Tag Archives: safety

In my opinion: NO ON QUESTION 4

By Steven R. Maher

Americans are constantly being told that their country is deeply divided and the main political parties cannot work together. Yet an impressive bi-partisan coalition of state officer holders and professional groups has assembled to oppose referendum Question 4, to legalize marijuana.

Among the elected officials opposing Question 4: Governor Charlie Baker (R), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D), Attorney General Maura Healey (D), and Speaker Robert DeLeo (D). A majority in both branches of the state legislature – 97 lawmakers and 22 senators – went on record in August 2016 as opposing Question 4.

The law enforcement and medical groups opposing the referendum question include all Massachusetts District Attorneys, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, the Association of School Superintendents, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, and the National Association of Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter).

“This law was written to benefit the commercial marijuana industry, will introduce an entirely new pot edibles market, and will harm our families and communities,” charges opponents on www.SafeAndHealthyMA.com, a website urging a no vote. This group claims the following about existing laws and what the new law would bring:

• “Massachusetts has already decriminalized marijuana possession and authorized medical marijuana. People are not being jailed for marijuana use, and have access to it for health reasons. This ballot question is about allowing the national marijuana industry to come into Massachusetts and market and sell marijuana products in our communities.

• “It [legalization] incorporates the laxest ‘home grow’ provision in the country, allowing individual households to grow up to 12 marijuana plants at a value in the tens of thousands of dollars. This provision will have a significant impact on public safety, and has led to the creation of an entirely new black market in Colorado.

• “It specifically authorizes marijuana edibles (products like candy bars and gummy bears), oils and concentrates.

•The new statute “specifically limits communities’ ability to restrict the locations and growth of pot shops. Two years into legalization, Colorado has more marijuana stores than Starbucks and McDonalds combined—and the numbers keep growing.

•”Today’s Marijuana is much more potent than it was even a generation ago. Marijuana for sale in Colorado averages 17% to 18% THC, which is several times more potent than was common in the 1980s.

• “Since becoming the first state to legalize, Colorado has also become the #1 state in the nation for teen marijuana use. Use by teens aged 12-17 jumped by over 12% in the two years since legalization, even as that rate declined nationally.

• “Commercial legalization has led to more fatal car crashes. In Washington, the number of fatal car crashes involving marijuana doubled in the one year since legalization.

• “The marijuana edibles market is dangerous for kids, and a huge part of the commercial industry’s profit model. Marijuana infused products such as candies, cookies, and ‘cannabis cola’ account for nearly 50% of the sales in Colorado, and that number is growing. These products are often indistinguishable from traditional products and attractive to children, placing them at significant risk of accidental use.”

Group favors legalization

The group favoring legalization, www.regulatemass.com, relies less on statistics to make their point. They make some questionable arguments, including the following:

• “[O]piate addiction is causing the real drug crisis in Massachusetts. And there’s a reasonable way to slow the epidemic down: legalizing and regulating marijuana. By avoiding opiates, reducing painful addiction, and protecting families, patients can use marijuana to prevent hitting rock bottom.

• “Marijuana cases cost taxpayers by clogging our legal system.

• “Marijuana arrests ruin lives. Too often young people and people of color can’t find a job or take care of their families because they have a petty arrest record for possessing marijuana.

• “Marijuana is here, no increased police presence is going to change that.

• Unnamed experts “say that taxing marijuana sales will create $100 million in new tax revenue for vital essential services in our communities. We can use the money to strengthen our schools — smaller classes, more books, and newer technology for our children.

• “People of color are 3x more likely to be arrested. Instead of keeping us safe, the “War on Drugs” has ruined the lives of countless people. In Massachusetts, people of color are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession — a problem that has been getting worse, not better.”

The first quote above – that an acceptable way to treat heroin addicts is to get them stoned on marijuana – has to be the most ludicrous argument made by either side on Question 4.
Dollars and gateway drug

What would be the fiscal impact of legalizing cannabis?

