There’s a rising star in the North Carolina legislature, and she has four legs.
A miniature Pomeranian named Diva comes to work every day at the General Assembly with her owners, Republican representative Nathan Ramsey and his wife, Robin Ramsey, a legislative assistant — and the fuzzy four-pound dog is said to be developing quite a following.
The Ramseys, who live on a farm in Fairview during the off-season, say they started bringing Diva to work in February, because they thought she’d be lonely staying at the condo they reside in while in Raleigh.
Since then, she’s shown herself to be a valuable asset, both a diplomat and a crowd-drawer.
“… In a short time, the taffy-colored rescue pup has arguably become the most chased after creature at the legislative building. Walk in on any given day and you’ll see a steady stream of bipartisan visitors knocking on the Ramseys’ office door,” North Carolina Public Radio station WUNC (91.5 FM) reported.
“It certainly opened the door to more visitors, which is good,” said Robin Ramsey.
On building tours for visiting schoolchildren, Diva’s office has become a regular stop — and, we’d guess, one of the more exciting ones.
“I make it a point to stop by,” said Democrat Rick Glazier of Fayetteville. “You can’t leave after playing with Diva and talking to the Ramseys unhappy or in a bad mood, and that is not always true around here.”
Ramsey, a former county commissioner, says Diva helps breaks the ice and cut through frosty exteriors. And he suspects she has helped him garner support for at least a couple of measures he has introduced.
“A lot of this is about relationships, and really, unless you’re a seat-mate with someone, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to reach across the aisle,” he said. “You don’t develop relationships by sitting in a committee meeting. You have to find out about other people’s lives and families and get to know them in more depth.”
Speaker of the House Thom Tillis recently stopped by Ramsey’s office with his boxer, Ike. A spokesman for the speaker reported the get-together was ”like many meetings in this building — more sniffing around than anything else.”
Back home on the family dairy farm, Diva likes to spend her time circling the baby calf pen.
She likes to round things up, Ramsey says, and those skills seem to have translated from barnyard to state house.
(Photo by Jessica Jones / WUNC)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, diva, dog, dogs, dogs and politics, fairview, fans, farm, general assembly, ice breaker, legislature, nathan ramsey, north carolina, pets, politics, pomeranian, raleigh, representative, republican, robin ramsey, state house, visitors, workplace
House Bill 956 would create a new “aggressive dog” classification for pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, chows, Presa Canarios, wolf hybrids and any dogs “that are predominantly” a mix of those, WRAL reports.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, said of those breeds, ”I don’t want to say those were the ones with the most incidents, but they were the most prevalent by the feedback that I’ve gotten.”
In other words, the proposed legislation doesn’t let facts get in the way.
Under the bill, prospective “aggressive breed” owners would have to undergo a criminal background check, apply and pay for a special state permit, notify their property insurer, and take a 4-hour education course before adopting, buying, or “otherwise taking possession of” one of the dogs.
Moore said the idea was brought to him by a concerned constituent.
“There needs to be some kind of accountability,” Moore said. “A lot of people breed them the wrong way. You have very harsh incidents of these dogs maiming children, maiming older folks, and sometimes even turning on their owner.”
The bill calls for county sheriff’s to provide the criminal background checks and report the findings to the state Department of Insurance. It would have the authority to deny a permit to anyone whose background check “is not suitable for the ownership of a dog belonging to an aggressive dog breed.”
The “aggressive dog permit” could cost as much as $25. Under the bill, the Department of Insurance could require additional insurance coverage be taken out by owners of the dogs.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about it, saying I’m trying to blacklist these dogs, and that’s not the intent,” Moore said. “It’s just to let people take responsibility for owning those breeds.”
The representative’s email address is Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, background checks, bill, breeds, charlotte, chow, dog, dogs, fee, hb 956, house bill 956, insurance, law, legislature, mastiff, mixes, north carolina, ownership, permit, pets, pit bull, presa canario, proposal, representative, restrict, rodney moore, rottweiler, wolf hybrid
A state representative in Tennessee has removed a video from her YouTube channel that showed her holding her dog outside the window of a moving car and laughing as it went “air swimming.”
State Rep. Julia Hurley took the video down two days after posting it, but insisted — sounding a little like Mitt Romney talking about Seamus — that Pepper, a Chinese crested, enjoys being held out into the wind, outside of a fast moving car.
Hurley, who’s seeking a second term, said she removed the video because she “didn’t want to deal with” criticism she calls politically motivated. “I think it’s a liberal ploy to take the attention off the bills and the legislation I’ve passed and the positive things I’ve done, to make me look like a bad person,” the Lenoir City Republican said.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Hurley’s short video titled “Pepper Air Swims” was pulled two days after being posted on YouTube.
The newspaper wrote about the video after being contacted by the Rev. Peggy Blanchard, who criticized the video in an email. “I find Ms. Hurley’s behavior to be extremely unkind and irresponsible. While Ms. Hurley and her friend are laughing and having fun, the dog is clearly terrified.”
