Friday, July 31, 2009

Position Wanted

Name: Reese

Age: 9-10 months

Position Desired: Entry-level position with room for unlimited advancement as Bestest Dog You Will Ever Own, full-time working partner, right-hand dog in a challenging SAR, farm, competition or other productivity-oriented environment.

Strengths: Will follow you anywhere if you will really lead. Will do anything you ask if you explain it and are open to feedback. I am told that I have good Hunt Drive and great resilience. I'm a people person and have excellent communication skills.

Challenges: I am willing to fight with other dogs if allowed, so will need firm direction in order to reform this habit.

Education: Yellowstone County Montana public dog schools.

Current Location: Billings Montana. Will relocate for the right position.

Contact: National English Shepherd Rescue and this blogger. ASAP.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Project Next Steps

Despite the sustained efforts of United Airlines, I am back in Billings. This time we have a team of four NESR volunteers hard at work for the wind-down of Operation New Beginnings and the rollout of Project Next Steps.

One of the first sights that greeted me when I came back to the much-expanded dog campus at the Metrapark was this:

Can anyone guess who this guy is?

Does anyone remember this dog? From this post?

Harry. Harry who had clocked out so far that he wouldn't -- maybe couldn't -- take his head out of the corner. Harry outside, smiling in the Montana sun.

It's time for the Montana English shepherds to be Good Dogs and Go Home.

One high priority is smoothing the way for volunteers who have applied to adopt or foster one of the dogs they've cared for to move through the adoption process, so "their" dogs will become simply their dogs -- no scare quotes indicating the contingency or legal irrelevance of their sense of responsibility and attachment.

Yes, the volunteers have to apply and have their references checked, be interviewed, have home checks and reality checks -- just like any other adopter.

Unlike other adopters, the volunteers have already paid their adoption fees many times over. We agreed seven months ago -- no adoption fee for volunteers.

While two of our team members numb their brains with paperwork and peoplework, I am partnered with Douglas to evaluate the dogs themselves.

We take each dog to a place she has never been before, and ask her to tell us something about herself.

We do this by challenging her with mild stresses, and giving her an opportunity to show us whether she is bothered by them, how much, and whether she thinks looking to a human is a good way of getting through that. And we see how the dog progresses in confidence as she confronts these mild challenges.

Combined with the absolutely crucial written reports from each dogs' handler, the results of these evaluations help us sort dogs into categories depending on how much experience and dog chops a potential adopter or foster volunteer might need, as well as any special talents or qualities that the dog has to offer.

No, this is not "poke it until it bites" temperament testing. We Don't Do That Shit.

One of the most important things we assess is the dog's ability to recover from something it finds stressful. This capacity, while it can be built and developed, is highly intrinsic to each unique temperament. Good bounceback can take a dog far.

Here's young Jersey vanquishing the rather ominous Stairs to Nowhere, with the help of Nice Strange Man Who Has My Leash.

At the end of an exhausting day of evaluations, it's time for some de-stressing exercises.

The puppies born in custody may have had to do without some necessities because of their status as living articles of evidence -- but they are rather well-socialized to people.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rochester Speaketh With Forked Tongue

Sioux City pit-bull hater and vicious dog owner Aaron Rochester, author of that city's gormless breed ban, is going to let the city kill his biting Labrador as a way of

reciprocating the loyalty and devotion of man's best friend

humbly acknowledging that even councilors aren't above the law

keeping the streets of Sioux City safe for jogging

recognizing that the Constitution does not permit ex post facto laws

Oh wait, no he's not. Yes he is. No he's not. WTF? Hey jagoff, you gonna kill your dog or not?

Oh hell, I don't know. And apparently, neither does the newspaper reporter who covered the latest Council meeting:

Rochester continues to say he will not appeal to Woodbury County District Court, but he said last week he wanted changes to the city's one-strike vicious-animal law, which says an animal that bites someone and is ruled vicious must be put down.

So instead of suing the government of which he is a part over a law that he may in fact have written, he's going to try to rewrite the law to issue his vicious biter a get-out-of-jail-free card?

Rochester said he will wait out the 30-day appeal window before having his dog put down.
Rochester seems, incredibly, to argue that he should be able to write an ex post facto law that will majickally render his unprovoked biter not vicious because the council previously extended the deadline for citizens subjects of Sioux City to register their Communists pit bulls, after having already stolen and killed some other people's pets.

