It’s not private property if it’s a state run facility!

This morning I met a friend, for whom I have been saving newspapers for her to take to Best Friends in Utah. I handed her the papers and chatted for about a minute when a car pulled up and the woman driving asked if she could help us. She said we were on private property and would have to leave.

We were about twenty feet from the street where the road meets to take you to one of the Arizona juvenile detention centers, and thousands of yards from the actual facility. Nowhere is there a sign stating that we were on private land, and nowhere was a sign that said “no trespassing.” There is  simply a sign with the Arizona emblem and words that say it is the Adobe Mountain Juvenile Detention Center, that’s it!

We left, but as I was driving home I began to think of all the questions I should have asked, like “where’s the ‘private property’ sign?” This whole incident just made me madder the closer I got to my house. After all, the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center, a triage and rehabilitative care facility for sick and injured wildlife, shares the property with the detention center. In fact, last November, the wildlife center held an open house and gave directions, telling people to turn into the Adobe Mountain Juvenile Detention Center.

So what the heck did we do wrong? Am I missing something? Is this a police state?  The detention center is a state-run facility and therefore, is NOT located on private property. In fact, since I live and work in Arizona, I contribute not only to the facility, and the care and feeding of the inmates, but to the salary of the woman whose impressive sleeve badge had obviously gone to her head.

So I say to the Adobe Mountain Juvenile Detention center…if you don’t want people to turn around, or hand off newspapers at the edge of the property, I suggest you post a sign saying that it is private property. But, wait a minute, you can’t, because it is a State facility, and therefore, NOT private property.

Just sayin’…

Author’s note: Though I usually post photo’s when I blog, I opted not to return and take a photo of the sign. I apologize to my readers for the lack of visual.

LAX food inspections at airports

Use caution at airport restaurants

Bring your own food if you’re concerned about the safety of food purchased at an airport. Most certainly much food eaten at airports is safe but do you know how often inspectors visit these places? Not often enough, and when they do, in most cases, everyone knows ahead of time, and they’re all prepared. Garbage cans are washed, gloves are donned, and no official saw a cook tasting the soup with the spoon, or reusing a utensil after it was dropped on the floor. No one saw the rat droppings, the unwashed, moldy vegetables turned into soup, or found the tuna at room-temperature. No one saw the food preparer use the same gloves to cut raw chicken and then slice bread.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are an estimated 76 million cases of food-borne illness each year in the United States. “Most aren’t traced to the source and doing so is even harder with airport restaurants because customers scatter,” said Dean Davidson of the Food and Drug Administration.

Reports show that grab-and-go coolers often don’t keep sandwiches and salads cold enough to stop dangerous pathogens, so if you do bring your own food, be sure it is cool enough or hot enough to keep bugs at bay, or you’ll be tossing your cookies in the plane lavatory.

Healthcare for ALL

The abysmal American health care system was in my face yesterday at the store where I work and I am more sickened than ever.

One of my co-workers fainted and fell to the floor. Though it has been many years since I worked in the medical field, I was, at one time, an oral surgical nurse, so I offered to help. I suggested the usual…keep her head still…don’t move her…as I answered questions asked by the 911 operator.

While I was on the phone the “patient” began crying hysterically, saying she didn’t want anyone to come. Why? She has no health insurance. When she needed help and was clearly ill, her first concern was that of no coverage and the prospect of looming medical bills; quite scary for an hourly wage earner.

It’s not that my company doesn’t offer health insurance; they do. But this woman, who works harder than anyone else in the store, doesn’t work the 32 hours required for coverage. And it’s not that she doesn’t want to work, it’s that there are not enough labor dollars to schedule her for more.

bandaged pig and crutches

Are you covered for the unexpected?

In this economy she’s fortunate to have a job, but I doubt she was so grateful yesterday when all she could think about through her fog, was that she didn’t have money or insurance to help her when she needed medical assistance.

People who shop at my store would put it into the category of “health food store.” We sell a good amount of organic products like produce, coffee, peanut butter, and meat, and there is a large vitamin and body care section. People would think that everyone who works there is healthy and has the peace of mind of medical insurance should they need it one day. People would be wrong. Most of the employees are not covered for the same reason as the woman who fell yesterday…not enough labor dollars to go around.

With labor dollars in short supply, health coverage lags behind and everyone suffers. In recent years the average employee health insurance premium has risen nearly eight times faster than income. The problem is that the health care program being discussed today will build on the current, and antiquated system, leaving my co-worker, and millions like her, with no insurance.

According to statistics from AARP, “Americans spend more on health care every year than we do educating our children, building roads, even feeding ourselves—an estimated $2.6 trillion in 2009, or around $8,300 per person. Forty-five million Americans (like my co-worker) have no health insurance whatsoever.”

