The city of Schenectady is trying to get a handle on how many unlicensed dogs live there, and it’s calling on school crossing guards to help with the counting.
Crossing guards and code enforcement officers, who’ll be sweeping through neighborhoods this summer, anyway, looking for housing code violations, will be conducting Schenectady’s doggy census — aimed at getting a count of how many dogs are in the city.
The next step is making sure their owners have licensed them.
The city, in which only 1,400 dogs are licensed, suspects there could be ten times more that are unlicensed — as many as 15,000. With licenses costing up to $20, the sweep will easily pay for itself down the road.
The problem was getting the city council’s approval for spending $22,000 to hire people to go door to door, inquiring if homeowners have dogs, according to the Albany Times Union.
A surplus in the overtime budget for code enforcement officers and school crossing guards provided a way around that, allowing the city — without the council having to approve new spending — to turn interested crossing guards and code enforcement officers into temporary canine census takers.
City Clerk Chuck Thorne said the census, to be spread out over several summers, could easily lead to a doubling of dog licenses, which would bring in $36,000 to $40,000 in revenue, and that’s not even counting fines.
Licenses are $13.50 for a neutered or spayed dog and $20.50 for an unfixed dog. For seniors, rates are $3.50 for neutered dogs and $10.50 for unneutered. A valid rabies vaccination certificate is needed for a license.
The census takers will determine through interviews if a homeowner has dogs, how many, and whether they are licensed. If a person is not home and there are indications a dog is in the house — such as barking, or a yard strewn with rawhide chews — the census taker will leave a letter stating the person has 21 days to get a license or face a possible ticket.
(Photo: Mayor Gary McCarthy announcing plans to reduce crime, get homes up to code and crack down on unlicensed dogs in Schenectady; by Skip Dickstein / Times Union)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 16th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, canine, census, city, counting, crossing guards, dog, dogs, licenses, licensing, mayor, pets, registration, schenectady, school crossing guards
Grey, creaky and 18 – pretty darned old for a black Lab mix of his size — Bear Dog is hanging around a little longer.
But then he’s always been a persistent sort.
Bear Dog is pretty well known around Castle Rock, Washington, at the western base of Mount St. Helens. For almost two decades, he has hung out at the town’s riverfront, the ball park — just about anywhere his owner, Don Caulfield, went, and a few places he didn’t.
At the North County Recreation Sports Complex, near Caulfield’s mobile home, there are signs, posted by the city, that read, ”No pets allowed inside baseball complex or on soccer fields, except Bear Dog.”
Since 1996, the highly social dog has been befriending workers — including those who built the sports complex — as well as tourists, hikers, students and fishermen.
Whenever anyone walked by Caulfield’s mobile home with a fishing pole, Bear Dog wanted to join them. He’d also swim out to fishing boats, leading anglers to drop what they were doing, haul him aboard and bring him ashore.
At the ball fields, Bear Dog would meet Janice Vinton, the concession stand manager, in the parking lot, walk her to the concession stand and then sit and wait for a hot dog. He’d always get one, at least until he had a heart attack and Vinton decided he should avoid them. When Vinton would close the concession stand at night, Bear would wait for her and walk her to her car.
At Caulfield’s home, visitors would frequently drop by to take Bear Dog for a hike on the trails, or drop off treats and presents. A Seattle man brought short ribs to him every weekend.
“How he got so popular, I don’t know,” Caulfield, a 62-year-old retired trucker, told the Daily News in Washington. “He done that himself.”
About two months ago, though, sightings of Bear Dog became more rare. His back legs had stopped working, and the only way he could walk was by Caulfield using a towel as a sling to lug him in and out of the house. Even as an invalid, Bear Dog still wanted to go out and meet any visitors that stopped by.
Given the dog’s age and condition, Caulfield’s veterinarian advised him it was time to put Bear down, but Caulfield didn’t have enough money to cover the $150 euthanization fee.
He went home and cried, and then he started digging a hole in the yard.
“I knew what had to be done,” he told the the Daily News, which published an article Sunday about Bear Dog.
But Caulfield couldn’t bring himself to shoot Bear, and when he called friends to ask they do the deed for him, they all declined.
Bear Dog was living out what appeared to be his final days until one day he dragged himself outside and promptly fell down the porch steps. Caulfield heard a pop and feared his dog had broken his back. Instead, Bear Dog got up, walked, and even tried to chase a rabbit.
