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Tag: regulations

How many dogs can a dog walker walk?

dogwalker

How many dogs should a dog walker walk at once?

After half a century as an amateur dog walker, and three months as a professional one, I’m prepared to give a qualified answer to that question.

It depends on the dogs. It depends on the dog walker. But three at a time should be plenty.

Many a dog walker might scoff at that — and view the idea of limiting the number of dogs a person can walk at one time as cutting into their profit margin.

It would be nice if dog walking was the one industry in the world not obsessed with upping its profits. But it’s not.

Many dog walkers balked when San Francisco — one of very few cities that regulates professional dog walkers — suggested limiting them to walking no more than eight dogs at once.

I can’t imagine doing that.

I can’t even imagine walking all three of the small dogs I walk for residents of at an assisted living facility all at once.

bgdogs 042Their leashes would get tangled, I’d trip and fall, and, given a couple of them tend to snarf up anything that resembles food — including Punkin, the handsome Boston Terrier to your left – I wouldn’t be able to monitor all three at once.

So — even though it takes three times as long — I opt for walking them one at a time. Bean counters and efficiency experts would say that’s stupid of me.

But then again, I’m 60, and not as agile and speedy, maybe, as once I was.

Here’s a news item that came out of Mill Valley, just up the road from San Francisco, this week:

A 71-year-old dog walker who fell more than 200 feet down a ravine in California was found by rescuers — with all six dogs she was walking huddled around her.

Carol Anderson fell into the ravine near a remote fire road during a storm Tuesday in Mill Valley, KTVU reported.

It’s not clear from news reports whether all six dogs fell with her, but she did manage to hold on to her cell phone during the tumble, and use it to contact one of her dog walking clients.

A Mill Valley Fire Department official said Anderson told the client, “I fell down, I don’t know where I’m at. I have the dogs. I’m dizzy. I’m nauseous, come help me.”

Authorities were able to track her down through her cell phone signals. The first rescuers to arrive found all six dogs curled up around her, which authorities said probably protected her from the cold. Firefighters climbed into the ravine and hoisted Anderson back up.

Anderson was hospitalized in fair condition. All the dogs were returned safely to their owners

It wasn’t the first time the dog walker has run into some bad luck.

In 2007, three of seven dogs Anderson had been walking — all at once — all got sick and died, just hours later, from what turned out to be strychnine poisoning intended to exterminate gophers.

After a morning walk on the Alta Trail above Marin City, the three dogs experienced high fevers and seizures. Two died at an area pet hospital, and a third was dead on arrival.

Walking six, seven, eight or more dogs at once strikes me as asking for trouble — no matter how well behaved the dogs are, or how experienced and physically fit the dog walker is.

I don’t think the rest of the country needs to go all San Francisco and regulate the industry. Dog owners can do that themselves, simply by asking, or insisting if necessary, that their dog not be walked in a group the size of a baseball team, or jury.

The dog walker who refuses to comply with such a request is probably more of a money seeker than a dog lover and may be better off avoided anyway.

(Top photo, a dog walker in San Francisco, by Mike Koozmin/ San Francisco Examiner; bottom photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)

Gov. McCrory shows his soft side

While he’s not viewed as particularly warm and cuddly by Democrats — at least when it comes to helping humans in need — N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory says he wants the public to adopt abandoned and mistreated dogs, and he and the first lady are opening up the governor’s mansion (or at least its yard) for an adoption event tomorrow.

McCrory is shown in this News & Observer video petting a pomeranian, seized in a recent puppy mill bust in Pender County.

Lexi will be among as many as 30 dogs — some coming from as far away as Greensboro and Charlotte to attend — who will be available for adoption at the event, which runs from 10:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m. Saturday

While it seems odd protocol for an adoption event, anyone wishing to attend is asked to RSVP by today — by emailing eventrsvp@nc.gov.

The governor and first lady Ann McCrory are also promoting a bill to set minimum standards for breeding operations.

While the proposal isn’t too tough, relative to measures passed in other states, it sets standards ensuring that dogs have daily exercise, fresh food and water, shelter and veterinary care at breeding operations with at least 10 females.

The measure passed the House but didn’t get heard in the Senate before it recessed. The General Assembly reconvenes in May.

