Dogs Are A Crime On The Lake Hollywood Loop

It was with not a little fanfare less than two years ago that the road around the reservoir known as Lake Hollywood was reopened to walkers, runners and cyclists, a scenic route that had been closed since landslides during those crazy rains of 2005.

10978666_10152558232845044_2128577528160986362_nLittle did I know that when my wife Susan and I drove over there this morning and set out with our faithful — and needless to say well-behaved and leashed-up — border collie mix Ranger to explore that roughly 3.3-mile loop for the first time, we would be greeted by this sign at the north gate and again at the east gate:

Being that I’m law-abiding to a fault I dutifully turned us around and we made our way to the far more enlightened Parc du Griffith where dogs are not a crime. Soon we found our way along a loop that included a rigorously vertical set of dirt steps carved into the hillside and leading to the oasis that is Amir’s Garden.

While one part of me is all “Thank you!” to the dog-banning powers that be at Lake Hollywood for allowing us to discover a previously unknown aspect of Griffith Park, the other part is all “You dog-banning powers that be at Lake Hollywood totally suck!” And it was that latter half that got all googly once I got home in searching out the specific statute — LAMC 64.06 — authorizing the prohibition. Turns out it’s an ordinance designed to prevent water contamination that reads a little somethin’ like this (on the other side of the jump):

Continue reading “Dogs Are A Crime On The Lake Hollywood Loop”

fish in a bag on my stoop this morning.

click to embiggen.  One lively and one half dead goldfishies found on my front door this morning.
click to embiggen. One lively and one half dead goldfishies found on my front door this morning.

Oh those kids today. I don’t know what to make of this.  Is it a harmless prank or is it a warning like a horsehead on your lawn by the mafia?  I think its the former and certainly is a lot better than getting your lawn forked or trees teepeed.

My youngest is a senior at MHS and 3 of his friends awoke to the same “gift” this morning.  Who knows why but we’re in a mad dash to get them in a proper bowl and fed.

Whatever it is, it is entertaining for the grand who calls it a “shark”…he’s 2.

Feed The Pets!

FEED ME
FEED ME
<On the heels of Will’s spcaLA post, I wanted to give a heads-up that these locations are short on pet food this holiday season. Please consider dropping off kibble, or wet food, or dry food, to the following locations:

12910 Yukon Avenue, Hawthorne: (310) 676-1149

7700 East Spring Street, Long Beach: (562) 570-7722

5026 West Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles: (323) 730-5300

Because we all know that hungry pets will devour you alive in your home, if you’re elderly. That adorbs Shiba Inu you adopted for gramma? Watch. Out.

I’m just sayin’, if we feed them now, while they’re in the SPCA facilities, they’re that much less likely to eat you or someone you love.

12 Days Of Giving: spcaLA

spcaLA logoPreamble/Disclosure: There’s a subset of the fine folks who know I’ve been a scrivener for Blogging.la going way back to March 2004, who also know that back in 2011, despite all appearances of sanity, sensibility and advanced middle age, I committed to making a rather drastic career change in leaving behind a 20-odd year (emphasis on the word “odd’) career in journalism to become a humane law enforcement officer, more commonly known as an “animal cop.” Soon after that decision, I undertook what would become a lengthy, arduous and challenging process of training and preparation and hiring — I call it a “journey of a thousand hurdles” — that culminated this past summer when I was sworn in as a Level 1 Humane Officer working for, you guessed it: the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).

But enough about me. More importantly, I need to clear up an important misconception. You know those heart-wrenching ads that inundate your TV screens around this time of year, soundtracked by Sarah McG’s “Angel” and featuring some celeb (last year it was the guy from “Will & Grace”) guilting the hell out of you to donate NOWRIGHTNOW while a slideshow of horribly mistreated animals scrolls by? Yeah: that’s soooooo not spcaLA. That’s a whole different animal: That’s ASPCA, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

But Will, you ask, isn’t ASPCA the “parent” of spcaLA? Great question! Answer: Not in any way, shape or form. They are entirely individual and separate entities. It’s a common mistake people make believing that ASPCA is some sort of national umbrella under which all SPCAs in the country operate. But they don’t. Each and every SPCA is its own independent organization. The same goes with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They have absolutely nothing to do with, say, the Pasadena Humane Society.