“Every time I think it’s time, he bounces back somehow,” said Caulfield. “I don’t know how he does it.”
We have a theory: Maybe it’s because so many people are pulling for him — and even more since the newspaper story.
Since the article on Bear Dog appeared, he has received a slew of visitors, gifts and phone calls, the Daily News reported in a follow-up article.
Caulfield returned from church Sunday to find people parked in front of his trailer. One offered a new fishing pole. Another man brought over a top sirloin steak, a roast and a tub of dog bones for Bear. And one woman promised to pay for any medical treatment Bear needs, as well as – if and when it becomes necessary — the cost of putting him down.
“He’s quite the legend out there,” Castle Rock Mayor Paul Helenberg said last week of Bear Dog, who became the sports complex’s unofficial mascot by virtue of hanging ot there so much when it was being built.
Some dog-owning residents don’t understand why Bear Dog gets special privileges at the complex, and their dogs don’t, but Helenberg said Bear Dog is something of an institution. He even spoke of building a monument to the dog once he passes away.
“It’s going to be real sad,” the mayor said. “We’ll do something special.”
From the looks of things, Castle Rock, and the friends of Bear Dog, already have.
If you’re going to honor a dog, that’s really the best time to do it, before he’s a memory – not by building a sculpture when he’s dead and gone, but by pitching in and helping out and making him happy while he’s still alive.
Which is not to say a statue of Bear Dog isn’t appropriate — only that one honoring the friends of Bear Dog might be, too.
(Photo: Bill Wagner / The Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 28th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 18, animals, ball park, bear, bear dog, black lab, castle rock, concessions, daily news, dog, dogs, don caulfield, euthanasia, euthanize, everybodys dog, fishermen, friends, grey, help, helping, hikers, honor, honoring, institution, labrador, lame, mayor, memorial, money, north country recreation sports complex, old, paul helenberg, pets, put down, retriever, sick, statue, support, trucker, washington
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
San Francisco is considering terminating its $1.4 million in art contracts with Brooklyn sculptor Tom Otterness, who once shot and killed a dog on film and called it art.
San Francisco’s Arts Commission, which is in charge of publicly funded art projects, will hold a meeting today to vote on whether to rescind the contracts, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
The commission awarded Otterness earlier this year with a $750,000 contract for 59 bronze sculptures in the Moscone station of the proposed Central Subway project. That was in addition to a $700,000 contract he received last year for a sculpture at San Francisco General Hospital.
The commission said it was unaware of the incident in his past when they approved the contracts, the second of which was signed in September.
Apparently they missed out on the hubbub on the east coast when, in May, Otterness was awarded $750,000 to sculpt a set of lions to sit outside the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library.
Otterness, when he was 25, shot and killed a small black and white dog he adopted from a shelter for an art project — basically a repeated loop of film showing the execution. He called it ”Shot Dog Film.”
The incident has repeatedly surfaced during the career of Otterness, who is famous for his whimsical sculptures of people and animals, and it did again after he received the second San Francisco contract. After media reports and amid public complaints, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee placed a hold on both contracts, pending review.
Arts Commission Chairman PJ Johnston said that review is completed, and discussions have been held, but he declined to discuss them and said he was unsure how he would vote. He said he was concerned with the commission “getting into the position of judging the artist rather than the art.”
If I may boldy opine: I don’t understand that statement, or piece of one, but I’m not a real artist. I see nothing wrong with judging both the artist and the art, or, for that matter, the actor and his acting, the football player and the football play, the author and the book, or the arts commissioner and the art he commissions. Doing something well should not relieve one of the responsibility of being a decent human being, or following the rules everyone else lives by.
End of bold opining.
It’s unclear whether the city, if it terminates the contract, will be able to redeem the $365,750 in payments it has already made to Otterness, the Examiner reported.
The San Francisco Animal Control and Welfare Commission, called for the termination of the contracts in an Oct. 14 letter sent to the mayor and the Arts Commission.
“The city of St. Francis cannot display, with public funding, art from someone who has committed such an unconscionable act of animal cruelty,” the letter said.
