Posts tagged ‘minnesota’

More than a mouthful

Today’s StarTribune reports on a Twin Cities dog who’s definitely got a grip.

Rose is a border collie / lab mix who was adopted from a local shelter and then given to Ed Watson.

Like many high-energy mutts, this five-year-old Labrador retriever/border collie mix loves a good game of Frisbee. Unlike the rest, she can catch and hold onto up to seven tossed discs — thrown separately — without dropping a one.

Rose’s unique talent was born of her obsession to hold on to her favorite toys. Watson noticed that the dog not only wanted to hold on to a Frisbee she had but that she could catch another without dropping it.

“She doesn’t like to let go when she’s got a lot of them,” Watson said, recalling that the first time she was able to keep her jaws clamped around seven Frisbees, she refused to drop them for a re-throw and hopped into the car with all seven still in her mouth. “I like to think she knew what she’d accomplished.”

Watson isn’t an experienced trainer of dogs – Rose is his first. But he works as a personal trainer so I suspect that he’s got a lot of personal focus and that he’s found that some his coaching skills work well on dogs. So well that Rose will appear in the 2011 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Go to this link for an excellent set of photos featuring Rose at work.

October 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm Leave a comment

“Felony” Police Dog Gets Death Penalty

Most of the local outlets aren’t covering this, but Minneapolis KARE11 News is reporting on the “euthanasia” of a local police K-9:

At ten years of age, Felony was nearing the end of his K-9 career with the Howard Lake Police Department. It just wasn’t supposed to end like this.

On October 30th, one of Felony’s handlers found that the black labrador had escaped his kennel.  He immediately called the Wright County Humane Society, who reported that they didn’t have the dog.

The County wasn’t aware that Felony had been picked up by a dog catcher working for the Animal Humane Society (AHS) not long after he escaped.

“Our officer contacted the Animal Humane Society shortly after contacting the dog catcher, said Chief Tracy Vetruba. “Unfortunately, at that time the dog catcher still had the dog, who he did not believe was our dog, and it ‘was’ our dog.”

Felony had somehow lost his license and rabies tags — and he had never been micro-chipped.  Thinking that their original calls to Wright County Humane Society and Animal Humane Society were sufficient to alert them to the dog, the Howard Lake police did not make any follow-up phone calls.  So, when he arrived at the Animal Humane Society Felony was placed on 5 day mandatory hold.  During the hold time he was labeled as “dangerous and unadoptable” — so at the end of his hold time, the police dog was killed.

The Howard Lake Herald-Journal reported that the dog was described to AHS and Wright County as being a black labrador.  Since he’s a working dog who’s almost eleven, Felony has a grey muzzle and paws — which reportedly made Kozitka believe he was not the “all black” K-9 he had just been asked to look for.  Why he didn’t think it was important to notify the police department of any black labs or substantially black lab-like dogs he picked up on this particular day is beyond me.  AHS skips out of the blame game by stating they have no record of calls from the police department providing a BOLO on Felony.  I’d love to see their phone records for October… 

KARE11 quotes Police Chief Tracy Vetruba:

“It’s kindof like the perfect storm of events coming together to result in a (sic)tradedy,” said Vetruba. “Our officers were devastated to learn that he was put down. He will absolutely be missed by our officers.”

I suppose a callous disregard for the life of a valuable police K-9 on the part of those whose jobs are (supposedly) to safeguard our community’s animals could be considered as part of a “perfect storm”.   I just see it as blatant, cold-hearted callousness. 

CityPages reports:

Howard Lake police say Felony had been with the force since 2002, after K-9 stints in Ortonville and Hector, and was responsible for more than $25,000 worth of seized drugs, cars  and cash.

This dog spent his life serving the community.  And he didn’t do it for a salary, benefits and a pension — he did his job for the pure joy of it.  What a sad and pointless waste. 

First I’m utterly gobsmacked that the City of Howard Lake couldn’t find the time or money to microchip a $5,000 police K-9.  Second, as dog owning (and tax paying) resident of Minnesota, I’m also deeply troubled by the callous attitude taken by Wright County dog catcher Wayne Kozitka and AHS.  If they make so little effort to identify and return a valuable local police K-9 that they’ve specifically been asked to look for — what kind of treatment can an average pet owner expect?

We’ve blogged here before about AHS’s disturbingly high kill rates.  I couldn’t find information on their website about the methods AHS uses to assess the adoptability of dogs in their care, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that they use some version of Susan Sternberg’s test.  Sternberg’s Asses-A-Pet program recommends testing a dog for “food aggression” by poking it with a fake hand while it’s eating.  A picture of one of these hands is shown below – next to a picture of the kind of bite sleeve commonly used to train police K-9s.

Take a good, long look at those two pictures and tell me how shocked you’d be to find that a shelter stressed dog who has had any protection training might take one look at the item on the left and confuse it for the one on the right.  And then explain to me how a group who was specifically asked to be on the lookout for a lost black labrador who is a police K-9 doesn’t think to contact them when a short-coated black dog who likes to bite sleeves is seized the day after the loss is reported (oh, thats right – they never got the message [head-desk]).