But Will, you ask, why should that matter to me? Another valid query! As an Angeleno it should matter to you because at the end of one of those above-mentioned ASPCA ads that will be dominating the local year-end airwaves, when you rush to your computer or telephone, whip out your credit card and ship some money to their headquarters across the country in New York City, not a penny of it will benefit any of the animals in your own neighborhoods. Think of it like donating blood to your local hospital versus the American Red Cross. In both worthy cases, the precious resource will almost certainly go to someone who needs it, but the chances are exponentially greater that the blood you gave at, say, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will go to a child at that hospital. Donate locally, I say… which rhymes with spcaLA!

After the jump, a bit of history before we get to the fun part.

Continue reading “12 Days Of Giving: spcaLA”

50th Annual Celebrate the Arts this weekend in Monrovia

Celebrate the Arts poster
Celebrate the Arts poster, click to embiggen

This weekend, October 12 and 13,  marks the 50th Anniversary of Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (MAFA) annual show, Celebrate the Arts.  Celebrate the Arts is a fine art event that has artists representing many media, from oil/acrylics, metal sculpture to photography/digital art it s all there.  This is a juried event where you can rest assured there are no simple bead stringers, but fine artists at the top of their craft.  But, have no fear, read a bit further and you will quickly realize this is more than some stuffy museum show, as we have our eccentric and unusual coming from the community to spice things up and keep it different.

The event will be held in Library Park in the heart of historic Old Town Monrovia right on Myrtle Avenue. There is ample FREE parking, something Monrovia still believes in providing visitors, all around Library Park.  Celebrate the arts is in the Eastern portion of Library Park on Myrtle Avenue between Palm and Lime avenues.  The show will run both days from 10AM-6PM Continue reading “50th Annual Celebrate the Arts this weekend in Monrovia”

‘Tis The [Football] Season

During the course of college football seasons I’m inevitably greeted with several variations on the WTF theme when it’s discovered that this Los Angeles native’s lifelong, rabid and deathless team allegiance isn’t to the Trojans of USC or the Bruins of UCLA, but rather the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama.

The short answer is that my mother’s an alum. The longer answer is that whilst I was growing up she pretty much worshiped Bama’s legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and thus by familial fanmosis, did I as well. So much so that my dream during high school was to attend Alabama and play for Bryant, but that all fell apart when he retired during my senior year and then died not more than a couple months later.

Since then, through thick and thin I’ve been content to be the Tide’s self-appointed West Coast representative, so to speak. It’s a lonely job. I was pretty much the only one in town cheering them on when they capped their undefeated 1992 season with the National Championship over Miami. I was in the stands at the Rose Bowl in 2000 when they came for a visit and UCLA spanked them but hard. And these last few years I’ve reveled in the glories they’ve achieved under Coach Nick Saban. If you don’t believe I take this shit too seriously just drive by my house during any televised Bama game on Saturdays and I guarantee you won’t have to linger too long until I rumble out an ultra-loud “Rooooolll Tiiiiiiide!” My wife’ll tell you. The neighbors, too.

You’ve probably been wondering  over the last couple paragraphs what does all that have to do with? And the bridge to that answer is after the jump.

The thing is, as a contributor to Blogging.la coming up on almost 10 years now, I’ve ended up on a variety of PR lists. One of the most recent pitches I found in my inbox was for the Dog-E-Glow (Facebook / Twitter) line of LED- embedded pet collars and leashes. More specifically, the email pointed out the company’s brand new licensed College Collection, one of which was — you guessed it: Alabama.

So of course I wrote back a lengthy reply that basically boiled down to “Gimme! Gimme! Roll Tide! Want!” And in exchange for them sending me a Bama collar and leash combo (pictured at right, biggable if clicked), I promised I’d pimp my beloved Ranger by making her game-day ready for the Tide’s season opener this evening (5 p.m., ABC) against Michigan, show her off here (like so below), and spread a little love about the company and the product in case you want one for your pooch.

Lights Off (left). Lights On (right). Good girl, Ranger!

Fort Lauderdale, Fla-based Dog-E-Glow was founded by dog and outdoors lovers who above all wanted to keep their pets and others’ safe while looking their very best. The collars and leashes come in 12 fashion designs and 48 (and growing) college brands, and feature a flexible LED tube sewn into each ballistic nylon product whose lights are bright, long-lasting and visible for up to 1,000 feet at night. The collars and leashes are weather resistant, fully adjustable, and have two settings: steady and blinking. At the Dog-E-Glow website, the collars sell for $25.99, the leashes $29.99.

Oh and: Roll Tide!

Blogging.LA Holiday Giving: Chihuahua Rescue

There are a lot of homeless pets, and rescue organizations who are trying to help them, who can use help around the holidays and year-round. There are many fantastic groups, but one I am familiar with is Chihuahua Rescue, located in Burbank. While they care for mostly Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes, the no-kill, no-turn away volunteer-run shelter takes in other, primarily small, breeds as well. Many people are having to give up their pets due to the state of the economy and the shelters and rescue groups are quite full. Chihuahua Rescue is no different.

