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Tag: vote

Harley dishonored? You won’t be seeing this

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Allegations of wide-scale voter fraud may not effect the presidential race, but they have kept a one-eyed Chihuahua from appearing on the tail of Frontier Airlines jets.

The Denver-based airline announced Monday that it has suspended its “Mascot on the Tail” contest because it had been “compromised” by fraudulent voting.

“We have determined that the contest has been compromised by fraudulent activity and ineligible voting that has created an unfair environment for all participants,” the airline said in a statement. “We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.”

The contest, launched in March, invited universities, high schools and other organizations to campaign and vote for their mascot to appear on the tail of some Frontier planes.

Given that getting themselves free publicity (and gathering as many email addresses as possible) were the real reasons for Frontier to hold the contest, and given online contests aren’t exactly the epitome of the one-person-one-vote ideal, the airline’s explanation came across as a little hollow, and a little suspect.

Especially to those supporting Harley, a one-eyed Chihuahua who was the mascot of National Mill Dog Rescue.

Harley3Harley, a puppy mill survivor and the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog for 2015, was among the top vote-getters in the contest (voting was scheduled to end April 30) when it was abruptly called off.

“Once entered, Harley quickly gained tremendous support thanks to you – his fans – and he also gained the support of several news stations, animal welfare organizations and even celebrities,” a statement on on Harley’s Facebook page says.

“Over the course of a week Harley reached over 37,000 votes and was in first place. He was well ahead of all other contestants…It soon became clear that Harley had an excellent chance of winning the contest. Then, suddenly, Frontier Airlines suspended the contest. Their explanation was that there was voter fraud and they blamed international voters.”

Frontier spokesman Jim Faulkner said the airline did not suspend the voting due to the possibility of Harley winning, the Denver Post reported.

Instead, the contest was halted due to “several” instances of fraud, including cases of ineligible, non-U.S. residents voting, he said.

Faulkner did not pinpoint any particular contestant that was benefiting from “fraudulent” voting.

The airline plans to send $20 travel vouchers to everyone who voted in the online contest as “a token of good will,” he added.

Harley’s supporters freely admit to campaigning heavily for their candidate. They saw it as a way to educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills and honor the memory of Harley, who passed away last month at the age of 15.

Creating a social media buzz, and spreading the word about the contest served them well, and served Frontier Airlines well.

harley2So is there some other reason — other than wanting to be certain their online voting process was pristine and ethical — behind Frontier’s decision to terminate the contest?

We’d hate to think politics were involved, or that some airline big wig thought the image of a one-eyed dog might besmirch their shiny jets.

Other mascots competing in the contest included Colorado State University’s Cam the Ram; University of Colorado’s Ralphie the bison; University of Florida’s Albert and Alberta Gator; and the University of California Santa Cruz mascot, Sammy the Slug.

Harley, a little dog who came to represent perseverance and resiliency, was the only contestant with a message — and maybe that frightened the airline. Maybe they were afraid of losing any unethical breeders they had as passengers.

Michele Burchfield, marketing director for the National Mill Dog Rescue, said Harley’s high number of votes were the result of his message and an active social media and e-mail campaign that caught on with puppy mill opponents across the country.

“If Frontier opens up the contest again, we would be thrilled to enter him again and honored to have him on the tail of a plane knowing that our voting is legitimate and honest,” Burchfield said. “We did everything we could to bring this honor to him.”

“This little guy could get a million votes in a month if he needed it,” she said.

Maryland county votes down barking fines

Worcester County Commissioners voted down a bill that would have established fines for owners of barking dogs, leading at least one citizen who supported the measure to howl.

Jack Davis, a Bishopville resident, made barking noises as he left the commissioners Tuesday night meeting in Snow Hill — in an attempt to show just how annoying the sound can be, according to DelmarvaNow.com.

“It’s really rough when you retire and you want to sit on your porch and in your yard, and hear dogs barking all day long,” Davis said.

In a 4-3 vote, the commissioners nixed legislation that would have levied fines on dog owners for uncontrolled barking and howling in the Maryland county.

“At what point do you start legislating cats and frogs and everything else?” said Commissioner Virgil Shockley.

Worcester County Animal Control would have been responsible for enforcement of the law,  charging owners with a civil infraction, and up to a $500 fine, if their dogs barked for more than an hour.

Of the half-dozen residents who spoke at a public hearing on the issue, all were in favor of the law.

Animal Control Officer Susan Rantz said the county commissioners would be better off looking at the county’s chained dog law. “I don’t understand how a fine is going to stop the dogs from barking,” Rantz said. “There are reasons the dogs bark, and I think it’s because they are on
chains.”

Michigan county nixes barking ordinance

We like this little story out of Van Buren County, Michigan.