“This sort of behavior exhibited by a person who has a position of leadership sets a very poor example of behavior for both adults and children,” Blanchard wrote.
Hurley countered, “My dog obviously enjoys it. She’s very happy.” Still, she said, the backlash could lead her to stop posting social media updates.
“People say they want a legislator they can relate to, they want an open-door policy and know everything that’s going on,” she said. “But you try to give them that, and they use it against you to try to make you look like a bad person.”
Pepper was the subject of previous media attention when the lawmaker was thrown out of the Roane County courthouse for bringing her dog along in March. She argued that the 11-pound dog is classified as a service animal, though she brought the pet along as a companion.
Upon her election to the House in 2010, Hurley drew national attention for crediting her success to the time she spent working at Hooters restaurants, in a two-page article for the chain’s magazine.
She was the subject of another embarassing video, as well, when a state trooper pulled her over in 2011 for speeding, and a dashboard camera recorded the hard time she gave the officer about the ticket she received. Here’s that video:
(Photo: Erik Schelzig / Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: air swimming, animals, car, car surfing, chinese crested, criticism, cruelty, dog, dogs, held, highway, highway patrol, hooters, hurley, julia, pepper, pets, representative, republican, road, romney, roof, seamus, speeding, state, tennessee, ticket, traffic, window
Disabled vets and homeless pets would be brought together for the mutual benefit of both under legislation recently passed by the House and now headed to the Senate.
The legislation would create a pilot program that trains shelter dogs to provide therapy to help treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other war-related mental health conditions.
The House unanimously passed a package of veterans’ health care legislation that included the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act, introduced by Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.
“As a veteran, and an American, I am thrilled that this legislation has passed the House, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass it without delay, so that it can be signed into law and allow us to begin providing assistance to our returning veterans,” said Grimm, a Marine combat veteran from Operation Desert Storm.
The many potential benefits of the program were outlined by Michael Markarian on his Humane Society Legislative Fund blog, Political Animal:
“For wounded warriors and disabled veterans, caring for a pet can help them re-enter society and minimize stress and depression. Service dogs can also reduce the suicide rate among veterans, and provide other critical help—such as letting them know when it’s time to take medication, waking them from terrifying nightmares, or detecting changes in their breathing, perspiration, or scent to ward off panic attacks. Such benefits can decrease the number of hospitalizations, and lower the cost of medications and human care…”
“Our veterans need and deserve every opportunity to heal. This innovative legislation gives the wonderful dogs in shelters a chance to live and to serve by helping to heal the stresses and wounds so many soldiers battle when they come home.”
The bill would establish a pilot program in VA medical centers for educating veterans with mental health conditions in the art and science of assistance dog training and handling. It directs the secretary of Veterans Affairs to “consider dogs residing in animal shelters or foster homes for participation in the program.”
The Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act — one of six bills combined into a larger veteran’s health care bill — was the first Rep. Grimm introduced as a member of Congress, and his first bill to pass the House, according to a press release from his office.
(Photo: Courtesy of the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, bill, congress, disabilities, disabled, dogs, health care, house, michael grimm, new york, pets, pilot, post traumatic stress disorder, program, ptsd, representative, shelter, therapy, therapy dogs, veterans, veterans dog training therapy act, war
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of some our dog-blogging peers.
Foley Monster, a highly respected Yorkshire terrier whose blog is among those on our recommended reading list (see blogroll in our right hand column) has apologized to constituents for Tweeting photos of her crotch area.
In a statement issued last week Foley Monster (A) denied the photo circulating through Twitter was her, (B) admitted it was, (C) denied Tweeting it, (D) admitted she did, and then (E) fell back on the “everybody does it” defense.
“Let me state first of all, that is not a picture of me,” Foley Monster said. “There are plenty of adorable, fit, super sexy Yorkshire Terriers out there and that could be any one of us … Oh all right. That is me. I mean who am I trying to kid? Who else could be that adorable?”
After admitting the crotch in question belonged to her, Foley Monster first blamed hackers, or jealous enemies, or family members for Tweeting the photo, then admitted she had done it.
In a blog post, Foley Monster (that’s her to the left) backs up her statement with a portfolio of pooches shamelessly exposing their groins for all to see.
Dogs, it seems, will be dogs.
“I know that this behavior must be a great shock to my family … I would like to apologize to my constituents,” Foley Monster said. “ …. I know you have always trusted me to make the best decision for you and instead of doing so I’ve been spreading my fluffy over six continents …
“To be clear I have not met any of these dogs or had a physical relationship of any kind. I haven’t told the truth and I’ve done things I deeply regret. I once bit a squirrel in Reno just to watch it die…
Foley Monster goes on to confess all her other sins.
“I brought pain to those dogs who trust me, and most of all believe in me … In closing I would like to say I am deeply ashamed of my terrible judgement and actions. But I’m not going to stop. If you would like more dirty pictures of me please let me just drop me an e-mail. I can’t stop now and disappoint my fans.