Those favoring legalization claim the state would have tax windfall of $100 million if Question 4 passes. However, the “2016 Ballot Questions” guide sent out by the Secretary of State’s office stated: “A March 2016 report from the Special Select Committee on Marijuana concluded as follows: ‘Tax revenues and fees that would be generated from legal sales may fall short of even covering the full public and social costs (including regulation, enforcement, public health and safety, and substance abuse treatment.’)” This reminds one of the dispute over casino gambling, which Worcester wisely rejected because the human costs were thought to exceed the benefits to the community.

This leaves one final question: with an opioid crisis raging, should a narcotic substance seen by some as a gateway to hard core drug addiction be legalized? That question was answered in the daily by Spectrum Health Service President Charles J. Farris. “We know that not everybody who smokes marijuana is going to go out and become an addict,” Farris said. “But every addict we know that’s come in here started out by smoking marijuana. Who’s going to take the chance that they’re not going to be the one to go on to other things?”

Stay safe, trick or treaters!



Yesterday, while driving through Piedmont, we saw a mom and her little boy (and their dog) making their way home from a neighborhood Halloween party. Mom was shy when it came to accommodating this shutter-bug, but her little boy adjusted his skeleton mask and crossed his arms and stood with a purposeful-ness before the Chandler Elementary School playground that was … endearing. He let us take his picture for quite a few seconds and maintained his spooky stance all the while. In silence. Not a word spoken to me or Mom as he stayed in ghoulish character. Go, Piedmont boy, go!!! – R. Tirella
From the Worcester Police Department: Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Adults

As kids prepare to put on their costumes and roam from house to house Saturday night, parents and neighbors should keep in mind that their presence on the road and around homes requires additional caution.

To help make Halloween activities safer, whether you’re going door-to-door, driving or passing out treats at home, keep these tips in mind:

*Be a safe pedestrian – look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks. Never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.

*Costumes should be white or light colored to keep children visible at night. Reflective patches or strips also help with visibility.

*Pay close attention when driving.

*Stay in your own neighborhood and only go to houses that have porch lights on.

*Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups with a trusted adult.

*Do not enter any homes at which you’re trick-or-treating.

*Avoid masks or accessories that obstruct or block vision.

*Never accept rides from strangers.

*Adults should inspect candy before eating.

*Carry flashlights on the trick or treating route.

*Make sure the path to your home is well lit for trick or treaters.

*Always walk and don’t run from house to house.

It is recommended that the hours of this event be held from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM.


Keep your cat indoors on Halloween! … and all year round!

By Alisa Mullins
When my mom was a little girl, she had a favorite black cat named Midnight. He was one of more than a dozen former strays who had wandered into the family’s life, drawn by the abundance of cat food that was always set out on the front porch. Occasionally, one of the cats would mysteriously disappear, and my mom and her sister would comfort themselves with the unlikely scenario that the cat had “run away.”
But when Mom’s favorite, Midnight, went missing on Halloween, she knew in her bones that something terrible had happened to him. She searched for him for days, but it was no use—he was already dead. She finally found his body under the front porch. He had been tortured—probably by neighborhood boys up to “mischief”—and had dragged himself home to die. My mom learned a valuable lesson that day, and when she grew up, the handsome brown tabby our family adopted was kept indoors at all times.
Nowadays, most guardians know to keep their cats—especially black ones—inside on Halloween. Many animal shelters refuse to allow the adoption of black cats in the days preceding it, for fear that cruel people would acquire them with the intent to do them harm.
But the danger doesn’t pass once the last Twizzler has been handed out to the last Elsa or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Cats who are allowed to roam outside unattended are in danger every day of the year. The threats range from speeding cars and spilled antifreeze to stray dogs and cruel people who don’t like cats digging in their gardens or sitting on their cars. Recently, a Mississippi woman posted a photo on her Facebook page of a cat she had allegedly burned, threatening to “burn them one by one if I have to.”
Even in this day and age, there are people who think killing cats is “fun.” They brag and even laugh about it. They use cats for target practice, shooting at free-roaming cats as if they were clay pigeons rather than living, feeling beings. Just a few recent cases include cats who were shot with guns or crossbows in Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. A cat in Massachusetts who was shot with a steel broadhead arrow (designed to inflict the maximum damage) was so badly injured that he had to be euthanized. He was just a year old.
In fact, the average lifespan of a cat who goes outside is just 2 to 5 years, a fraction of the 14-year average lifespan of an indoor cat.
Today’s concrete jungles are far too dangerous for such vulnerable little beings. Don’t learn a tragic lesson at your cat’s expense: Keep your cat indoors where it’s safe—on Halloween and every other day of the year.

