Not quite “Man Bites Dog” but close: Glastonbury man arrested at dog park

Our dogs are cuter than yours. It's a fact.

Our dogs are cuter than yours. It’s a fact.

I don’t get to the dog park much, mostly because my dog is a control freak and spends most of her time trying to tell other dogs what to do because the dog park is pure f-ing chaos! Don’t climb on that picnic table. Don’t chase that ball. Stop humping. Stop barking. Stop ganging up on that one dog. She’s got a lot of rules and she likes to enforce them loudly and enthusiastically. When I think she needs some dog-time, I either take her to daycare (where the other dogs are pre-screened and there are people actually in charge) or I borrow the Asian Persuasion’s dog, because they loooooove each other. 

So it  was no surprise to me when a dude got arrested at the Glastonbury dog park. In fact, I’m shocked that it doesn’t happen more often.  (more…)

Does Connecticut Hate Dogs? WNPR Certainly Does Not!

She wants her own headphones.

I was on yesterday’s Colin McEnroe Show along with fellow guests Jacques Lamarre, and Rand Cooper…and my dog. One of the topics we were tossing around for possible discussion was this Courant piece, the gist of which is that Connecticut ranks 49th in terms of dog ownership, and that there is an inverse correlation between education and dog ownership… which is to say that the less educated you are, the more likely you are to have a dog–implying that “dog people” are stupid. Frankly, that’s stupid.

We took a tally and between the four of us on the show, we own a total of seven dogs. But according to survey data, slightly under 29% of Nutmeggers have dogs. Arkansas has the most dogs at 47.9%. Only 13.1% of Washington D.C. homes have dogs. Writer Robert Thorson seems to think that because Arkansas also ranks dead last when it comes to the number of higher education degrees held, there must be a correlation between how smart people are, and whether or not they own dogs. There’s also a red state-blue state argument that he sort of makes. (more…)

Is this the least informative story, ever?

gmeger, Flickr Creative Commons

There’s nothing I love more than to read a news story only to walk away with more questions than answers. For instance, I read this gem on NBC’s site today:

Suffield police have arrested a 54-year-old Enfield man for his alleged role in an incident in which three hunting beagles were shot and killed in November.

Police arrested John Lake on Jan. 2 on a warrant issued by Enfield Superior Court charging him with cruelty to animals by complicity, unlawful discharge of firearms by complicity, risk of injury to a minor and illegal hunting.

Lake was released on a $5,000 court-set bail and will be arraigned in Enfield Superior Court on Jan. 15.

That’s it. That’s the whole story.

Did this guy shoot his own dogs? Did he shoot someone else’s dogs who were hunting on his land? Is the guy just a loon who goes around shooting dogs?

The Courant clarified the situation, and scared the shit out of me:

His 13-year-old shot and killed three beagles while hunting with his father on Nov. 10, police said.

“He has to supervise his child,” Capt. Craig Huntley said Thursday. The son is not expected to be charged…

Dog owners whose dogs are off leashes and are chasing deer can be fined $25 to $200, he said. They can also be sent to prison for 60 days.

60 days in prison? Are you for real? First of all, if you’re using a hunting dog isn’t is supposed to chase shit? That’s kind of the point. And while I’m fully aware that your dog is, legally, supposed to be under control at all times — in public parks, that means on a leash, and in other places it’s more open to interpretation — I don’t understand why it matters if it’s chasing a deer or not. I mean, my dog has a deer chasing addiction… and if she runs off after one while off-leash I understand that I’m the one who will be responsible if something horrible happens, but again, I don’t see what Bambi has to do with it.

Hiker & Dog Find Shallow Grave: Anti-Couric Makes it About Her

Windham Road isn’t exactly a road, but Google maps still seems to know where it is.

I like to walk my dog in some pretty remote parts of Glastonbury. I can often hear guns firing, see deer blinds in the trees, and stumble upon the remnants of teenage debauchery. I’m also pretty sure that Wiccan rituals happen along some of my favorite trails. So I figure it’s only a matter of time before I become “the woman walking the dog” in a story like this.

Police are investigating human remains found along a dirt trail in Glastonbury, according to officials.

The remains were discovered by a woman walking her dog at around 9:34 a.m., Saturday on Windham Road, said police.

After consulting a map, I’m pretty sure that when Queer Theory went on a four hour hike earlier this year, we actually ended up on Windham Road — though we approached from a different direction. Depending on how old the body is, it’s entirely possible that if we hadn’t turned around to head back to our car, we may have found it.

No the most inviting entrance, but since about 30% of Glastonbury looks like a good setting for a horror movie, that’s not surprise.

I think the one thing that might keep me from discovering a body someday is that I tend not to walk in the morning. I’m more of an afternoon kind of hiker, so I figure if there are remains to be found there’s a good chance someone else’s dog will find it first. But the next time my dog seems fixated on something under a log and I have to go trudging into the woods to convince her to come back, I may do it with my eyes closed.

