Thursday, August 07, 2008

(1) Very Smart, (2) Stupid and Cruel and (3) Just Plain Stupid.

First up, Very Smart, the Op-Ed piece that appeared in the Aug 3 Tribune, written by Ellen Perryess, and Animal Services Volunteer (also known as saints.) She hits is all, dead bang, on the head. Posted with permission.

Animal Services is a mirror, it reflects our community’s commitment to the homeless companion animals of our County. The Humane Society of America’s evaluation of the SLO County Animal Shelter has given us -- as a community -- the opportunity to look into that mirror and many of us have found we don’t like what we see.

Sadly, rather than focusing on what we, as a community, can do to improve animal welfare, some have chosen to throw rocks at the mirror. But the reflection won’t change until we change:

Pet owners – Most of the dogs and virtually none of the cats coming to our shelter have id tags. Have an id tag and license on your pet and encourage your neighbor to do the same.

Landlords -- Currently, less than 10% of rental properties allow pets. Depending on the data source, the percentage of renters who actually own pets ranges from 62%-84%. Good pet owners make good tenants who are willing to pay more in deposits and rents. Consider renting to pet owners. See ( for more help.

All media -- Dedicate time and space to help educate the community. Without education we won’t develop the level of commitment needed to change the didn’t-see-don’t-know attitude about the homeless pet problems and solutions for our County. New Times, Charter, KVEC, Cat Country/96.1, KSBY & Easy-Ad are currently promoting homeless animals and are making a difference. But we also need to have consistent, regular stories and articles emphasizing what individuals can do to make a difference. We need to create a culture of change to become the County we want to be.

All County residents – We need to take responsibility to spay and neuter our pets and support developing a fully funded program to assist those who can’t afford to spay and neuter their pets. Whether you’re a pet owner or not, it’s in everyone’s best interest to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs in our county.

This is not to say there aren’t problems at Animal Services. As a volunteer there for 8 years, I know there are problems. However, the substantive problems are ones that require a commitment from us, the residences of the County, to fix. We need to invest in animal welfare.

Shelter facility improvements (cattery, veterinarian clinic, more outdoor dog runs) require money.

If no inmates, or better-supervised inmates are to be used to clean the shelter, more staff needs to be hired.

Expanding shelter hours requires additional staff.

If you could save a life would you do it? You can save dozens if not hundreds of lives if you want to. This is a call to individuals, civic groups and businesses to be the change you want to see to improve companion animal welfare in our county. Regardless of who you are, you can make a difference. But if you choose to do nothing, you are a part of the problem. If you’d like to know about how to help, please contact me at

We’ve started with Very Smart, now onto Stupid & Cruel.

The federal jury in L.A. returned a verdict of guilty for former Morro Bay medical marijuana distributor, Charles Lynch. He faces a minimum (remember those “tough on crime” federal minimum statutes – lock ‘em up, throw away the key?) of five years in federal prison. I would hope some sanity would prevail at the appeals level, and who knows when this case ever makes it to the Supreme Court, if ever.

Meantime, people suffering from various debilitating illnesses that are helped by a doctor’s prescription for marijuana, people who came to his Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers clinic, can just go on suffering. The Feds don’t care. Our local Sheriff doesn’t care either since it appears that he possibly initiated this bust, even though the Morro Bay clinic was duly licensed and operating under state law. And the American people don’t care. So long as it’s the OTHER GUY who’s doing the suffering, they’ll continue to vote for politicians who will continue to demagogue the cruel & stupid “war on drugs,” so the powers that be can keep pounding money down more rat holes.

Sadly, one of the jurors in Mr. Lynch’s case, was quoted in the Times as saying, “We all felt Mr. Lynch intended well, “[Kitty] Meese said. “But under the parameters we were given for the federal law, we didn’t have a choice.”

Uh, yes you did, Ms. Meese. It’s called jury nullification. Or simply tell the judge during voir dire that you refuse to serve on such drug cases. It’s the only right thing to do in the face of such cruel stupidity.

And, finally, Just Plain Stupid.

Bernann McKinney, a screenwriter with more dollars than sense, paid a South Korean company, RNL Bio,$50,000 to clone her dead pitbull,”Booger.” (The firm usually charges $150,000 for dog cloning, but is taking a cut since McKinney’s helping with publicitiy on the event.)

