Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SB 250 - Disappointed but not giving up

I'm very disappointed to report that SB 250 has cleared the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.

Please see the Save Our Dogs website for updates and more information.

Other resources are:

PetPac website

SB250.org website

The California Department of Finance report

The bill goes next to the Appropriations Committee where we must stop it!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sonoma Marin Fair, or Way Too Hot

Way too hot today to go to a sheepdog trial, but of course that is what we die-hards did, despite the unusually blistering weather. It was a RESDA trial at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, a charming smaller venue in Petaluma that is filled with rich agricultural history. The arena is small, and the Barbados sheep were fit, smart and light.

Coal had a pretty decent run going, and we just about had the sheep in the pen. Only one hock dangled out before I could close the gate. But the owner of that hock decided to turn around and bolt out, leading her two friends with her so we had to try to re-pen. No such luck, and I was running "out of dog" in the heat, so after about three or four more attempts, we gave up on the pen. Under RESDA rules we retained our points up that obstacle, which is nice. So, Coal ended up in the middle of the pack and we can hope to improve our score next weekend at the Marin County Fair.

Here is a nice Coal photo that is one of several taken last weekend by our friend Lois. Thank you Lois, for such wonderful pictures! (more to come)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25th

June 25th, 1999 was Bid's birthday. He and his littermates brought together a wonderful group of folks who had stayed in touch all these years. The week of May 11th, 2009 was a terrible week for us. We suddenly lost both Bid and his sister Maggie in the same week. I would like to thank everyone connected for their support during what has been a most difficult time.

More importantly, I'd like to wish Jess, Meg, and Zack a great tenth birthday today!

SB250 Assigned to Committee - CALL TO ACTION

Please see saveourdogs.net and sb250.org for more information. We need everyone to act on this today and in the upcoming couple of days before the June 30th Business and Professions Committee meeting.

Cross posted with permission:

SB 250 has been assigned to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. The hearing is set for TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2009, at 9:30 am in Room 447. Please try to attend. In the least, get a letter out to the Business and Professions Committee and your individual Assemblymember. To find your Assembly member go to www.leginfo.com-- the letter can be simple.

When writing the letters, please put: RE: OPPOSE SB 250 as Proposed to be Amended
Letters need to be in as soon as possible in order to be listed in the analysis. We are assuming a 48 hour turn around so setting Thursday as a deadline is not unreasonable. Even if you do not feel you can get letters faxed by the end of this week, fax them during the weekend.
WE NEED INDIVIDUALS, CLUBS, AND ORGANIZATIONS TO GET LETTERS OF OPPOSITION INTO THE COMMITTEE ANALYSIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Unfortunately, vocal opposition to SB 250 was much lower as it worked its way through the senate. And while many of those in opposition vented about the cons of this bill, few actively opposed it with letters and phone calls. Sacramento did not feel the same uproar as with AB 1634 so they NEED TO HEAR OUR VOICES NOW!

Contact information and talking points are included in this e-blast. Sample letters will be up on the SB 250 website (www.sb250.org) soon. The AKC website in their legislative alerts also has sample letters.

Although the bill has nothing to do with any business related circumstances and there are absolutely no professions connections, Senator Florez was able to pull for this bill to be heard in this committee rather than the Local Government committee. Since Florez changed the cost factor of this extremely expensive bill from state reimbursement to local governments having to cover all of the costs (i.e.; through higher fees and additional fees for revocation and license denials), he knew that he would a hard time passing it in the Assembly Local Government committee.

Ironically, Florez has proudly proclaimed "THIS IS NOT AB 1634" but when it served him to get SB 250 into the committee that first heard and passed AB 1634, he used it to his advantage. Another indication that he will do anything to get this bill passed without concern for content or consequences.

Concerns about SB 250-- what you need to know:

1. Under current law, it is not illegal to own or care for an intact animal. SB 250 will make the simple ownership of an intact dog or carrying for an intact cat illegal. It will be a crime-- the only way to avoid prosecution of this new crime is to license your intact dog. If you care for intact feral cat(s) for more than 30 days, you are considered its owner and are liable.

2. If you do not license your intact dog or are found in violation of ANY law or ordinance related to animals, the penalty is loss of your intact licenses and FORCED STERILIZATION OF YOUR INTACT PETS. If you give someone a dog (your sister, father, anyone--even a donation to a service dog agency) without the appropriate paperwork, licensure, and notification you are violating SB 250. If you don't pay or make a mistake paying sales tax on a dog, this is in violation of a law relative to the sale of dogs. If you are out training and your licensed dog is not wearing its tags or a collar, you are in violation. And the penalty for any of these infractions and many more, is mandatory spay/neuter.