“I’m not going to give up on the bill,” the governor said at the press conference announcing the adoption event Wednesday. ”This dog issue is not a Democratic or Republican issue — it’s an independent issue for every one of us.”

The McCrorys have one dog, Moe, who lives at their Charlotte residence.

Kanab: Overflowing with dog friendliness

Kanab, Utah is by and large a dog-friendly town. About a third of its motels permit dogs, as do most of the restaurants with outdoor dining. You can hardly drive down the main street of this one-stoplight town without seeing someone walking a dog.

It’s the headquarters of Best Friends, the world’s largest animal sanctuary. It’s in Utah, a place  whose major religion has so many rules, state and local governments don’t feel obliged to constantly come up with new ones (though I’m told there’s a two-dog limit in Kanab proper). And it’s in the west, free and open, where a man can be a man, and a dog can be a dog. Many an old-time western was filmed in the surrounding hills and canyons.

But even here, there’s truly “dog-friendly,” and there’s “well, ok, since nearly half of American homes have dogs, and more people are vacationing with dogs, we’ll put up with them because we’ll make more money that way.”

Which brings me to yesterday’s shoot-out. It was just one of words, left on notes, attached to my motel room door.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary doesn’t permit volunteers to bring their own dogs, and for legitimate reasons. Making things more incovenient, there are no kennels in town, just a couple of pet sitters. It would make enormous good sense — given the number of visitors, some who come to town with dogs — for either Best Friends or some entrepreneurial type to establish a kennel and day care business nearby. (Note to self: add that to the possible future careers list.)

Anyway, given those circumstances, when I reported for duty at Best Friends, I left Ace in my air conditioned room at the Bob-Bon Inn, where, judging from the autographed photos on the lobby wall, most of the cowboy stars you’ve heard of, and many you haven’t, stayed — back when they were alive.

I left a note on the door of my room that there was a dog inside, and that I didn’t need my room cleaned, and I came back to check on Ace and take him for a walk around lunchtime before returning to Best Friends for a couple more hours.

When I returned to the motel late in the afternoon, another note had joined mine. It said:

Sure enough, their written rules had specified just that (without the exclamation points), but somehow in my Internet search for a dog-friendly room, bouncing between five or six motel websites, I’d missed that.

Ace, of course, caused no trouble. He didn’t bark, or soil the new carpets (though the overflowing toilet came close to doing that yesterday morning). Even though the room, nice as it was, was only the size of a prison cell, Ace was content to peacefully hang out in the air conditioning.

That night, fortunately, I was scheduled to meet a member of the Best Friends staff for dinner at a dog-friendly restaurant. And this time, at the Rocking V Cafe, the dog friendliness was real. The first thing Terrah, our waitress, did was to check and make sure there was water in the dog bowl, provided at every outdoor table, and bring out some dog treats.

Then she fell in love with Ace. Then all the other diners fell in love with Ace. As usual, he stopped traffic, made friends and, except for a few pedestrians who veered around him, made people happy. It was a true dog-friendly experience — so much better than the phony variety.

(Willow Canyon, an outdoor gear, book and coffee shop, also passes the dog-friendly test, and I’m told Laid Back Larry’s, a vegetarian restaurant/coffee place on Highway 89, is also an especially dog-friendly venue.)

After dinner, Ace and I walked downtown, then returned to the motel. I had planned to ask to stay a third night, but, in light of the exclamation points, I decided not too, leaving my key in the room and checking out quietly and without confrontation.

Unfortunately, I left behind a clogged toilet — which I’d say is the fault of the plumbing not me. As much as the proprietors probably fear dog waste, they were left with the human variety. I briefly thought about going to the office and asking for a plunger.

But I’m a motel guest! Not a plumber!

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

Citizens push for off-leash hours in Denver

A citizens’ initiative in Denver would, if voters approved, allow dogs to be off leash in sections of almost all of the city’s parks from 5 to 9 a.m.

Proposed by Ronald “Byron” Williams, and still requiring the city’s approval, the initiative would go on the ballot in November if Williams is able to collect 4,000 signatures on petitions.

“We’re considered to be an extremely dog-friendly city, and we need to live up to that and do something about it,” Williams told the Denver Daily News.

