Archive - Sep 2013

September 29th

Sad Tales, Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about Sad Tails with Happy Endings!, a rescue shutdown by Southbury Animal Control. Since then, I've been in several discussions about the situation, including speaking with people directly involved.

I am particularly concerned about comments that some are making based on assumptions or inaccuracies. A post on Helping Connecticut Canines' Facebook page asking donations to the pound where the dogs have been taken describes this as "a serious hoarding situation".

This is a questionable assertion at best. Ms. Boeckel was running a rescue. Her website lists dogs that she had successfully adopted out and others available for adoption. The description of the veterinary care and feeding procedures for these animals that I've obtained clearly indicate to me that she was not hoarding.

Another comment that I found particularly disturbing was "I assure you they would not have been taken unless the dogs and cats were in immediate need. Thirty plus dogs in any home being cared for by one person is impossible." Based on the information I've obtained, I question whether or not the animals were in immediate need, and I know that the assertion that they were being cared for by only one person is factually incorrect.

Others have jumped in and noted that they knew of a person who as organizing a fundraiser for the rescue and others have applauded Ms. Boeckel's work.

I don't know the ACOs in Southbury, but based on my experience dealing with other ACOs as well as the State Dept. of Ag., I don't always accept everything they say at face value.

If the amount of effort that has gone into taking the animals and subsequently getting supplies to the Southbury Dog Pound had gone into helping Ms. Boeckel in the first place, I believe there would have been a much better outcome.

I am also very concerned when ACOs shutdown a rescue because they don't like the way it is being run. I believe it sets a very dangerous precedent.

So, I encourage everyone to help clean up the mess now and prevent future messes. An important step in this is accuracy in reporting, and not calling something a "a serious hoarding situation", when it is far from clear that this is the case.

September 28th

Sad Tails with Happy Endings!

Years ago, Fiona and I drove a young pit bull up to Maine as part of a team effort to save the dog from imminent euthanasia. The trip introduced us to what is going on in animal rescue here in Connecticut and across the country. I haven't looked at the official numbers from the State of Connecticut in a few years, but last time I looked, approximately 3,000 animals were put to sleep each year by animal control officers across the state. Too often, animal control was a thankless task tacked onto the responsibilities of the police department, who found it easier just to kill the animals than to find them homes.

Yet Connecticut is one of the better states. Across the country there are states that kill hundreds of thousands of animals each year, and estimate at the total number of animals killed typically vary in the range of three to ten million.

Over the years, I've also gotten to know many rescuers. Some can be a little fanatical, some may lack political finesse, but for the most part, they are the kindest best intentioned people I have met. They sometimes have run-ins with police departments, animal control officers, and the State Department of Agriculture that oversees animal control and I was saddened to hear of the latest run in.

NBC Connecticut posted a story yesterday, 31 Dogs, 3 Cats Seized from Southbury Home.

Owner Nancy Boeckel said she was running an animal rescue business out of her Georges Hill Road home and the dogs were neither abused nor neglected.

There is also a brief article in the Republican American about the seizing of the dogs.

The rescue community, despite various differences, is fairly close knit, so I thought I'd try to get a little more information. From Nancy's LinkedIn page, I found that she was educated at Quinnipiac and runs "Sad Tails Happy Endings" animal rescue.

This led me to the rescue's Petfinder page. Currently, it does not list any animals available for rescue. I'm not sure if this is because the page hasn't been maintained, or if it has been updated as a result of the animal control raid.

On her page, she talks about rescuing Maggie:

Maggie was an owner surrender after 8 years reason given "no time". I was notified Maggie was scheduled to be killed, I was able to rescue her within 3 hours remaining until her scheduled death. I became Maggie's foster Mom.

Christmas morning I transported Maggie to her new family. She was a surprise for 4 children for Christmas. The look of amazement and sheer joy on the children's faces will remain in my heart and mind forever. The parents and grandmother were standing there with tears of happiness running down there faces. It was a very special Christmas morning for all of us. Maggie is now living in her new forever home as happy as can possibly be. The entire family truly love her deeply and she returns their love ten fold.

Yes, rescue is a small word with an enormous meaning!

She also has a website, Sad Tails with Happy Endings!. It has pictures of about twenty dogs that have been adopted and about a dozen currently ready for adoption. There are links to poems popular in the rescuing community.

There is also a link to a blog about one of the dogs that was adopted from Nancy, and great pictures and a video of the adopted dog.

Doing a bit more digging, it appears as if she has had health and financial difficulties. Let's hope a solution can be found that will be best for every, human, canine and feline, involved.

September 24th

Amity AstroTurf Referendum Results

Today, 1,803 voters in Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge went to the polls and rejected a referendum to spend $945,000 installing astroturf at Amity High School. While the turnout was very low by normal election standards, for an off-season referendum, the numbers were higher than many expected.

Based on the chatter around various water coolers, it seems like it boiled down to the fiscal conservatives and the environmental conservatives against the sports parents, with many people not having an opinion, and voting based on the recommendations of their friends.

