Friday, May 26, 2006

Lose Some...

But in Chicago, a similar dog "protection" bill to the LA one I blogged about below has been proposed.

Chicago, curiously, is a big "ban" city. It notoriously bans handguns. And last winter it banned all pigeon- keeping (it was formerly one of the great pigeon racing cities, as its old ethnic communities, like those in Boston, had many pigeon keepers). I don't know what happened to all the birds and their keepers...

Matt winces: Chicago? Carl Sandburg would be ashamed for his city, "Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,"

I gather the days of fierce dogs and wilderness are behind you now.

Reid reflects: Hog butcher for the world/Tool maker, Stacker of wheat...

While working on a dig in Georgia in the early 70s*, I met Franziska Boas, who was a retired professor at a local college. Her father was Franz Boas,who essentially invented modern anthropology in the US. Franziska and Margaret Mead were classmates at Barnard - hated her, but that's another story. Franziska raised nubian goats as a hobby. I asked her how she had gotten started and where she had gotten her first goats. "Oh, Carl Sandburg gave me some."

What do you say?

Matt replies: You say, "COOL."

* The dig was at the King Site outside of Rome, GA. It was a protohistoric Creek village and experts are fairly certain it was one of the towns visited by Hernando de Soto during his entrada to the Southeast in the1540s. Franziska lived in Rome and was retired from Berry College whereshe taught dance.

UPDATE: Steve's friend Margory, who worked hard (and successfully) against the ill-conceived coursing ban in San Francisco, forwarded this link today on Sandburg's goats of all things...

"About an hour south of Asheville, in the little town of Flat Rock, North Carolina, sits Connemara Farm. The former home of Carl and Lillian (Paula) Sandburg, the farm is now run by the National Park Service, and is the only home of an American writer to enjoy the distinction of being named a National Historic Site.

"While we greatly respect Carl Sandburg's work, it was actually his wife who drew us to Flat Rock. Between 1935 and 1966, Paula Sandburg (who, incidentally, was the sister of photographer Edward Steichen) raised champion dairy goats. Beginning her herd for practical reasons when Carl was a struggling poet in Michigan, Paula became fascinated by the possibilities of genetic manipulation. As her husband became successful as a writer, she grew to national prominence as a dairy goat breeder. By the time they moved to North Carolina in 1945, Mrs. Sandburg was famous in her own right for her goats...."

Incedentally, this website bills itself as regarding, "Travel. Adventure. Goats."

Read on!


Mary Strachan Scriver said...

When someone says they got goats from Carl Sandburg, one responds, "Oh, when did you live at the Dunes?" The Dunes were and are a community organized around huge sand dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan, close enough to Chicago for some U of Chicago profs to commute, at least on weekends. It is one of the birthplaces of the concept of ecology. Many famous people lived there, including the Sandburg family. One of my profs wrote a book about it while I was his grad assistant and did a lot of schlepping and reading for him.

As for Chicago passing laws, it's the easy way to shut up dummies who think passing a law will solve the problem. (Why not pass a law against evil? It's really baaaaaad!) Every law means cost. Cost will slow this stuff down. Forget principle: figure out how much it will cost to install microchip inplanting, to get readers, to hire the warm bodies to go door to door, to set up an appropriate computer system and interface it with whatever dog license system is in place -- which is meant to monitor rabies. (The license records the fact that the dog has had its shots.)

I once used a movie made in Chicago in the Thirties that showed toddlers (the people most often bitten) who had rabies, slowly dying. They scream and beg for help -- I still dream about it. Of course, they were South Side black babies. Still, no city has achieved more than 65% of dogs licensed. Luckily, that's usually enough to prevent a rabies epidemic.

There are a number of factors that these dog politicians don't consider. One is that economics and sociology have a lot to do with how dogs are handled. Feral dog hang with feral people. People who can't handle dogs can't keep from having them any more than people who can't handle kids can't keep from having them.

And that's the second part: people (even you guys!!) think of "dogs" as all being like the dogs you know. Some dogs don't belong to anyone. Some dogs belong to communities. Some dogs belong to other dogs. Some dogs are sociopaths. It's impossible to pass ideal laws for all dogs, the same as it's impossible to pass ideal laws for all people.

If a dog is really dangerous -- gone wild and attacking people -- the only remedy is to trap it or shoot it. Trapping is risky because anything big enough to shut the door on a dog is also going to attract little kids. And a microchip isn't going to prevent a dog from being shot. People have the idea that a dog with a microchip in it will somehow be protected. Not true. Even if a dog DOES have a microchip in it, if it's dangerous, it goes. An officer out in the field -- whether an animal control officer or a regular policeman -- deals with "combat" decisions.

There are WAY too many assumptions in these dialogues, on all sides. We need more analysis, pulling all this stuff apart. Law enforcement people need to be educated about things like coursing and keeping pigeons -- remember Bobby in
"Hill Street Blues" and how often his pigeons were a force for good? Then they can help you advocate.

The humaniacs who want control of all animals are acting out of some crazed social need that is just as bad in its own way as animal hoarders -- often there's overlap.

Prairie Mary

Steve Bodio said...

Great post Mary-- I may have to make it the basis for another of mine!

Jimmy Smits donated time to a friend of ours to make the premiere documentary on pigeons, which appeared on PBS-- must dig up a link. Unfortunately in Chicago they rejected all the expert advice, saying they "knew " and "felt" pigeons spread disease. Same old...

Anonymous said...

I found your site in the google browser. My name is Darek Bodio, I live in Poland and I look for my farthest family.
Stephen, please contact witch me in my email adress:
Best regards,

Matt Mullenix said...

This just in from my sister-in-law in Chicago (an attorney and dog owner):

"I just heard about this. I bet it does not have a terrific chance of passing, though they do require a pass (licence) to go to the dog beach. It would only get enforced if someone complains, which is good, and probably in my neighborhood by my favorite neighbor who hates that I let Moe off leash, while her psyco dog goes even more so when she sees any other dog."

Of course!