The county board has rejected a proposed ordinance that would have allowed ticketing of dog owners if their pets barked, yelped or cried for more than 15 minutes straight between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The ordinance, which also required that dogs be on leashes while outdoors, had been debated for more than two years, with critics calling it an intrusion on their rights. Hunters objected, as did those who use guard dogs. Only one member of the county board voted for it.

But the real reason we like it is for its dateline, for the vote was taken in the county seat — a little town called Paw Paw.

(The town is named after the Paw Paw River, which was named by Native Americans after the paw paw fruit that grew abundantly along the river’s banks.)

In cats vs. dogs debate … dogs rule

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Almost two of every three pet owners prefer dogs, according to an online poll conducted jointly by the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers Asociation.

Of more than 9,000 votes cast, dogs fetched 65 percent of them. The votes in the “pet preference” poll were tallied over eight weeks on the website meetthebreeds.com.

Inspired by the upcoming Meet the Breeds event, the world’s largest showcase of cats and dogs, the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers’ Association  joined forces this summer to put an end to the age old debate over whether dogs or cats are more beloved.

While cats outnumber dogs by nearly 13 million among the pet-owning American public, dogs fetched 65% of the vote, with the widest margins of victory in Chicago, Seattle,  and Detroit.

Cats fared slightly better, but still beneath dogs, in Philadelphia, Houston and Baltimore. The city-by-city tallies can be found on the Meet the Breeds website.

Voters were allowed to present their arguments along with their votes. Here are some of them, according to an AKC press release.

CATS:

— Don’t hang all over you wanting attention … they don’t eat disgusting things and then try to lick your face.

— Don’t have to be walked and they don’t bark!

— Are  much easier to live with – with much less work.

Dogs on the other hand “walk around with a smile as man’s best friend and are always there for us.”

And as for a cat’s nine lives, one voter said, “Cats have to have do-over lives because they didn’t figure out how to have fun the first time around.”

Sponsored by PetPartners, Inc. a leading pet healthcare provider, Meet the Breeds will be held October 17 & 18, 2009 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The event will showcase 160 AKC registered dog breeds and 41 CFA registered cat breeds in booths individually decorated to depict each breed’s country of origin, historical purpose/function, and attributes as a family pet.

More information and tickets are available at meetthebreeds.com.

Voters to decide whether dogs can use beach

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Whether dogs should get a couple of hours access a day to Willard Beach in Maine will be decided by voters.

South Portland city councilors voted unanimously Monday night to put the issue of dogs on the Nov. 3 ballot as a referendum question, TV station WMTW reports.

The issue has been debated for close to 20 years, and recent changes, after a push by dog owners, opened the beach up to dogs from 7 to 9 a.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

After that, those opposed to dogs on the beach in the summer gathered more than 1,000 signatures, enough to present the issue to city council.

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.

Vote now for the “People’s Hero” dog

The Humane Society of the United States has announced the 15 finalists in the Second Annual Dogs of Valor Awards, sponsored by PetPlan Pet Insurance. The awards honor dogs that have exhibited extraordinary courage.

The People’s Hero winner, chosen by online voting (it ends at 5 p.m. today), and the Valor Dog of the Year, chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, will be announced May 17.

Here are the contenders:

Aubrey (Millbury, Mass.) – Led owner from a running trail to a man who was lying unconscious on an overgrown path.

Baby C. (Albuquerque, N.M.) – Found help when owner’s SUV plummeted 20 feet off the side of a mountain and wedged upside down between two trees.

Baby W. (Charleston, W.Va.) – Awakened owner as a fire spread from the garage, eventually causing their car to explode and destroying their home.

Boo (renamed “Hero”) (Jim Thorpe, Pa.) – Barked to get attention and led police to his owner who had been knocked unconscious after falling between two isolated buildings.

Buster (Clarkridge, Ark.) – Alerted owner and led him to his wife who had collapsed and was unable to move after a severe stroke.

Butch (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) – Ran down to the basement, a place he greatly feared, and woke his owner’s son as a fire quickly spread.

Charley (Loganville, Ga.) – Begged to go outside and then led owner several houses down where a man had fallen off a ladder.

D-boy (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – Shot three times as he charged towards an armed man who had broken into his home.

Hank (Dublin, Ga.) – Roused his owner and helped him to his feet after a tractor ran over him, causing massive internal injuries.

Jake (Omaha, Neb.) – Pulled a boy to safety when he was swept away and pulled underwater by currents in the Platte River.

Julian (Reading, Pa.) – Barked until he got his owner’s attention, leading the man to find his wife in a diabetic coma.

Laney (Portage, Ind.) – Bit the foot of a boy to wake him and his two friends as fire spread throughout the house.

Piper (Garland, Texas) – Pawed at and roused her owner as she struggled to breathe during an asthma attack.

Tripod (Batesville, Ark.) – Awakened her owners as a fire spread through the home, igniting their bedding.

Tyson (Stuart, Fla.) – Barked and pawed at pool’s surface, alerting owners that their infant nephew was floating in the water.

Their complete stories can be viewed here.