Like our buddy Colin always says, Glastonbury is Connecticut’s answer to Twin Peaks.


Adventures in Dog-Ownership: Puppy Paralysis

I have a serious problem with indecisiveness. I really wish a dog would just wander up onto my front steps and refuse to leave. It would also help if it would make friends with my cats.

I blame for this. There are so many homeless dogs, and many of them are down South but masquerading as local pooches in need. It’s all very confusing.

By allert, Flickr Creative Commons.

Every time I see a sweet, well-trained dog that would be a pleasure to share my home with, I think, “Well shouldn’t I adopt some troubled beast that desperately needs my help?” Then I start thinking, “But I’ve got to worry about the cats, too.” I lean toward pitbulls because I know there are many good ones in need, but I’m partial to German shepherds. (And who could blame me?) Turns out my homeowner’s insurance doesn’t allow either — or a bunch of other breeds. Now, if that perfect dog wandered into my yard I’d be happy to switch carriers but it also seemed like a handy way  to 1) alleviate me of my guilt for not getting some poor, desperate pitbull 2) a way to narrow down the list of available dogs.

To add to my complete lack of decision making skills, I got interested in the idea of adopting a dog from a program like DAWGS in Prison. There are basically two things I require from dogs: that they’re smart/easily trained, and that they’re loyal. Getting one of these pre-trained prison dogs seems like the perfect way to be sure I get a smart dog…and hopefully a loyal one.  I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of adopting a dog I’d never met, but then the Asian Persuasion told me her old boss adopted a dog from one of these programs that was in Virginia. That seems to be the closest program that trains dogs for general adoption and not for service work. The AP then volunteered to head out on a roadtrip with me, because she liked the dog I was interested in.

So as I write this I’m preparing to finally take the next step and send an adoption application to adopt a good dog with a terrible name.

One Little Dog Gets Pistol Whipped, Another Dies

Munson needs a home and some food, and he promises not to run away if someone pistol whips him while breaking into your house.

Perhaps it’s because I’m on the hunt for a pet pooch, but it seems that there is a plethora of animal related news in Connecticut today.

The first headline to catch my attention today said that a New Haven woman had been terrorized in her home and that her dog  was then pistol whipped. The dog tried to protect the woman, but it ran off — whimpering — when the bad guys hit it. I hope not to be home-invaded, but if I was…I’m pretty sure my cats would do a better job of protecting me than this dog did.

I’m not kidding, I’ve squared off against Ruby — the crazier of my two felines — and she does not back down. Giving her a swat to get off the counter just pisses her off and she’ll come back at you doubly angry. I had to throw myself between her and my friend’s Border Collie when she cornered it in the living room.  It was scary.

Now, I’ll admit I tend to like large, surly dogs. I’m a single girl and I hope Gypsys and Travellers think twice about approaching my house to try and swindle me (ask the Asian Persuasion, this happens to me quite often…or at least it does in my mind) and I figure a scary looking dog helps that. I grew up with two German Shepherds, and if there was ever a dog you did not f— with, it was Bear (aka the General). Pistol whipping that dog would have resulted in the intruder losing a face, and then Bear would have just went back to hanging out in the backyard and keeping an eye on my little brother. In other words, you’d have to kill the dog to get to me.

But God help the small animal that wandered into that backyard… which brings me to our next story.

A small dog has been killed by “pitbulls” — this time in Farmington. Now, I’m always dubious of these claims because just about any mutt can be called a “pitbull” these days. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that these dogs were actually some sort of Staffordshire Terrier (what most people picture when they think of a pitbull). Whenever I find myself reading a story about some vicious pitbull that killed a cat or something I think, “Well…duh…dogs chase and sometimes kill cats…it’s what they do.” Don’t get me wrong, I’d be heartbroken if it was my cat, but I also understand that one of the dangers of letting them outside is that they could get hurt.

Yes, dogs once had purposes. They kept rats out of your barn, fought wolves, chased and hunted rabbits, guarded your sheep, and protected your kingdom. Now we’re surprised when they exhibit the behaviors they were bred for…like chasing and eating small animals. There’s nothing wrong with these behaviors…they just need to be managed properly.

I’m always a little more alarmed by a dog that kills another dog. It’s not really natural. A plethora of small animals met their demise in my backyard — from birds to skunks to the occasional cat — but whenever a dog-fight arose (and between the wandering neighborhood Doberman that terrorized people and their dogs, and Bear’s Rottweiler arch-nemesis there were plenty) he always let the other dog call “uncle.” But it still wasn’t pretty…because that’s what dogs do…they fight to show who is boss.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea, we didn’t let the dog be a neighborhood Bully. But the Doberman would get out of its yard and back neighbors up against their fences and go after their dogs. And the Rotti, while a nice dog, hated Bear and had no fence. So if you walked by his house when no one was around to control him, the damn thing would run out into the road to start a fight. Inevitably, Bear would win these neighborhood scuffles and the other dog would end up pinned, by the throat…  which is a scary thing to watch. But then he’d let them up. (He was a benevolent dictator.) This is how dogs (especially dominant male dogs), left to their own devices, work out their social order.

