Tag: north dakota
A Maryland dog who was adopted by a member of the U.S. Senate — and who went on to become a familiar and soothing presence in that chamber’s hallowed and often contentious halls — has died.
Dakota, a bichon frise, was adopted by former North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad and his wife, Lucy, in the spring of 2009 from a rescue shelter in Maryland
Conrad confirmed Sunday that Dakota died last week, due to complications from lymphoma, Inforum.com reported.
During Conrad’s time on Capitol Hill, Dakota was popular among lawmakers, staffers and reporters, and he was once dubbed the “101st senator” by NBC’s Brian Williams.
“He went to work with me every day,” Conrad said. “People just took to him. To have an animal in that setting, it warmed people up. It made them feel more at home.”
Conrad said the dog’s calm disposition had the power to soothe seething lawmakers.
“In some of our (budget) negotiations, colleagues would call and ask if I could bring Dakota. He calmed everyone down.”
Dakota was diagnosed with the lymphoma in September 2011, and had fought the disease for a year and a half.
In the past eight months, Conrad and Dakota had flown four times to Houston, where the dog was participating in a T-cell cancer research project at the University of Texas’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
“He was part of experiments that are very important, that they think could help save many people’s lives,” Conrad said.
While his prognosis was promising, the cancer returned and last week Conrad was informed that Dakota probably only had a few days left.
“He was such a jaunty, confident and happy little dog,” Conrad said. “And he was cute – he just put a smile on people’s faces. And so that’s how I’ll remember him.
“He improved people’s days. He certainly improved mine.”
(Photo: Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, bichon frise, calm, cancer, dakota, death, dies, dog, dogs, kent conrad, lymphoma, maryland, north dakota, pets, politics, rescued, senate, senator, soothing, washington
California earned first place for the fourth year in a row, while South Dakota remained in last place in the Humane Society of the United States fourth annual “Humane State Ranking” report.
The HSUS graded all 50 states and Washington, D.C. on the strength of a wide range of animal protection laws, including public policies dealing with animal cruelty and fighting, pets, wildlife, equines, animals in research, and farm animals.
Ohio was the most improved state, leaping ahead in the ranks by passing laws regulating puppy mills and the private possession of dangerous wild animals.
You can find the complete rankings here.
“Members of The Humane Society of the United States want to know what their state lawmakers are doing to improve animal welfare. Our Humane State Ranking report demonstrates which states are falling behind important protections for animals, and which states are leading in the effort to create a more humane and civil society,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.
California stayed on top for the fourth year in a row by passing a number of new laws, including banning the hound hunting of bears and bobcats. Other top states included Massachusetts (tied for second place), which passed laws allowing pets to be included in domestic violence protection orders, and banning gas chambers for euthanasia.
South Dakota earned the lowest score (51st place). Also in the bottom five were Idaho (50th place), Mississippi (49th place), North Dakota (48th place) and South Carolina (47th place).
South Dakota and North Dakota received especially low marks in part because they are the only two states in the country with no felony-level penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty. North Dakota voters rejected a ballot measure to increase penalties for egregious acts of animal cruelty on the November 2012 ballot.
The rankings are based on 75 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including: animal fighting; animal cruelty; wildlife abuse; exotic pets; companion animals; use of animals in research; farm animals; fur and trapping; puppy mills, and equine protection.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal welfare, animals, california, cruelty, dogs, euthanasia, farms, fighting, hsus, humane, humane society of the united states, Humane state ranking, hunting, laws, legislation, north dakota, penalties, pets, protection, puppy mills, rankings, south dakota, state, violence, wayne pacelle
Kentucky, North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota and New Mexico are 2012’s five best states to be an animal abuser, according to the latest report released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
The national nonprofit organization compared animal protection laws of every state in the country, analyzing more than 4,000 pages of statutes, to reveal the state’s that are strongest on animal protection and those that are weakest.
The weakest of all? Kentucky, which the ALDF says was the worst state in the nation for animal protection laws for the sixth year in a row.
The report ranks all 50 states, and top honors went to Illinois, for the fifth year in a row. ALDF has been releasing the annual analysis for seven years.
Rounding out the top five states were Maine, California, Michigan, and Oregon, all of which demonstrated strong commitments to combating animal cruelty.
States that ranked poorly either lacked or made limited use of felony penalties for the worst types of animals abuse, had weak laws covering basic standards of care for animals, and no restrictions on convicted animal abusers getting news pets and animals.
In the survey, Kansas saw its ranking drop from sixth to 13th, primarily due to its “ag gag” law. Such laws, now existing in five states, make it illegal to covertly take photos or videos at factory farms and other animal facilities as part of undercover investigations.