It is my opinion that ALL Americans deserve to be covered, and I believe they should be covered through a single-payer system similar to Medicare or the health program offered to federal-government employees. And know this – many of the people fighting against health coverage for you are the members of Congress and the Senate YOU voted into office, and whose coverage will last their lifetime.

Who pays for that? Yep…WE do!

As I drove home last night, I, a very non-religious person, thought of a verse from Leviticus 19:18 – “…love they neighbor as thyself.”

I KNOW that passing a bill giving healthcare to ALL Americans is the right thing to do, and if my taxes increase a few dollars, so be it!

 

More government control via proposed HR 875

A new bill was dropped* on the hill in February 2009 – HR875 – that will create a Food Safety Administration. Just what we need…another government committee! This agency is supposed to “protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food (at food production facilities), improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving the security of food from international contamination, and other purposes.” What exactly are “other purposes” and when will we find out?

A food production facility has been defined as “any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal feeding operation.” This would include:

beansAll organic farms
All small farms
All family farms
Small family gardens – if you sell any produce to your neighbors

This bill will give the government the power to define what is “safe.” So if organic farmers are not using herbicide (created by Monsanto, Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related Agri-giants) then the organic farms could instantly be put out of business.

Apparently anything organic is threatening to Big Agra – In December 2008, in LaGrange, Ohio, armed agents from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Loraine County Department of Health, and the local LaGrange police, raided the Manna Storehouse, a 60-member co-op. For six hours the family who have run the co-op since 1999, had their personal possessions ransacked; $10,000 worth of food was confiscated, as were computers and cell phones. The family, including the children and infants, was held at gunpoint.

The crime? Wanting to save money on bulk purchases of organic food. According to the Feds, the co-op was selling perishable food without a retail license. John and Jacqueline Stowers, who operate the co-op, are not selling to the general public, but rather to the members who pay a fee and had previously agreed to take full responsibility for the food they purchase.

Personally, I believe that the USDA and local health departments could serve the public more efficiently by cracking down on factory farmed meat and grocery store produce that is contaminated with Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella. So far they are not doing their jobs!
Case in point…today a recall was placed on pistachio nuts that are apparently tainted with salmonella. Where are you USDA? How would herbicide have prevented the salmonella?

For the Stower’s and their co-op – the Buckeye Institute’s Center for Constitutional Law has filed a suit against the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Loraine County Health Department for violating the constitutional rights of the Stowers, arguing that all citizens have the right to purchase food directly from local growers. They also have the right to pool resources and distribute that food to neighbors without a government license. The Institute also states that it is the “right of peaceful citizens to be free from parliamentary police raids, searches and seizures which is guaranteed under the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution.”

Today a bill is before the legislature to end everything organic! Whether you eat organically or not is irrelevant. We The People have already paid billions in bonus’ to the employees of failed companies, and now we stand to lose our choice to purchase the type of food we prefer? Just how far will We The People allow Washington to go, anyway?

Please contact your Representatives and Senators and tell them you want them to vote NO on HR 875!

If you don’t have the contact information for your Senators, go to http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfmis for a list.

For the House go to: http://www.house.gov/writerep Put in your zip and you will get the name of your congressperson and their contact information.

*NOTE: HR 875 was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from the 3rd District of Connecticut, whose husband is a political strategist on the payroll of Monsanto. Do I smell conflict of interest?

Hotel for Dogs

This morning I went to see Hotel for Dogs and I really liked it.  It was entertaining, humorous, emotional (I needed tissues), and fun.  Friday, the dog star of the movie, was extraordinary and I wish I could teach my Rosie to do some of the things that dog did so effortlessly.

The Animal Control officers were portrayed as villains and nasty men, the scenes in the pound were dark and scary, implying the importance of taking care of your animals.  And the message that animals deserve to be treated with compassion and kindness was loud and clear.

Where the writers and producers of this movie failed miserably, was at getting the message out that spaying and neutering your animals  is imperative to control pet populations, and that adoption should be your first choice when searching for a dog.  This movie was the perfect venue to drive those key points home to every person who enjoyed the movie, and yet, until the end of the credit scroll…after the cast listing, key grips, producers, writers, location thank yous, and other things most people don’t care a lick about, passed, there was one single line that suggested adoption as a good choice when choosing a dog. It says – “Help a Furry Friend.  Adopt, Volunteer, Donate.”  If you didn’t sit through all of the credits, you missed it.

In fact, at the end of the movie there is a nursery filled with puppies, which would suggest to the viewer that dogs having puppies is a GOOD thing.  I assure you, it is NOT.

As an active member of the rescue community where I live, we are all well aware of the need for animals to be spayed and neutered.  Over 60,000 animals are killed every year in my county alone, so do the math around the country and the numbers are staggering.

