Latest from The Spokesman-Review
HUNTING — I had some interesting conversations over meals with a professor from Iran a few years ago centered on our common love for hunting chukars. We don't hear much about that part of Middle Eastern culture, but he was a solid enthusiast for walking the steep river canyons and swinging a shotgun for sport.
I made my gaffe when I expressed dismay that he hunted alone without a bird dog. He winced a bit but was polite.
Still clueless, I invited him to hunt with me and experience the excitement of hunting behind a pointing dog.
He respectfully declined and that was that.
Later I learned that buying and selling dogs is illegal in Iran. Iran’s parliament also passed a bill to criminalize dog ownership, declaring the phenomenon a sign of “vulgar Western values.”
Pursuing birds without a dog would leave a huge hole in my experience, so I'll be hunting my chukars here in the United States of America, which has the highest dog population in the world.
France has the second highest and some South American countries may rival our country for dog populations, except nobody seems to own all the strays that roam the streets.
HUNTING — I don't want to jinx the odds, but a lot of upland bird hunters are noticing this is the driest weather we've had in several years for the peak period of the wild quail, chukar and pheasant hatching season.
Upland bird chicks are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia if cool, wet weather persists in early June.
Last year's season was boosted by a good second hatch of birds.
This could be the year the first hatch blossoms.
…have dogs traditionally associated with the University of Washington?
Field Reports: Oregon wolf dies from parvovirus …Two trumpeter pairs nesting at Turnbull … Orcas, salmon, elk on commission's agenda … State Parks offer free vehicle entry … Colville Project needs habitat helpers
WILDERNESS — Long-distance hikers Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa and his dog, Karluk, will make a keynote presentation highlighting the annual State of the Scotchman's gathering Friday to update the pubic on the campaign for winning wilderness designation for the Scotchman Peaks area northeast of Lake Pend Oreille.
This is a chance to catch up with wilderness advocates and get an update on the political state of the proposal, which has gotten a boost this year from the March release of the movie Grass routes: Changing the Conversation by Wildman Pictures.
“Exciting things are happening around the movie,” says Phil Hough, FSPW exec, “and more than ever before, it feels like the time is now for a bill for the Scotchmans.”
Eichardt's Pub, Grill and Coffee House will be provide no-host beer and wine at the event and Jupiter Jane's food bus will standing by to feed the hungry. Bring a folding chair for seating during LaRuffa's presentation.
Hough, LaRuffa and Karluk will lead a “doggy” hike on the new Star Peak Trail in Montana on Saturday (June 1) as part of the National Trails Day celebration nationwide.
Sign up for the hike by email: email@example.com.
HUNTING DOGS — It's easy to be prepared for the unexpected but inevitable day your hunting dog is sprayed by a skunk.
And you should ALWAYS be ready. Even at home, as I experienced this week when my dog was sprayed in the backyard just before I was to leave for work.
Since an Eastern Washington University chemistry professor tipped me off to the formula in the 1980s, I've kept a skunk kit in my pickup and in my bird hunting gear basket. I've given the kits as holiday gifts to my hunting buddies.
(See my dog, Scout, above, looking at the kit as though he knows it's his only ticket back into the house.)
I once took a midnight call from a friend who was in Montana with his daughter and dog. They were in a pickle. They were camping with his wife's new SUV and she'd warned them they'd better take care of it in her absence. But their dog got sprayed by a skunk 300 miles from Spokane and father-daughter needed the recipe or they'd be in the dog house with the dog.
I gave them the recipe and two days later I found a thank you note and a bottle of wine on my door step.
THE RECIPE is simple: One quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap.
THE KIT makes it easy to apply. Buy a small Tupperware-type container just big enough to hold two quart bottles of hydrogen peroxide, two plastic zipper bags with measured amounts of baking soda and a small plastic bottle with dish soap.
(I like this “double” recipe approach just in case two dogs get too friendly with a skunk at one time. You don't have to make choice on which dog “gets lost” on the way home.)