The logic appears to be that, since we didn't kill everyone's harmless pets, only some people's harmless pets, I get to legislate my vicious biter back onto the front porch. Only killing some people's harmless pets is precedent, see.

Can someone who is more fluent than me in Jenyoowine Frontier Gibberish make some sense of what the mayor, Mike Hobart, is reported to have said?

Hobart seemed sympathetic to Rochester's plight when he said, "The Supreme Court often has set aside judgements (sic) on capital punishment -- on cruel and unusual punishment."

However, he said, "I agree with Jim. I think the perception would be out there if we do something for a councilman" that the council members were giving special treatment to one of their own.

"What I'm most uncomfortable with is my own stupidity in not understanding the law -- that it was a one-bite issue," Hobart said. "I thought we would weed out a good dog who does something stupid."

Dick Williams said the animal ordinance is flawed. His comments prompted Hobart to say, "I have represented murderers and those who have done heinous crimes. They are docile. Anybody, including a dog, can act docile."
Sioux City Council. I wouldn't kick a dog in the ass with them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photo Phriday: You Should Be So Lucky

So you fell out of your hunting stand and broke your damn leg.

It's been a long, cold night, but as day breaks, you hope someone has started looking for you.

You hear something crashing through the fall leaf litter. It is wearing orange, so you don't shoot it.

Oh, there you are.

My, you look a fright.

Hang on, I gotta do somethin.

Ah, I see you didn't get far on foot. Bwaa haa haa haa. Is leetle rescue joke.

He is always so slow. Freakin' bipeds.

Daaaad ... c'mon

Hold on a sec, we'll be right with ya.

Frisbee. Now.

Least Likely News Quote EVER

“Sometimes, you just gotta say: ‘OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals,' and move on.”

The Charlotte Observer

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gaia and Luna

I was three years old.

In the living room of my mother's cousin's home in Canada -- family vacation.

How often did a toddler's parents park her in front of a television set and command: Watch! Remember!

I remember it more vividly than I remember my high school graduation, my own wedding, the morning of September 11.

Of all the generations of homo sapiens who have lived on this planet, of all the generations who are yet to come, we are the ones who experienced this singular moment.

Our planet became no longer The World. Never just A World. Our World. A whole thing, one among many, and the only home for all of us.

In 2009 dollars, the entire Apollo program cost about 20% of what we've spent waging war against a country that never attacked us, and hunting for one contemptible criminal who remains free.

I have a secret ambition. In sixty years, I want to be that crochety old broad, that ornery centarian to whom reporters flock for The Interview.

The old woman on her nineteenth-century farm who remembers The Day of the twentieth. Of the millenium.

Will one of those reporters drop in by video link from her home on Mars?

Do we have the greatness of will to make that happen?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photo Phriday: Trollcat Dave

I give up; the photo sequence I've been trying to load all day just won't.


funny pictures
moar funny pictures

There really is a third cat here.

He is older than dirt.

Since Mel's death almost two years ago, he hasn't come out of the laundry room (old house) or basement (new house) on his own power. He will come forth with a list of grievances when you are down there, though.

He spent over thirteen years hating Mel. It fueled him, 24/7/365, asleep, awake, while practicing out-of-body trances. When his raisin dirt disappeared, it just wasn't worth putting in the effort. Now he's just annoyed by everyone, and that's not the same as an epic hatred.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Convicted: Felony Animal Cruelty

Millie was chewing on the bone sticking out of her own fractured leg
when she was confiscated from Linda Kapsa.

With the judge's signature on the plea agreement today, Linda Kapsa of Ballantine Montana is no longer "the defendant," but has officially been convicted of felony animal cruelty under Montana law.

Sentencing has not been scheduled, and likely will not be for another 6-8 weeks.

While most of the 200+ English shepherds will be able to be released for adoption or foster care in a matter of a few weeks, nineteen animals that Kapsa "chose" will remain in limbo, and in county custody, until the sentencing date.

Watch this space for later analysis of why those particular dogs were held back.*

The fate of the unknown number of free-running dogs, and their offspring, still resident at Kapsa's property is uncertain.

More when information becomes available.

