Sunday, February 14, 2016

State Dinner Tickets Now on Sale

Subject: State Dinner Tickets Now on Sale!!!

Great news—
Democratic Party of Georgia State Dinner tickets are now on sale! Reserve your spot today.
The State Dinner will be held Monday, March 21, at the Georgia World Congress Center.
And, we are thrilled to announce that Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy—Chair of the Democratic Governors Association—will deliver our keynote address.
Don't miss this opportunity to hear from our top state Democratic leaders and a few special guests – and to get fired up for 2016 with your fellow Georgia Democrats.
RSVP to the State Dinner right now.
The 2016 elections have already kicked in to high gear, and we're working hard to ensure Democrats are elected up and down the ballot—including another Democratic president.
Purchase your tickets while they last.
See you March 21.
-- Georgia Democrats
P.S. – Want to get a sneak peak of all the fun and excitement that will happen at State Dinner? RSVP on Facebook today.

Paid for by Democratic Party of Georgia and not authorized by any federal candidate or candidate's committee.

Suggestions for improving Oconee County Animal Control

Having been an Oconee County governmental employee on at least two occasions, and a volunteer on many others, does not automatically give me some magical solutions and insight into improving what most residents consider a less than optimal situation that is much bigger than merely the Branch Road facility far south down a dead end dirt road not all that far from Heritage Park. However a lifetime of working for solutions and diagnosing problems does give me a little bit of perspective on how to solve a difficult situation. Yes, my recent brush with the Animal Control and my loose dog does not mean that I am merely complaining or proclaiming that the law does not apply to me. Quite the contrary, if anything, I should be more responsible and extra careful living with a loaded pistol of a pit bull that I recently fostered and adopted means I will admit wrong-doing and pay my fines and get my dog vaccinated  but therein starts my solution to the many layered difficulties at the entire Oconee County Animal Shelter and beyond.

So read, react, demand, consider, consult and at least let the conversation begin about what we can do together.

  1. WHEN ADOPTING ANIMALS, VACCINATE THEM AT THE FACILITY BEFORE ALLOWING THEM TO LEAVE THE PREMISES: this would be a fairly simple and easy to implement solution to making sure all the animals have their rabies shot before they are adopted at PetSmart or the Animal Shelter.
  2. INSTEAD OF AUTOMATICALLY CONFISCATING AND QUARANTINING THE ANIMALS FOR BITING OR BEING OUT OF DATE ON VACCINES, VACINE AT HOME INSTEAD OF KEEPING THEM FOR 10 DAYS: while I realize the public health risks of having any animal out of date on their vaccines, why not bring a  booster shot to the house or location and update them right away instead of punishing the family and the animal?
  3. KEEP AND MAINTAIN THE POSTED HOURS AT THE ANIMAL CONTROL FACILITY: having driven down to Branch Road south of Farmington for the fourth consecutive day, I was very sad to arrive as 12:30 Sunday Valentine's Day when the sign clearly states that they are open 11 am to 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Perhaps there was an emergency or they could not get someone to work there at the time. I have worked at the Herman C. Michael Gym and Eagle Tavern and had situations arise where I had to close the facility during what would otherwise be open hours. The three previous visits I made Thursday through Saturday were brief but without incident.
  4. DO NOT PRESUME ANIMALS ARE GUILTY BEFORE BEING GIVEN SOME KIND OF DUE PROCESS CONSIDERATION OR AT LEAST AN APPEAL PROCESS: yes I know that the protections of the United States Constitution do not apply to animals, but they do to the owners of the animals, and absolute lack of any appeal process is simply inexcusable. I really don't think that a whole lot of good comes to the animal or the family of the animal by removing them for what is largely an arbitrary amount of days when there is no actual rabies present. 
  5. COMMUNICATION AND RECORD KEEPING HAS TO IMPROVE BETWEEN THE ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS, THE WATKINSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE: the lack of concurrent records, the lack of sharing arrest reports and incident reports, the seeming indifference to other agencies' authority or dominion is very galling and alarming and should be able to be solved in this information age. 
  6. IF THE ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS HAVE THE LEGAL AUTHORITY TO REMOVE ANIMALS WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT FROM YOUR HOME, THEY NEED TO BE EITHER DEPUTIZED OR HAVE ACCOMPANIMENT OF A SHERIFF'S DEPUTY OR MUNICIPAL POLICE OFFICER: I was made aware of the impending "arrest" and confiscation of my dog, so I cooperated but protested every step of the way, including not signing the order to appear in the Oconee County Magistrate Court.
  7. THE SIGNAGE NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED FOR THE ANIMAL CONTROL FACILITY: I would suggest something to the effect of "Oconee County Animal Shelter 1/4 a mile ahead to the (arrow sign right or left)" on both sides of 441. It really feels like we are embarrassed of the current location and facility.
  8. DIVERSITY ON THE ANIMAL CONTROL CITIZENS COMMITTEE: there needs to be  at least one or two people on this volunteer committee who are not connected with either agriculture or animal husbandry, i.e. there needs to be at least one pet owner, and they do not have to be some strident animal rights activist, although I think that would be fabulous, too.
  9. CONCRETE PLANS FOR A NEW FACILITY: no one on the current Oconee County Board of Commissioners has seemed particularly responding to the continued outcry for a newer, better and bigger facility for the animals of Oconee County. I hope that will change with the retirement of Melvin Davis, the apparent ascendancy of so far unrivaled Board of Commissioners member John Daniell to the chair, and the subsequent openings on the Board of Commissioners. 
  10. CHANGE THE WHOLE OUTLOOK OF ANIMAL CONTROL:  there is a palatable air of anger and contempt in the entire process, and I know it is not the most pleasant process, but again, how do you change the culture of confiscating someone's pet, no matter how justified the reason? If the Animal Control cannot fall under the purview of the Sheriff's Office, then perhaps recreation department? There are many other issues and I hope this is merely the catalyst for improvement of the Oconee County Animal Control.