Also in the container, include one or two pairs of Latex or rubber gloves, a wash rag and a small drying towel. You're set.
Should your dog get sprayed, you can remove the skunk odor in the field (if you have rinse water) without stinking up your rig.
Mix the ingredients at the time they are needed, NOT BEFORE. Wash the dog with all of the solution. Having the washcloth helps you keep it out of the dog's eyes.
Rinse thoroughly. You may want to do a second wash with dog shampoo, but a thorough rinse seems to work fine and prevents the peroxide from changing the color of your dog's fur.
By the way, when I came to work Monday and mentioned that my dog had been sprayed by a skunk, a colleague came over with her wallet and pulled out the de-skunking recipe I'd published in the S-R Outdoors section years ago. “It saved me once, and I wanted to make sure I always had it just in case,” she said.
Baffled about the dog's puppydom nickname, but am hoping there's some benign explanation. Don't want to believe it's just INW-style casual racism, because I really like this dog and don't want to think her owners are dim bulbs.
TRAILS — In mid-April last year, several off-leash dogs were attacked by coyotes that were defending the territory around a den near a popular South Hill bluff trail below High Drive.
Candace Hultberg-Bennett, a local wildlife biologist, will present a short program on what people can do to live safely and peacefully in the same neighborhood with coyotes.
- The program starts at 7 p.m. at St. Stevens Church Parish Hall, 5720 S. Perry.
The Friends of the Bluffs have asked her to speak on her studies on how urbanization and the reintroduction of wolves have impacted coyote populations in northeastern Washington.
A public sentiment that emerged from the coyote-dog conflicts last year was the simmering discontent trail users have with people who violate city-county laws by walking, running and even bicycling with their unleashed dogs.
HELP IMPROVE BLUFF TRAILS
The Friends of the Bluff have scheduled another trail work party, 9 a.m.-noon, on April 27.
Meet at the High Drive and Bernard trailhead. Wear suitable work clothes and gloves, bring water to drink.
TRAILS — Local writer Jim Kershner, a household name to long-time readers of The Spokesman-Review, is having a ball watching spring explode along the trails of the South Hill bluff below High Drive.
Last week he found a few bunches of arrowleaf balsamroot blooming a bit ahead of normal.
On Saturday he found the slopes alive (above) with grasswidows — that clearly were having nothing to do with being alone this season.
Coyote advisory: Remember last year, when several dogs were attacked by denning coyotes as they joined their owners for hikes or runs on the South Hill Bluff trails?
The Friends of the Bluffs are sponsoring a free program, “Living with Coyotes,” at 7 p.m., April 17, at St. Stevens Church Parish Hall, 5720 S. Perry.
Meantime, be proactive in your dog's favor: Keep your dog on a leash.
ANIMALS — A dog that walks like it's drunk, or starts loosing control of its legs, or unable to get up could have a number of ailments. But one thing you should check for immediately is tick paralysis.
The cure if caught early is as simple as removing the problem-causing tick.
Here's a case in point from Mary Franzel of North Idaho who encountered the problem over the weekend with her dog, Zip:
To my dog owner friends: Yesterday Zip got “Tick Paralysis.” It's a toxin that some ticks have that causes progressive paralysis. It started by her not being able to stand up on her hind legs to look out the window. It progressed to her barely being able to use her back legs.
Thank heavens Celeste Boatwright Grace happened to be over for a hike. After ruling out an injury, she thought of this tick borne disease. We found 4 ticks & after a bath I found one more. If the tick is removed soon enough it reverses & the dog usually returns to normal. It can be fatal if the tick remains attached & the dog ends up going into respiratory distress. It's most common in the Rocky Mountains & the Pacific Northwest.
Ponderay Vet has already seen 1 case last week. It is rare, but from now on I'm treating all my dogs with topical tick medication. A heads up - you may want to treat your dogs!