Apparently, McKinney was deeply attched to her dead dog, Booger, because he saved her life when some bigger dogs attacked both of them. When she was in recovery, Booger was her boon companion and helped her in many ways. The L.A. Times reports: “It’s a miracle!” Mckinney repeatedly shouted Tuesday when she saw the cloned Boogers for which she paid $50,000.

“Yes, I know you! You know me, too!” McKinney said joyfully, hugging the puppies, which were sleeping with one of their two surrogate mothers, both Korean mixed breed dogs.”

Uh, no, Ms. McKinney, your little Booger clones don’t know you from Adam. And they aren’t your beloved “Booger.” Booger, the dog you loved and shared your life with, the life experiences and relationships that made Booger the Booger that was, the Booger who saved your life, THAT Booger is dead as a doornail. What you have here are five very expensive cloned puppies who may or may not have health issues that go along with cloning, puppies who are about as blank a slate as puppies created the normal way, puppies with which you will have to build a relationship, puppies who will form their own little personalities, depending on their own unique life experiences, puppies who, at some time in the future, will die. Just like Booger.

But they’re not Booger. Not one of ‘em.

Which makes you a deluded nincompoop who’s $50,000 poorer. Or the owner of five dogs that cost you $10,000 apiece.

And, considering the essay I opened with, just think what $50,000 could do to help a whole bunch of un-cloned dogs waiting in dog pounds to die?

Very smart, stupid & cruel and just plain stupid. Not bad for a one day news cycle.


Shark Inlet said...


Thanks for this comment!

Just a quick question from someone who is ignorant but who thinks you would know.

Every so often I see a dog who I know is licensed and has had a tag in the past. I just suspect these tags get lost when collars are replaced or some such. Do you know whether there is an easy place to get replacement tags?

Churadogs said...

DAS (Department of Animal Services) is out on Hwy 1, (Slow-side) past the National Guard, next to the Honor farm, the Sheriff's jail turn off, will have replacement tags. They used to issue new tag #'s and new tags when you renewed your licenses. Now, they issue you one tag per dog and if you lose the tag, just pay a $5?? replacement fee and they'll give you a new one -- same number.

I've had tags so old they just wore through and also I've had a dog lose it's collar at the dog park, so have to troop down and get a new one. I even had a dog lose a collar way out in the bush YEARS AGO -- dog actually had passed into the great Dog Heaven -- when I got a phone call from a nice Los Ososian who found the collar and tag and my own tags with phone # and called to say he'd found it. Such nice people in Los Osos!

I also recommend checking in with your local pet store and get a tag made up with your phone # on it (people have also reminded me, best to have your cell phone # if you have one) since lots of times people find dogs loose (got out of his yard?) and they'll hold the dog and call the owner -- doesn't do much good if you're at work and you don't get the call until you get home -- hence the cell #) And, of course, if the dogs' picket up, you # will be there and DAS can call you.

Tagless dogs run a great risk of getting stuck at DAS with nobody aware that their owners may be looking for them. DAS has a microchip scanner, but sometimes they don't work, or if you've changed addresses and not updated the chip info with the company, it will be useless.

Or worse, a tagless dog gets run over, the body picked up by DAS and nobody has any record of it because it had no tags, so grieving family posts notices all over town unaware that the dog's long gone.

What also happens (alas) is people register their dog once then don't keep their (state mandated) rabies shots up to date (every 3 years) and don't then renew their license, so dog has no rabies boosters and a totally expired license. Not good. Especially here in this county, where rabies lurks and can easily be transfered from skunk/raccoon to cat or dog to human. Also not good.

So, to all dog owners, do your dog a loving kindness: keep his shots up to date and his license renewed and/or microchip him and keep that up to date. Make sure your yard fences are secure. Keep your dog on a leash (with a poopy bag at hand)when walking him, unless he's in one of the County's fenced off-leash dog parks. End of sermon.

Steven said...

Ann, you'll love this one...

*PG-13 said...

> "I loved him so much that I would ski naked down Mount Everest with a carnation up my nose if he asked me to."

And ....

> Joyce McKinney and the Manacled Mormon?

Oh my! Isn't the internet wonderful? How did we ever live without it?

We live in a very strange world indeed.

Churadogs said...

Wasn't that a wierd follow up story. Manacaled Mormons. Cloned dogs. World's getting weirder than we ever could imagine.