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Tag: pickup

Is new Chevrolet ad pawlitically incorrect?

Remember the old Chevrolet commercial — baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?

Well, decades later, the car company has, for the sake of selling motor vehicles, gotten around to acknowledging another piece of Americana — the dog; specifically, the dog in the pickup truck; more specifically, the dog in a Chevrolet pickup.

And that, they will find out as the new ad airs, if they haven’t yet, is some tricky ground.

It’s one of those topics that raises the hackles of animal welfare activists, some of whom who say under no conditions should a dog be riding in the bed of a pickup , some of whom say it’s acceptable if the dog is crated or restrained, all of whom say riding in the cab would be preferable.

And they are right. For safety’s sake, it probably would be.

Last week, in “Travels with Ace,” the continuing saga of the trip Ace and I are taking across America, we showed you Jake, a golden retriever in Oregon still sporting injuries he received when he tumbled out the back of a moving pickup. We did so without casting judgments or getting preachy, because our road trip is not about how dogs should live in America, only about how they do live in America.

In much of rural America, dogs are still dogs. They roam their property, and perhaps that of other’s, at their will. They chase and sometimes kill wildlife. Some even live, gasp, outside. And they ride in the back of pickups, which virtually all animal welfare organizations will tell you is a bad idea.

The Chevy ad, to its credit, doesn’t show any dogs in the beds of moving pickups, but, even so, I’m predicting it will lead to some lively debate if it airs widely.

On YouTube, it has already started — through Internet comments, gracious and civil as  always.

“Cute video, but I wish Chevy wouldn’t advocate the dogs in the back unless in a crate. Since I have seen a dog fly out of the back of a truck on a busy highway, I am traumatized for life. It should be illegal and is some places for your dog to ride loose in the bed of your truck unless you are on your own dirt road on your property with no other cars around and are willing to pay the vet bill if your dog falls out…”

“If I thought for a second my dog would ever jump out, he wouldn’t ride back there. And he doesn’t on the interstate. But on going into town, on rural country roads, and on my ranch, he will always ride in the back and he wouldn’ t have it any other way. MIND YOUR OWN F***ING BUSINESS FAG…”

“Greatest commercial! Too bad liberal know it all’s have created laws against dogs riding in truck beds! Apparently (like most libs) they know what’s best for us, and will make laws accordingly. My dog will ride in the back forever though, they can suck his hairy nuts…”

Besides reflecting how crass anonymous internet banter can get — how Internet commenting has replaced the punching bag as man’s default mode of venting hostilities — the discourse shows the cultural divide that exists in this country, one that’s not so much conservative versus liberal as it is rural America versus the rest.

It’s a generalization, but many denizens of rural America don’t want the rest of America making rules that govern their access to firearms, or how they raise their dogs — from whether they spay and neuter to letting them ride in the back of pickups.

There’s something to be said for letting a dog being a dog — as opposed to spending life on a leash or in a handbag – but is putting Rover in the back of a pickup letting a dog be a dog? In my view, it’s courting disaster.

Yet, while many experts also advise that dogs in cars be crated or restrained, Ace is traveling acoss the country unrestrained in the back of my Jeep.

Maybe that’s why I don’t come down harder on dogs in pickups; maybe it’s a degree of respect for rural ways; or maybe it’s because the surest way to make people become more entrenched in a bad habit is to tell them they can’t do it anymore.

Roadside Encounters: Jake

Name: Jake

Breed: Golden retriever

Age: 2

Encountered: Sitting in the back of a pickup truck, outside the Paradise Cafe in Port Orford, Oregon.

Backstory: We spotted Jake, patiently waiting in the rain for his master, when we pulled in for some breakfast at the Paradise Cafe. I snapped a quick picture and went inside, taking a seat at the counter — as it turned out, right next to Jake’s owner.

It was a homey little eatery, where regulars have their own coffee cups, lined up on a shelf, and, rather than numerous individual conversations, there’s just one big one, between staff and customers, from table to table. Someone at the counter might say something, and then someone three tables away would chime in. It’s a small town thing.

Jake’s a fine dog, his owner told me while finishing off his breakfast — and not as old as he looks. He had to have his face shaved so he could be stitched up a few weeks ago after he fell out the back of the moving truck.

Despite that, Jake still rides in the back of the truck.

His owner told me that he named Jake after the dog in the song, “Feed Jake,” by the Pirates of the Mississippi.

“It’s a cool song, it’s got bums and hookers and everything,” he said.

I had only a vague recollection of the song, so I looked it up on YouTube:

Is 3-year sentence justice for Buddy?

040110_Buddy_the_dog_2_680x480Steven Clay Romero, the man who dragged a dog named Buddy to his death at the Colorado National Monument, received the maximum sentence of three years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Romero, 38, of Grand Junction, will spend three years in federal prison, followed by 12 months of supervised parole for aggravated animal cruelty in the dog’s death Dec. 30, 2009, the Montrose Press reported.

He also was fined $500 and ordered to pay $343 in restitution to Buddy’s owners.

The dog, reported stolen from the back of a pickup truck in Delta, Colorado, was found with a rope tied around his neck at the monument. Surveillance photos and marks in the snow indicated Buddy had been dragged behind a pickup truck while still alive.

Romero’s sister, Melissa Lockhart, 32, is charged as an accessory after the fact to aggravated animal cruelty for allegedly attempting to cover up Buddy’s death. Conviction could bring up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A theft complaint filed against her for stealing the dog was dismissed June 10, court records show.

