I got so lucky with my dog. I got a little guy from the pound that's already house trained.

I'm used to sleeping in, but he'll wake me up at 6:30 a.m. wanting to go out and do his morning thing.

This morning it was at 4:00 a.m. He climbed onto the bed, started licking my face and pawing at me. So, we went for a 30 minute walk. Nothing like trying to find dog poo when it's pitch black out there, and you need your cell phone to illuminate the grassy area.

Anyway, there were a few dog stories in the news, so I thought I'd write 'em up. One was during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Races in Alaska. A musher died. It was the 5th dog to die this season, which shocked me. I'd never heard of dogs dying during this. It seems like they're pushed to extremes, though. I'm not sure why PETA isn't all over them.

I remember the first week I was doing sports for a morning show in town. The Iditarod was going on, and I wondered if it was even worth covering. My first sportscast, I didn't. And a few people called asking why I didn't at least mention who was in the lead. Geez...are we in San Diego or Fairbanks?

Well, I had found a story that said that Topps was making Iditarod trading cards. So I used that in my sports, with my punchline being "I wonder if, instead of a piece of bubble gum in each pack, there will be a Kibble and Bits?"

I looked at my news director. Just a blank stare. My program director had a slight smile, so that was encouraging. But not hearing people laugh makes you think your jokes are falling flat.

Anyway, the AP had a story today about a prison in Boise, Idaho. They haven't had a prisoner escape in 20 years. Ya know why?

They have dogs guarding the area. Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and a few other scary breeds; many of them are dogs that have been used for illegal activity, and wouldn't make good pets for anyone.

A few prison guards have been bit when they didn't properly secure the area.

But, when a prisoner gets close to the fence, they start barking, growling, and getting read to attack from the other side.

It's a perfect system.

Although, I can just see it now. The first time a prisoner escapes, he'll be run down by a dog, receive a bunch of bites, and he'll sue the prison. He'll claim that he was just fetching the soccer ball that went over the fence and not trying to escape.

And he'll win a few hundred thousand dollars.


SledDogAction March 26, 2009 @ 6 a.m.

Six dogs died in the 2009 Iditarod. Two dogs were on the team of Dr. Lou Packer. Dr. Packer told the Anchorage Daily News he believes the two dogs froze to death in the brutally cold winds.  For the dogs, the Iditarod is a bottomless pit of suffering. What happens to the dogs during the race includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains. At least 142 dogs have died in the race. No one knows how many dogs die after this tortuous ordeal or during training. For more facts about the Iditarod, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://www.helpsleddogs.org .

Iditarod dog kennels are puppy mills. Mushers breed large numbers of dogs and routinely kill unwanted ones, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, including those who have outlived their usefulness, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged, drowned or clubbed to death. "Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses......" wrote former Iditarod dog handler Mike Cranford in an article for Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper.

Dog beatings and whippings are common. During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers..."

Jon Saraceno wrote in his March 3, 2000 column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens.. Or dragging them to their death."

During the race, veterinarians do not give the dogs physical exams at every checkpoint. Mushers speed through many checkpoints, so the dogs get the briefest visual checks, if that. Instead of pulling sick dogs from the race, veterinarians frequently give them massive doses of antibiotics to keep them running.

Most Iditarod dogs are forced to live at the end of a chain when they aren't hauling people around. It has been reported that dogs who don't make the main team are never taken off-chain. Chained dogs have been attacked by wolves, bears and other animals. Old and arthritic dogs suffer terrible pain in the blistering cold.

Margery Glickman Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org


Fred Williams March 26, 2009 @ 6:54 a.m.

Josh, I think Margery just schooled you. A brief search on Google would have saved you some embarrassment. Even I knew that dogs regularly die from racing the Iditarod.

And what's with the joke that if a prisoner is mauled he sues everyone?

Have you ever known anyone who's endured prison? It's no joke. I don't think you'd last five minutes in there before you were beat lifeless. The USA has the shameful reputation of maintaining the worst prisons in the entire industrialized world.

Remember, over 800,000 of those prisoners have been convicted of nothing more than possession of marijuana...the same "crime" that our last three Presidents have admitted.

When their sentence is up, the torture continues. They're out of luck when it comes to jobs, housing, or education. It's even worse for sex offenders who are now subject to monitoring so intrusive and unreasonable that it defeats the entire purpose.