Worcester Police Department’s Camera Collaborative helps keep Worcester safe!


The photo is of the warning sticker the Worcester Police give to Worcester residents or biz owners who participate in the program.     pic – Ron O’Clair

By Ron O’Clair

There is a new tool in use in Worcester in the ongoing efforts to deal with the seemingly ever increasing crime rate that is predominantly due to the rising percentage of the citizenry who participate in criminal activity that is focused on maintaining illegal drug habits.

The tool I mention is the Worcester Police Department’s Camera Collaborative that allows property owners to allow the Worcester Police access to the feeds from any surveillance camera’s that are installed in efforts to curtail or decrease the likelihood of criminal activity in certain areas.

While the police will not monitor the feeds continuously, they will be able to use the images stored on the systems memory to help prosecute the guilty when crime occurs in range of the camera’s that are registered with the collaborative by being able to go into the memory of the systems to retrieve data recorded that may show investigators crucial evidence that will help prosecute the criminals.

As I author this story, there are four Worcester Police officers in my rear parking area as a result of a call I made based upon seeing another two in a long line of trespassing drug addicts who continually come onto the posted private property located adjacent to the old location of the P.I.P Shelter and shoot Heroin or smoke Crack Cocaine behind either my dumpster, or the vehicles parked there along the rearmost portion of the property where they indulge in the drug of their choice and leave behind the evidence of their having been there with used needles and other drug paraphernalia associated with drug use.

In most previous calls, the police responding would most generally allow the trespassing individuals to leave the property without taking any legal action against them, which resulted in their coming back again after the police went on about their duties protecting the lives and property of the citizens of our fair City of Worcester.

I took it upon myself to go out and speak with the Sergeant on the scene which produced a total of 4 marked patrol cars, one supervisor’s Explorer, the Paddy Wagon, and an Ambulance, to let him know that this problem has been ongoing and continuous lately with numerous instances of my having called to take legal action on the law breakers only to result in repeated instances of the same activity because the police take no legal action against those who continually trespass, though I am perfectly willing to prosecute if I have too, in order that others will get the message that they can’t just trespass at will on private property.

For as many times as the police have let these people go with a warning, I have given numerous warnings myself by informing these people in person that they are not allowed, or welcome to come do their drugs on the private property. It is a frustrating situation. I have sometimes been assaulted verbally or physically when I attempt to control the situation without the involvement of the police as I know they have more important duties to attend too and dislike having to take them away from those duties to deal with these trespassing drug users, and due to response times being what they are, many times the trespassers leave before the police can arrive.

This problem seems to have grown lately with regards to the property I manage due to the criminals getting over their camera shyness which I attribute to lack of prosecution for those caught in the act of illegal activity, as well as the fact that I have not posted many new videos made off the camera feeds directly to You Tube like I did with the case of the stabbing on Main Street, and the car break on Charlton Street where a customer of the Spanish Grille had items stolen from her vehicle when she inadvertently left her window open allowing a thief to take advantage of her own carelessness in a crime of opportunity.

For a time there after I installed the system, the area had become a ghost town at night compared to before, and lately they are coming back out there at night, all night long along the side and front of the property engaged in the criminal conspiracy to traffic narcotics in the 700 block of Main Street. They are being helped by certain of the tenants to have access to the interior of the building, and are causing disturbances and inconveniences for the people not involved in illegal activity.