The torture and killing of Buddy triggered a Facebook site, Demand Justice For Buddy, which as of Friday had 267,713 members.

Sister of alleged dog dragger arrested

The sister of the man accused of torturing and killing Buddy, a German shepherd who was dragged for miles behind a pick-up truck, now faces charges of stealing the dog the day before it died.

The sister, Melissa Lockhart, 32, told police she took the dog and another one because she thought they had been abandoned, the Denver Post reports.

Lockart, of Fruita, faces felony theft charges. Her brother, Steven Clay Romero, faces animal cruelty charges after Buddy was found dead Dec. 30 at Colorado National Monument with a rope around his neck.

Investigators say the dog was dragged about two miles before it died.

Police say Buddy and another dog were taken Dec. 29 from the bed of a truck in downtown Delta. A witness wrote down Lockhart’s license plate number. 

In federal court Monday, Romero told U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird Milburn that he has been harassed in jail by other inmates since his arrest Thursday. Romero is being held without bond in the Mesa County Jail and has been appointed a public defender.

Lockhart, who surrendered to police Saturday, was released on a $5,000 bond.

An online petition demanding the maximum three-year penalty be imposed on Romero if convicted has gathered nearly 16,000 signatures.

Kennel owner undertakes new service

Hoping to breathe new life into his business, a Colorado kennel owner bought an old  hearse and converted it into a pet limo, adding pick-up and delivery to the services he offers pooches.

Merle Maser, owner of Land of Ah’s Kennel in Fountain, spruced up the old funeral limo with a paint job and uses it to deliver animals to and from the kennel at a cost of one dollar per mile.

Arrest made in Colorado dog dragging case

romero“I don’t get it,”  Steven Clay Romero said when ordered held without bond  yesterday on charges of killing a dog by dragging it behind a pickup truck for two miles at  the Colorado National Monument.

Here’s hoping, if convicted, he does get it — and all else he might deserve.

Romero, 37, of Fruita, Colo., is scheduled for a detention hearing and arraignment Monday afternoon.

Upon Romero’s expression of bewilderment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer rose from her seat at the bail hearing, walked toward Romero and tossed a copy of the charges on the table in front of him, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Romero, who told U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird Milburn that he is a truck driver, expressed concern about sitting in jail over the weekend.

“So, in other words I’ll be sitting in jail and probably lose my job, too?” Romero asked Milburn.

“Yes,” the judge answered.

According to an arrest affidavit, after the dogs dragged body was found, a review of video surveillance at a park entrance showed a double-cab pickup entering the park early Wednesday with a dog and exiting 12 minutes later without one.

The affidavit said the dog, a shepherd-blue heeler mix named Buddy, had been stolen in Delta by an associate of Romero’s and taken to a home in Fruita where Romero was staying.

A resident of Delta recognized the dog from a photo of his body online and contacted authorities. A witness to the dog’s theft provided officials with a license plate number, which led them to a home in Fruita where Romero was staying. National Park Service rangers went to the Fruita home and found paw prints in the snow in the front yard and rope similar to that used to tie the dog to the truck.

The rangers interviewed Romero’s sister, who told them Romero said he was going to kill the dog. “She stated he left with the dog late last night and returned home a half hour later without it,” the affidavit said. The affidavit makes no mention of a motive for killing the dog.

A news release from monument officials said Romero was arrested Thursday morning at the Mesa County Justice Center after he appeared for an unrelated criminal case. He faces a maximum three years in prison, a fine up to $100,000 and a year of mandatory parole if convicted on a federal charge of felony cruelty to animals.

Romero was arrested six times in the past seven years by police in Montrose and Grand Junction on a variety of charges, including weapons offenses, traffic violations and drug distribution, according to court records.

(For subsequent posts and all of our coverage of Buddy, click here.)

Two dogs found shot between the eyes

Two pet dogs were found shot to death Sunday — execution style, authorities said — in Pennsbury Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

A woman walking in the woods came upon the bodies of Emma and Luna, laid out tail to tail “like bookends,” along the railroad tracks, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The dogs had been reported missing Saturday from a family farm three miles from where they were found, according to Rich Britton, spokesman for the Chester County SPCA.

Each had been shot once between the eyes.

“The dogs were placed with their backs to the tracks and their tails towards each other,” Britton said. “These were two young dogs – one was two; the other, a year and a half. It breaks your heart that anyone could do this.”

Neighbors reported seeing a red Ford 150 pickup truck in the area around the time the animals disappeared. Authorities are seeking that vehicle, and ask that anyone with knowledge of it call 610-692-6113, ext. 213.

The pets had the run of a 100-acre farm, Britton said, and there were no known issues with neighbors.

The SPCA is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Dirty politics: Do we smell a smear campaign?

Another tale from the not-so-good neighbor department:

Police in St. Cloud, Minnesota, have ticketed a man for ”unlawful dumping” after he admitted to being the culprit who had been placing small bags of dog feces in the back of his neighbor’s pick up truck — all because it was adorned with a McCain sign.

Police said Donald Esmay, 19, of St. Cloud, told radio station KNSI-AM that he’d been finding small baggies of dog feces in the back of his pickup truck for the past few weeks — ever since he put a 2-foot-by-4-foot McCain sign there.

He and his family watched the truck trying to catch the culprit, but didn’t have any luck until Wednesday when his mother and brother saw someone from the neighborhood, according to an Associated Press report.

They confronted the 45-year-old man, who admitted to it. When police later spoke with the man, he said he did it because he “hates McCain.”

The unlawful dumping ticket comes with a $183 fine.