Idaho was the fastest rising state, moving up from 52 to 44 due to its enactment of felony provisions for animal cruelty.
Since the first rankings report in 2006, more than half of all states and territories have experienced a significant improvement in their animal protection laws, ALDF says.
“We look forward to further progress in the upcoming year,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for ALDF. “Regardless of ranking, each state and territory has ample room for improvement. We hope lawmakers will recognize the need for immediate improvement in animal protection laws across the nation. Although animals do not vote, those who love and protect them certainly do.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldf, analysis, animal, animal legal defense fund, best, best and worst, bottom five, california, cruelty to animals, felony, illinois, iowa, kentucky, laws, maine, michigan, new mexico, north dakota, oregon, protection, report, south dakota, states, statutes, top five, worst
North Dakota voters turned down a measure that would have made cruelty to dogs, cats and horses a felony, leaving it one of just two states without felony penalties for mistreating animals.
The other is its neighbor, South Dakota.
A citizen initiative on Tuesday that would have made animal cruelty punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine was defeated by nearly a 2-1 margin.
That means animal abuse remains a misdemeanor, and the most severe punishment for cruelty in the state will continue to be a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
North Dakota’s two major farm groups opposed the measure, saying it was vague and poorly worded, according to the Associated Press.
The measure would have made it it a class C felony “to maliciously and intentionally harm a living dog, cat or horse.”
North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty says it plans to to continue its efforts to change the law.
(Photo: From the Facebook page of North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2012, abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, cats, cruelty, cruelty to animals, dogs, election, farmers, felony, horses, increase, measure, misdemeanor, north dakota, north dakotans to stop animal cruelty, opposition, penalties, pets, referendum, vote, voter
Thirty-eight-year-old Jodi Kvien Opatz of Valley City called authorities Friday morning, asking for help getting her spaniel out of the river, near the Little Dam.
Dispatchers told her to wait for help to arrive, but Kvien Opatz said she was going to try to save the dog, said Valley City Fire Chief Gary Retterath.
“It was almost like a family member or a kid to her,” Ratterath told DL-Online. “You risk your life for someone you love, and she loved (the dog). I guess I believe that is what went through her mind.”
While crews were retrieving the woman’s body, the dog managed to pull itself out of the river, Retterath said.
Once the woman’s body was pulled from the river, the dog jumped back in and drowned.
“By the time we got to it, it was too late,” Retterath said. “It got into the undercurrent of the dam.”
(Photo: From the Facebook page of Jodi Kvien Opatz)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dies, dog, dogs, drowning, drowns, Jodi Kvien Opatz, little dam, north dakota, pets, river, save, saving, sheyenne, spaniel, valley city
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
Here’s an unusual perspective on saving a dog from an icy river, brought to you by the Fargo Fire Department.
Jake, an 11-year-old Lab, went into the not yet frozen-solid Red River in North Dakota after straying from his home yesterday, and couldn’t get out.
He clung to a piece of ice until rescuers arrived.
Fargo Firefighter Mike Seaberg went out on the ice to save him, while wearing a camera.
Today, Jake’s back home and doing fine.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, camera, captures, clinging, dog, dogs, fall, fargo, fargo fire department, fell, fire department, ice, icy, jake, lab, labrador, labrador retriever, mike seaberg, north dakota, pets, red river, rescue, river, saved, thin ice
The Badlands? They weren’t so bad. In fact, thanks to a premature winter blast that left them lightly dusted with snow, they looked more like cream puffs when Ace and I passed through Thursday, making it as far as Beach, North Dakota.
Forbidding as it sounds, the pockmarked terrain looked more like a bakery shop, as if powdered sugar had been sifted from above, turning buttes into bundt cakes and craggy pinnacles into cream puffs.
We whizzed from on end of the state to the other, sticking to I-94 and stopping only for coffee, gas, bodily functions and to take a picture of Salem Sue, the world’s largest cow.
On a mountain top in New Salem, whose high school sports teams are named the Holsteins, Sue, who was erected in 1974 to honor the area’s dairymen, overlooks the interstate and is visible from miles away.
Tourists can drive up the mountain’s gravel road and, should they so choose, drop a donation into a milk can. They help pay for her maintenance — and a 38-foot-high, 50-foot-long, six ton fiberglass cow does need maintenance now and then.
I-94 also sports what are touted as the world’s largest metal sculptures, created by artist Gary Greff. Greff, a former school teacher, started fashioning as a way to bring people into the small community of Regent, home base of The Enchanted Highway.
Of course, North Dakota’s landscape is art in itself — both before and after harvest. In late summer, there are fields of sunflowers blooming for miles. By then end of October, only their dark brown stalks remain, curled up and shriveled.