I tried to post a video of Zip stumbling but my speedy internet connection wouldn't let me. She is very tired today but seems to be walking fine. :-)
HUNTING — Yep, a good bird dog pup can be a handful for a few months, but he'll be worth his adult weight in gold for a hunter, as a companion and a working dog.
I saw this handsome three-week-old German shorthair pointer at Dunfur Kennel off I-90 near the Four Lakes Exit.
PUBLIC LANDS — The Friends of the Bluff is beginning to develop a comprehensive plan for the popular trails on the south-facing slope of city-owned land on the South Hill.
The group already has set “sustainable trails” as the highest priority.
The public meeting set for Wednesday (March 27), 6:30 p.m., at St Stephens Episcopal Church will consider questions such as:
- What is a sustainable trail?
- What is a “multi-use” trail on the Bluff?
- When do we have enough trails on the Bluff?
- How do we maintain existing trails?
- When do we decommission unsustainable trails?
- Trail signage or no signage?
Info: Diana Roberts, 477-2167
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Wolves and cougars aren't the only critters posing a threat to the region's elk herds.
Tom and Jane Smith of Spokane Valley were driving southbound on Highway 27 toward Fairfield Tueday around 1 p.m. when Tom reports, “I saw the largest herd of elk I've ever sighted.”
Just north of the Elder Road turnoff, we saw a herd of between 20 and 30 animals—several bulls—being chased by a dog. They were headed east toward Highway 27 then turned back west. We lost them in the hills.
Great to see (not the dog, but the elk).
WINTER SPORTS — Sled dog racing hits high gear in the Inland Northwest starting this week — and skiers should note that skijoring is a category insome sled dog racing events nowadays.
The Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race starts today (Jan. 23) and runs through Jan. 26 in the Wallowa Mountains based out of Joseph, Ore. Known for its challenging elevation gain, the event includes a full-scale 200-mile race for teams of 12 dogs — a Yukon Quest qualifying race. Also scheduled is a 100-mile race for 8-dog teams, a new 62-mile, 2-day mid-distance “pot” race.
The Cascade Quest Sled Dog Race runs Feb. 1-3 based out of Lake Wenatchee. It includes four events: an 8-12 dog 100-mile stage race, a 6-dog 75-mile stage race, a 2 to 6-dog 24-mile recreation-class race and a purebred race.
WINTER SPORTS — Learn to ski with dog power in a skijoring clinic Sunday (Jan. 27), 2 p.m., at Mount Spokane State Park.
The Mt. Spokane Skijor Group will teach basic skills and etiquette for the trails that are open to skijorers at designated times twice a week.
Cost: $10, due by Thursday (Jan. 24).
Preregister: Diana Roberts, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (509)570-8242.
PREDATORS — A 20-year-old Stevensville hunter thought he'd done everything right before he let his three mountain lion dogs go on a set of fresh tracks Sunday afternoon.
He'd been hunting with others in the Ninemile drainage north of Missoula since Sept. 3. In all that time, they had not seen any sign of wolves in the area. He saw no wolf tracks in the snow heading up to his hunting area last weekend.
This day wasn’t any different than the rest of the season — until his GPS unit indicated his dogs had stopped.
BIRD DOGGING — A Facebook friend recently sent me several poignant quotations regarding dogs, which made me think fondly back over the German shorthairs, Brittanys and English setters I've been privileged to own, know, love and hunt.
But honestly, I couldn't help but make a few reality checks after thinking about these Dog Wisdoms for a moment. I've added my two cents from decades of experience in bold face.
*Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. Indeed, the tail wagging may be a devious attempt to delay you from discovering the chewed up bamboo fly rod. - Ann Landers
*If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went, unless it's into the barnyard to roll in cow pies. - Will Rogers
*There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face, and that's a good thing because a psychiatrist is much more likely than a puppy to have been licking something icky before it licked you. - Ben Williams
*A neutered dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down. - Robert Benchley
*If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise and you clearly aren't a chukar hunter. - Unknown
Nikki Sauser was in the Kinko's on the South Hill when this guy came in and started making photocopies.