St. Francis, after whom the city is named, is the patron saint of animals.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, artist, arts commission, central subway, commissions, complaints, contracts, dog, dogs, ed lee, filmed, funding, haunted, judging, killed, mayor, moscone station, new york public library, past, pets, public art, san francisco, san francisco general hospital, sculptor, sculpture, shot, shot dog film, st. francis, termination, tom otterness
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
In San Francisco, that might be happening — dog owners have mobilized to play a role in the upcoming mayoral election.
Whether it ends up being a decisive role or not, signs are it’s already making the much-needed and often overlooked point that, while dogs can’t vote, their owners can and do.
And, by virtue of that, this point as well, with apologies to Woody Guthrie: This land is your land, this land is my land, but it’s also dogs’ land. So give them access to some of it.
Dog PAC, a recently formed political action committee in San Francisco, held a forum over the weekend attended by seven of 16 mayoral hopefuls. It has since endorsed a candidate in the upcoming election — John Avalos.
At the forum, candidates for mayor in the Nov. 8 election were asked about the cost of dog licenses, dog waste, pet-friendly rental housing and about what has emerged as the biggest doggie issue — the federal government’s proposal to ban off-leash dogs in much of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The National Park Service is considering mandating leashes in some open spaces and fencing off some popular dog-walking areas to protect native plant and animal species.
With an estimated 100,000 dog owners in the city — with San Francisco being one of several cities in which dogs now outnumber children — dog-owning voters, some pundits are saying, could have a major impact in the November election, and beyond.
In a way, they already are, with some candidates making it a point to publicize their stands on dog issues.
“Making San Francisco a family friendly city means recognizing the multitude of ways in which we define families,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera says on his campaign website. “And in the city of St. Francis, that includes dogs and companion animals.”
Candidate Joanna Rees held her own “Bark in the Park” forum several weeks ago, according to USA Today.
“Dogs are an important part of many families and neighborhoods across our community,” said Rees. “Open lines of communication between City Hall and pet owners … are the foundation of good policy.”
“Dogs are as much an issue as children … There are a lot [of] parent-teachers associations, we’re just like them, but only for the dogs,” said Dog Pac president Bruce Wolfe.
“All different people and all different industries have lobbyists and political action committees looking out for them,” said dog owner Justin Kleisley. “I think it’s good for dogs.”
We agree, and we’d like to see a lot more local dog PACS — from California to the New York island.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, candidates, dog pac, dogs, election, endorsement, forum, golden gate national recreation area, issues, john avalos, mayor, mayoral, national park service, numbers, off-leash, political action committee, politics, power, race, san francisco, vote
Now, Mel, one of Michael Vick’s former dogs, has one, too.
As for who’s more deserving, well, you know how I feel.
Mel was only about a year old when he was seized from the Vick estate and dogfighting operation in Virginia, where he was believed to have been used as a bait dog. He was one of 47 survivors, and one of the 22 who, deemed most hopeless, were sent to Best Friends, the animal sanctuary in southern Utah.
After spending nearly two years at the Utah animal sanctuary, Mel was adopted by Richard Hunter, a Dallas radio personality and his wife Sunny, manager of VIP services for a swanky gentlemen’s club called The Lodge.
When our travels took us through Texas we met up with Hunter and Mel, joining them for a ride around town because Mel seems most comfortable in the car. Ace piled in the back seat with Mel and the Hunter’s older dog, Pumpkin.
The next time we heard from Richard Hunter, was in February, after he confronted Vick during a Dallas appearance.
Hunter, one of many who were outraged that Vick was being presented a key to the city by interim Mayor Dwaine Caraway, got as close as he could to him and offered him a chance to see his former dog Mel. Vick didn’t take him up on the offer and Hunter was shoved away by the quarterback’s entourage.
Now we get word that, over the weekend, Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt surprised Hunter by presenting him the John LaBella Award at an Eastlake Pet Orphanage banquet — and presenting Mel with a key to the city.
During the presentation, the Dallas Morning News reports, Hunt had some choice words for Caraway.
“One of my colleagues in the city of Dallas showed a grave lapse in judgment by awarding the highest honor our city an bestow – our key to the city – on someone who was entirely undeserving and someone who has shown serious cruelty and inhumanity,” she said.
