Monday, February 21, 2011

Poodle Bitch believes humans should govern themselves

Given the current economic situations in which most humans now find themselves, Poodle Bitch doesn't blame them for wanting to vote for new political candidates who represent "change." She would be surprised, however, if humans looked outside their own species for those candidates. Humans are the most arrogant of species.

Actually, Poodle Bitch does not believe that is entirely true. She has heard bad things about dolphins.

Regardless, she was surprised to learn that a canine candidate had been elected to a position of authority, however small that authority may be, in a place called "Annandale."
Running for president [of the Hillbrook-Tall Oaks Civic Association], Ms. Beatha Lee was described as a relatively new resident, interested in neighborhood activities and the outdoors, and who had experience in Maine overseeing an estate of 26 acres.

Though unfamiliar with Lee's name, the crowd of about 50 raised their hands, assuming that the candidate was a civic-minded newcomer. These days, it's hard to get anyone to volunteer to devote the time needed to serve as an officer. The slate that Lee headed was unanimously elected. Everyone ate ice cream, watched a karate demonstration and went home.

Only weeks later did many discover that their new president was, in fact, a dog.

Ms. Lee is a Wheaten Terrier Bitch. Yes, Poodle Bitch capitalized Ms. Lee's credentials because she is both bemused and impressed by Ms. Lee's accomplishment, such as it is.

She was elected to lead a civic association composed of humans who did not even require their candidates to stand before them and present themselves for any sort of inspection whatsoever.

Poodle Bitch is reminded of the classic Alfred E. Neuman campaign slogan, "You could do worse; you always have." Poodle Bitch has no way of knowing what kind of job the previous head of the Hillbrook-Tall Oaks Civic Association did, but she doubts that Ms. Lee could do much worse. The Washington Post article doesn't mention much that is done by the Association -- there are vague references to "ice cream socials" (Poodle Bitch wonders if Annandale is still in the 1950s), grumbling about speed bumps (do they actually place the speed bumps, or grumble about where the speed bumps are placed by the city government?), "annual block parties" (do they really need to meet more than once a year?), and a (losing) "bruising zoning battle against a Montessori school."

In other words, this is a small group of people who feel like they should congregate, but will not do so without an excuse. This would seem to be borne out by the following:
[Mark] Crawford had served three consecutive terms as president and, according to association bylaws, could not run for the office again. For weeks leading up to the election, he begged, pleaded and cajoled neighbors to run for the often-thankless volunteer post. No one bit. Newer, younger families told him that they were too busy juggling work, long commutes and kids. And longtime residents ... said they'd already done their time.

Poodle Bitch wonders if perhaps this should have been a red flag to everyone involved in this civic-minded organization. Either change the bylaws (how difficult would that have been, really?) to allow Mr. Crawford (Ms. Lee's human companion, by the way) to again run for president, or dissolve the apparently unnecessary group. Sometimes it is too much to ask for humans to behave logically.

Human beings have caused their own problems. They should not attempt to rely upon canines to clean them up. Poodle Bitch says, Let them plan their own ice cream socials.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Poodle Bitch wonders about human laws

Doris Muller, and some of her canine companions. (Not pictured: Rage.)

Sometimes, Poodle Bitch is confused by human laws. Case in point: This story, about a woman called Doris Muller in a state called Illinois. Ms. Muller likes companion animals. She likes companion animals a lot.
Muller, 67, love pets. She writes often to this newspaper about her views on animal welfare.

She also is something of a soft touch. A couple of dogs (one is 17 now) came from neighbors who didn't want them anymore. Three more arrived after her daughter's marriage split up.

"They became divorce casualties," she says with a chuckle.

After an adult niece died, Muller took in her two cats. And she also rescued a rabbit no longer wanted by an acquaintance.

Poodle Bitch applauds Ms. Muller's dedication to helping animals that might otherwise be left to roam alone, or victimized by the state. So far, the story is a heartwarming one. Poodle Bitch likes to hear about such things. Unfortunately, the story of Ms. Muller and her animal companions takes a strange and frustrating turn:
Two don't get along: Rage, a 75-pound Treeing Walker Coonhound; and Rusty, a 55-pound mutt. So Miller keeps them away from each other.

Recently, though, she made a mistake: She accidentally let the pair of pooches in the same area. And they started to go after each other.

"That was stupid of me," she says. " ... That wasn't the dogs' fault."

Muller - 5-foot-3, 140 pounds - got them apart right away. So there wasn't much of a fight. She says neither sustained a puncture wound.

As for Muller, she got a sprained wrist from pulling the two apart. And Rage's teeth left a scratch on her wrist.

"It was no big deal," she says.

When Ms. Muller went to the hospital to have her scratch checked, she was told that the incident would have to be reported to local animal control. In the eyes of the law, it seems, a "scratch" is the same as a "bite." And a "bite" is a "bite," whether it's the human companion of said animal, or a complete stranger.
A county animal-control officer arrived at her home with quarantine notice for Rage, the wrist-scratching hound. After a bite, if a domestic animal has not been vaccinated for rabies, it must be kept at a vet or animal shelter for 10 days, says Lauren Malmberg, the county's animal-control director. But a pet with a rabies tag can be kept at home, then taken to a vet for inspection after 10 days.

"Basically, if it's alive it doesn't have rabies, because (with rabies) they'll die in three or four days," Malmberg says.

Muller did as directed with Rage, and her vet pronounced the dog rabies-free - as expected. That cost Muller $45.

Poodle Bitch notes that, because Ms. Muller has at least eight companion animals, she must register herself with the state, which charges her $10 per year for renewal. Presumably, this renewal process includes proof of the companion animals' updated vaccinations.

Perhaps if the "scratch" had been inflicted upon a stranger, said stranger might want to be certain that the animal's vaccinations are up to date. But the human companion of the animal should know. Poodle Bitch wonders why it is that the state was "forced" to act in this way.

Poodle Bitch wonders at the ways in which humans enforce their laws. There was absolutely no way the state could bend in its enforcement of this particular law, and yet, humans are given so much leeway in enforcing other, presumably more pressing and important laws.

Perhaps if Ms. Muller and her canine companion, Rage (and what a loaded name that is!), were more politically connected, there would have been no problem?