The Camera Collaborative of the Worcester Police Department can help identify those individuals committing crimes in our City of Worcester, and I urge property owners or managers who have installed systems to participate in it.

The contact person I have is: Sergeant Anthony Petrone of the Real Time Crime Center of the Worcester Police Department at (508) 799-8658 who you can contact for more information about this program.

The result of the call I made today about the trespasser’s resulted in the female going away in the ambulance, and the male suspect being taken away in the Paddy Wagon. I believe that this had nothing to do with my speaking to the Sergeant as I had noticed they were detaining these individuals prior to my going out to speak with them. I believe they are getting tired as I am of the same people doing the same things over and over again. I am a huge proponent of treatment and recovery from drug and alcohol addictions and have hopes that those people will see the light and get the help they need to overcome the addiction that drives them to break the law.

Sad to say, Wanda Luz-Diaz, one of those whom  I had helped get into recovery through involvement with the judicial system has relapsed and is back out there among those that hang around the outside of my building up to no good in her quest for another fix, or hit, whatever she can manage to obtain.

There are many who hate me for what I do, not understanding that I believe that leaving addicts in the misery of their individual addiction is playing Russian Roulette with their lives. Intervention and treatment is a far better option than waiting for them to take the hit, or inject the tainted dose that kills them. There is that old saying about if you can’t help an addict, don’t hurt them. What they fail to see is that by doing nothing, and not intervening or trying to get them the help they need to overcome their addiction is hurting them, and those that love them. Getting them into recovery whether they want it or not, is not hurting them, it is helping them resume a better way of life, just like the girl from the “zombie walk” video I posted, who because of the video is still clean and in the life of her little girl after having been addicted and on the streets around my area of concern the 700 block of Main Street. Samantha made the decision to seek treatment and do what it takes to remain drug free, which is the only way it will work. My video was responsible for her making up her mind to get the treatment that saved her life.
For that, many in the drug culture hate me, but I know that Samantha and her little girl are grateful, and that is worth my efforts and the scorn I get from those who fail to understand that recovery works if you work at it. I believe this program will help, rather than hurt those out there lost in the throes of addiction and the crime that supports those addictions.

Grants secured to help firefighters and communities stay safe

$19.2 Million in Federal Fire Grants to Massachusetts

Congressman Jim McGovern joined the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation today in announcing that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded a total of $19,237,879 in grants to seven Massachusetts fire departments and the Quincy-based Fire Protection Research Foundation.

Upton Fire Emergency Medical Services was among the Massachusetts fire departments that were awarded grants to support equipment acquisition, training, and staffing.

The Upton Fire Department is currently operating with 28 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) which have been in service for a significant period of time and have become outdated.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that the Upton Fire Department has requested a grant to replace SCBA equipment with new air packs that meet modern safety and functional standards.

“Our communities are safer thanks to the brave service of our local firefighters,” Congressman McGovern said. “With these grants, we are making a strong investment in our Massachusetts firefighters, ensuring they have the tools and resources they need to protect our families and neighborhoods.”

He continued: “I join my colleagues across the Commonwealth in thanking our Massachusetts firefighters and fire chiefs for their tireless service and the sacrifices they make every day to keep all of us safe.”

Grants were also awarded to were awarded to the Duxbury Fire Department, Halifax Fire Department, Lawrence Fire Department, Fall River Fire Department, Boston Fire Department, and Bourne Fire Department.

Joining Congressman McGovern in today’s announcement were United States Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, and Representatives Stephen F. Lynch, Niki Tsongas, and Bill Keating.

”Firefighters put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect our neighborhoods and keep our families safe,” said Senator Warren. “These grants will help ensure that Massachusetts’ fire departments have the staffing, tools and resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. Our fire chiefs and their departments deserve credit for their efforts to get these grants, and I want to thank them for their tireless service to the community.”