3. From what we can gather, the promised amendments might include a possibly broader exemption for working dogs (and maybe something more for hunting dogs) and possibly a "freebie" on the first at-large infraction. Hence, mandatory sterilization would not happen until the second time a dog is caught roaming. However, the language about violations regarding the care and concern of animals is still ONE STRIKE AND YOU ARE OUT FOREVER penalty.
CDOC and others are opposed to the use of mandatory spay/neuter as policy or penalty. In every jurisdiction that has enacted mandatory spay/neuter policy or used it as penalty, there has been significant increases in operational costs and expenses, increases in impounds and surrenders, and unfortunately, increases in the euthanasia rate. Although Santa Cruz, the model used for SB 250 did experience an eventual decline, it was noticeably below the euthanasia rates of neighboring cities and counties that did not have MSN (www.sb250.org)

Talking Points:
1. The use of mandatory spay/neuter as policy or penalty does not work. There is no example where MSN has been a positive solution resulting in a more rapid rate of decline in the impounds and euthanasia rates than neighboring communities without MSN. In fact, in EVERY municipality including Santa Cruz, there was a noticeable increase in impounds and euthanasia after MSN was enacted.

2. SB 250 is expensive. It was placed in the Senate Appropriations suspense file because the cost of this bill was prohibitive. The only way it was removed was the promise to pass the expense onto the local governments. Whether the State pays for the expense or local governments need to cover the expense, California cannot afford SB 250. With a $24 billion deficit, California cannot fund critical programs such as public safety, education, transportation, and health care. Cities are shutting down fire departments and schools. Adding another extremely expensive task onto local governments is irresponsible and wrong.

3. Using a major surgical procedure as penalty interferes with the licensed practice of veterinary medicine. The American Veterinary Medical Association has made a statement against the use of mandatory spay/neuter. Medical procedures should not be undertaken as punishment.

Letters should be addressed to author:

Senator Dean Florez
State Capitol, Room 313
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 327-5989 (fax)

Business and Professions Committee
Mary Hayashi, Chairman
P.O. Box 942849
Room 3013
Sacramento , CA 94249-0018
(916)319-2118 (fax)

Bill Emmerson, Vice-Chairman
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4158
Sacramento , CA 94249-0063
(916) 319-2163 (fax)

Connie Conway
P.O. Box 942849
Room 2174
Sacramento , CA 94249-0034
(916)919-2134 (fax)

Mike Eng
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4140
Sacramento , CA 94249-0049
(916)319-2149 (fax)

Edward Hernandez
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4112
Sacramento , CA 94249-0057
(916)319-2157 (fax)

Pedro Nava
P.O. Box 942849
Room 2148
Sacramento , CA 94249-0035
(916)319-2135 (fax)

Roger Niello
P.O. Box 942849
Room 6027
Sacramento , CA 94249-0005
(916)319-2105 (fax)

John Perez
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4162
Sacramento , CA 94249-0080
(916) 319-2181 (fax)

Cameron Smyth
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4098
Sacramento , CA 94249-0038
(916)319-2138 (fax)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to Bob!

Happy Birthday to my friend Bob. Best wishes for many more!

Summer Solstice in Pescadero

We spent a fun and relaxed weekend at Willowside Ranch in Pescadero for an AHBA trial. Food, fun, weather and friends were all superb! Rime was quite enthralled with the peacocks at the ranch. Coal had two fairly good runs on sheep on the ranch course. Dinner at Duarte's was excellent as usual and worth the wait on a Father's Day weekend. All three dogs got a swim in the pond Saturday night. An evening campfire allowed marshmallow roasting, "Some-Mores" and campfire songs from those who can actually sing, and play harmonica and guitar!

It was certainly nice to be cool and comfortable at the coast on a weekend when it was very hot inland.

Sunday was also Alix's birthday. She was born in 1990 on June 21st.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Electric Fencing

It was suggested that this was truly a "one for the book" (short) story. Perhaps so; "T" and "H", this one's for you.

If you are going to set up electric fencing in a new pasture for sheep, especially sheep who are not particularly used to electric fencing, there is one component that you need to remember. Pay very close attention, now. The crucial part of this is "electric". Do not turn off electricity to the new fence the moment the sheep are turned loose in their new space.

Of course if you are looking to let your dog have an opportunity to gather sheep and bring them back just before they gallivant down the driveway and off into the woods, then maybe leaving the juice off is a good idea!

Just kidding, guys, glad all turned out well. And most of all, Kudos to "D" who put it all back together!

Little Sheepdog

Rime is now 6 1/2 months old, and our sheepdog trainer told me that I should start letting Rime whet his appetite now and then. Rime has been out with the sheep twice before (once by accident and once on purpose) but those sessions were over two months ago. So tonight I let Rime try it again with the sheep (about 65 head). They were a quiet bunch and staying together nicely so I thought it was a good opportunity.

