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Tag: one thousand dollars

Steve Martin and his dog need your help

Steve Martin wrote a song for his dog Wally.

You can download it for free here.

Now he wants a music video made of it. But being a busy, much-in-demand superstar, he doesn’t have time to do one himself.

“That’s where you come in,” he says. Steve Martin is inviting the public to create a music video for his song, “Wally on the Run.”

The best video — as chosen by him — wins $1,000. The only requirement is that the video have a dog, or lots of dogs, in it.

After making your video, you’ll need to join the Motionmaker program here, and upload your video here.

The deadline is Dec. 1. All the official terms and conditions can be found here.

City Council votes to lower leash law fine

Baltimore’s City Council tonight approved lowering the fine for leash law violations from $1,000 to $200 for a first offense.

Subsequent offenses would carry fines of $400 and $600.

A city council committee recommended the changes after a hearing held last week.

The council also voted to lower the fine for failing to clean up dog waste from $1,000 to $200.

Councilman James Kraft said he would try to get Mayor Sheila Dixon to sign the legislation tomorrow.

The higher penalties went into effect in February. Though they were approved by the city council, several members say they voted for them inadvertently while approving broad changes in the city’s dog law.

Complaints about the higher fines surfaced after animal control officers began handing out $1,000 citations in March. At least 35 were issued, but city officials say those citations will revert to the lower fine.

The council also approved giving the Recreation and Parks Department authority to designate leash-free areas and hours at city parks.

Say Chow (or ciao) to those $1,000 fines


Baltimore’s $1,000 fine for letting a dog of its leash is, effectively, a thing of the past — if even that.

A city council committee yesterday — saying the amended penalty was passed by mistake — approved lowering the fine to $200 on a first offense, and promised that, for all 35 of the $1,000 tickets issued between the beginning of April and May 8, violators will have to pay no more than $200.

The new three-tiered fine — $200 for first offense, $400 for a second, $600 for a third — still requires approval by the full council, but little opposition is expected.

In opening the hearing, at which more than a dozen dog owners testified, Council Member James Kraft said, “This fine, very frankly … was a mistake. We were amending provisions of the law that were dealing with cruelty to animals and we increased penalties because some of these penalties were very old penalties. They weren’t acting as deterrents.

“Inadvertently, because that section had a lot of other provisions in it, that thousand dollar fine went across a much broader spectrum than we knew.”

Upon learning of what they had done, Kraft said, the council took steps to ask that the fine not be levied against violators.

Nevertheless, 35 $1,000 citations were handed out by the city’s office of Animal Control, with support from the police department — 23 of them since April 28.

“For those who have said that maybe this was a fundraising measure on behalf of the city, please be advised it clearly was not,” Kraft said.

Read more »

Leash law hearing is tomorrow

Reminder: A Baltimore City Council committee takes up the subject of leash laws at a 9 a.m. meeting in City Hall tomorrow (Tuesday).

The hearing, before the council’s Judiciary & Legislative Investigations Committee, was originally scheduled for April 28, but was postponed after a water main break forced City Hall to be emptied.

The council is reconsidering the $1,000 fine it approved for unleashed dogs earlier this year, leading to an outcry by some dog owners who say it’s excessive, especially in a city with only one small dog park. (A second, and the first the city has helped fund, is expected to open by fall.) Also to be presented at the hearing, before the council’s Judiciary & Legislative Investigations Committee, is an amendment to allow the city’s director of Recreation and Parks to enact off-leash hours at city parks. The meeting is in the City Council Chambers on the 4th floor of City Hall. (A picture ID required for admission to City Hall.)

As of this weekend, an online petition calling for a reduction of the fine had more than 1,500 signatures.

Will dog lovers give up on Baltimore?

Anne Madison, an ohmidog! friend and correspondent, provided us with a copy of a letter she has sent to her city councilman, James Kraft.

As it so articulately sums up the concerns and feelings of many dog owners — both in regards to the recent increases in fines and the city’s overall lack of dog-friendliness — we’re reprinting it here in its entirety:

(A City Council committee is holding a hearing on the fine for unleashed dogs today –10 a.m., on the fourth floor of City Hall — and is considering lowering the fine from $1,000 to $250 for a first offense.)

Dear Councilman Kraft:

I have been a resident of Baltimore for almost thirty years, and for the past twenty have resided in your district. My husband and I own a rescued purebred Beagle who was acquired by us as the direct result of two violent crimes–a burglary and a home invasion in which my then 80-year-old mother was seriously injured by criminals who robbed her. While not an “attack dog” by any means, the dog provides us with security and peace of mind by barking appropriately and alertly when anyone comes into our space. My husband works on the third shift, and our dog provides additional comfort and security for me because I do not need to feel I am alone at night. Frankly, after what happened to my mother, it was buy a dog or buy a gun. We chose the sane and non-violent alternative.

We are responsible dog owners. Our dog is exercised on leash in the neighborhood or off leash at the Canton Dog Park, which as you know was built through the efforts and fundraising of the dog-loving community members of Canton. Our dog is properly vaccinated for rabies and other canine diseases. He is microchipped. We acquire and pay for the correct license each year from the city. He is neutered.

