any tethering device used shall be at least ten feet in length and attached in such a manner as to prevent strangulation or other injury to the dog or entanglement with objects.

Tethers must be made of rope, twine, cord, or similar material with a swivel on one end or must be made of a chain that is at least ten feet in length with swivels on both ends. All collars or harnesses used for tethering a dog must be made of nylon or leather.

California takes bold step: As of 2019, pet stores can only sell rescues and shelter dogs

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California has become the first state to require that pet stores cease selling pets provided by breeders and sell only cats and dogs from nonprofit rescues and shelters.

The law is expected to hit the pet industry like an earthquake when it goes into effect at the beginning of 2019.

The mere discussion of it, in recent months, has been sending tremors through the ranks of breeders, pet store owners and American Kennel Club officials.

Despite the contention of those groups that the law would strip Californians of their rights, it does not prohibit people from buying dogs and cats directly from breeders.

Instead it’s aimed a puppy mills and stemming the flow of dogs bred in unacceptable conditions to consumers through pet stores.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 485 on Friday.

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course. But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters,” Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, the author of the bill, said in a statement Friday.

An estimated 35 cities across California have enacted similar laws, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but the passage of the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act marks the first time a state has adopted such protections.

Violators will face $500 in penalties.

“We are overjoyed that Governor Brown signed this historic piece of legislation into law,” said Judie Mancuso, president and founder of Social Compassion in Legislation.

(Photo: Pinterest)

Bring us your tired, your poor, your … On second thought, don’t bring us anybody

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The American Kennel Club apparently wants to keep dogs rescued from foreign countries out of America, saying they will bring disorder and disease to our pristine shores.

In voicing its opposition to a California bill that would prohibit the sale in pet stores of dogs sourced from professional breeders, the AKC says the law would create a “perverse incentive” to import “greater numbers of street dogs and dogs of unknown origins.”

Limiting the public’s access to purebreds, as the AKC maintains the proposed law would do, would result in the U.S. becoming “a magnet for the world’s strays and sick animals.”

jindolAKC Vice President Sheila Goffe, in a commentary piece published in the Orange County Register, singles out dogs rescued from abusive situations in foreign countries — as my dog was — and portrays them as unpredictable and diseased.

Dogs that come from rescues and shelters, or through rescues and shelters, aren’t as well-screened, as temperament-tested, and as disease-free as breeder-raised dogs purchased at pet stores, she says.

Those “facts” are questionable. That logic is wrong. That stance reeks of snobbery and flies in the face of those words on the plaque at the Statue of Liberty, and what many Americans still think America is all about.

And, as with the immigration debate when it comes to humans, it’s more than a bit ironic, considering all those purebred breeds the AKC celebrates, and makes money from, came from foreign countries.

Of course, the AKC isn’t saying America should ban German shepherds, or Irish setters, or Portuguese water dogs, or even Afghan hounds — or any of the many other breeds who proudly carry their country of origin in their breed names.

Those, assuming they are purebreds, and have their paperwork, and pay their AKC dues, are always welcome here.

The great unwashed masses, though? The dog saved from being turned into meat in Korea? The starving street dog in Afghanistan or some other war torn country? That mangy cur searching for sustenance in the aftermath of an earthquake, tsunami or other far away natural disaster?

The AKC apparently believes they have no place here.

Reasonable people disagree when it comes to how much effort we as Americans should put into saving dogs from overseas. Legitimate arguments can be made on both sides.

Given the shrinking but still mind-boggling number of unwanted dogs that are euthanized in U.S. shelters, given the needs created by our own disasters at home, like Hurricane Harvey, there are those who feel American dogs should come first. Others feel our compassion for animals shouldn’t be limited by boundaries — that we should help dogs who need help, wherever they are.

There’s a place for that debate. But Assembly Bill 485 — still awaiting Senate approval — really isn’t that place.

AB 485 bans the pet store sale of dogs, cats and other pets raised by breeders, who, especially when it comes to puppy mills, aren’t always the rule-following, highly policed and regulated operations the AKC portrays them as.

DSC05635 (2)Saying the law will lead to an influx of unwanted and unsavory foreigners, as the AKC is doing, is the same kind of fear tactic that taints our country’s broader debate over human immigration.

Banning the sale of breeder raised dogs at pet stores will not lead to an influx of Mexican rapist dogs, or Muslim terrorist dogs.