I put Rime on a line just so I could catch him but didn’t really need it…could have done without it. Anyway he shows plenty of interest for this age; he circles and is a little one sided but nothing severe. I only let him try about 6-7 circles and stopped him. Anyway it was fun, and little Rime seems to enjoy it. But he is definitely not focused and ready enough to “train”.

Now Coal is the backup dog. How things come full circle.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Near Home

It's nice to have a weekend with no trials, and to stay (relatively) close to home. Starting next weekend, Coal has a trial one or both days for the following four weekends. However this weekend we were lucky to have another good lesson and practice session at Zamora with our trainer. Coal did some amazing, long, tough, tricky outruns, some shedding, some driving, and basically a lot of work. He is becoming more reliable.

Rime grew up a lot in the past week. He's more dialed in to what pleases me, and also seems to be thinking more and "just reacting" less, both of which are wonderful to see. I guess that six-month birthday meant a lot.

Chiefie seems to be feeling well. Today was kind of a day off to catch up and check some things off the to-do list. Too bad tomorrow is Monday!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Coal and Rime, June 2009

Rime turned six months old on Saturday. Here is a little video of Rime playing in the yard:


Here is another little video of Coal:


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Three Bags Full (Actually Eight)

There's something satisfying about doing physical tasks and taking care of animals after a long day at the office. Even more satisfying is reconnecting with what's important and being outdoors, and just being with the dogs, in the midst of realizing once again just how fragile life is.

After last night's shearing there was a big pile of wool to be dealt with. The foxtails and other grasses are still too bad to let the dogs run in the field. The dogs are really getting stir crazy as I try to dream up things for them to do for activity instead. Walking on leash at the park is pretty lame but we've been doing more of that, as well as a bit of running off leash at the park with our JRT park buddies.

Tonight while I bagged up wool, the dogs got to hang out inside the sheep pen, while the sheep stayed out in the pasture (eat faster, eat faster!!)... at least the dogs could play a little. Chief and Rime made great sport out of tugging on pieces of wool and tossing it around. Rime kept sticking his head out the holes in the fence making me wish I'd brought my camera along to capture his funny pose. Coal was incensed about being locked up in the sheep's pen while the sheep were loose. I did take Coal out for one quick check on the freshly shorn sheep but we spent only a couple of minutes out in the tall grass. After last year's foxtail incidents requiring multiple vet visits I don't want a repeat this year. Coal and I cannot wait to get back into a training routine on the sheep but I'll bet the sheep are enjoying their foxtail-induced vacation.

Lots of things have happened lately that have reminded me of the fragility of life. Big stuff, small stuff; sad stuff and happy stuff...it's all forcing me to focus on what's important (and frankly to walk away from what's not).

Rest in Peace, Ernie and Monkey

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Our sheep got sheared tonight so that is one more chore checked off the list. Coal got to help a little bit with moving sheep here and there, for which he was most grateful. The foxtails have really put a crimp in his training/working time.

I was most grateful to have his help. Coal is a very good boy and I am most anxious to get back to more training with him.

SB250 Passed in the Senate

SB 250 passed in the Senate today. It now goes to a policy committee in the State Assembly.

We will fight on.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Senate is Voting!

Cross posted with permission. Please cross post and take action as suggested below and also call your own Senators if you haven't already. There is a lot more background information on the fallout from this proposed bill on the saveourdogs.net website.

Thank you,

-----Original Message-----
-- please cross post widely --
Today's second vote on SB 250 was 16 yes, 15 no. It needs 21 yes to pass.
The following democratic senators voted to abstain on SB 250 in the second round of voting:
Correa (916) 651-4034
Moreno Ducheny (916) 651-4040
Pavley (916) 651-4023
Wolk: (916) 651-4005
Wright (916) 651-4025
Yee: (916) 651-4008
Negrete-McLeod (916) 651-4032
Simitian (916) 651-4011
The above senators will be getting a LOT of pressure from Sen. Florez — SB 250 author and Senate Majority Leader — to change to a Yes.
If you haven't already called, Californians should call the offices above and politely say: "Hello, my name is [your name]. I live in [your city's name] California. I'm calling to thank the Senator for abstaining on SB 250, mandatory spay/neuter for dogs and cats. I'm asking the senator to continue abstaining when it comes up for a reconsideration vote later this week."
This will make them understand that we are still watching, and that we are also appreciative of their position.
Understand the process in the California state legislature: Abstaining is JUST AS GOOD for our side as a No vote, but is politically easier for a senator to do on a bill that he/she opposes but is sponsored by a member of his/her own party.
Laura Sanborn