I am appalled by the punitive animal control fines recently enacted by the City Government for various transgressions that are, to be blunt, fairly minor. I am stunned by the fact that one careless failure to “scoop the poop” or one lonely afternoon of dog “separation anxiety” can net a fine TWICE THE AMOUNT of that levied against someone running a dog fight or running an unlicensed boarding facility or (as it appears) hoarding animals or running a puppy mill.

What was the City Government thinking? It appears at first glance that you may have chronicled the impression that this was some sort of untapped revenue source there for the taking. It appears at first glance that you, the members of the City Council, care more about rolling in the bucks than you do about the welfare and well-being of either the city’s human or animal population. We’ve heard a great deal of hoopla about dog parks in various areas of the city–but there’s been little action. People in the Patterson Park area have been trying for seven years to get some small area of that vast expanse set aside for their use. Apparently giant balloon-like skating structures and asphalt tennis courts are “attractive” but a fenced dog park is “not attractive.” It appears that the “Friends of Patterson Park” aren’t actually friends to all.

You should be aware that average, working, tax-paying, bill-paying people regard dog ownership as a quality-of-life issue. When the quality of life gets too poor, or the cost of living in the city becomes too burdensome, people flee their city homes for the suburbs or the country. To be honest, we’re at the point where if a friend asked us whether to move to Baltimore City or one of the surrounding counties, we’d seriously advise that person not to come here.

While I am on the subject, I found it singularly unattractive that someone sent two Baltimore City police officers to make their presence felt at the recent MD SPCA March for the Animals at Druid Hill Park. Frankly, Mr. Kraft, it was bad PR. It had the appearance that they were looking out for tickets they could issue. I hope the event will be relocated to a county park next year.

I urge you and the other City Council members to reconsider these outrageous fines.There should be warnings and progressively larger tickets to weed out people who genuinely don’t care. And you should punish animal abusers just as severely or more severely. While you are at it, it is past time to make a move towards reasonable off-leash exercise areas in various parts of the city. Tomorrow’s hearing provides the City Council with a golden opportunity to set things right. Please do your part to see that they avail themselves of it.


Anne Madison

(Photo by Anne Madison)

Petition urges lower fine, and off leash options

Petitions to reduce Baltimore city’s $1,000 leash law fine, and urge the city to provide options for dogs to excercise while off leash are now circulating in the city and on the Internet.

To sign the petition online, click here.

The petition supports a measure to reduce the $1,000 fine, and also calls upon the city to establish more dog parks and provide off-leash hours in city parks. Both matters are to come before the City Council at its 10 a.m. meeting Tuesday.

The petition reads as follows:

This petition supports the significant lowering of dog fines as introduced on April 20, 2009 by Baltimore City Council ordinance 09-0322, titled “Leash Law- Environmental and Civil Citations FOR THE PURPOSE of reducing certain civil penalties for violating animal control law requirements for leashes or other restraints; and providing for a special effective date.” Additionally, we encourage the City Council to quickly introduce additional (legislation) that will make Baltimore City more dog-friendly through new programs such as off-leash hours in public green areas and dog parks.

We, the undersigned, protest the recent January 2009 Leash Law tied to escalated fines and support the counter-ordinance 09-0322 that proposes significantly reduced fines, currently scheduled for a vote by the City Council of Baltimore at 10:00 a.m. on April 28, 2009.

As an active citywide community representing citizens of all ages, races and economic backgrounds, we share a love of our dogs—pets we responsibly exercise in public spaces. The recent dramatic increase of Baltimore City’s off-leash fines has successfully united us to petition for a variety of public opportunities to maximize dog-owning residents to responsibly use and enjoy Baltimore’s public green areas, just as major American cities have offered citizens for decades.

Read more »

2 parks, 2 plans, 2 bars, 2night


From the shores (yeah, right) of Riverside to the uppermost reaches of Upper Fells Point, Baltimore dog lovers will be coming together tonight to push their plans to find a time or place for their dogs to run in a city that offers few such opportunities.

Sparked by the city’s move to increase the penalty for leash law violations to $1,000, two park-specific groups will hold meetings — at neighborhood bars, of course — to move forward with plans that, while different, share the same goal.

Those who have been trying for years to have a fenced-in dog park established within massive Patterson Park will be holding a 6:30 p.m. meeting at Three, a bar and restaurant located at the corner of E. Baltimore and S. Linwood.

Another group of concerned dog owners who frequent Riverside Park, in South Baltimore, will be meeting at 8 p.m., at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Ave., to discuss asking the city to set aside certain hours at the park during which well-behaved dogs are allowed to be off-leash.

The Riversiders were spurred into action by the city’s increased fine for violating the leash law, and apparent increased enforcement of the law so far this spring. The new fines also fired up Patterson Parkers to refocus on the their effort.

The city council, which approved the increased fine, is now reconsidering it, and a hearing on a proposal to lower it will be held Tuesday, April 28th, at 10 a.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

While the city has recognized a need for more dog parks — and plans to open the first city-funded one in Locust Point this year — other efforts to establish them have historically met with bureaucracy and delays.

In announcing that the city would fund the construction of the dog park in Locust Point, Mayor Sheila Dixon promised as many as eight dog parks in Baltimore. So far, no others have been announced.

With the higher fines, the lack of alternatives and the tight leash the city keeps on efforts to start dog parks, it seems that dog people, taking a lesson from their dogs, are ready to pick up the ball and run with it.