Hay bales dot the roadsides, boxy ones and coiled ones, stacked sometimes higher than houses. On this day, they too were sugar frosted — looking like they belonged in a really big cereal bowl. Just add a little of Sue’s milk, and breakfast could be served.
We didn’t pass through any heavy accumulations of snow — mostly, despite predictions of a blizzard, just a light dusting, but it was enough to draw Ace’s attention. Usually, he only bothers to look out the window when he feels the car slow down. On this 300-plus mile leg of the trip, he spent a long time looking at the scenery, and when we made a pit stop, he was eager to traipse through the snow that was left.
We didn’t stop and camp in the Badlands, as John Steinbeck wrote that he did in “Travels with Charley.” In the book, Steinbeck described how the “unearthly” landscape lost its “burned and dreadful look” as the sun went down, and took on a glow; and of how, in the night, “far from being frightful, (it) was lovely beyond thought …
“In the night the Bad Lands had become Good Lands. I can’t explain it. that’s how it was.”
I too didn’t think the Badlands lived up to their ominous name, probably because of the light snow-coating. Instead they left me with the song “Candy Man,” stuck in my head, and with a strong urge for some bundt cake.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, badlands, buttes, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, enchanted highway, fargo, gary greff, holstein, john steinbeck, landscape, medora, new salem, north dakota, pets, photos, road trip, salem sue, snow, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley, winter, world's largest cow
When I finally pulled out of Fargo, I was certain any visions of fall colors were over. No way, I figured, could any leaves still be clinging to their trees. Those winds, like a heartless gang of thieves, surely stripped them bare.
But, as Ace and I traveled west across the state, there were a few bright exceptions: groves of yellow-leafed trees — birch or aspen — that, by virtue of being tightly grouped together, still sported their fall colors.
The only way I can figure it, they were saved by the copse.
By being huddled together in a group, they – at least those not on the periphery — were able to keep their leaves a little longer. They, like early American settlers, bees in a hive and the huddled masses everywhere found safety in numbers.
You don’t hear the word “copse” that much anymore. In “Travels with Charley,” it shows up a few times. When John Steinbeck camped, it was usually in a copse, alongside a river, which is where you’ll generally find the copse — despite what you might have heard about donut shops.
Driving along, I wondered if the copse might hold some lessons for us humans, or at least remind us of some.
When pioneers set forth across America, they did so in groups, depending on each other, and each other’s skills, for their survival. When Indians attacked, pioneers circled the wagons, recognizing that forming, in effect, a copse, was the best defense. They established towns for the same reason — so neighbors would be close, so that help would never be too far away.
And long before that, cavemen and cavewomen learned — apparently from sources other than reality TV — that, by forming alliances, they could better protect themselves from the elements, evil-doers and scary creatures.
For long time Americans lived a copse-like existence. We established a home. We dropped our seed. We watched it grow. Once it did, it stayed around, mingled with other hometown trees and dropped its own seed. Children lived where parents lived. The apple didn’t fall, or roll, far from the tree; it stayed in its parent’s shadow, at least until it ended up in a pie.
Somewhere along the line, that went by the wayside. Children grew up and ventured off, carving their own paths. Mom and dad, once on the periphery of the copse, shielding us from the nasty winds, were relocated to places they can get some assistance with living.
The copse-like closeness has diminished not just in the family, but in the family of man. We’re less inclined, I think, to help each other out. Rather than thinking we’re all in this together, rather than the stronger helping the weaker, the richer helping the poorer, the franchised helping the disenfranchised, we look out for No. 1.
And the more insular we’ve become, the more we fail to stake up those in need of support, the more we turn away from those stuck out in the cold, the more robbers we produce.
In the 21st Century, when it comes to protection, we rely on the cops.
But maybe the real answer is the copse.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 30th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aspen, assistance, autumn, birch, colors, compassion, cops, copse, crime, criminal, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, fall, foliage, groups, grove, help, insular, john steinbeck, leaves, north dakota, numbers, pioneers, robbers, safety, security, shelter, society, thicket, travels with ace, travels with charley, trees, winds
He kept Rocinante rolling another 40 miles until he stumbled upon a more idyllic setting — yet another riverside camping spot, this one along the Maple River, near the sleepy little farming town of Alice. There, he just so happened to run into what would turn out to be one of the book’s more colorful characters, an itinerant Shakespearean actor.
Steinbeck would break out the coffee, and the whiskey, and listen as his flamboyant fellow camper explained that he performed Shakespeare around the country, in tents, in high schools … “wherever two or three are gathered together … With me there’s no question of doing something else. It’s all I know — all I ever have known.”