I was hopeful that this movie would focus on the importance of adoption and spaying and neutering, and it missed the mark entirely.  And it was the perfect place to educate children…and their parents…in an entertaining way.  How sad.

Hope for 2009

Since my dear friend and animal angel Toni adopted out 8 dogs this past weekend, she has room to save more dogs from our local county shelter.  She called this morning only to learn that all of the dogs on the “E” list are Pit Bulls.  Though Toni’s specialty is saving and placing Pits, her group has a limit on how many they will take, so today she cannot save a single dog, and tomorrow they will all die.

This has put a black cloud over an otherwise happy time of year for me.  Don’t get me wrong, animals die every single day in my county…and across this country. ..but it’s always harder this time of year for some reason.  I think all animals should be inside, celebrating with their families, and eating good food.

Education is sorely needed.  All animal owners need to know that breeding is the cause of these staggering statistics for Pit Bulls:  some will learn and others will thumb their noses and mate their breeding bitch yet another time.  Toni recently saved a female Pit who had been used to breed and deliver so many puppies that she was so emaciated she could no longer carry a litter to term.  She was tossed out on the street, so sick she nearly died.  Today she shares a warm and loving home with a family and another canine friend.

Another Pit rescued a few days ago was found wandering the streets.  She was so emaciated she could barely stand and it was apparent that she had been used as an ashtray…there were cigarette burns all over her body.   She is being fed, is in a warm place, and is sleeping on one of my Rosie’s beds so she had some padding between her bones and the floor.  Once healthy enough, Toni will work her magic and this loving girl will enjoy a loving home of her own.  But she is one of the very lucky ones.

In my county,  219 dogs are killed every day, 365 days a year.  Thirty percent of all dogs turned into the county shelter are Pit Bulls, and 73% of those are killed.  Three of every ten Pit Bull puppies won’t reach their second birthday.

Some of this issue is cultural.  I live in close proximity to Mexico where dog fighting is considered a sport.  But this issue isn’t just ethnic…the desire to own a fighting dog crosses all socio-economic and cultural boundaries, making it difficult to affect change.  Right now a Pit Bull is a status symbol, especially for young boys and men.

Many animal rescuers concentrate on neighborhoods where animals are considered property in the hope that they can teach the people to get their animals spayed and neutered (for free if they’re Pits); how to properly care for their animals; and they watch for signs of fighting and game dogs.  The children are our best hope though, but since they’re taken to fights at an early age, the problem continues generation after generation.

My hope for this new year is that fewer animals will know abuse; that fewer animals will be born; that more people will know that animals are not property; that more people will know that animals are sentient beings with feelings; and that more animals will find loving, forever homes; and that fewer animals will be killed due to overpopulation.

Happy New Year everyone!  Here’s to 2009 being the best year ever!!

Free to good home

Have you read some of the postings on Craigslist written by people wanting to rehome their pets just because a new baby is on the way?

Read what was posted on Craigslist in Jacksonville !

“After two long years of being on a waiting list for an agility dog, we have
been notified by the breeder that, at long last, our number has come up and
…WE ARE HAVING A PUPPY!!!

We must get rid of our children IMMEDIATELY because we just know how time
consuming our new little puppy is going to be and it just wouldn’t be fair
to the children. Since our little puppy will be arriving on Monday we MUST
place the children this weekend! They are described as:

One male – His name is Tommy, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), light blonde
hair, blue eyes. Four years old. Excellent disposition. He doesn’t bite.
Temperament tested. Does have problems with peeing directly in the toilet.
Has had Chicken Pox and is current on all shots. Tonsils have already been
removed. Tommy eats everything, is very clean, hou se trained & gets along
well with others. Does not run with scissors
and with a little training he should be able to read soon.

One female – Her name is Lexie, Caucasian (English/Irish mix),
strawberry blonde hair, green eyes quite freckled. Two years old. Can be
surly at times. Non-biter, thumb sucker. Has been temperament tested but
needs a little attitude adjusting occasionally. She is current on all shots,
tonsils out, and is very healthy & can be affectionate. Gets along well with
other little girls & little boys but does not like to share her toys and
therefore would do best in a one child household. She
is a very quick learner and is currently working on her house training –
shouldn’t take long at all.

We really do LOVE our children so much and want to do what’s right for them;
that is why we contacted a rescue group. But we simply can no longer keep
them. Also, we are afraid that they may hurt our new puppy.

I hope you understand that ours is a UNIQUE situation and we have a real
emergency here!!! They MUST be placed in rescue by Sunday night at the
latest or we will be forced to drop them off at the orphanage or along some
dark, country road. Our priority now has to be our new puppy.”

Sounds just as ridiculous and ignorant when you have to “rehome” your pet, doesn’t it?