King for a day

Yesterday, the Coalition to Unchain Dogs unchained its 1000th dog. I’ve got a bunch of pictures and a video from the occasion, which had around 75 volunteers and visitors from Durham and beyond. I want to share those, but I’ve got one perfect picture of the celebrated canine, and it deserves its own post. This is King.

CTUD 1000th - King


39 months

39 months in the pen

Now that the weather is cooler, I leave the windows open some, and so I hear Jade barking. She has been in her pen since late June 2007. Durham County’s landmark anti-tethering ordinance (which also requires dogs to be placed in adequately-sized enclosures) has been in full-effect since July 1. Or has it?

Jade: 3 years into her sentence

I’ve documented the plight of the caged mastiff dog Jade over the last few years. (I don’t remember why I think she’s a mastiff or mastiff-mix. Someone please correct me if she’s something else.)

My ill-will towards the owners has faded, out of necessity, I think, since being angry didn’t help. The new Durham dog ordinance, banning both tethering and enclosures that are too small, takes effect July 1, and the owners should be reported at that time. They take decent care of Jade’s pen, but Jade is entitled 200 square feet under the law, and she deserves a better life.

She was very glad to see me the other day.

Jade - 3 Years in the PenJade - 3 Years in the Pen
Jade - 3 Years in the PenJade - 3 Years in the Pen

912 —— (People who leave their pets out in the cold [repost])

Original post from 01-03-2008


Since Jade is still out there in the extreme cold and the extreme heat, 24/7/365, after nearly two years, I feel compelled to publish the address where this poor mastiff lives in her pen. A spring thaw will be here any day now, but, for one more night, her water will probably freeze over. Animal control has been over there a few times; the owners apparently aren’t doing anything cruel enough to warrant having to surrender the dog. I think the actual owner, the guy who owns the dog but doesn’t live there (while his mother and grandmother “care” for the dog) takes Jade out for a walk perhaps once a month. Otherwise, her life has been that 8×8 pen for nearly two years.

Not only is it cruel to treat an animal like this, but it makes for a really inconsiderate neighbor to allow for what amounts to the sound of sawing wood to emanate from your backyard at all hours of the day and night for close to two years.

912 —– Street. Durham, NC. Any mastiff rescue groups out there who want to try to coax the owners to give up the dog? Anyone have any ideas? I have nothing to say to the people who live there; they’re not nice people. I haven’t contacted the owner of the house. Property records point to Libra Properties with a mailing address in Carrboro. I can’t imagine that landlord is unaware that the tenants have kept a mastiff in a pen non-stop for two years.

UPDATE 3/2/09 5:36AM It’s officially a snow day here. I’d like to go back to sleep but can’t, because Jade has been barking for the past 45 minutes non-stop. She does truly sound like someone is sawing wood. I could call the policy non-emergency number, but I don’t think the police care about a barking dog in the middle of a snowstorm. “Do you want an officer to call you?” they’ll ask me. No, I don’t…I want to go back to sleep…and I don’t want to hear about how you can’t do anything productive about this dog.

I really hate these people at 912 ——. Jade won’t shut up, and I can’t stand her 50-minutes-plus of barking this morning, but this is certainly not her fault.

UPDATE 3/2/09 1:22PM I don’t hate these people. I hate how they’ve treated their dog.

UPDATE 4/30/10 12:33AM Removed street name, because I should not vilify people without knowing all information.

Disappointment in Joe Biden

(Linda Brown via AP)

Linda Brown via AP

The puppy is awful cute, but I wish the Bidens had gotten a puppy from a shelter. Going to a breeder means one more dog at a shelter will be put down today. Thanks, Joe.

I realize every family has different wants and needs in a pet, and perhaps it’s easiest to meet those needs by going to a breeder. But he’s the Veep; he’s got connections. If they wanted a well-tempered German shepherd puppy from a shelter, I’m sure they could’ve gotten one.

Oh, well. We could have a worse Veep-elect, a horrendously worse Veep-elect.

