Archive for December, 2008

Montana Update

Back on December 15 we reported ona few dozen dead and dying dogs seized from a home in Montana. Over 300 dogs were reportedly still present at Linda Kapsa’s Shady Lane Kennels located in Yellowstone County. According to the Billings Gazette:

The Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office executed a second search warrant at Shady Lane Kennels in Ballantine this morning and is in the process of seizing almost 300 dogs and other animals owned by Linda Kapsa.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Office and the Humane Society suspect that the animals were not receiving proper care.

A veterinarian assisting in the seizure said he saw dogs without food, water or adequate shelter. A team of veterinarians is examining the dogs at a temporary clinic at MetraPark, where the dogs will be housed.


One of the dogs confiscated. CLICK HERE to see the Billings Gazette photo gallery

CBS News Montana reports:

Over the past three weeks, investigators have been looking at evidence gathered from Kapsa’s property which led to the animals being removed Tuesday morning.

All of the seized animals have been taken to Metra-Park where they will be housed until the investigation is done or they are turned over to the county.

Dogs were hauled to Metra-Park by the truck load, in a relocation effort the county is calling, “Operation New Beginnings.”

Over 200 dogs were brought to the Metra, most of them English Shepherds. Investigators were unable to find 50 pugs at the Ballantine property.

Volunteers from different animal hospitals and organizations took the scared dogs in and after they were able to calm them down, gave them a physical examination, rabies and micro chipped them. They also checked for parvo and found several cases.

The situation is absolutely heart-breaking. But one bit of light shines – remember yesterday’s post where we bemoaned the fact that Missouri State Representative Jim Viebrock’s proposal to for a bill requiring that a veterinarian to inspect animals suspected of being abused before they are impounded by authorities is being viewed as controversial? Apparently the folks in the beautiful Yellowstone area have a healthier respect for civil rights than their neighbors down south do. Veterinarians were present during today’s seizure act ivies and we hear that all of these dogs will have their health and temperament evaluated. They aren’t being hauled away and killed. They won’t even be adopted out or put into foster care until authorities have finished their investigations.

We *heart* Montana.

According to CBS Montana: “The dogs won’t be available for adoption until the investigation is over, but if or when that happens, there will be a big need for homes.  Operation New Beginnings is going to need a lot of volunteers to help exercise and socialize the dogs, as well as feed and clean them. You can contact Last Chance Cat Sanctuary at 248-2388 and leave a message to donate food or time.”  (… or money, your friendly neighborhood blogger suggests)

If the dogs are released for adoption, National English Shepherd Rescue will also assist as needed. Regular updates on the situation will be posted here on their website. There’s a link to donate via PayPal on the site as well.

December 31, 2008 at 2:58 am 2 comments

Controversial Common Sense

In our Proof That The world Is Going Crazy category the Springfield, MO News Leader reports:

State Rep. Jim Viebrock plans to resurrect a controversial bill requiring a veterinarian to inspect farm animals suspected of being abused before authorities can impound the animal.

Let me get this straight, it’s a controversial idea to have someone who is an expert in assessing the health of animals inspect them before they are seized, impounded and then killed or sold?

Well, I suppose in a world where hundreds of dogs are killed in the name of “rescue” it might make sense. I mean, after all, if we can justify killing nearly 200 seized dogs without giving them even basic veterinary and behavior assessments — and do it before the owners they were seized from had been convicted of any charges — it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to require that an impartial, expert third party evaluate the condition of an animal before it’s seized from its home.

Who cares that some  many of the folks conducting these search and seizure operations are armed volunteers with personal agendas who operate outside government control? That they weren’t hired (and can’t be fired) by the public or local municipalities, that they are often hired by radical animal rights groups who seek to end all use of animals, or that they don’t seem to think that they need to preserve our civil rights.

‘Cause after all, when we seize and impound animals based on nothing more than the opinion of one everyday citizen (even if he is a man with a great big political axe to grind), we might save one more animal. Well we may save it — if it isn’t killed by its saviors after it’s seized.

Regardless, one crazy Missouri State Representative keeps fighting the good fight:

By bringing in an impartial state veterinarian from the Department of Agriculture to inspect an animal, Viebrock’s bill aims to curtail abuse of the system by some animal rescue groups that reportedly inject themselves into alleged abuse cases for the chance to sell and profit from the animals.

“People believe that the animal rights activists are all good-natured, big-hearted people,” he said.

In some cases in Missouri and across the country, Viebrock said, owners have been acquitted of animal abuse charges, but their herds have already been sold off by the government or given away to animal sanctuaries.

“There are some of those folks who really are stealing from people who aren’t guilty,” Viebrock said.

He added that in some cases, alleged abuse is overblown by animal rights groups to get law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant.

“If you have nine healthy horses and one skinny old mare standing there … you can take pictures of that mare and excite an animal rights group beyond imagination,” Viebrock said.

While Viebrock acknowledges the bill faces a tough uphill climb against well-funded and well-organized animal rights activists, “we need to keep that conversation alive.”

Amen brother. We need to keep this conversation alive.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m most certainly not in favor of animal abuse and I think that animals who are truly in peril should be seized and impounded (but, please – not killed); but instigating search, seizure and impoundment operations to prove a political point is wrong.  And doing it to get publicity and make money reselling the animals you stole illegally seized from an innocent person is reprehensible. And — it voilates our civil rights.