Steinbeck recounted the meeting in great detail — including how the actor unfolded a packet of aluminum foil to reveal a note he once received from John Gielgud. After that, explaining the importance of a good exit, the actor makes one.
Was the Shakesperean actor a dramatic invention in Steinbeck’s classic work of non-fiction? We’ll probably never know. But indications are, just maybe, something is rotten in the state of North Dakota.
From all existing clues, it appears Steinbeck didn’t actually sleep in the town of Alice on the night of Oct. 12, which can only lead one to wonder if the actor was real, or if, like Tom Joad in ”The Grapes of Wrath,” he was artfully concocted by the author, most of whose works were fiction.
If so, it wouldn’t be the first discrepancy between Steinbeck’s account in “Travels with Charley” and what his papers and other sources reveal about his 1960 trip.
Many of those are now being brought to light by blogger Bill Stiegerwald as he retraces Steinbeck’s route. (Bill, who we met at the begining of our trip is a good two weeks ahead of me.)
“Contrary to what he wrote so nicely and in such detail in ‘Charley,’ Steinbeck didn’t camp overnight near Alice on the Maple River or anywhere else on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 1960,” Stiegerwald concluded on his blog, Travels Without Charley. “He stayed at… in Beach, N.D., some 300-plus miles to the west.”
This, along with some of the recent stops on our own retracing of Steinbeck’s travels with Charley, brings us back to our discussion of the truth in fiction, and the fiction in truth.
We’re all for the former, but have some problems with the latter. We have nothing against using the techniques of fiction writing in non-fiction – in portraying the innate suspense of a situation, or the turmoil raging inside characters; or in skipping over the boring stuff. (Otherwise, a writer might end up boring readers with something as mundane as tossing french fries to his dog.)
But we’d argue that a reader of books, even a reader of blogs, deserves — like an eater of food — to know what he’s consuming. What sort of liberties an author of non-fiction has taken in processing the facts is information to which a reader should have access, much like a diner should be able to find out what sort of oil a fast food restaurant uses to cook its french fries.
Earlier this week, our “Travels with Ace” took us to Sauk Centre, or as Sinclair Lewis called it in his 1920 novel “Main Street,” Gopher Prairie. “Main Street,” while labeled fiction, exposed many truths about small town life — more, at least initially, than some Sauk Centre residents cared to be exposed, proving that not only does the truth hurt, but fiction can as well.
Our next, and latest, stop was Fargo, which most people know through the Coen brothers movie of same name. The movie starts off with the words: “This is a true story … At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”
But “Fargo” — whose characters were mostly portrayed as dull-witted sorts, living in a frozen wasteland — wasn’t a true story at all; rather it was a concoction of the wonderfully degenerate minds of two brothers from neighboring Minnesota.
Both the movie “Fargo” and the book “Main Street” brought some unflattering notoriety to the towns they were depicting — much like Steinbeck’s novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” offended some Oklahomans.
In addition to criticism that “The Grapes of Wrath” was too political, didn’t accurately describe the migration of farm families from the dust bowl to California, and some nitpicking that Sallisaw, the town it opens in, was not actually part of the Dust Bowl (a fairly major nit), there were those who thought the novel portrayed “Okies” as illiterate hicks.
(Possibly, that’s why when he was traveling with Charley, Steinbeck sidestepped the state of Oklahoma.)
In each case, though, once the dust settled, there was something close to a happily-ever-after ending – some acknowledgement of the truth beneath the fiction, or at least some evidence that any perceived slights were forgiven.
Sauk Centre, where Main Street now intersects with Sinclair Lewis Boulevard, has embraced Lewis, its most famous son, with an annual festival.
In Fargo, chamber of commerce types proclaim there has been “a renaissance” — not so much due to the movie itself, maybe, as to the efforts to show the world there was more to Fargo than the movie portrayed. In 2006, on the movie’s 10th anniversary, it was projected on the side of the Radisson Hotel, the city’s tallest building as part of the Fargo Film Festival.
And even Sallisaw, on the 100th anniversary of Steinbeck’s birth, started a “Grapes of Wrath” festival, though it was short-lived. It has since been replaced with the annual Diamond Daze Festival, which isn’t Steinbeck-related at all.
All of which, in addition to just being interesting, serves as proof that — as the maybe real, maybe not Shakespearean actor in “Travels with Charley” might have said — all the world really is a stage.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, actor, alice, all the world's a stage, books, charley, coen brothers, fargo, fiction, john steinbeck, liberties, license, literature, main street, minnesota, movies, non-fiction, north dakota, novels, rocinante, sauk centre, shakespeare, sinclair lewis, steinbeck, the grapes of wrath, travels with ace, travels with charley, truth