Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20 JUL 10: When Animals Attack

Did you see the unusual video from a home in metro Birmingham? Authorities spent Monday wrestling with and hauling away a loose alligator. How many Alabama football fans now will try to raid "S.E.C. Media Days," and do the same thing to Urban Meyer?

But that scene is tame compared with a couple of Columbus animal stories in recent days. Police announced Monday they will NOT file criminal charges against the owner of a pit bull, which bit a 12-year-old boy on Fifth Avenue over the weekend. After seeing the child's wounds on TV, you wonder why law officers don't use pit bulls to get even with that "Nightmare on Elm Street" guy.

Valerie Brown claims her next-door neighbor said, "Get him," before the pit bull attacked her son. But police decided the dog was NOT provoked, and the neighbor should be cited for "not attending to an animal." It sounds like he "attended" about as well as football fans attended the Columbus Lions game Sunday night.

The 12-year-old boy has serious wounds, and we wish him a full recovery. The pit bull is being held by Columbus Animal Control for ten days -- and if it barks uncontrollably when lights are left on overnight, it may be turned over to Georgia Power for training.

An animal control officer told WLTZ pit bulls are NOT born violent, but many owners want them to be vicious guard dogs. For some of us, a Chihuahua is sufficient for keeping us away -- or at least they were, until Paris Hilton started carrying them in her purse.

As for that other weekend case: police told WTVM two Columbus men got into an argument. One had a dog, who supposedly went after the other man. But the other man had a gun, and shot the dog. There's a Wild West version of the game "rock, paper, scissors" waiting to be developed here....

I recall a case like this occurred in Russell County several years ago. A dog owner reported his neighbor walked outside and shot his pet - but authorities told the owner there was no law against it. Who could have guessed there was that kind of loophole in Alabama hunting seasons?

Animal control experts say if you're threatened by a dog, you should do the exact opposite of your instincts. Do NOT run, but stand still. After all, there's a reason why 400-meter sprint champions don't hold match races against greyhounds at Victoryland.

Long-time blog readers know I'm a cat person, not a dog person. Cases such as the recent ones in Columbus explain why. The most annoying thing cats have done to my body is rub against my legs, to pass me their fleas.

The complex where I live has a "no-pet" clause in the lease. But that doesn't stop one of my neighbors from pouring a large pile of cat food outside her back door. It's NOT in a bowl, but simply piled on the porch. For all I know, the "can man" who collects beer cans from another neighbor's back door might chew on that food for lunch.

Since we're politics-free on this election day, let's steer clear of Columbus Airport and check other Monday headlines....

+ Columbus Police captured a suspected burglar, who was spotted on the roof of a coin laundry on Veterans Parkway. This is why I always sweep my hand around the washer bins, before moving clothes to the dryer - so I don't have to go back and pick up something I overlooked.

+ Mayor Jim Wetherington said he hopes to teach the 100 new police officers the importance of patrolling businesses and homes on the overnight shift. But I fear the WTVM interviewer went away disappointed - because the mayor did NOT endorse that new TV series "Rookie Blue."

+ Preliminary reports showed 32 Muscogee County schools made "adequate yearly progress" on spring exams. But that's down from 42 schools last year, meaning 43 percent of the district's schools fell short -- and I shudder to think how many students would be unable to do the mathematics on that.

(The Ledger-Enquirer reports five of the eight Muscogee County high schools fell short of A.Y.P. for a second year. That means they're now on the "needs improvement" list - and come the fall of 2011, Hardaway and Northside may look like mobile home parks due to all the transferring students in portables.)

+ The Muscogee County School Board approved an agreement which will lead to the demolition of the fire-damaged Baker High School. The school district will swap the Baker land for property next door held by the Columbus Housing Authority. A last-minute proposal involving a trade of Carver and Spencer football players was rejected.

+ Fire erupted inside the historic Langdale Mill in Valley. WTVM reported the damage was limited to part of the mill. WLTZ put the words "Mill Burns Down" on the screen. And staff members with a cable TV station inside the building panicked so much, they fled the building without thinking to point a camera at the flames.

+ The Space Science Center downtown began the first of two days with free admission. The official reason involves the closing of the Omnisphere Theater for maintenance. I think there's also an unofficial reason - to see how many people remember to celebrate the anniversary of the first walk on the moon.

+ Alabama Governor Bob Riley announced Raytheon will open a factory at Redstone Arsenal to produce missiles. If Riley gets his way, the first missile will be programmed to strike Quincy's 777 casino in Shorter.

+ Instant Message to Columbus State University: Shame on me. I never knew until Monday night that the Cougar mascot is named Cody. So there WAS a deal made with the city, to rename that street University Avenue....

SCHEDULED WEDNESDAY: The primary, in all its colors....

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