legislative languor

billOnce again, the Kentucky legislative session has effectively ended with no new positive animal laws being enacted. In fact, a few legislators tried to do untold damage to the current laws.

HB 409, dealing with treatment of dogs and cats, never made it out of the House Judiciary Committee, thanks to the unfounded opposition from the Kentucky League of Sportsmen, the Kentucky Houndsmen’s Association and the American Kennel Club.

HB 408, which would have made viewing or keeping dogs for purposes of dogfighting a felony, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. However, it floundered after Rep. Joe Fischer used the bill as a political pawn by attaching an unrelated abortion amendment to it. After a multitude of outraged calls and email to his office, he finally withdrew the amendment, but the damage was already done.

HB 222, which would have outlawed gas chambers in animal shelters, made it out of the House Agriculture Committee and actually passed the House. However, the Senate Agriculture Committee, headed by Sen. Paul Hornback, approved an ag-gag amendment to the bill. The amendment, lobbied for by Farm Bureau, would make it illegal for whistleblowers to report and document abuse on factory farm operations.

Luckily South Dakota, the final state with no felony animal abuse laws, finally approved felony animal abuse legislation this year. However, this step, coupled with total inaction by Ky’s General Assembly, virtually guarantees that Ky will be named the worst state on animal laws in the country for a 7th year in a row.

Despite years of effort by a small minority of legislators, namely Joni Jenkins, Ron Crimm, and Tom Buford, to name a few, as well as dedicated animal activists, Ky remains dead last on animal issues due to the legislature as a whole caring more about small, specific special interest groups than about its constituents and their animals. Keep this in mind, and check your legislators’ voting records before you cast your vote for them in the next election.

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NOLA

nolaLast weekend my husband and I visited New Orleans for our first anniversary. I had never been there before, but I had always wanted to go.

We made the drive down in one day, so it was dark by the time we reached the city. By the time we crossed Lake Pontchartrain, traffic had increased to ten busy lanes, with motorcycles whizzing between cars. Luckily, I wasn’t driving.

We got to see Marie Laveau’s tomb in the St. Louis Cemetery #1. We also got to ride a ferry across the Mississippi River. We bought some delicious pralines at Southern Candymakers on Decatur St. We tried two days in a row to eat a beignet breakfast at CafĂ© du Monde, but, with a line snaking down the street both days, we didn’t get to do that.

We did get to try Gumbalaya ( a mixture of gumbo and jambalaya) and Shrimp Creole, and imbibe in a Hurricane or two. We were accosted by some homeless people, one of whom we bought lunch. We also saw the requisite half-naked girl wearing pasties walking down Bourbon St.

By the end of the weekend, we were exhausted from all the walking. If you haven’t been to the Big Easy, be sure to go if you get a chance. Just remember to take your walking shoes!

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My letter to the editor

pitThis appeared in yesterday’s Lexington Herald Leader:

Ky.’s dark age of animal abuse

I was very disheartened, but not surprised, to see that the Kentucky League of Sportsmen and Kentucky Houndsmen are once again opposing every positive animal bill in the General Assembly.

They have opposed all pro-animal legislation, including House Bills 409, 408 and 30, which would protect pets and strengthen dogfighting laws, respectively, as well as House Bill 222, which would ban gas chambers as euthanasia.

Nothing in any of these bills would in any way infringe on the rights of hunters or farmers. The only people who would be negatively impacted by them are abusers.

Please call 1-800-372-7181 and ask your legislator to support these and any other animal bills. As one hunting leader recently stated in a meeting: “The animal people say Kentucky is last on animal laws, and we plan to keep it that way.” Don’t let the small hunting minority senselessly keep Kentucky in the dark ages on animal protection laws any longer.

Melissa Bowman

Paris

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/03/09/3130044/march-9-letters-to-the-editor.html#storylink=cpy

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hunting the hunter

image“The animal people say Ky is last for animals, and we plan to stay there.” Laughter and applause.

That is pretty much the transcript for an audio file, which was taped of an officer at the February 15th Ky Houndsmen annual dinner in Lexington.

For some reason, a minority but politically powerful group of hunters have decided to once again oppose any positive animal legislation, including HBs 408, 409 and 222, which would help protect pets, in the General Assembly this year.

Don’t want to let a few backward ignorant hunters keep Ky down any longer?

Call 1-800-372-7181 and tell your legislators that you support these bills!

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Ky humane lobby day 14

imageYesterday was humane lobby day at the Ky capitol building. The well-attended rally, held in the rotunda, drew attention to the need for stronger animal laws in the state.

The media emcee introduced her rescue dog, Zeke. He was paralyzed and uses a wheelchair to move around. Several speakers spoke to the group.

Joni Jenkins, a state representative, asked everyone to support HB 408, which would make breeding or possessing dogs for dogfighting a crime. Rick J Murphy from Warren Co read a proclamation honoring young Keely, a girl who has been a tireless volunteer at the local animal shelter. Young students from the Depaul School also urged lawmakers to pass stronger laws.image

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downs and ups

ltMy father-in-law passed away this week. Although my husband and his family are grieving, there is some solace in that he declined rather quickly and did not suffer for an extended time. They have had a lot to deal with lately, as my mother-in-law is also very ill. However, they have banded together and handled everything so far.