“One of the most important impacts our government can have is providing our first responders with the most modern, efficient equipment available,” said Congressman Keating. “The benefits of grants to firefighters are seen day in and day out in the lives saved and the communities protected.”

The following grants were announced today through the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S), and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs:

Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG):

Upton Fire Emergency Medical Services – Upton, MA – Federal Share: $173,334.00, for operation and safety

Duxbury Fire Department – Duxbury, MA -Federal Share: $166,667.00, for vehicle acquisition

Halifax Fire Department – Halifax, MA -Federal Share: $714,210.00, for vehicle acquisition

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER):

Lawrence Fire Department – Lawrence, MA – Federal Share: $1,181,222.00, for hiring

Fall River Fire Department – Fall River, MA – Federal Share: $2,060,920.00, for hiring

Boston Fire Department – Boston, MA – Federal Share: $12,778,650.00, for hiring

Bourne Fire Department – Bourne, MA -Federal Share: $1,333,104.00, for hiring

Fire Prevention & Safety (FP &S)
Fire Protection Research Foundation – Quincy, MA – Federal Share: $829,772.00, for research and prevention

The AFG and SAFER grant programs are administered by FEMA to ensure that local fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations have the staffing, resources and equipment they need to protect communities and emergency personnel from fires and other related hazards.

Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme DELIVERS

By Barbara Haller

Everybody’s got an agenda.  Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme’s agenda is Successfully Making & Keeping Worcester a Safe City.

I have worked with Police Chief Gary Gemme since he was hired as Worcester’s Police Chief in 2004, most of this time as the District 4 city councilor (2002-2011) and in the last 3 years as a local resident and active community member.  While chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee we met nearly every month one-on-one to discuss community problems.  I also met many times with him and key staff members and neighborhood constituents to discuss specific problems and strategies.

I also know Worcester for many years in many capacities.  I went to school in the City (Worcester Junior and WPI), have worked in the City (NGRID), had a small business in the City (Gilrein’s).  I own my home in the City (Main South).  My daughter and her family live in the City (Newton Square); my grandchildren attend Jacob Hiatt.  My partner owns and manages rental properties in Main South.

I know the struggle to get community policing to work.  I know about problem employees, difficult people.  I know about guns, drugs, and rock and roll.  I know about partisan politics.  I know about agendas – hidden and public ones.

Here’s what I know about Gary Gemme:

  • Chief Gemme is the real deal when it comes to commitment and honor.
  • Chief Gemme is a professional in all the positive ways – in touch, engaged, informed, pro-active.
  • Chief Gemme has made and is making a significant impact on controlling and reducing crime.

When he agreed to be hired as Chief, he made it clear to then City Manager O’Brien that he would not compromise on his vision for the Department.  The Manager agreed to support his efforts to change the Police Department culture and our community engagement in solutions to crime.  The 2004 city council was delighted with Manager O’Brien’s success in hiring Gary Gemme as our Police Chief.

The Chief delivers.

He reorganized his department using the split force model allowing for effective reaction to crime and pro-active prevention.  He put together a leadership team with targeted responsibilities and expertise.  He takes action on firing ranges, gun permits, porn houses, knives, officer discipline, technology, party houses, street crime.  He improves and grows partnerships with youth and youth-serving organizations, religious leaders, ethnic groups, athletic organizations.   He works with the Office of Human Rights to improve officer training.  He, working with Manager O’Brien, broke barriers among city departments to successfully develop inter-departments teams to address persistent problem properties.

The Chief’s commitment to neighborhood crime watches, foot beats, along with rapid response to data-driven hot-spots and developing crime trends is nothing short of great.  Last week at my local neighborhood crime watch meeting, our community impact officers were engaged – giving updates on progress for previously reported problems, listening to neighbors’ concerns.  Rather than standing up and telling us what to do, they sat with us and brainstormed possible solutions.  The feeling of partnership was strong.

All this being said there are always those who look for opportunities to criticize. For those of us who are not dogmatic in our beliefs or who feel uninformed, these people cause us to pause and reconsider if we are going in the right direction.  And sometimes they are right.  And sometimes we change our views.  And sometimes needed change comes.