What the bill would do is limit pet stores to dealing in dogs obtained through shelters and rescues — a direction many stores and some local governments have already embraced.

Having visited many humane societies and a few puppy mills, I can tell you that even if shelters face fewer government-imposed restrictions, their dogs are more likely to be temperament-tested, well-adjusted and healthy than those that go the puppy mill to pet store to consumer route.

And we don’t see rescuing mutts or purebreds, from any country, as “perverse.”

“Selling only shelter or rescue dogs creates a perverse incentive to import greater numbers of street dogs and dogs of unknown origins for U.S. retail rescues,” Goffe, who is the AKC’s vice president for government relations, wrote. “In fact, the U.S. already has become a dumping ground for foreign ‘puppy mill’ and rescue dogs, importing close to 1 million rescue dogs annually from Turkey, several countries in the Middle East and as far away as China and Korea, according to the National Animal Interest Alliance.”

(Don’t be too impressed by the reference to NAIA. It is mostly a front group for breeders and agribusiness and the AKC, and it was founded by an AKC board member and a biomedical researcher.)

“It’s a crap shoot whether these foreign street dogs Californians may be adopting are carrying serious diseases,” Goffe added. “That’s because while importation laws require all dogs to be examined by a licensed veterinarian, foreign paperwork is commonly invalid or forged … dogs from other countries are not subject to the health and welfare laws of professionally-bred U.S. dogs.”

The AKC says Californians would lose their freedom to have the kind of dog they want if the law passes, implying that pet stores are the only place one can find a purebred.

That’s not the case. You can generally find any breed of dog in a shelter or rescue — often even locally. And the proposed law would not prevent people from buying dogs directly from breeders.

So fear not, California (even though the AKC would like you to.) Your liberties are not about to be taken away. Your shores are not about to be inundated with sickly, mangy killer dogs who don’t speak English.

And if more dogs rescued from other countries end up in the U.S. — in hopes of saving their lives and making their lives better — chances are they, as with the human immigrants before them, will only enrich our culture, whether we’re talking California or Connecticut.

We’re not a nation of purebreds, no matter what the AKC says — not when it comes to dogs, and not when it comes to people.

(Photos: At top, dogs awaiting slaughter at an outdoor market in Seoul; Jinjja, the rescued Korean dog I adopted; Jinjja and me)

$1.26 million awarded to family of dog shot and killed by police officer in Maryland

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A jury has awarded $1.26 million to a Maryland family whose dog was shot and killed by police in 2014 — the largest award ever in the U.S. for such a case, according to the law firm that represented the family.

According to a press release from the Hansel Law firm in Baltimore, the verdict came after a three-day trial in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County.

“The duty to serve and protect extends to our animal family members as well,” said Cary J. Hansel, the attorney for Michael Reeves of Glen Burnie.

Reeves’ four-year-old retriever, Vern, was shot by an officer responding to a burglary call in Reeves’ neighborhood.

Anne Arundel County police officer Officer Rodney Price claimed he was attacked by Vern, but forensic evidence presented at the trial led the jury to conclude otherwise.

vern2Vern was a Chesapeake Bay retriever. The breed is the state dog of Maryland.

The officer encountered the dog in the family’s front yard, and the officer said the dog barked and ran toward him.

During the trial, the officer admitted that the dog did not bite or injure him before he fired his weapon. The officer also said no other steps were taken to deal with the dog before the dog was shot two times, the Capital Gazette reported.

A necropsy performed at the request of Anne Arundel County police showed that one bullet entered the dog’s sternum, and another bullet entered the dog’s side, at a time when the dog’s body was perpendicular to the gun.

Attorney Hansel said that evidence contradicted Price’s testimony regarding how the shooting occurred.

An internal investigation by the police department earlier determined the dog had behaved aggressively. Price remains with the police department.

The jury found that Price was not attacked by the dog, that the shooting violated Reeves’ constitutional rights, and that it was committed with gross negligence.

Reeves got Vern in 2009 and took a year off work to train him. He declined to comment after the verdict.

The $1.26 million verdict includes $500,000 in monetary damages and $760,000 in damages for the anguish caused by the shooting.

The firm says the award was the largest ever in a case of a dog shot and killed by a police officer.

The Department of Justice estimates that about 10,000 dogs are shot by law enforcement officers every year in the United States.