On the other hand, my brother-in-law just got engaged, my stepdaughter has almost completed nursing school and our first anniversary is approaching. My husband’s birthday is also tomorrow but, with everything going on, it will probably be very low-key.

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes it seems like there is too much sorrow to handle. However, if we look beyond the immediate, better times are on the way. We just have to hold out and wait for them.

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My Butterfly Valentine Story (in 250 words or less)

bvI virtually met my husband two years ago around Valentine’s Day. Although our houses are less than 100 feet away from each other, we met via his friend request on facebook. We sent messages and status comments for a month or so before he actually asked me out.

Our first date was dinner and a rather depressing Liam Neeson movie. I misjudged our booth’s distance from the floor at dinner and almost fell face-first after only one margarita. Surprisingly, he asked me out again and took my son and me to a drive-in movie (probably figuring if I fell again, at least it was dark and nobody would see me). Nevertheless, when he kissed me goodnight, I felt the old, familiar butterflies in the stomach sensation.

We dated for months before moving in together, and we got married a year to the day of our first date. We’re not “spring chickens”, and we have had the usual growing pains and pangs of a newlywed couple.

I know I can be insensitive and have a one-track mind when I am working on a project. I am not the easiest person on Earth to live with. He has his little quirks too. He wants certain chores done a particular way and does not give a whit if others get done at all.

As we approach Valentine’s Day and our first anniversary, the giddiness of new love has settled into comfort with each other. However, sometimes when he kisses me, I still feel butterflies.

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Dear Winter

winterDear Winter:

I give the f*ck up! I surrender. I wave the white flag, even though you probably can’t see it through all your snow. I am so sick of this white snow and ice sh*t I can’t stand it.

I am not normally a hot weather person. I like winter. Not as well as fall, but I like it. I like the occasional light chilly snow blanketing the grass on a weekend. It gives me a good excuse to be lazy and stay inside and read.

But my God! You have really outdone yourself the last month or so. You have snarled traffic, run entire cities out of salt and raised heating bills through the roof. You have even made ordinarily sane people question the existence of global warming.

You have caused my knee to get scraped and bruised trying to set the garbage can out for trash pick-up. By the way, something as mundane as this becomes rather tricky when you have to shovel snow just to roll a can a few feet. You have caused the tarp over the dog kennel to come within threads of total collapse. You have caused my son to miss @ 15 days of school so far, ensuring that he and his friends will be in class during the middle of June, and adding an extra half-hour to my commute as I add a round-trip 10-mile 30-minute drive to my already nerve-mangling commute so my mom can keep him while I work.

I get it. You may have been pretty weak the last few years, but you have proven you’ve still got it! I’m in awe. I bow down to you. Bravo!

That being said, it’s time for you to calm the f*ck down and leave! That’s right. I don’t care what a groundhog in Pennsylvania said, and I don’t care which way the jet stream blows. GO AWAY! I’ve had it. Enough! I want a sunny 70 degree day so bad I can taste it! And if you hear me b*tch when I’m mowing the yard and melting on a 95 degree day this summer, feel free to slap me with your cold a*s wind. Until then, GO AWAY!!!

Sincerely, me

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Olympic mistake?

olympicsAlthough I usually enjoy watching at least a small part of the Winter Olympics, I don’t think I’ll be watching this time around. I am sure the skiing and skating will be breathtaking. However, something about the whole production makes me feel a little icky.

With reports of terror threats, anti-gay threats, killing of street dogs and (gasp!) hotel rooms not being ready, it seems the Olympic planning committee may have missed the mark in selecting Sochi as an Olympic host city.

Terrorism is now a worldwide concern. However, many extremist Islamic factions are entrenched in remote areas of Russia. Airlines have now been warned that terrorists may try to smuggle explosive materials into or out of the city in toothpaste tubes.

Russia’s leader Putin has himself made homophobic remarks equating homosexuality with pedophilia. In a culture so entrenched in homophobia, threats against gay athletes take on a real sense of urgency.

Spaying and neutering are rare in parts of Europe, and stray dog packs are a legitimate problem in Russia. In preparation for the games, Sochi had stated plans to humanely round up stray dogs and place them into a newly-built shelter. However, that did not happen. Instead, a pest control company was hired to come in and exterminate the city’s homeless dogs.

Many fans have already decided not to attend the Olympics because of some of these concerns. There was never any danger of my getting to attend the Olympics in Russia. However, I won’t be watching on TV either. I’m sure my boycott won’t make a bit of a blip of difference in Nielsen ratings, but boycott I will nevertheless. Join me?

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Snow Day

imageWhen I woke up this morning to several inches of snow, I decided not to chance the 40-mile commute to work. I already knew last night that school was cancelled. So I decided that Bersain and I would have a fun-filled snow day, something working mothers rarely get to do (especially in the southeastern U.S.).

Then I realized that, since I took a few days’ worth of afternoon Adderall doses to school last week and school is closed today and probably will be again tomorrow, Bersain is low on medication. I gave him half of his regular morning dosage and hoped for the best.

I figured if we stayed busy shoveling snow (which his stepdad put on his to-do list before heading to work), building a snowman and making snow cream, he might burn off some energy naturally.

Well, we shoveled, made snow cream and attempted a snowman. The snow cream was delicious. However, the snowman was a flop. It looked more like a snow volcano or maybe a ski mountain.

Now I’m exhausted, but he’s still going strong. I’m definitely ready to go back to work tomorrow!

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