*And if you ask a question and I don't answer it, it is because I can't, okay?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Snapshot Sunday*: Shop Dog

This lil' lizard-girl is the shop dog for a little gift shop on Main Street.

Yep, Zelienople has a Main Street. With a bakery, hardware store, diner, several banks, health-food store, pizza joint, drugstore and a rehabbed and just re-opening old movie theater. (It will be live theater now, and I hope some movies too.) And an Independence Day parade with fire trucks and weiner dogs and tractors and a 60-year-old majorette who does the splits and spins a flaming baton.

She came from a local shelter.** I waste no opportunity to remind her owner that he has won the dog lottery.

Oh, and it may not be immediately apparent from the cell-phone shot, but she's banned in Ontario, Britain, Sioux City, Denver. On account o' the baby-eating.

Too bad Zelie can't be safe like Denver.

*Once again, missed Photo Phriday

** The dog. Dunno about the majorette.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Updates on the Legal Front

Mary Wild, mistress of Tandoori-van canine cookery has been charged with eight counts of animal cruelty.

"Pit bull" hater and Sioux City councilman Aaron Rochester continues to appeal the designation of his neighbor-biting dog as "vicious and dangerous" -- while vowing to continue the city government's confiscation and murder legal ban on alleged "pit bulls" that never bit anyone. No mention of whether the city government has noticed that their law concerning dog bites is also completely deranged.

And finally ... drumroll please ... Linda Kapsa of Ballantine Montana has pleaded no contest to the felony animal cruelty charges against her.

Trust me, there will be plenty of updates in the coming weeks on this. But right at the moment, just read the Billings Gazette.

Lethal THIS

The dog in this picture rated maximally dangerous -- "Lethal" -- on the doltish scale devised by a self-proclaimed "expert" on aggressive dogs.

Yes, there is a dog in this picture. Keep looking.

The only thing that ever made her happier than the way those kids are treating her like a rockstar (which she totally deserved) was when she actually got to go out and for real save one.

Please check out this post over at YesBiscuit!

And the comments, oh the comments.

The clinically delusional hawker of a product that she claims will identify "dangerous" dogs without them ever having done anything to harm anyone, and also prescribe the punishment to be inflicted upon the dog and owner by the gummint has decided to take Shirley's bullshit call-out as an cue to run an infomercial in serial installments.

Oh Billy Mays, are you already spinning (loudly) in your freshly-dug grave? Is this what screaming hucksterism has sunk to already? Contriving the concept of Thoughtcrime for Dogs and then devising the punishment?

Keep in mind that this is the -- I could not make this shit up -- same lackwit featured in this instructive National Geographic video

Yep, that's right. Some dozy bint deliberately breeds enormous hairy mastiffs to be as vicious as possible, brags about how nasty the puppies are, has their infant gonads cut off (gotta protect the cash flow) and then sells them for major simoleons to patsies like the inept sucker featured being dragged into traffic by a man-eating dog that is larger than he is and completely immune to whatever "training" he's attempted -- that selfsame dozy bint is now trying to scare timid municipalities into pooping their pants over a whole lot of hitherto unimagined Al Quaeda dogs that are stealthily hiding out in back yards, just waiting for their chance to suicide bomb Miss Babcock's preschool class, one delicious toddler arm at a time. And then buy her "system" and institute a regimen of pre-emptive "animal control" so intrusive that Winston Smith would've told them to fuck off and mind their own damned business.

And the HSUS, among others, is apparently on board with this shyster. Not since the DKL Lifeguard fiasco have I gotten to see a con artist flying right out in the open, pinging, pinging, pinging the radar, with the distinct shape of Rodan flying straight at Tokyo, while the people who are paid to know better keep saying, aw, it's just a flock of ducks.

Hop on over to Shirley's blog and join the conversation.

And check out SmartDogs' far superior rating system for dog owners. I believe she pulled it out of some orifice in a few spare minutes today. It is full of win!

See, Ms. Follett is posting her infomercials -- with complete ad copy in every signature line -- because she wants to get GOOGLE HITS on her product keywords in places other than her own advertising site.

I think we should make sure that when some enquiring mind follows those googles, he or she gets to see how disreputable, ridiculous, and insidious Follett and her crackpot "product" really are.

And fair warning. Comments on this blog are currently unmoderated. Anyone trying to use it to advertise or self-aggrandize will be summarily deleted and then roundly mocked.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Photo Phriday: Gramma Turkey

My Mom is attempting to en-Dale all of the turkey poults. Especially the one on her right shoulder.