He hadn't been at it all that long before a loud car horn sounded from outside. The guy's face scrunched into an exasperated look and he scurried toward the door.
Sauser noticed that several people near the front windows were chuckling. Then she saw why.
Inside the guy's pickup truck was a big dog with a paw on the horn.
“You could see this was no accident,” said Sauser. “The dog knew what it was doing. And you knew from the way the guy acted that this wasn't the first time.”
Sauser got a kick out of the scene. But she said she hopes her dog, Eddie, doesn't learn that trick. “My life would never be the same.”
FISHING/HUNTING — Having trouble finding birds to shoot during the upland bird hunting season?
No worries. Put that bird dog to use retrieving a fish dinner. Video shows how easy it is.
Some people are scared of this breed, but I've always found them to be pretty reasonable. Don't try anything funny and there's usually no trouble.
I had an elderly neighbor whose shep would jump over the fence while his owner was away. But this dog always let me return him to his yard without incident.
HUNTING — Two men, on opposite sides of the world, have been shot by their alleged best friends, reports News.com.au.
One man's shooting trip in Utah, US took a surprise turn when he was shot in the buttocks - by his own dog.
Meanwhile in France, a 55-year-old hunter had to have his right hand amputated after his dog accidentally shot him has said he doesn't blame the pet, which he still considers “adorable”.
HUNTING — A nice, easy, fulfilling start to the hunting seasons.
Scout and I have three and a half months to go!
When do you consider them to be upon us?
I always think of August. Can you believe that starts tomorrow?
A Spokane woman who had 50 dogs and cats packed into a squalid bungalow in Hillyard has been charged with animal cruelty.
Laneva Marsha Erskine, 57, faces nine misdemeanor charges stemming from a February raid at her home at 3622 E. Crown Ave. in which workers wore hazardous material suits and respirators to combat the heavy stench.
During a demonstration Tuesday, SCRAPS animal protection Officer Francie Rapier monitors a thermometer placed inside a parked car. Even with four windows cracked open, the temperature hit 109 degrees in 25 minutes.
Animal protection Officer Francie Rapier last week responded to a complaint of two dogs left inside a parked car at Spokane Valley Mall.
When she arrived, the outside temperature was 75, but the inside temperature was 100 degrees even though the car’s windows were left partly open, she said.
She seized the dogs and left a notice of violation on the windshield. The owner was cited for unsafe confinement, a misdemeanor. Mike Prager, SR Read more.
This happens every summer. Why do people leave their dogs or even worse their kids inside parked cars?
I'll open the nominations with the collie.
TRAILS — Spokane County officials announced today they will begin addressing the issue of unleashed dogs — a long-simmering aggravation that's been been stoked in recent years by the purchase of county conservation lands, which many pet owners wrongly assume to be dog parks.
An emphasis patrol to enforce dog leash laws on 12,000 acres of Spokane County park and conservation lands is being launched later this week. The effort is fueled by a $140,000 grant.
Patrols are scheduled for six weeks. The funding also provides for additional patrols by off-duty County Sheriffs officers to deal with issues such as off-leash dogs, shooting and off-road vehicles through June 30, 2013, said Paul Knowles, Spokane Count Parks planner.
The project will start this weekend at Antoine Peak Conservation Area just north of East Valley High School.
Spokane County Park Ranger Bryant Robinson said dogs running off leash is the top complaint from the public, ahead of the No. 2 complaint of off-road vehicles going onto park land.
The breaking point may have come recently when Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard endured the abuse that's been fetching more and more complaints throughout the county.
During a commission briefing today, Richard said his dogs were attacked by three off-leash dogs and when he confronted the owner of the off-leash dogs, he was threatened himself.
“Some people don't take kindly to telling them how to manage their pets,” noted Nicole Montano, animal protection manager for SCRAPS.