And our dogs, being of the smartypants variety seemed to know when a fight just  wasn’t worth their time —  like when a Cockapoo came after Duke while we were on a walk, and instead of fighting back, he just headbutted the little thing, knocking it over and we were on our way.  But not all dogs make this distinction. Either a tiny dog looks like a squirrel or a cat, or they just don’t recognize their own strength and what may have been a normal scuffle between dogs ends up a doggy manslaughter.

“Pitbulls” happen to be plentiful and often belong to irresponsible owners so they end up on the hook for a lot of these situations, but they aren’t the only dogs to ever seriously injure or even kill another dog. In fact, I remember covering a story about a woman whose lab mix (it had long, shaggy fur, so definitely no “pitbull” in there) attacked and seriously injured a puppy — that, I believe, later died. Poor trained, unsocialized dogs of all breeds are dangerous. Which is why I wouldn’t leave my small, defenseless dog alone outside…and why I prefer a dog that can defend itself when confronted with hostile neighborhood troops…of the two or four-legged variety.

And now here is my plug for all the dogs on deathrow at City of Hartford Animal Shelter.


Adventures in Dog-Ownership: Part I

Tulla the Trial Dog meets ScaredyCat

The title here is a little misleading because I do not, in fact, own a dog. The closest I’ve come in recent years, has been stealing the Asian Persuasion’s pup.

Yes, the AP has decided  to, once again, defy stereotypes and adopt a dog–like, 5 years ago. Now that I’m back in the area and have a home of my own, I’m getting desperate for my own pooch. Unfortunately, I live with a couple of feline A-Holes. One hides from dogs, and the other one stares them down, and if the canine doesn’t avert its gaze, she’ll attack it. This makes finding the right canine addition a bit tricky.

So I’ve been stealing the Asian’s dog because she’s basically the perfect gal for my situation. She ignores the cats, so they’re both able to get used to her pretty quickly. BossyPants can push her around, and Scaredy Cat can hiss from a distance without fear of reprisal. I am also currently without a fenced-in yard, but she pretty much sticks around–and even when she managed to get off the tie-out I put out for her, she didn’t go anywhere. (Thank Goodness, ’cause the AP would never forgive me if I lost her pup.)

Frankly, I didn’t want to give her back. But eventually the Asian Persuasion showed up at my door, demanding the dog back.

Originally I was  thinking about getting Wilbur. He is a complete goofball, and loves playing with the other dogs at the pound. He also got along with the half-dead cat that was living there, but she reacted completely differently to dogs than either of my two. She just kind of sat there. Wilbur would push her out of the way to try and eat her food and otherwise more or less ignore the cat. So he came for a home visit. We let him get used to being inside before I let the cats out of the back room, and true to form Scaredy Cat stayed put while BossyPants came out and stared Wilbur down from across the room. (This is a look that’s equivalent to my “look of death.”) When she came into the living room and sat under the end-table Wilbur decided to try and check her out. This led to her smacking him in the face and leaving little claw marks on his nose, and Wilbur — justifiably — getting a little angry and going after her. A little yelling put an end to that; Wilbur doesn’t like it when his people yell at him and he quickly stops whatever it is he’s doing.

Wilbur is also a very lazy dog. He’s a pitbull, but heavy on the “bull” — as in “bulldog.” Earlier this summer when I took him for a short walk around the pound, he got hot and laid down in the middle of a soccer field. A lot of people would love a dog with minimal exercise requirements, but 70% of the reason I want a dog is to go hiking with it. I work at home, and need a dog to help get me out once a day for a nice walk. Wilbur would be just as happy sleeping under my desk.

So I decided to postpone making any decisions for a while. I need a fence before I get any dog, so my main hope for Christmas was to get Home Depot gift cards to purchase a fence with.  Now that the gift cards are in hand, and I’m getting closer to sorting that out I’ve been spending massive amounts of time on Petfinder, where it’s completely impossible to choose.

Currently I would like to adopt all of these dogs:

How does one even begin to choose? The do-gooder in me wants to adopt the dogs in the most dire need. If we’re choosing based on adorableness, Blaze wins hands down. Wilbur is the dog I’m able  to get to know first, and Fiona…well… it just seems meant to be. Part of me thinks it’s impossible to choose, and I just want to go down to the Humane Society, find a dog that ignores cats, and call it a day.

So as the new year begins, so does my quest to become a dog owner. Up next: getting the fence!

Canton Filled with Fascists

I’ve long been aware that kids in school don’t have any right to privacy. They can’t go to the bathroom without a little piece of paper that says it’s OK, and though they may not know it, pretty much anything in their possession – including their lockers – can be searched while on school ground. In the post-Columbine days, these sorts of searches became more common place, but then seemed to fade away. Except, apparently, in Canton…(and these towns Southington, Enfield, Coventry, Portland, Windsor Locks and Vernon). (more…)