If thats a controversial position – plant me right in the middle of it.

December 30, 2008 at 6:01 am 1 comment

Unusual Visitors


Bluebirds! Four to six of them have been visiting the wild grapes behind our house for the past couple of days. I wonder if the cold, stormy weather south of us drove them north? I’ll go see if I can find some mealworms or waxworms for them later today. They look cold. And hungry.

Regular visitors have included cardinals like this handsome fellow:


And Red-Bellied Woodpeckers:


I’ve spent the morning in the kitchen making home-made Pepita, Almond, Pear Granola and home-made yogurt; doing some much-needed cleaning up; doing laundry and other domestic chores. Audie naps by the door, waiting for me to get done so we can take a hike.



December 29, 2008 at 5:49 pm 1 comment

Stop Thief!

This just in from the “you had to see it to believe it files” courtesy of

A suspicious character entered through the front door. “I’ve never seen him shop in here before; brand new customer, didn’t even have his Fresh Value card,” store manager Roger Adamson said.

What happened next is already becoming legend. “I mean, how likely is that? For a dog to walk into a store, go down the pet aisle, get his bone and walk out?” Jacobson said.

Let’s reconstruct the crime a step at a time: Entering at the checkout area, the dog approached a young girl. “He just kind of sniffed the customer up, and then headed down the aisle,” Adamson said.

At that point, he had a decision to make: Left? No dog food. Right? Dog food. He turned right and went straight to aisle 16, the dog food aisle.

There are so many fun Christmas presents he could have picked, but he seemed to know exactly what he was after. He grabbed a rawhide bone and headed down the aisle, only to be confronted by the manager.

“I looked at him. I said, ‘Drop it!'” Adamson said. “I decided I wanted to keep all my fingers, so I didn’t try to take it from him. He looked at me, and I looked at him, and he ran for the door and away he went, right out the front door.”

The news report, complete with in-store surveillance video below:

I loved the way the dog sauntered in the door, went straight to the dog food aisle, picked out what he wanted and then ignored the store manager’s request to drop it as he trotted back out the door.

But… please don’t let your dog do this. It’s not just illegal, it’s dangerous. City streets are no place for a dog to roam.

December 26, 2008 at 9:23 pm 1 comment

Obligatory Holiday Pet Humiliation



No animals — or humans — were injured during staging of these photos (we suspect they’ll wait until we’re drunk or asleep to exact their revenge.)

December 25, 2008 at 7:16 pm 2 comments

Holiday Stories

Snowed in? Suffering from turkey bloat? Nursing an eggnog hangover?  Brooding and/or traumatized after yet another dysfunctional family Christmas

Here’s a couple of seasonal posts to brighten your mood — or, at least, temporarily distract attention from your current ordeal…

A story of naked triumph against the odds from Vet on the Edge

The tale of a very special Christmas ham from Atomic Nerds

December 25, 2008 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment

No Stuffing, Please

A timely holiday reminder from the RSPCA:

December 23, 2008 at 3:33 am Leave a comment

Christmas – Gone to the Dogs

We *heart* trained dogs

December 22, 2008 at 12:36 am 2 comments

Our Pagan Neighbors

The previous post shows a photo of our back yard.  In case you forgot, here it is:


See that hill off in the background? Our downstream neighbor lives at the base of that hill and rumor has it that he is related to the family that operates the fireworks importer across the river.  We’re treated to regular fireworks displays (and we’re not talking bottle rockets) that originate in just this area, which in a wonderful bit of luck — happens to fall right outside our big living room windows.

So as I was sitting here just now, poking around the web – I hear the unmistakable sound of small shells exploding outside. Turning around, I’m treated to a lovely display.


An unexpected solstice treat from our pagan neighbors.

December 21, 2008 at 3:48 am 1 comment

Snow Day

It’s been snowing regularly here since December 1 – the meteorological start of winter. Eight inches have fallen already today and it’s still coming down.  Cooking, shoveling, bird-watching and a walk with the dogs in the snow filled up our day.


A pair of Northeren Flickers have been regular visitors here this winter. They’re quite shy, so this picture taken through the kitchen window, is the only way I could photograph one. They’re very striking birds, this photo doesn’t begin to capture the briliant colors of this fellow’s feathers.


This Pileated Woodpecker is another shy visitor I caught through the window. Living in a hardwood forest we see many kinds of Picidae here.  Downy, Hairy, Red-Headed and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are regular diners at our feeders.  We only see the Pileated Woodpeckers and Flickers in the trees.


White-Tailed Deer are frequent visitors here year round. This doe was grazing in our back yard this morning. They also enjoy grazing on the acorns — and vegetables — in the front yard in warm weather.


It’s a great yard to watch wildlife.  This is the view out my back door. 


And a view of the Training Center at the end of our drive.  The snow banks will be much larger — and there will be more of them — by spring.


Audie shows how deep the fresh snow is at the road end of the driveway.


A good romp in the snow.


Then a full belly and a place by the fire. A good day to be a dog.

December 21, 2008 at 1:57 am 2 comments

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December 2008