The environmental conservatives were probably the loudest with comments against the proposal on the Conserve Woodbridge Facebook page, and presumably in backchannels. They expressed concern about fumes and runoff from the artificial turf. The fiscal conservatives spoke up at meetings raising concern about the towns' debt burdens.

This time, I decided to try an exit poll, which I set up using Google Documents. I put it together very quickly before heading off to work, so there were some mistakes in it. It wasn't clear to everyone that while I optionally gathered demographic information, there was no way for me to get any other information about the people filling out the poll.

A handful of people completed the poll, the results were 2 to 1 against the referendum in the exit poll and about the same 64% to 36% in the actual voting. For concerns express, the biggest concern appears to have been the cost, followed by health issues, and environmental issues.

At the Woodbridge polling location just a few people showed up to find the results, and the biggest concern appears to have been about the lack of information that was distributed about the referendum and who should have distributed it.

Amity AstroTurf Referendum Exit Poll

The Amity AstroTurf Referendum is today, and I've set up a simple, unscientific exit poll using Google Docs. If you live in Bethany, Woodbridge, or Orange, please consider filling out this poll

AstroTurf Poll.

If I get enough responses, I'll post about the results here or in a later blog post.

Update: One person asked about the anonymity of this poll. It was set up using Google Docs. You do not have to be logged into Google Docs to fill out the poll. It does track the time you filled it out, and your answer to the questions, but it does not track any other information besides the questions you answer.

We've already had answers from all three towns.

September 23rd

Fevered Facebook

The cool breeze circles around my bare arms and legs, bearing the last warmth of summer tempered by the shortening days. It feels strange, like the touch of long sleeve shirts after days of wearing short sleeves, or the feel of sheets on a fevered body.

I don't think I have a fever, though at times I've felt a bit flush. It started a few days ago when my latest canker erupted. I go through times of having cankers. I had another one two weeks ago and the whole left side of my head felt inflamed. I slept much of that weekend. Yesterday, to add to the canker, I had a pounding headache. I attributed it to the coming storm or the coming change of seasons. Perhaps stress added a little bit to it, and maybe I was even a little dehydrated.

I washed down a couple Advil with a large glass of water and took a nap. In the afternoon, I felt better and headed out to dinner with dear friends that are moving out of town. I drank the wine and ate the salad without any problem, but before the main course came, a severe stomach ache developed and I spent much of the evening in the bathroom.

Today, I've been eating saltines, drinking ginger ale and sleeping. Between naps, I get up briefly to read and pace.

On Facebook, many of my friends have been posting comments saying farewell to summer and welcoming the fall: "Savasana... Last bonfire yoga of 2013… Said farewell to summer this morning with a beautiful, mile-long open water swim…I've really been looking forward to my Saturday swim in Lake Quassy, especially since I missed the last couple of weeks. But it still feels like the middle of the night and it's pretty chilly. Oh well, I'm sure that once I start moving it will feel good…"

I replied saying "Great pictures, stories of their final swim of the season. Others have been looking for great fall activities. Apple picking is one such activity, and Beardsley's Cider Mill & Orchard is a great place to pick apples, or simply to pick up some cider and donuts.

Have a great last day of summer and first day of fall. "

It led to a side discussion about Liberty apples, a hybrid of the Macoun. I love Macoun's but cannot recall having had Liberties.

Another topic on Facebook has been International Book Week: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence as your status. Don't mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your status.

These sentences, tied together resulted in the following:

Play the Artillery of Heaven against the hardy Sons of Vice.

More students were enrolled there than either at Cambridge or at Leipzig, the next two largest establishments in the Protestant North, and Leiden's student body was also more cosmopolitan and international than any of its rivals. Consider, for example, the vast amounts of government money used to bribe big corporations to invest in cities.

The changes she made were very dangerous. Attention, clearly, had been paid. The style of his beauty, however, though a masculine style, did not at all commend itself to my taste.

I don't know. I didn't even see a seagull.

It all tied back to thinking about what a 21st Century Great Awakening might be like.

At home, Kim had an ear worm, the theme from Caillou. I countered with another ear worm, Minne Riperton singing Loving You

I think about mashing them up

I'm just a kid who's four,
Each day I grow some more!
I like exploring, I'm Caillou

Loving you is easy 'cause you're beautifull,
And making love with you is all I wanna do.

So many things to do,
Each day there's something new
I'll share them with you
I'm Caillou

Loving you is more then just a dream come true,
And everything that I do, is out of loving you.

My world is turning, changing each day!
With mommy and daddy and finding my way-

La la la la la, la la la la la...

As I looked for Loving You, I found two videos of Miranda performing with the "Play Me, I'm Yours" pianos, one of which she painted.
Playing the Painted Piano "Play Me, I'm Yours" - Boston and Boston "Play Me, I'm Yours" Artist Reception

The reception of for the piano painters is a nice coda to my blog post What's The Point?, which I wrote in response to Stop Forcing Your Kids to Learn a Musical Instrument.

One final thought; a friend shared a link to the Porch Sitting Union of America. So, I'll ponder all of this as I sit in a fevered state on my porch.

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