“That would make me some kind of Weiner.”
(Photos of Foley Monster and that immodest black and white dog courtesy of Foley Monster and Pocket)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anthony weiner, behavior, congress, crotch, dogs, dogs will be dogs, foley monster, genitalia, groin, humor, internet, pets, photos, pictures, politics, privates, representative, terrier, twitter, weiner, yorkshire
History and research indicate it’s ill-advised, but Michigan is taking a look at giving prohibition another try, this time with pit bulls.
It would become illegal to keep a pit bull — and doing so could get you three months in prison — under a proposed bill in the state legislature.
Both frighteningly worded and frighteningly stupid, the bill was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Timothy Bledsoe.
House Bill 4714, aka the “Pit Bull Regulation and Prohibition Act,” would make breeding or selling a pit bull a crime one year after its passage. Four years after the bill’s passage, keeping an unsterilized pit bull would become a crime. Ten years after its passage, possessing a pit bull would be illegal.
Violating the pit bull law — either the restrictions or, in 10 years, the all out prohibition, would be a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days, community service for not more than 500 hours, or both. In addition, there would be a fine of $500 to $2,000.
The law doesn’t specify how authorities would relieve people of their pit bulls, or dispose of the dogs, but we’d assume — unless they have plans to establish concentration camps for them — it would be by lethal injection, or perhaps to be more cost-effective and efficient, a gas chamber.
(a) An American pit bull terrier
(b) An American Staffordshire bull terrier
(c) A Staffordshire bull terrier
(d) A dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any 1 or more of the breeds listed in subdivisions (a) to (c)
(e) A dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any 1 of the breeds listed in subdivisions (a) to (c)
We think that runs contrary to a civil society. We think that runs contrary to research on dangerous and vicious dogs. We think history proved prohibition doesn’t work.
Some jurisdictions that rushed to ban and restrict having pit bulls as pets are waking up to the error of their ways, Cleveland being one recent example.
Others keep outlawing, or trying to otherwise restrict them.
Prohibition didn’t work with alcohol, and it won’t work with pit bulls, because it’s not the booze — or the breed — that’s the problem. It’s the humans who misuse, abuse and take them to dangerous extremes.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american, animals, ban, breed, breed-specific, bull, characteristics, conform, government, illegal, law, legislature, michigan, outlaw, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, pits, pitties, prohibition, proposal, representative, staffordshire, terrier, tim bledsoe, timothy bledsoe, traits
I’m not sure what U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, was trying to say when he spoke out against passage of the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2009.
It’s clear he was against the act — that he felt the U.S. was in no position to be assisting other countries in preserving endangered species, that he thinks we’re falling too deeply in debt to China, and that he think it’s ironic that some of the funds authorized in the act might be used for preservation efforts in China
But I’m baffled by his statement that, by borrowing more money from the Chinese, we’ll “end up with moo goo dog pan or moo goo cat pan.”
The Chinese will take control of us and force us to eat dogs and cats, prepared in the style of their cuisine? Give it a listen and, if you figure it out, let me know.
Despite Gohmert’s objections, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2009, which authorized $50 million to help save snow leopards, wild African dogs and other endangered species, passed the House.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 20th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2009, act, authorize, cat, cats, china, debt, dog, dogs, endangered species, funds, great cats, louie gohmert, moo goo cat pan, moo goo dog pan, preservation, rare canids, representative, republican, texas, u.s.
When U.S. Marine Cpl. Dustin Lee was cut down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq’s Anbar province, his partner was hit by shrapnel too, but still managed to crawl over to Lee and lay on top of him, protecting him until medics arrived.
Lee, who hadn’t yet turned 21 and was three months from finishing his tour, didn’t survive. But his partner did. He came back home for medical treatment, attended Lee’s funeral, got awarded a Commemorative Purple Heart and — though still carrying shrapnel — was assigned to complete his tour of duty.
That’s when Lee’s family intervened and, with help from a Congressman, persuaded the Marines to let Lee’s partner — a bomb-sniffing German shepherd named Lex — take early retirement and come live with them.
Lee’s parents, Jerome and Rachel Lee, and his teenage brother and sister, thought that adopting the dog that survived the attack would help fill the void left by their son’s death. They had previously adopted another of their son’s military working dogs after the animal started going blind and had to retire.
Lee and Lex, who were renowned for their abilities to detect and clear roadside bombs, shared a deep bond, his family says — as evidenced Lex’s behavior when they were under attack.
“He was still protecting him until the end,” said Lee’s mother. “Lex was bleeding. Dustin was bleeding. “Their blood combined. They were already brothers and partners. They just became one.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, bomb-sniffing, congress, corporal, detection, dog, dustin lee, honored, hsus, iraq, john burnam, lex, marines, memorial, news, representative, walter jones, war, war dogs