Archive for the ‘Animals’ category

Why Cumberland Is The Greatest Law School There Is

March 8, 2007

Who else lets you bring your dog to class, even if it is just once a year?

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Today’s Really Stupid Law

March 5, 2007

Here it is:

 A recent raid on a cockfight in Pickens County that resulted in 33 arrests suggests that this barbaric sport is alive and well in west Alabama.

Coincidentally, the raid, which occurred a little over a week ago, comes when a bill is pending in Congress that would make it more difficult to stage animal fights. We urge our elected officials to support the legislation.

Officials who raided the Pickens County operation said a cockfight was in progress in a wooden outdoor pit. There were at least 11 dead roosters and hundreds of live roosters at the site, said Sheriff David Abston.

The suspects were charged with misdemeanor counts of gambling, cockfighting and illegal possession of alcohol. The state penalty for cockfighting is a maximum fine of $50 — not much of a deterrent to the weekend entrepreneurs who make hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the illicit activity.

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, pending in Congress, could help curb the cockfights, particularly those like the one in Pickens, which drew participants from east Mississippi.

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis is a co-sponsor of the legislation. Its main feature would increase the penalties for interstate transportation of an animal for a fighting venture from a misdemeanor to a felony. People convicted under the statute could be fined or imprisoned for up to three years or both.

Shame on Artur Davis for putting his name on this ridiculously unnecessary expansion of federal powers.

First of all, why cockfighting is a crime at all is beyond me. Is it something nice? No. Something I would ever do? No. But the only suffering is by a bunch of stupid roosters. And what’s gonna happen to these roosters after Johnny Law busts up the fights? They’ll be killed. So why not let them go out in a blaze of glory? Anyway, I sure hope no-one who opposes cockfighting eats chicken, because what happens to the Colonel’s best prior to the application of his secret recipe of herbs and spices would be called tortuous by even John Yoo.

Second, even granting the criminality of cockfighting, no-way this is a federal issue. How do cockfights in Alabama effect interstate commerce? I want a real answer, not a Wickard v. Filburn answer. 

This is the ultimate example of the unthinking use of the criminal law as a means of social regulation. “Ewww, I don’t like that. Let’s make it a felony.” Crimes ought to be reserved for more serious issues.  

Animal News

March 1, 2007

“Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy.”

As the Limestone County Commission meeting ended Wednesday, a man ambled in wearing sunglasses, a cap and a Tennessee Vols shirt, and offered his beaver services.

Commissioners perked up not at the word “beaver” but at the words “for free.”

Scott Wilson of Athens told commissioners he would trap beavers free of charge for their constituents because he sells the fur.

“Beavers are a nuisance,” said District 1 Commissioner Gary Daly. “In my area, they’re stopping up bridges and creeks and making fields and yards flood.”

Wilson said he recently trapped 11 beavers in a pond off Strain Road, and one weighed 67 pounds.

Wilson’s doing it for free, but he’ll get to keep “the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.”

And speakin’ of stuff that “will swallow you whole. No shakin’, no tenderizin’, down you go.”

It’s not every day that Hartselle Police Department is inundated with calls about huge snakes. Then there was Tuesday.

“I thought it would be just a routine call about another snake,” Sgt. James Holladay said.

To the contrary.

When Holladay arrived at Nance Ford Road near New Covenant Church he spotted something he described as “huge.”

It turned out to be an 11-foot python.

With the assistance of a passerby, Holladay, and Lt. Robert Finn captured the snake and turned it over to animal control officer Regina Jenkins.

The best part of that story:

Now, the Police Department is faced with the challenge of finding the snake’s owner.

That may be difficult because more than 10 years ago, Hartselle responded to the same area when a homeowner lost a two-foot python.

“I think somebody spotted that snake on their back porch,” Court Clerk Magistrate Stan Holt said.

Holt was a dispatcher at the time.

Hartselle Human Resource Administrator Melee Haney said her mother thought about buying a home in the area on Nance Ford Road, but did not because she heard about the two-foot python being missing.

“The real estate agent told her that the former homeowner had a python to come up missing and they never found it,” Haney said.

I wouldn’t have bought the house, either.  

