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APRIL 27, 2015

3,200 sign online petition to overturn ban of breed...

Robert Ward, of Dayton, Kentucky, walks his dogs Diamond (foreground), a boxer mix, and Molly, a pit bull mix in Frederick's Landing Park, Wilder.Molly and Diamond aren't welcome in Dayton, Kentucky.

Right now, the two-year-old dogs are staying in undisclosed locations in Northern Kentucky. Otherwise the city of Dayton would confiscate them for violating its ban on pit bulls.

Their owner, Robert Wade, wants to bring them back to his home on Eighth Avenue in Dayton. More than 3,200 other people seem to want the same and have signed an online petition to overturn Dayton's ban on pit bulls.

"They tore the wall down in Russia, communism, it went down," Wade said. "So they said. They opened that (expletive) up and extended it over here. Next year you're going to tell me my truck is two different colors so I can't drive."

Molly and Diamond earlier this week seemed to enjoy a walk with their owner at Frederick's Landing park in Wilder, unaware they were the center of the latest local battle between cities and pit bulls.

Both dogs look like pit bulls, but Wade maintains Diamond is a boxer mix with a jet black coat and Molly is a white pit bull mix who's deaf. Wade said he keeps them inside or enclosed in his yard and they've never attacked anyone.

Pit bull laws locally crept back into the headlines last year after a 6-year-old Westwood girl was attacked by a pit bull. Cincinnati City Council ultimately opted not to require special collars for pit bulls as proposed by Mayor John Cranley.

Many other cities in the area do have laws banning or restricting pit bulls. Fort Thomas bans pit bulls. Newport requires pit bull owners to have special insurance coverage and a microchip implanted in the dog with the owner's information.

But nationally, cities are starting to ease restrictions on these dogs. More than 100 cities across the United States over the past two years have overturned bans and other restrictions that target pit bulls, according to a report by USA Today.

Will Dayton, Kentucky join the list?

Wade's fight to keep his dogs began a week ago when a resident complained to Mayor Virgil Boruske that the dogs were "jumping on the fence." Wade said the dogs were inside the house and were simply barking. The city's animal control officer visited Wade told him he couldn't keep his dogs in the city.

Since then, the dogs have stayed elsewhere. Wade received a harsh reminder Tuesday on what would happen if he brought his dogs back in the city when the city served a notice to confiscate the dogs.

The dogs, however, weren't there. While Wade claims one of them, Diamond, isn't a pit bull, the city has deemed them both as having the properties of a pit bull.

"They think they're lap dogs," Wade said. "They're like my kids."

Boruske said he's simply following the law.

"We've got to uphold the ordinance," Boruske said. "They cannot be in town. I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do."

Wade believes he's being unfairly targeted because a friend of the mayor's complained. He and his neighbors said they've seen police cars parked outside his house in the past week to make sure he doesn't bring the dogs back.

Boruske said that's not true. He wouldn't reveal the identity of the complainant but said it's not favoritism.

Boruske stands by the city's pit bull ban. He voted for it as a city council member in 2006.

"They are aggressive animals," Boruske said.

Those gathering the petition believe breed-specific laws are unfair and want the city council to repeal the law. Lisa Rittenhouse, a neighbor of Wade's, started the petition. So far, more than 3,200 people signed the petition as of Friday She hopes to have 5,000 signatures to present to city council at its next meeting May 5. Though many of the signatures are from outside Dayton, she hopes the petition will spur the city to change the law to define vicious dogs by behavior not breed.

"I have a boxer, and I'm afraid that if all the bigger dogs get a bad rap, it's just going to start going down the line," Rittenhouse said. "I know pit bulls have a bad reputation, but so did Dobermans in the 1990s. In the '80s it was Rottweilers."

Boruske said he's not in favor of lifting the ban, but other members of city council are more open to the idea. Vice Mayor and City Councilman Ben Baker said he's undecided on whether the law should change and will talk to other cities with pit bull bans before the next council meeting on May 5.

"I'm undecided on it," Baker said. "I do believe breed-specific laws are somewhat archaic. I believe every dog owner should be a responsible dog owner."

By Scott Wartman
The Kentucky Enquirer





The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed added protections to crayfish, citing surface mining in Appalachia as one of the reasons for a decline in the species, James Bruggers reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. Mining, logging and population growth are being blamed for putting the Big Sandy crayfish and the Guyandotte River crayfish in danger of extinction. (West Liberty University photo by Zachary Loughman: Big Sandy crayfish)

Fish and Wildlife specifically mentioned mountaintop removal as being one of the threats to the species, Bruggers writes. "The Big Sandy crayfish is found in four isolated populations across the upper Big Sandy River watershed in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The Guyandotte River crayfish survives at a single site in Wyoming County, West Virginia."

Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned for the listing, told Bruggers, "For decades coal companies have gotten away with polluting Appalachia's water and killing its species, but it is time for the Endangered Species Act to start being enforced in Appalachia." (Read more)

Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 4/08/2015 01:34:00

Help name this rare Golden eagle...




MARCH 23, 2015


After pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges, the two men involved last summer's raccoon mauling at the Boyle County Fair will do their community service time at the local Humane Society's animal shelter.

Donald Pike, 31, and Brandon McQueary, 31, both entered guilty pleas Wednesday in Boyle District Court to second-degree animal cruelty. Each was sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service at the shelter as part of their plea agreements.
The men were also each sentenced to 180 days in jail probated for 2 years under supervision, fined $250 and will lose their hunting licenses for a year.

"I thought to serve their community service time at the animal shelter would be instructive to these two individuals," Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell. "I spoke with (shelter director) Dan Turcea and he was receptive to having them come out."

According to witnesses, a caged raccoon was released into a pack of hounds primed for the hunt, attacked and nearly killed. The event was staged inside the horse arena at the fairgrounds on a Friday night and was witnessed by dozens of people. Pike and McQueary were determined to the be the main organizers and participants in the incident, Campbell said.

The story drew outrage from animal lovers across the nation and came to the attention of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which kept tabs on the case through its investigation by Danville police and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and into the court system.

"We're very familiar with the case," said PETA spokeswoman Stephanie Bell, who follows animal cruelty cases nationwide.

"It's clear that local and state officials took the case very seriously — we were thrilled by the indictment," Bell said. "However, we would have liked to have seen the maximum sentence imposed. Maximum sentencing serves as a deterrent, a lesson and justice for the victim."

Campbell said the maximum sentence for second-degree animal cruelty is $500 and 12 months in jail.
Neither Pike nor McQueary have a significant criminal history, Campbell said, and both would likely have taken their chances at trial without some incentive to plead guilty.

"You have offer something that gets the cases disposed of," the prosecutor said.

Turcea, the shelter's director, was unable for comment Thursday. Another shelter employee, John Hambel, said people assigned to the shelter to perform community service usually clean out areas where dogs and cats are kept, and feed and water the animals.


By Todd Kleffman
The Advocate Messenger

March 18, 2015

Animal-assisted therapy can help healing and lessen depression and fatigue

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Is medicine going to the dogs? Yes, but in a good way. Pet therapy is gaining fans in health care and beyond. Find out what's behind this growing trend.



What is pet therapy?

Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders.

Animal-assisted activities, on the other hand, have a more general purpose, such as providing comfort and enjoyment for nursing home residents.

How does animal-assisted therapy work?

Imagine you're in the hospital. Your doctor mentions the hospital's animal-assisted therapy program and asks if you'd be interested. You say yes, and your doctor arranges for someone to tell you more about the program. Soon after that, an assistance dog and its handler visit your hospital room. They stay for 10 or 15 minutes. You're invited to pet the dog and ask the handler questions.

After the visit, you realize you're smiling. And you feel a little less tired and a bit more optimistic. You can't wait to tell your family all about that charming canine. In fact, you're already looking forward to the dog's next visit.

Who can benefit from animal-assisted therapy?

Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems:

  • Children having dental procedures
  • People receiving cancer treatment
  • People in long-term care facilities
  • People hospitalized with chronic heart failure
  • Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

And it's not only the ill person who reaps the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too.

Pet therapy is also being used in nonmedical settings, such as universities and community programs, to help people deal with anxiety and stress.


Does pet therapy have risks?


The biggest concern, particularly in hospitals, is safety and sanitation. Most hospitals and other facilities that use pet therapy have stringent rules to ensure that the animals are clean, vaccinated, well trained and screened for appropriate behavior.

It's also important to note the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has never received a report of infection from animal-assisted therapy.


Animal-assisted therapy in action


More than a dozen certified therapy dogs are part of Mayo Clinic's Caring Canines program. They make regular visit to various hospital departments and even make special visits on request. For example, one dog and his trainer worked with a 5-year-old girl recovering from spinal surgery. The therapy dog helped her relearn how to walk, taking a step backward each time she took a step forward.