Tag Archives: dogs

Winter help for the pets of homeless


Loaves & Fishes and VCA Animal Hospitals are kicking off a winter pet care driver designed to help the pets of homeless people. Consider donating pet sweaters, collars, leashes, carriers, blankets or toys. Among the collection sites are VCA Westside Animal Hospital, 1550 Jefferson Blvd. in West Sacramento (916-371-8900).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Cats 101’: a dog person brushes up


Over the years I have written numerous columns about dogs. I have talked at great length about my own beloved Cocker Spaniel, Mikey, including a column about the terrible day I had to finally put him to sleep. I also wrote a little series of columns about my daughter’s crazy adopted dog, Little Suze, who needed to be put on doggie Prozac because of her separation anxiety and fear of abandonment issues. I even got a good friend mad at me because I wrote about how it’s dachshunds (she loves them) that you need to be worried about biting you, not pit bulls, because weiner dogs bite more people each year than any other breed of dog. In fact, I even got in trouble for calling them weiner dogs, which apparently is something a real dachshund-lover would never do.

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

Anyway, I have really enjoyed writing dog columns over the years, and since there are so many dog owners in West Sacramento who can relate to the trials, tribulations and joys of having a dog, I have often received quite a bit of positive feedback from writing them. However, after last week’s column, which was about what to do with the family dog when vacation time rolls around, I received a phone call that started off with a rather alarming question.

“So,” asked the caller, “what’s your problem with cats?”

“But I don’t have a problem with cats,” I quickly assured her.

“Then how come you only write about dogs?”

“Well,” I said, scrambling for an answer, “I guess it’s because I’ve never owned a cat and don’t know much about them.”

“Then you do have a problem with cats!”

“No, not really, it’s just that I was raised in a house with dogs and have always liked having one around. And then when I got married, it turned out that my daughter was very allergic to cats, so that was the one pet my kids were never allowed to  have.”

“So, you’re blaming your hatred of cats on your daughter’s allergies, hey?”

As our conversation continued, it dawned on me that cat lovers take their relationships with cats very seriously and that in journalistic fairness, I did need to learn more about cats and maybe even write a column about them. The only cat I had ever been around was a big fat black and white one named Timmy, who belonged to my brother and often made us laugh by the way he would sleep on top of my brother’s warm television set in the winter time and then sooner or later fall off of it, landing with a big thud on the carpet. My brother was very proud of the fact that Timmy was apparently the only cat in existence who didn’t know how to land on his feet when he fell off of something.

So, in preparation for writing this column, I decided to call a very nice lady and longtime subscriber of the News-Ledger that I was sure knew everything there is to know about cats (she has a whole house full of them) and our conversation went a little something like this:

“Why do you suddenly want to know all about my cats?” she asked me.

“Because I got called out the other day for only writing about dogs in my newspaper column.”

“Oh, I’ve noticed that, too. But maybe you’re just a dog person. You know, it’s really true that there are dog people and then there are cat people, and they’re very different.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“I’m not really sure,” she said, “but I think it has something to do with the fact that cats are a lot more complicated than dogs, and a cat owner has to expend a lot more mental and emotional energy to successfully cohabitate with them.”

“How so?” I asked with interest.

“Well, first of all, you have to take the time to understand all their peculiar behaviors. For instance, you have to learn what all their different vocalizations mean. Cats meow and purr and trill and hiss and make all kinds of other strange sounds that all have a meaning, and if you don’t know what a cat is trying to tell you, you can end up making them miserable, not to mention getting yourself scratched or bitten. They are also nocturnal and territorial by nature, sleep a whole lot during the day, need to scratch and knead, scent mark everything in sight, and God forbid you don’t keep their litter box clean.”

“You know,” I said, “I’m afraid all I really know about cats is that I read somewhere that they kill over 65 million birds all over the world every year, not to mention all the countless vermin they pounce on and kill nightly.”

“It’s true that cats are little killing machines,” said my friend, “and many of their unique behaviors come from the fact that we only think we can totally domesticate them. All I know is that I have always loved cats and I can’t imagine life without having them around.”

“So, of all your cats, which one is your favorite?” I asked.

“Oh, that would be a big old loveable tomcat I’ve had for ages.”

“What makes him so special?”

“Oh, I don’t know, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that he’s just like my husband.”

“Really? How so?”

“Well, among other things, he expects to be fed on time, he walks away from me when I’m talking to him, and, if I were to ever let him stay out at night, he would get himself into all kinds of trouble.”


  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013


Free help for dogs, owners


“West Sacramento Neighborhood Dog Days” is coming to West Sacramento on Sunday, June 2. A bunch of free help is available to dog owners.

Bring your dog in for free rabies & puppy shots, vouchers for spaying & neutering, free collars and leashes, free veterinary exams and ID tags.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Riverbank Elementary School, 1100 Carrie Street.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Woodland: deputies shoot ‘charging’ dogs


Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputies shot two dogs that “charged the deputies” during a probation search at an Antelope Street house in Woodland on Monday at about 9:20 a.m .

According to Sgt. Lance Faille of the sheriff’s department, deputies conducted a probation search of the home of Shane Edgington, who was not home at the time.

“Inside the residence, (deputies) located two subjects, 46-year old Carol Vitalie and 43-year old Vincent Van Asperson, and three pit bull dogs,” said Faille in a press release. “The three pit bulls were in a bedroom that needed to be searched. Yolo County Animal Control officers responded to remove the dogs from the bedroom.”