Rescue Dog

October 19, 2006

Why every home needs a dog:

When three smoke alarms failed to wake up Josh Coats during a fire that heavily damaged his home, his 4-year-old English bulldog’s frantic barking turned out to be the wake-up call that saved his life.

“If Princess hadn’t woke me up, I don’t think I would have woken up,” said Coats, 25.

Coats said he had put a load of clothes in the washer and another in the dryer about 2 a.m. Tuesday before going to bed. The fire is believed to have begun around the clothes drying. Coats said he awakened to the dog’s frantic barking about 30 minutes after getting in bed.

“I jumped up, pulled on my pants, grabbed Princess and went outside and called the fire department,” Coats said.

Of course my sorry mutt would have slept right through it. At least until she heard the fire truck’s sirens.

“My Saliva Was Sizzling”

July 17, 2006

That’s how Andy Kula describes nearly being struck by lightning. It could happen to you, too:

Alabama ranks in the top ten states for the number of lightning deaths from 1995 to 2004. That’s because the state’s weather patterns create frequent thunderstorms that produce lightning and the warm climate encourages frequent outdoor activity, Kula said. The Gulf Coast is the second most lightning-prone area of the country, behind central Florida.

Maybe my dog isn’t so dumb after all.

Hey! We Have Zoo, What About Us!

July 12, 2006

In the “we’re from the government and we are here to help” department:

A Homeland Security database of national monuments, chemical plants and other structures vulnerable to terror attacks is too faulty to accurately help divide federal funds to states and cities, according to the department’s internal watchdog.

Much of the study by Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner appears to have been completed before the department announced in May it would cut security grants to New York and Washington by 40 percent this year.

But the report, which was released Tuesday, affirmed the fury of those two cities — the two targets of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — which claimed the department did not accurately assess their risks.

Instead, the department’s database of vulnerable critical infrastructure and key resources included the Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo near Huntsville, Ala., a bourbon festival, a bean festival and the Kangaroo Conservation Center in Dawsonville, Ga.

But we should trust these folks with our essential freedoms. No oversight needed.

Update: The entire report is here. In addition to the petting zoo, Alabama has 709 potential targets, though they are not identified. I’m trying to think of one.

Indiana tops the list, with 8,600 targets. New York and California COMBINED have 8,900 targets.

The New York Times has more here, including this beauty:

One business owner who learned from a reporter that a company named Amish Country Popcorn was on the list was at first puzzled. The businessman, Brian Lehman, said he owned the only operation in the country with that name.

“I am out in the middle of nowhere,” said Mr. Lehman, whose business in Berne, Ind., has five employees and grows and distributes popcorn. “We are nothing but a bunch of Amish buggies and tractors out here. No one would care.”

But on second thought, he came up with an explanation: “Maybe because popcorn explodes?”

Clemency For Spencer

June 19, 2006

I missed this story over the weekend, but the Press-Register reported that Spencer is going to a home in Utah, rather than to the gurney:

Spencer, the abandoned pit bull terrier whose scheduled euthanization prompted a court case and flurry of public outcry, will live out the remainder of his days at a Utah animal sanctuary, Mobile Mayor Sam Jones announced Friday.

City officials are working with employees at the Best Friends Animal Society, a group that operates a no-kill retreat for cats, dogs and other animals on several thousand acres in southern Utah, to make travel plans for Spencer. As part of the agreement, Best Friends will release the city of any liability for the dog and he will not be adopted, a statement from the group's attorney said.

Bill Fassbender, director of the Mobile Animal Shelter, said he found Best Friends after searching throughout the country for a new home for Spencer.

"I'm thrilled with this decision, and I'm glad it's over with," he said during a Friday news conference.

I'm sure he is. You can get the rest of Spencer's story here, and here.

The story goes on to say:

One of the main catalysts behind Friday's move is to relieve some of the pressure placed on the shelter, the mayor said, where employees have been fielding hundreds of phone calls and negative e-mails over the past two weeks.

"It's been very hectic for them because they spend most of their days responding to calls about Spencer," Jones said.

Too bad the populace does not get that worked up when there is a possibility of people being unfairly euthanized.