Felony gave his life for his community.  Instead of dying a heroic death during a drug raid or tracking down a violent criminal – he died a sad and pointless death alone in a shelter death room.  Instead of being lauded as a hero, he’ll be mourned as a “mistake”.   …it breaks my heart…

To help protect these wonderful, valuable, four-legged public servants from similar pointless cluster fucks mishaps in the future, Midwest Animal Rescue & Services has offered free micro-chipping and registration for police dogs across the Twin Cities metro area.  Show them a little love.

November 27, 2009 at 3:54 am 8 comments

Thundersnow

It’s springtime late winter in Minnesota.  The time of year when the weather gods enjoy torturing toying with Minnesotans.  The weather turns warm and sunny for a few days, melting patches of the snow cover – then temperatures suddenly dip below zero and drifts of powder snow accumulate again.

Yesterday it was sunny and high temperatures were in the 40’s. Today — we have thundersnow.

Thundersnow is an unusual and, as yet, poorly understood phenomenon. It is defined as a heavy snowstorm with thunder and lightning.  Rare winter thunderstorms produce large amounts of snow. Thundersnow happens most frequently in March, and only a few such storms are reported in the US each year.

 According to a report on today’s KARE11News there is an old saying that:

If it’s snowing and you hear 1 clap of thunder stop shoveling for a moment and take a breath because you are going to get 3″ of snow in the next hour.

If it’s snowing and you hear 2 claps of thunder stop shoveling and go inside and have a meal because you are going to get 6″ of snow in the next few hours.

If it’s snowing and you hear 3 claps of thunder stop shoveling then go inside eat a meal, watch tv, have another snack and go to bed because you are going to get +12″ of snow in the next 6 hours.

So, I’m sitting here by the fire with a cup of chai in my hand, a big pot of chili on the stove and a couple of good books at my side because it’s gone well beyond three claps of thunder here in the last half hour — and it’s much too early to go to bed.

Thundersnow is typically created by strong updrafts within the cold sector of an extratropical cyclone in autumn or spring when ground temperatures are near or below freezing. One of the strangest things about thundersnow is the way that the heavy falling snow dampens the sound of the thunder. It’s fascinating to listen to. Muffled claps of thunder interspersed with an occaisional clap of loud thunder – immediately following the glow of lightening. It’s so quiet. Long pregnant pauses between the peals of thunder create an odd sense of expectation. Invisible lightening bolts in a blizzard sky disorient me.  Spring seems impossibly far away.

To make this post at least somewhat dog-related I’ll add that neither of my dogs is afraid of thunder. And, I think that observing a thunderphobic dog’s reaction to a thundersnow storm would be a good test to see if his fear was was created more by the sound of the thunder or the static electricity and barometric pressure changes associated with such storms.

thundersnow2

The training center, taken at 1:30 this afternoon.

 

Zip and Audie enjoy the storm in our front yard

Zip and Audie enjoy the storm in our front yard

February 26, 2009 at 8:21 pm 1 comment

BSL Rears its Ugly Head in MN

From an AKC Legislative Alert Wednesday, February 20, 2008:

Minnesota House File 3245, sponsored by Representative Dennis Ozment, seeks to lift the state’s current prohibition on breed-specific legislation. If passed and signed into law, the changes imposed by this bill would have a profound impact on all dog owners in Minnesota. It is imperative that all dog owners and breeders in Minnesota contact the members of the House Public Safety and Civil Justice Committee to express their opposition to the bill as currently written.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as “dangerous” based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. The AKC strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be “dangerous” based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs. As currently worded, HF 3245 conflicts with AKC’s reasonable, non-discriminatory dangerous dog position. Specifically, it would:

* Establish a task force to study and recommend a uniform, statewide, mandatory system of dog owner and dog obedience education training according to commonly accepted standards and best practices for each breed or mixed breed of dog.

* Allow all statutory or home rule charter cities, or counties, to recommend to the task force specific breeds of dogs to be designated as dangerous or potentially dangerous based solely on the specific breed of dog.

For a copy of the bill, click here   WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:Contact the members of the Minnesota House Public Safety and Civil Justice Committee who will consider this bill. Let them know that, if passed as currently written, HF 3245 will result in unfair and discriminatory dangerous dog policy in Minnesota. For some EXCELLENT tips on how to write your letter please check out our friend Wallace the Pitbull’s website.  

Find out who your legislator is and how to contact him/her here: 

http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder.asp


We strongly suggest that you take the time to write a letter and send it via the mail rather than to send an email.  Many of these people receive hundreds of email posts a day and, frankly, email is a lot easier to ignore than a written letter is.

UPDATE:  The bill was returned to its author on March 3, 2008.  We’ll continue to monitor it’s status, but hope that it has gone to bed for good.

February 21, 2008 at 12:41 am 11 comments


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