Honey, rescued Chihuahua mix

Besides adopting one of the available dogs, there are many other ways to give. You can sponsor a dog, make a one-time monetary donation, give goods and supplies such as food and blankets, or volunteer your time (as I’ve done in the past). Click here to learn more about donating to Chihuahua Rescue.

(Honey is a Chihuahua mix I rescued from an Orange County group last year).

This post is part of the Blogging.LA Holiday Giving series.

Blogging.LA Holiday Giving: FixNation

I was not a cat person.

I didn’t like cats. My family always had dogs. Dogs were congenial, enthusiastic, stoked. Cats were diffident, seemed to not form attachments, and were generally a pain in the ass with zero ROI.

Then I moved into the Little House In Canoga Park.

Ok, so this little house had a bunch of feral cats living around it. Scads of ’em. Everywhere! The place was filthy with cats! They were all terrified of me. The house was surrounded by trees and undergrowth, and the cats ran and hid under bushes, amidst vines, and in the crawl space under the Little House. I was determined to not become attached to them.

That endeavor did not succeed.

I began feeding the cats.  They warmed up to me. They curled around my feet and purred. They licked my arm when I petted them. My heart melted. I started to see how many little ones would show up, be cute, then…disappear. I tried not to think about what became of those kittens.

I had to try to get these cats all spayed and neutered, but how? Vets charge a lot for that. My search led me to FixNation, a nonprofit that offers free spay and neuter services for homeless cats. Slowly, over the course of about two years, I got all the cats trapped, taken to FixNation where they were sterilized and vaccinated, and then released them again. They mellowed out. They became cool cats. They chilled, lounged and rolled around adorably. Distinct personalities could be detected. They snuggled up to one another–I’d always thought cats were loners! Not these guys. They were friends. They were a pack. Team Meow.

It’s great that these guys are all doing so well, with me looking after them, but if they’d kept reproducing, the resultant kittens would NOT be doing well. And they’re NOT doing well all over the city. It’s awful. But FixNation is leading the charge to prevent the uncontrolled breeding.  Their mission is to reduce the population of homeless cats and kittens in Los Angeles by sterilizing as many as possible. To date, FixNation has spayed and neutered over 65,000 cats.

I know that there’s great suffering all over, in our communities. Homelessness and poverty are becoming ever more evident. And we all could stand to help out our fellow man. But it’s in the way we treat those who are small, who are relatively powerless, that grace is found. All creatures great and small, we should be responsible stewards of them all.

One donation of $40 neuters one male cat. You improve the quality of his life, and prevent the needless suffering of untold others. Thank you to FixNation for doing this work.

Santa Monica Sniffs Around at Dog Beach Idea

Sand castle
Future dog houses on Santa Monica beach?

Will Santa Monica’s sand castles turn into dog houses? Will dogs kick sand in the faces of 98-pound weaklings on Santa Monica’s beaches? Or will the dogs end up in the pound? Those are some of the questions Santa Monica residents may be asking, after the Santa Monica City Council voted yesterday to come up with a pilot program for designating a dog beach, and to present the program to state officials in Sacramento.

Continue reading “Santa Monica Sniffs Around at Dog Beach Idea”

Dog Owners Beware: Foxtail Season is Here

If you live in Southern California and have dogs, you are probably aware of foxtails. But, in case you are new to the area, have a new pet or are walking or hiking in a different area, I’d like to share a little information. This occurred to me over the past week when I noticed the nasty weeds popping up in my own back yard. Spring has sprung, indeed.

Foxtails are a feature of many grasses that grow locally. The distribution in my yard is fairly sporadic, but it’s common to see areas along sidewalks that get overrun. I snapped the above photo on Alvarado near Sunset in Echo Park earlier this evening.

The plant becomes problematic when it dries out (see photo below) and the seeds break off.

The danger of foxtail seeds is that they are barbed, so when they get stuck in a dog’s coat, they work their way in and get stuck. Paws, ears and nostrils are particularly vulnerable. They can embed under the skin and have been known to get under eyelids, in throats, etc. The bottom line is these nasty things can cause pain, bleeding, infection and rather substantial vet bills. If you have foxtails on your property or walk your dog(s) in area where they grow, inspect the paws, ears and fur daily. They are difficult to eradicate, especially if you don’t want to use harsh chemicals. During the spring, summer and fall, I pull the plants out of the ground by hand on a daily basis. Even with my vigilance, my dogs have had a couple of instances of needing some minor vet attention due to a foxtail lodged in a paw or an ear.