La la la, the turkeys lurve me so.

There's something very warm down the back of my neck.

Vicious and Dangerous

"I have spoken with citizens who have had multiple problems with pit bulls. They've gone after people, dogs and even cats. They're an aggressive dog. Because of their strong bite, they can latch onto you or another animal and cause tissue damage."
-- Sioux City Councilman Aaron Rochester*

HT to Terrierman for this news story.

The city councilman who led the drive to ban pit bulls in Sioux City is waiting to find out whether his Labrador retriever will be euthanized for biting a neighbor.

Councilman Aaron Rochester said Tuesday he has appealed Sioux City Animal Control's determination that his family's yellow lab is vicious after Saturday's incident, which resulted in an emergency room visit and five stitches for the injured neighbor.


At 4:45 p.m. Saturday, a man and woman who live in the neighborhood walked by the Rochesters' home in the 1300 block of 46th St. The lab was sitting on the front porch. As the couple walked by on the sidewalk, the dog ran off the porch and jumped the man, Groetken said.

The neighbor suffered a scratch to his right leg as he tried to push the dog away, some marks on his chest and bites to his thumb that required five stitches at a hospital emergency room

Yep, that's right. The man responsible for the homelessness and deaths of how many children's pets -- dogs that never bit anyone -- has been willfully harboring a vicious and dangerous dog.

"He is a great watchdog. My speculation is, he was watching our children and may have thought they were in danger."

Yes, Councilman, that is your feckin' speculation. Since you weren't home while you were casually breaking the leash law that is meant to keep us all absolutely safe all the time, it's quite reasonable to replace facts with this speculation --

That your loose, unsupervised, vicious dog has paranoid fantasies about innocuous neighbors out for a walk.

Since your own paranoid fantasies make it A-OK to kill other people's pets based on what you confabulate as their "breed," I guess it makes sense that your dog's paranoid fantasies make it just fine to go bite the passer-by who looks like he's got a panel van full of candy and a clown costume back home.

And, on a totally unrelated note, why is it that smug douchebags always own crazed untrained yellow Labradors named Jake?

Is it because they believe that such animals are idiot-proof? While this notion would reflect some unexpected self-awareness, it too is a fantasy. As Mr. Rochester has proven, idiots are far too ingenious.

Sorry Jake, you have to die because your owner is a jackass. And because you actually bit someone for absolutely no reason.

Unlike the other smooth-coated, square-headed dogs your owner has killed.

* Whose only other newsworthy career achievement seems to be voting to ban unapproved porch furniture that didn't come from Pottery Barn. 'Cuz that's just trashy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Sam seems to be the oldest dog from the seizure. Will he live long enough to retire to a soft bed in a warm house?

I realize that I haven't posted an update on the Montana English shepherds since the finish line trial date was continued from May to July. Trial date is now July 13.

NESR put plans to send me to Billings in June on hold; I expect to be there in July. I'm trying to set up the farm so the SLOH can manage all the chores while I'm gone.

The court held a competency hearing for Kapsa yesterday.

The judge denied the county's motion to post bond for the value of the animals and allow them to be placed into homes.

Kapsa is selling puppies born to animals that either escaped capture in December or were concealed elsewhere. The court has declined to allow the county to do anything about the animals still under her control.

Two NESR representatives arrived in Billings today to help with dog care and training and continue working with the volunteers.

Fundraising efforts to pay for the dogs' care continues. AWFA is holding another online auction of donated items to raise money; bidding starts Saturday.

The ersatz "Montana News" -- the lunatic website of a convicted felon with an ax to grind -- is lurking under a false identity on the open English shepherd discussion list, has violated the copyright of one list member, and is claiming to its brain-dead readers (both of them) that this benefit auction of wool, dog treats, purses, etc. is "NESR selling the dogs to the highest bidder." No, I am not going to link to convicted felon Donald Cyphers' website. You can find it in the googles.

The Billings Gazette continues to provide stellar coverage of the case. Their young staff regularly restores my faith in the profession of journalism. And their web extras -- video, PDFs of court papers, photo galleries -- should be a beacon on the hill for other, larger-market newspapers that are frankly lazy. This, people, is how it's done.