Williams began work on the initiative after becoming frustrated with the lack of dog parks in Denver. He believes designated leash free hours would be a good compromise, allowing dogs some time romp off leash while not significantly impacting those using the parks for other reasons.

The city considered and scrapped a similar plan earlier after complaints from nearby neighborhood groups.

Denver is now working on a “dog park master plan,” a final version of which is expected to be approved this month.

“ The plan would implement a fee for existing dog parks, use that money to pay for additional park rangers who could write tickets for people who illegally have their dogs off-leash, and identify possible new areas that could be used for off-leash dog parks,” the Daily News reported.

At first glance, that seems more like plan to build revenue than to provide some running room for dogs.

Williams initiative, if approved, would likely lead to more immediate, and less expensive, results and make Denver — except for that nasty pit bull ban — a dog-friendlier city.

Doggie dining gets closer for Frederick

dog-at-the-restaurantMaryland’s  House of Delegates has approved a proposal that would allow dogs in the outdoor dining areas of restaurants in Frederick County.

An identical measure passed the Senate, but one of the bills still has to be approved by the other chamber before landing on the governor’s desk.

The measure lets Frederick County Commissioners create an exception to silly state health regulations that ban dogs — except service dogs — from dining areas, both indoors and out.

Allowing dogs at restaurants has been touted as a way to increase tourism in downtown Frederick, especially at the Downtown Frederick Partnership’s event, Dog Days of Summer, according to the Frederick News-Post.

If the bill becomes law, county commissioners would need to enact an ordinance or regulation to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas.

The bill passed the House of Delegates 130-3 with delegates Charles Jenkins of Frederick County, Emmett Burns and Stephen Lafferty opposed.

Wisconsin passes puppy mill bill

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle on Tuesday signed a bill to regulate large-scale dog breeding facilities — a measure he hopes will bring an end to the state’s reputation as a magnet for puppy mills.

“Frankly, when it comes to regulating dog breeders, we have fallen short of many other states – until today,” Doyle said. “We can’t allow these bad actors to continue these practices here in Wisconsin.”

The bill passed the legislature unanimously in November and requires breeders who sell three litters or 25 or more dogs a year to get licensed by the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The law also sets regulations to ensure dogs get adequate food, water and exercise and are provided safe enclosures. The department will inspect the facilities and can revoke licenses and impose penalties on breeders.

“The puppy mills won’t disappear overnight simply because of the new law,” Eilene Ribbens, executive director of the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, said. “It will take years of work to clean up after a very cruel and abusive industry that flourished in Wisconsin during years with no regulation. We have much work ahead of us.”

The Humane Society of the United States said Wisconsin joins nine other states that passed new laws this year to protect both the dogs in puppy mills and the consumers who often unwittingly purchase sick puppies.

In addition to Wisconsin, bills to regulate puppy mills were enacted by the 2009 state legislatures in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington, according to a HSUS press release.

Dog rules re-examined after death on trail

losalamoscreektrailA freak accident in San Jose has the city re-examining its dog rules, particularly those governing bicyclists riding with dogs on trails.

A meeting was held Wednesday after the death of Beverly Head, who fell on the popular Los Alamitos Creek trail after her legs became wrapped up in the leash of a Siberian husky running alongside a cyclist.

Head, a 62-year-old phlebotomist, initially remained conscious after the Sept. 16 fall, even speaking with the bicyclist until paramedics came, but she died the next day, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The bicyclist — who was riding with two Siberian huskies — has not come forward and the Head family is offering a $5,000 reward for his identity. The death has been ruled an accident.

“This is a horribly tragic accident, but we can’t legislate accidents,” said Justin Grosso, a San Jose resident who argued at the meeting that additional rules aren’t necessary. Others favored new city laws addressing the issue.

Suggestions included adding more signs on the trails, separating trails for walkers and bicyclists, and banning leashes more than 6 feet long.

About 125 people attended the meeting, which was convened by San Jose Councilwoman Nancy Pyle. The city’s current laws require that owners keep their dogs “under control” at all times and keep them on leashes of up to 20 feet in city parks.

“We’re here to get ideas from the public so that shared trails don’t become hazardous, and we can find ways to coexist,” she said.


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