And then there are always those to look for opportunities to misrepresent, demean, and incite.  My experience is that these people have some grudge, a need to see their name in the media, sell papers, get elected, and/or feel obligated to always act against authority and position.  There is an agenda and some ulterior motive.  They too cause many of us to pause and consider.  But we are mistaken if we allow them to lead us to change.

My experience with Police Chief Gary Gemme comes over many years and in many situations.  His commitment to his job and Worcester runs deep.  His motivation is honor and justice.   We don’t have to always agree with him; we don’t have to like him.  But we should respect his knowledge, expertise and professionalism.

We are fortunate to have Chief Gemme in service to our City.  Those who are attempting to misrepresent his accomplishments, demean his character, and incite others to do the same are not acting in Worcester’s best interest.   We would do well to ignore them.

Make sure your holiday travels are merry – not scary – for animals

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

If you’re heading home for the holidays—or just using your time off to travel somewhere sunny and warm—you’re in good company: During Thanksgiving alone, some 25 million people will be flying. Since holidays are about spending time with the ones we love, many people want to take their animal companions along. If your furry family members will be joining you on your journey, it’s important to plan ahead in order to avoid a holiday heartbreak and ensure that everyone arrives safely at your destination.

Air travel can be perilous for animals. Last October, Air Canada reportedly lost a dog named Larry between flights and then informed its employees—via a leaked e-mail—that they should “just ignore” the situation. Larry was being sent to a new family in British Columbia after his guardian had died of cancer. When an Air Canada employee let him out of his crate in San Francisco during a flight delay, Larry bolted. A good Samaritan later found Larry on a highway. He had been hit by a car and was so badly injured that he had to be euthanized.

Larry’s case is not an isolated incident. A recent analysis by a San Francisco–area TV station found that 302 animals died, were injured or disappeared on commercial airlines during a six-year period. Cargo holds are designed for luggage, not living beings, so they usually lack the ventilation and climate control found in passenger cabins. Many animals have died of heat exhaustion or hypothermia after being shipped as cargo. Even if they survive a flight, the experience of being tossed among the luggage in a loud, dark, strange place, far from their guardians, is extremely traumatic for animals.

If you must fly with your animal and he or she is small enough, take him or her in the cabin with you. Use a sturdy, well-ventilated carrier that is designed for animals and will fit under your seat. (Pre-trip, ensure that the carrier is large enough to allow the animal to stand up and turn around comfortably and slowly introduce him or her to the carrier by placing treats, toys and blankets inside.) Always keep the carrier upright and steady—swinging carriers, banging them into chairs or doors or holding them at awkward angles will likely make your animal friend nauseous and nervous before the plane even leaves the ground.

If your animal companion is too large to fit under the seat or unsuited to flying, it’s less risky and stressful to drive him or her to your destination. Cats should ride in carriers that are lined with a towel and a small litter tray and secured with a seat belt. Dogs are safest in a carrier or restrained with a canine seat belt, available from pet-supply stores and catalogs. Be sure to stop often to give dogs a chance to stretch their legs and relieve themselves.

Even the calmest cat or dog can become startled and bolt in unfamiliar surroundings. Countless animals have been lost at toll booths and rest stops this way. Be sure your animal friend is properly secured at all times and is wearing a collar with current ID tags, including temporary tags for each place that you will be staying during your travels. It’s also a good idea to have your animals microchipped before you leave.

For many animals—especially those who are elderly, shy or skittish—there really is no place like home for the holidays. Staying in their homes with a trusted caretaker gives animals the security of familiar surroundings and a consistent schedule.

Traffic jams and lines at airport security may be unavoidable during holiday travel, but by planning ahead and taking a few precautions, we can ensure that our animal companions arrive safely home sweet home, no matter how far away we roam.