Season For Giving: A Pitch For The Dogs

I was very happy to see that Amanda Arrington won a 2008 Citizen Awards from The Independent. Amanda is the founder and director of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs based here in Durham, and she’s a most worthy recipient of this recognition.

I’ve mentioned the Coalition a bunch of times over the past year and a half. I have put some work in on a tiny number of the nearly 150 fences they’ve built, but I have hardly been a model volunteer. Since I seem to get stuck in a pattern of getting completely inadequate amounts of sleep during the week, I routinely sleep in until a ridiculous hour on Sundays, when all that’s required is that one rolls out of bed to head usually no more than a couple of miles to a fence-building location around Durham. If I could get up, I typically have a bum leg or arm or back or other malady that makes me pretty useless, although I have been assured I am welcome nonetheless. It is really difficult for me, though, to be involved in something I care about yet not really be pulling my weight. I wish I had lots of extra cash to donate; that would at least be something. But that well has been dry of late.

So…I don’t like to ask for things, but if you’re reading this, please give some consideration to dropping some change into the donation jar for the Coalition to Unchain Dogs. (Or buy a Coalition holiday ornament). There are hundreds of sweet dogs needing a new lease on life, which they’ll get when the Coalition can get them off their chains and in fenced-in yards. Whatever you can spare will be greatly appreciated.

This little plea is just me going rogue. If my sales pitch is unseemly, don’t hold it against the Coalition or the dogs. Thanks.

Good things really do happen in Durham

Tonight, the Durham Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of a revised ordinance on the treatment of animals, effectively placing a ban on tethering dogs beginning in January 2010 and giving Animal Control better-defined statutes under which to prosecute animal cruelty cases. A few in the audience expressed shame for Durham in taking away citizens’ rights to inflect cruelty onto dogs. However, most of them don’t even live in Durham. Most in the audience proudly cheered when the verdict came down. In the end, most of the commissioners seemed compelled to do the right thing. Poor clueless Lewis Cheek was adamant that Durham doesn’t have a problem with dogs. He’ll be gone soon, but I could see why Durham keeps Becky Heron year after year. She was forcefully behind the measure and gave a rousing rebuttal to those questioned the integrity of the advisory committee. Amanda Arrington chaired the Animal Control Advisory Committee and deserves much of the credit for getting the all the the right people and information together to bring the ordinance before the BOCC, despite fierce opposition from small but intimidating group who insist on the right to do what they please with their dogs.

I’m really proud of Durham (for the first time in my adult life!)

As for those who insist that having to build a fence is financially unfeasible, I’ve got a solution:

How about a couch?

dog on couch

and no duct-taping dogs either

Police: Durham Woman Duct-Tapes Dog, Tries To Kidnap ‘Second Life’ Ex-Beau – Durham –

Police said the two met online in “Second Life.” According to police, the victim, whose character was a lion, engaged in a virtual relationship with Jernigan, whose character was a virtual woman.

I have no punchline.

But I will say that I’d never have known about this danger in our community were not for I think this warrants the displaying of my DUR car magnet.

dogs don’t belong on chains

There was a tremendous turnout at the Durham Board of County Commisioners meeting last night, due to a hearing on a proposed ordinance that would ban most tethering of animals and give animal control more tools to prevent abuses. Those who spoke in favor of the ordinance probably outnumbered the opponents by roughly 5-1. I was proud of Durham for the first time in my adult life! (Just kidding. On a related note, that was a nice speech tonight in Denver by Michelle Obama). The movement to bring Durham County in line with other progressive jurisdictions around the country has been almost single-handedly spearheaded by Amanda Arrington and the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, which has now built over 100 fences for area dogs who had previously lived their lives at the end of chains.

They are having their second annual benefit concert at Durham’s Central Park on Saturday, September 6…

(For the record, this is not an authorized promotional video for the concert. Check out their website for some truly terrific videos of dogs whose lives they’ve turned around.).