Saturday, March 28, 2009

Uno the Beagle not welcome in Gwinnett County

Uno the Beagle not welcome in Gwinnett County

America loves a hero. For many dog loving American's Uno the beagle, who won Best in Show last year, is that hero. Uno captured the hearts of America during his celebrity tour that included the first-ever White House visit by a Westminster winner. When his victory was announced Uno's howls of joy were only drowned out by the passionate response from the crowd who cheered his victory.

Uno's year started the day after he won, when he went to Sardi's for the winner's traditional plate of strip steak. He also made the rounds on a host of television shows delighting audiences with his cheerful personality.

Since then he's spent an hour with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He rode with Snoopy, America's other most famous beagle, in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. He threw out the first pitch at Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals baseball games. Well, okay, he fetched the first pitch.

Uno rang the bell to open the NASDAQ stock exchange and spent his third birthday visiting the commander and chief, President George Bush in the White House. Laura Bush gave Uno a red-white-and-blue collar and lead as a birthday present. The famous hound also got a chance to play with 270 school kids and Girl Scouts. Later, he visited injured GIs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Now retired, Uno is a certified therapy dog who visits Ronald McDonald Houses around the country. "Uno has a wonderful personality and temperament," said Westminster Director of Communications David Frei and TV host for USA and CNBC, who added, "I've been doing this for 20 years and have never seen a dog that the public responded to like Uno."

According to a November 26, 2008 article in the International Herald Tribune Americas, the Global Edition of the New York Times, Uno has had a busy year.
Uno had a day declared in his honor in his home state of Illinois

Uno met the family of Peanuts comic strip creator, Charles Schultz. The comic character, Snoopy, was Uno’s ink-on-paper beagle forebear.

Uno appears to love the applause and the attention heaped on him and people seem to relate to him as a type of underdog champion.

While Uno was welcomed by the White House for his accomplishments it is ironic is that his howls of joy and excitement would be in violation of this county's ordinance on nuisance barking.

If Uno or any of his champion "brood" ever decided to visit Gwinnett our county's ordinance would consider any barking exuberance of more then five times for thirty seconds would be a violation of county code. One is left to wonder whether laws written to condemn dogs like Uno are written to make prosecuting and convicting dogs like Uno rather then written advocating to assure their safety in the community.

The owner of the property Uno was visiting could be cited, pay up to a thousand dollars in fine, face six months in jail and if the animal rights attorney was inclined have Uno seized and become the property of the county governments animal shelter.

While the issue of dog's barking more then five times for thirty seconds is what a vast majority of dogs do - after all they are dogs, an ordinance of this nature will be viewed as a first of it's kind that specifically criminalize owning beagles.

Here's what the Humane Society of the United States says about traits common in beagles.

Surrender: “During my years in rescue work, the most common reason for surrender I heard was that the beagle’s barking was causing trouble with the neighbors.”
Adoption: “If a potential adopter is considering a beagle, they need to accept that beagles bark. Beagles love to bark so much that I am convinced they soon forget why they started barking and just continue to bark for the sheer enjoyment of it. A potential adopter should know that their prospective new family member will be a vocal one.

As a long time owner and advocate for beagles in our community I'm convinced too that beagles bark simply because they can. Anyone who has had the pleasure of being owned by a beagle knows that they are fiercely stubborn in their ways, have an attention span of a gnat, and follow their nose to wherever and whatever direction it takes them.

Of all the real crime issues in Gwinnett, an explosive growth in drug trafficking, illegal immigration and gang violence, the beagles are the only criminal element which have successfully visited the white house - doesn't that say something about the county's mixed up priorities?

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