“While one dog was being removed by an animal control officer, a second came charging out of the bedroom and a deputy Tased that pit bull,” he continued. “A third pit bull came out of the bedroom, tearing the electrical wires from the Taser’s barbs. Both loose pit bulls charged two different deputies in separate locations of the residence and were shot by those deputies.”

  The dogs were taken to the UC Davis Animal Hospital and were found to be dead. The third pit bull was removed from inside the house, as were five other dogs in the backyard — all unlicensed, said Faille.

The man and woman at the house were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Pooches in the pool

NEWS-LEDGER – SEPT. 7, 2011 –

If only that pit bull could talk: 'Kisses' gets a swim lesson from owner Kevin Gowens during the 'Soggy Doggie Day' event in which the parks department marked the end of the public swimming season by opening the Rec Center recreation pool up to dogs ($5) and their human friends. (Photo by Peter Folks)

More images of the action below — 


Subscribe to the News-Ledger & support local journalism!

Copyright News-Ledger 2011


Police dogs to compete in West Sac

Sacramento police dog "Bodie" latches onto an officer's decoy training sleeve during a training exercise last week in Discovery Park. West Sacramento's two K-9 teams join other teams in the Sacramento region for regular training, both in West Sacramento and in other parts of the region. They train both outdoors and inside structures. Photo by ERIC HARDING, www.ebharding.com


JUNE 15, 2011

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento police dogs “Zar” and “Chance” will have a chance to show off their skills in competition on Saturday, and you’re invited to watch.

West Sacramento K-9 officer Roger Kinney (Zar’s partner) is chief organizer of the “2011 Lawdogs Challenge,” to be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at River City High. Those who show up around 11-1 can check out demonstrations from local firefighters and SWAT teams (including a “Peacekeeper” armored vehicle) as well as U.S. Marine vehicles. A veterinary doctor can answer your questions about dog health. The “protection” element of the day’s dog team competition is scheduled for about 12:30-1.

Kinney and fellow West Sac K-9 officer Dave Stallions are part of the squad that is setting up the competition, so they will only enter the events unofficially. But visiting teams from all over will face a variety of challenges, beginning with a closed event on Friday evening.

The Friday night part of the competition will test the ability of trained dogs to find hidden narcotics.

“We’re going to have basically a Greyhound bus with five ‘finds’ hidden on it, and each dog will have to find all five finds within a time limit,” said Kinney.


Officer Roger Kinney with his partner Zar (at left), and Officer Dave Stallions with Chance Photo by ERIC HARDING

Saturday will find the dogs and their human partners dealing with other challenges, like obstacle courses and protection from foam-padded “bad guys.”

“There are things the dogs will have to go through and jump over,” said Kinney. “They’re judged not only on whether they do it, which they should, but whether they touch equipment they’re not supposed to.”

And there may be some intentional distractions during the competition, designed to test the dogs’ discipline and concentration.

Zar – Kinney’s canine partner – is smaller than some people would expect.

“Zar is a five-year old Dutch Shepherd,” said Kinney. “A lady in Hollywood bought him when he was three months old, and he kept nipping her. So she had him neutered, but he still nipped, and she decided she couldn’t keep him. But he passed all 13 of our tests.”

Being a K-9 officer is a responsibility that doesn’t end when the team’s shift comes to a conclusion.

“He lives at home, hangs out on my couch, plays with my kids – he’s probably the best-disposed animal of the 24 dogs we train with,” Kinney told the News-Ledger.

When triggered, he can be “leaning out the car window snarling and frothing at the mouth,” said Kinney, but when gently introduced to strangers – including classrooms full of kids – “he often rolls over on his back.”

“After meeting him, people often ask, ‘are you sure he’s a police dog?” said Kinney.

But Zar is smart and may live longer than some of his larger cousins such as German shepherds. And he has a lot of presence for a 55-pounder.

“He had one (suspect) try to crush his head and another was beating him with a stick – it tore off his dew claw and opened his head. It looked real bad, but he was all right. Afterward, the guy was saying that this must have been a 110-pound dog.”

Zar is trained to find hiding suspects, drugs,  and anything that people have recently dropped.

Once, last year, a fleeing suspect jumped into a West Sacramento waterway trying to escape, and Zar was turned loose to find the man. Zar was seen swimming with something with a “Batman” emblem in his mouth. Kinney thought the dog was shirking his duty, and told him to get back to work. Zar picked up the item again. It turned out that Zar had latched on to the Batman-style underwear worn by the deceased suspect, who was just underwater. The man had apparently broken his neck diving into shallow water.

Sacramento police officer Steve Thomsen has a word with his dog, "Crash." Police dogs are owned by the police agency, but cared for by their human partners. Some jurisdictions -- like West Sacramento -- have made it legal for an injured police dog to be transported to a veterinary facility by local ambulance. Photo by ERIC HARDING

The other local police dog, “Chance,” is specially trained to find explosives with partner Dave Stallions.

The group regularly trains with other regional K-9 teams, practicing their skills in parks and buildings around the Sacramento area.

You can find more information on the local K-9 squad at www.wsk9.org or on Facebook.

Support West Sacramento journalism — subscribe to the News-Ledger!

Copyright News-Ledger 2011