This includes teenagers who are labeled as violent predators because they took a picture of themselves on their phone and sent it to a friend...or a teen who received oral sex from another teen, and was then sentenced to ten years as a sex offender under Georgia's sodomy laws.

Josh, you are employing a simplistic and hysterical approach to law-enforcement and corrections that is not much short of fascism. Your knee jerk approval of ALL police action and automatic assumption that ALL accused are guilty is really pitiful and moronic.

You're smarter than that. Do some damn research already!

With loving kindness,

Your pal, Fred


Josh Board March 27, 2009 @ 11:50 a.m.

Fred, how was it I got "schooled" by her? I said I had never heard of dogs being hurt. It didn't mean I thought they weren't ever hurt or killed doing that. I guess I just don't read many Iditorad stories, that's all.


rickeysays March 29, 2009 @ 12:12 a.m.

Is Fred the most liberal person on the planet? "The USA has the shameful reputation of maintaining the worst prisons in the entire industrialized world". Really? I guess those bribes I've paid over the years to stay out of jail in TJ were wasted. It must be like club med. As for the iditarod, I have a solution. You make the dogs pull the musher one way, then make the musher pull the dogs all the way back.


rickeysays March 29, 2009 @ 1:22 a.m.

I can't wait to hear Fred's take on this: EAST COUNTY — A man armed with a large knife was shot and killed by El Cajon police at a busy intersection yesterday afternoon after numerous less-lethal attempts by officers failed to stop him. The man, whose name was not released, led police on a mile-long uphill chase on Avocado Boulevard, running all the way, said police Lt. Steven Shakowski. Investigators said they have no idea why the man was running with the knife and were working to determine whether he had committed any crimes before being shot. Police said they received a call about 11:50 a.m. about a man running with a hunting knife near Chase Avenue and Avocado Boulevard in El Cajon. Officers followed the man south on Avocado to Horizon Hills Drive. When he refused to drop the knife, they fired two stinging beanbag rounds at him. They also shot him with a Taser, an electric stun gun. None of it stopped the man, who continued running up Avocado with the knife, Shakowski said. Two more beanbags were fired. The man was still running up Avocado as officers fired more beanbag rounds. By the time he reached Avocado and Fuerte Drive, outside El Cajon city limits, he had been hit eight times, to no effect, Shakowski said. Fearing he might enter the businesses at the intersection, police tried to cut off the man, who had been running uphill for about 13 minutes, Shakowski said. The man then raised the knife and charged at the officers. Four officers opened fire with their pistols, firing at least six shots. Well Fred, how are the evil cops wrong here?


Fred Williams March 30, 2009 @ 5:47 a.m.

Far from being the most liberal person on the planet, I'm a former member of the San Diego Crime Commission.

I strongly support good policing, especially when it's community oriented and aimed at preventing crimes.

That's not what we have in San Diego today.

I have never said that ALL police use of deadly force is wrong.

But I have repeatedly said that there are too many cases where there has been no proper investigation, where cops cover up for each other instead of looking for the truth, and that the police have developed a very dangerous "us against them" mentality.

Rickey and Josh, are you claiming that ALL police actions are always justified and that ALL police are ALWAYS above question?

This is the sort of simplistic crap that destroys any honest attempt at finding the truth.

If you both automatically assume that all cops are always right 100% of the time, it's a complete waste of time to try to change your minds. It's the same when others claim that all cops are always corrupt. Neither of these are true.

What is true is that the training and discipline of our cops is at a low point. They've been trained to consider civilians as the enemy. The disciplining of even very bad cops is non-existent in San Diego. They're on a hair-trigger and if you don't knuckle under to any demand they make, no matter how unreasonable, you can be killed with impunity. We have HIGH rates of steroid abuse on our force, and who knows how many innocent people are right now in jail because of abuses suffered at the hands of cops who are completely out of control...yet they are defended by the likes of Josh and Rickey as if they are saints.

True Americans would never tolerate this nascent police state. Real patriots stand up and denounce abuse of authority, we don't celebrate it and blame the victims.

In this case, an innocent man was killed. Cops lied to cover it up. A small settlement was offered and reluctantly accepted, and then Josh blames the family of the dead man.

Believe me, if the cops had ANY defense whatsoever, no settlement would have been offered. They shot an innocent man and lied about it afterwards. That's why the settlement was made.

The bigger question is, why are these cops still on the job?


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