Taking your dog to the beach

By Deb Young
Taking your dog to a pet friendly beach can be a highlight of the summer for both of you.
Spending some time in the water and on the sand can be a much different experience than what he is used to.
 Some beaches allow dogs to roam around without being on a leash while others require it. Knowing the laws beforehand can prevent you from getting any fines. In addition, for beaches where dogs don’t have to be leashed, you can determine if you are comfortable with your dog being around other dogs running free.
Keeping some tips in mind can make sure he enjoys the outing as much as you do.

1)  Bring plenty of water for both you and your dog , Your dog may still try too chomp on surf but ensure they don’t take in too much salt water, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

2) Bring a blanket to sit on that is big enough for both you. The sand can get very hot on the paws.

3) Expect to get visited by other peoples dogs – sometimes dogs come up and mark their territory on your property. So don’t take anything down to the beach that you really care about.

4) Bring pick up bags – to clean up after your dog. Not only is it the law, its also a health hazard to fellow canine visitors/people and the environment.

5) Have fido wear a nylon leash and lead. The water will ruin your good leather gear. If the nylon lead and collar get wet in the ocean be sure to rinse it out with tap water when you get home – and let it air dry in case your dogs skin is sensitive to the salt water. 

6) Rinse your dog down when you get home – again if your dog’s skin is sensitive to the salt water a quick rinse will help prevent skin irritation. You should than dry your dog off with a towel, or let him dry in the sun if its a warm day or use a hairdryer set on warm, not hot to dry them off thoroughly.

7) Bring toys- Your dog may be inclined to chew on pieces of drift wood. The sharp pieces can hurt his gums and the inside of his mouth; he can also ingest them. Instead, bring some toys that he can use only when he goes to the beach, such as solid rubber toys that no sand can get into.

8) Consider Sunscreen- For pets who are shaved, that shaved area is at risk of being burned,  The little nose tip, especially if you’re a pale-nosed dog or white-nosed cat or dog, those areas are prone to sun-induced tumors.

Pet owners, particularly dog owners, need to be careful with sunscreens, because some ingredients can be toxic if they are licked off. Zinc oxide should never be used because dogs can become dangerously anemic if it is ingested.

Make sure to keep an eye on your dog for when he starts to get too tired or warm so you can take him home. A day at the beach can be a fun day out for both of you. He can scamper about, make some new friends, get some exercise and enjoy some time in the sun. The only thing better is that when he gets home, he will get tons of sleep.

Think your animals are safe in your backyard? Think again!

By Martin Mersereau

 Dogs have been disappearing in Idaho. One dog, named Bean, was found shot dead and left near a canal. A hiker found another dog in a canyon, covered with a sheet and apparently beaten to death. Two other dogs, Gauge and Mac, went missing and were later found shot to death on a neighbor’s property. Two dogs were believed to have been abducted from a fenced backyard. A small dog who was let outside to relieve himself hasn’t been seen since. Rumors are swirling that dozens of other missing dogs may have been abducted, shot or used as “bait” in dogfighting rings.


If your animal companions are snoozing at your feet or curled up on your lap right now, good. But if they’re outside alone, don’t keep reading—go get them. As the Idaho residents whose dogs have disappeared or been killed have learned the hard way, leaving animals outdoors unattended—even for “just a minute” in a fenced yard—is irresponsible and an invitation to tragedy.


We all want to believe that our neighborhoods are safe, but in my work, I have seen that every community is full of dangers for dogs and cats. Most of the 400-plus cruelty cases that PETA receives weekly involve animals who were victimized while outside unsupervised. In Volusia County, Fla., for example, a cat who usually roamed the neighborhood at night was found one morning sliced in two. The front half of his body was in his owner’s backyard, and his intestines were in the front yard.


Friendly cats and dogs are also the favored victims of bunchers—people who cruise neighborhoods, picking up animals in order to sell them to laboratories for experiments—and dogfighters looking for free “bait” to train dogs to attack. In Buchanan, Ga., two dogs who were kept outdoors on chains were believed to have been abducted by a neighbor and used as dogfighting “bait.” One dog was returned paralyzed, and the other was found dead on a neighbor’s lawn.