S-R reporter Mike Prager was at the briefing and filed this detailed report on the enforcement effort.
Other emphasis patrols currently scheduled include:
- Sunday at Liberty Lake Regional Park,
- June 23 at Dishman Hills Natural Area,
- June 24 at Liberty Lake and Saltese Uplands Conservation Areas,
- June 30 at Slavin Conservation Area,
- July 7 at Bear Lake Regional Park,
- July 8 at Iller Creek Conservation Area.
During the leash emphasis, authorities will be issuing citations for other violations, including not having a license, which carries a $200 fine, or going onto park land with a motorized vehicle.
Violations of letting a dog run at large, failure to have a current rabies vaccination or having a threatening dog all carry $87 fines.
The $140,000 in funding is coming from a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office NOVA Education and Enforcement grant.
A Post Falls man who beat his dog with a hammer as his neighbor watched in horror has been sentenced to six months in jail.
Calvin Franklin Palmer, 53, who served 33 years in prison in Arizona for murder, apologized at his sentencing Friday and said the death of his Akita-pit bull even “traumatized him,” according to court records.
“I was the only one who treated her nicely,” Palmer said.
He told police he killed the dog after she attacked a cat and he feared she would attack him.
“I'm sorry that someone saw me do that,” he said in court Friday, according to a transcript. Palmer was booked into the Kootenai County Jail that day to begin his sentence.
Palmer's neighbors in the 300 block of North Columbia Street in Post Falls called police Dec. 10 and reported the horrific attack.
Tammi Nichols, 40, said her 18-year-old daughter, Carmen Murphy, told her she'd seen Palmer beating the dog with the hammer.
Nichols said she told Palmer “You just traumatized my child,” but Palmer “looked at her with a blank look on his face, then swung the hammer at the dog four more times, striking it in the head,” according to court documents.
Post Falls police arrived to find the dog dead in a trash can, badly beaten with its throat slit.
Palmer initially lied to police and said he didn't own a dog, according to court documents. When they asked him about dog food at the home, he said he fed it to his cats because he can't afford cat food.
Palmer has been out of prison for about three years after being convicted of robbery and murder in Arizona, according to court records. He works at the Sweetgrass Cafe in Worley, Idaho, according to testimony at his sentencing.
His public defender, Megan Marshall, called for him to serve no jail time for the animal cruelty conviction, saying he'll lose his trailer if he can't work. She said his murder conviction “is following him for the rest of his life,” according to court records.
Judge Penny Friedlander instead sentenced him to 180 days in jail but allowed for work release. Friedlander said it was “stunning to the court how anyone could do an act like that to an animal.”
WILDLIFE — Coyotes defending a den of pups are not tolerating dogs coming through their territory between High Drive and Hangman Creek.
After my story about a Thursday attack on a dog was published today, The Spokesman-Review has learned of at least three coyote attacks this week on dogs up to 80 pounds.
Coyotes generally weigh 30-45 pounds.
If you hike in the area above Qualchan Golf Course, keep your dog on a lease for awhile.
Read on for details.
What do you think when you see that?
A) “How cute.” B) “Isn't that actually illegal in Washington?” C) “It's probably not all that safe but I know the dogs love it.” D) “The driver must not be especially familiar with the concept of sudden stops and the laws of physics.” E) “Freedom, freedom, freedom, blah, blah, blah.” F) “Last time I expressed reservations about that practice and noted the unenforced statute prohibiting it, the person to whom I was speaking got all up in arms about how there's no law saying kids can't ride back there. I didn't bother to mention that most children don't see a squirrel in the distance and bolt out of the truck while it's zipping down the road.” G) “I have been doing that with our dogs for years and nothing bad has ever happened.” H) “It's the spirit of the West.” I) “Don't really approve of that in city traffic. Out in the country, OK.” J) “Im sure those people really love their dogs. I hope they don't have to learn the hard way that there are big risks for the pets.” K) Other.