Dog owners issue call

The Hood River County Commission meeting was emotionally charged on Dec. 3 when a group of pet owners offered to help re-write the existing dog laws.

Frances Mazzara of Duke's Valley made a tearful appeal to the county board to reform its enforcement practices. She said because a neighbor was using the dog codes as a weapon against her family, she had been forced to spend more than $10,000 in legal fees to successfully fight court actions.

"It has wrecked our lives, it has wrecked us emotionally and physically," said Mazzara.

Also present at the Dec. 3 meeting was Mo Stevenson of Highline Drive, a dog owner who also paid thousands of dollars to win the freedom of "Kiss-Kiss," her Chow-Shar Pei mix that initially received a "death sentence" by the local court after attacking another canine. Both Mazzara and Stevenson have threatened lawsuits against the county.

In large part because of these cases, Joan Fowler, a Wy'East Road resident, told the county board she had met with other concerned citizens who wanted to alleviate future problems. They would like to serve in an advisory capacity during revision of the county dog laws and as mediators to eliminate the need for legal intervention.

The group is asking that the following principles be incorporated into any revision of the dog laws:

a recognition that dog owners in rural communities do not place severe restrictions on their pets.

an understanding that dog ownership does not carry with it criminal liability.

a realization that dog owners and enforcement officers have responsibilities to the dogs as well as to the complainants.

an acknowledgment that one complaint should not be sufficient for serious enforceable action against an owner.

If these principles are generally accepted, the group would like the county to incorporate language into its code that forbids canines from being sold for scientific experiment and replaces the police presence with a formal citizen review committee which would step in after the third infraction to review facts and take neighbor testimony before rendering a binding verdict.

John Arens, chair of the county board, said officials will review these suggestions and meet again in January to address the issue further.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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