It’s also not unusual for cruel neighbors with short fuses to take matters into their own hands. In Enola, Pa., a cat who was allowed to roam went missing. Five days later, the cat’s owner discovered him dead in her trashcan. A neighbor had previously warned her that he was sick of her cat using his yard as a litterbox.


In Frenchtown Charter Township, Mich., a man pleaded no contest to attempted animal killing or torture for leaving out meat spiked with sharp objects to stop a neighbor’s dog from coming onto his property. The dog, named Jinx, ate the meat and had to be euthanized because of his injuries. There is no excuse for harming animals—and animal abusers must be prosecuted—but people who leave their animal companions outdoors unattended share in the blame when their animals meet gruesome fates.


Cruel people aren’t the only dangers lurking outdoors. Every day, animals are injured or killed in traffic, poisoned and attacked by other animals. Chained dogs are especially vulnerable because they have no way to escape from aggressive roaming animals.


Just as responsible parents would never let their 2-year-old wander freely around the neighborhood, we shouldn’t leave our animals to take their chances outdoors, either. We can keep our animal companions safe by keeping them indoors and allowing them outdoors only on a harness and leash, under our constant watchful eye. That way, we’ll never have to wonder whether our animals are safe, and we won’t ever be haunted by the regret of having allowed something terrible to happen because we failed to protect them.


Keeping dogs safe … and training

By Deb Young

Once upon a time, there were fewer cars and more open space. Nowadays, though, we have relatively few places where we can safely and legally walk our dogs off leash.
So its time to choose the best equipment for your dog, for safety and training.

For many dogs, a versatile harness is a great alternative to a collar as they can eliminate pressure from your dogs neck — preventing possible trachea and neck injury.
From a training perspective, dog harnesses are useful for teaching your pup not to pull as the pressure from a harness is more evenly distributed around your dog’s body.
Finally, some crafty dogs are occasionally able to slip their heads out of their collar, but since a harness fits around the whole body, pup is less likely to accidentally escape.
Even if you wind up using a harness or a halter for leash walks, your dog should still always wear a collar with her ID tags.

When choosing a collar for your dog, choose a fabric or leather collar, go for wide rather than narrow. Even a well-trained dog may hit the end of the leash hard when a squirrel leaps out in front of her, for instance. And many behavior problems involve lunging and barking.

The force of the lunge is more concentrated with a narrow collar, so it hurts more and even risks bruising your dog’s trachea.

Some people like special breakaway collars that open if you pull at them hard enough; the idea is that your dog can’t get hung up somehow. My perception of risk runs the other way–I worry more about my dog getting loose in a fire or accident and running panicked with no visible ID.

ID could be your pets ticket back home. Even animals living inside can on occasion escape into the wide world. Both dogs and cats need ID!!
Micro Chipping is good too, but an external tag is essential, it could mean the difference of your neighbor returning your pet to you or turning him into the animal shelter.

If you have a fenced in yard, it might not be enough to keep your dog completely safe during the day while you’re gone.

Even a fenced yard can’t stop a hawk or other bird of prey.

Please be aware that many dogs have been taken from backyards in the past few years. I still maintain that dogs should not be left completely unattended.

But, an outdoor dog kennel is your safest bet to let your dog play while you are out doing yard work or relaxing in yard.

The kennel is definitely an investment, because they can run anywhere from $150 to $300. But on a happier note, it’s portable so you can take it with you wherever you go, so the cost over the years doesn’t come out to much.

I don’t think shock collars or electric fences are good options either! Electronic containment systems aren’t guaranteed to work for your dog and of course is the power goes out, they won’t work at all!

And shock collars are just wrong! Have you ever seen an alpha dog poke a submissive dog with a cattle prod? Of course not, they use dog methods to correct, and that’s what dogs understand!

Be kind to your pet and show them with love… remember you are their world.
Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment. Commit to keeping them safe!