Hunt then awarded Mel with a key to the city — an edible one no less.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, angela hunt, animals, bait dog, best friends, confrontation, dallas, dallas city council, dogfighting, dogs, dwaine caraway, former vick dog, interim, key to the city, mayor, mel, michael vick, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, richard hunter, sunny hunter, survivor, texas, travels with ace, vick dog
Newark Mayor Cory Booker is asking the public for a birthday present — a new animal shelter to be built in honor of Patrick, the pit bull dumped down a high rise apartment building’s trash chute and left to starve.
Booker called the act “one of the most heinous incients of animal cruelty that I’ve seen since I’ve been mayor” and he noted that it has led to outrage across the country.
But, he added, “This is a time that, instead of blame, we all take more responsibility for what’s going on to animals in Newark, New Jersey and around the world.
“For my birthday wish … we would like you to join our cause” — a state of art animal shelter that can be No. 1 in honor of Patrick but also in honor of those many other animals in our larger Newark community that face severe problems and challenges. We must be there for them, too.”
The mayor’s YouTube video refers viewers to a website where donations be made.
The campaign seeks to raise $50,000 towards construction of a facility that would serve Essex and Hudson Counties. Already, Booker said, a site has been identified and architects are working on the design.
“By working to build a modern, state-of-the-art shelter through public and private funding, and by employing innovative policies to improve responsible pet care, decrease birthrates, increase adoptions, and help keep animals with their responsible caretakers, we believe that Newark’s animal shelter operations can become a model for the rest of the nation.”
Patrick is now in the custody of Associated Humane Societies and is receiving treatment at Garden State Veterinary Specialists, both of which say they’ve received enough public donations to cover his care.
Kisha Curtis, with whom Patrick lived, has entered a not guilty plea to charges of abuse and abandonment.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, abuse, animal cruelty, animals, apartment, associated humane societies, chute, cory booker, discarded, dog, dogs, garden state veterinary specialists, high rise, kisha curtis, mayor, neglect, new jersey, newark, patrick, pets, pit bull, pitbull, starved, trash
Richard Hunter, the adoptive parent of one of Michael Vick’s dogs, confronted the Eagles quarterback in Dallas after a ceremony Saturday in which Vick received the key to the city — and asked him if he wanted an opportunity to see one of his former dogs.
Instead of getting an answer, Hunter, a local radio personality who we met this summer in our Travels with Ace, got pushed out of the way by Vick’s entourage. He put together this video of the event afterwards.
Hunter and his wife, Sunny, VIP manager for a Dallas gentlemen’s club, adopted Mel about two years after he was seized from the Vick estate in Virginia. He was one of 47 survivors, and one of the 22 who, deemed most hopeless, were sent to Best Friends, the animal sanctuary in southern Utah. He spent nearly two years there before trainers pronounced him adoptable.
Ace and I got to meet the whole family during out visit to Dallas, which included a car ride in which Ace shared the back seat with Mel and the Hunter’s other dog, Pumpkin.
Michael Vick showed little interest in learning more about Mel, despite Hunter’s persistent offers, and at one point a member of Vick’s security team told him, “We don’t care about the dogs.”
In presenting the key to the city, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway told Vick, “You deserve it, you earned it.”
Hunter’s response to Vick getting presented the key? Maybe, he said, it’s time to change the locks.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, city, confrontation, dallas, dog, dogfighting, dogs, dwaine caraway, Key, mayor, mel, michael, michael vick, national football league, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bull, pitbull, richard hunter, travels with ace, vick, vick dogs
AKA: “The mayor of NoDa”
Encountered: At the Smelly Cat Coffee House in Charlotte
Backstory: Charles is a fixture in Charlotte’s NoDa district, where he has lived all his life, except for a month in Philadelphia. He didn’t like it and moved back home. Charles holds several jobs in the neighborhood, including one at the Neighborhood Theater, a music venue he says was once an X-rated movie house. Charles has watched as the one-time mill area made the transition to an eclectic arts district.
I was sitting outside the coffee shop, where two children had stopped to pet Ace, when Charles approached. He came up and shook my hand, then reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of dollar bills. He handed both of the children a dollar, and told them to put it in their piggy banks.
Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does american, arts, charles, charles edwards, charlotte, district, dog's country, honorary, mayor, mayor of noda, neighborhood, noda, north davidson, ohmidog!, road trip, roadside encounters, travel, traveling, traveling with dogs