P.S. I read that outdoor cats are also at risk, it is much lower due to their grooming habits.

Such A Ham!

Yesterday’s Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street once again lived up to its wonderful and well-deserved reputation as a magnet to all manner of fauna. And as has been our habit over the years, my wife Susan and I basketed up and brought with us Buster our Russian tortoise who once again ably executed her duties as Official Ambassador for the rest of our extended household menagerie, taking a dose of archibishop-flung holy water for the team (thumbnailed at right).

If I had to pick a favorite critter that I got to confront it would have to be the very personable “Piglet,” below, who was so ready for her close-up:

 

 

 

Do Food Trucks Hide Eggs?

Zombie Jesus Day
He *un*died for your sins...

For those of us who aren’t necessarily sold on the idea that the King of the Jews rose from the dead in fulfillment of scripture one Sunday morning a couple thousand years ago, this upcoming weekend is little more than a nice time to celebrate Spring. When I was back in the Midwest this was really something meaningful, as the cold, snowy, wet season often seemed to last nearly half the year. Hell, most years it was probably something more like three and a half or maybe four months, but something about that kind of cold also seems to slow down time a little bit. Easter, then, was really a time for some rejoicing. With the bizarre weather patterns we’ve been experiencing this year in LA, unfortunately Easter may just be about little more than the resurrection of a crucified hippie.

But thankfully for us, we have something the son of God didn’t have: vehicles that periodically bring some of your favorite food selections to your neighborhood for easy access. (And no, all of my posts are not going to be about food trucks; I just happen to be excited about any opportunity to check them out in my ‘hood.) To that end, this Saturday there will be a small gathering of food trucks in North Hollywood, at The Other Door bar, complete with “kid-friendly games, coloring contests, a special DJ and prizes! Of course, lots of Easter libations that are big-kid friendly too!”

As specified on the Nom Nom Truck’s site, here are the details:

SATURDAY, APRIL 23rd
12:00PM – 3:00PM
10437 Burbank Blvd,
North Hollywood CA 91601

As an aside, while I’m really stoked to see that one of my very favorites the Frysmith truck will be there, I’m slightly irritated by the existence of the Phydough truck. This is probably only because I saw the word “dough” in the name and got my hopes up that it might be a dessert truck of some type. But no, it’s a food truck for dogs. (Yes, I can be a little slow on the uptake; “Phydough” ~ “Fido” – whatever, I knew that.) Seriously – more space for pet food means less space for people food, am I right? Does your dog even care that its snack came off a truck?? </rant>

Do You Have a License For That Dog?

L.A. Animal Services issued a press release today stating that they are canvassing Los Angeles City neighborhoods checking for current dog licenses. Not only is it the law, but being in the system may increase your chances of a reunion with your dog should it ever get out. I know first hand that your dog that you are sure will never get out WILL.

Since 2008, the city has required dogs, and cats, over the age of four months to be spayed or neutered. Therefore, to get your $20 dog license, your pet must be altered. There are a few exemptions and if you qualify, you pay $100 (plus a possible $235 breeder’s fee if applicable) for the license. A current rabies vaccine is also required. The various applications can be found here.

Your dog will not actually go to jail if caught without a license. You won’t be fined, but you will be asked to bring any licenses current. Little Guy, pictured above, isn’t really behind bars. He just fell asleep that way in my dining room. (Rescued from East Valley shelter over 10 year ago. Neutered and licensed).

 

Silver Lake Meadow is Open, momentarily poop free

Meadow panorama

As Will mentioned this weekend the meadow on the north eastern side of the Silver Lake Reservoir was finally opened to the public. Threats of it’s opening have been floating around for years, so when I confirmed this was legit I scooped up the family and ran over to check it out. The meadow itself is pretty fantastic actually. It’s a wide open and the grass is thick and lush – fun to roll around in and stuff.

For the moment anyway – while there are signs posted at every entrance stating that no dogs are allowed at any point (and the actual dag park is just a few steps away on the southern tip of the reservoir) people are either not noticing them or just outright ignoring them. We were there for about half hour, maybe 45 minutes and during that time there was an endless stream of people and their dogs walking through the meadow. Actually, just a few walking through – most of them were running around in the grass and pooping and peeing and generally dogging the place up. I give it a week or two until all the grass is dead and there are poop lamdmines every 5 feet.

This is why we can’t have nice things.