Oconee County Observations: Oconee County Will Need Special Election On Nov. 8...

Oconee County Observations: Oconee County Will Need Special Election On Nov. 8...: Candidacy Announced Oconee County will hold a special election on Nov. 8 to fill Post 2 on the Board of Commissioners if John Daniell foll...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

BREAKING: Supreme Court Justice Scalia dies during hunting trip in Marfa

BREAKING: Supreme Court Justice Scalia dies during hunting trip in Marfa: An El Paso source close to Justice Antonin Scalia tells ABC-7 that the 79-year-old died in his sleep last night after a day of quail hunting at Cibolo Creek Ranch outside of Marfa, Texas.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Second visit to doggy jail: aren't three danger signs a little excessive?

So today was my second visit  to the Oconee County Animal Control location, which is south of Farmington but had a Bishop mailing address at their Ranch Road location down a one-lane dirt road. Yesterday Director Vickers introduced herself and today it was the same animal control officer with the look of slightly warmed over grits on her face, and it least she kind of smiled when I said "I did not bring enough for you" in relation to the bacon snack snatched from a DQ sandwich.

Katrina was very happy to see me today, unlike the anger and resentment barks of yesterday. When I tossed her the bacon strip inside her cage I made sure the fried pork flesh made it into the cage and lo and behold Katrina recognized this for what it was and nuzzled up against my hand and I may have actually touched her for something inside of less than half a second thus in violation of the quarantine. My only question is: WHO THE F*%K CAME UP WITH THESE RULES?

What good is being done to the dog by keeping her on a cold cement floor kennel?

How do I respond to my son when he says he misses his dog?

Is there any opportunity for early release based on good behavior and compliance with the rules?

Yes I went by Barber Creek Veterinary Medicine and got the rabies tag and required paperwork.

When I visited Katrina yesterday there were no signs on her cage. Today there were three very large and prominent DANGER signs affixed to her cage, and I am sure these have no positive reinforcement on the pit bull in question.

I still do not like the guilty until proven innocent aspect of all of this. I do not like the lack of consideration of the circumstance. I do not like the lack of appeal. I think the whole process stinks from A to Z and needs to be redone immediately.

My dog leaps like a deer. She is full of energy and passion. I am reasonably sure she is not receiving very much exercise if any in that tiny kennel. Please reconsider your decision to remove her from my house and son.

Athens Area Democrats Breakfast 2/13: Last Chance To Purchase Tickets!

Athens Area Democrats Breakfast
Clarke County Democratic Committee

Join us this month for our guest speaker Marilyn Wolf-Ragatz, Chair of The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission.

In the spring of 2010, Marilyn was appointed to a public art task force by Mayor Heidi Davidson. She chaired the task force as its members worked to develop and approve an ACC 1% for art ordinance in December of that year.  Nine interested community volunteer members were selected for the new commission in the spring of 2011. Marilyn has chaired the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission since that time.  In late August of 2015 the commission began the public art master plan process.

Breakfast discussion will focus on this process and giving us some background about public art in Athens-Clarke County.

Location and time: Kumquat Mae Bakery, 1155 Mitchell Bridge Rd,  9AM.
Payment for breakfast: This month we will continue our online purchase of tickets. PLEASE PURCHASE BY 2/11 BY CLICKING ON THE "Buy Now" BUTTON .

After clicking: If you do not have a PayPal account use "pay with an online bank account, debit or credit card, or PayPal Credit".

Any guest that does not purchase tickets online will not be able to eat from the buffet.


Feb. 2016



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So don't go visit my dog in jail please (at least not without me)

Dear Mr. Matthews;

I would like to address your concerns on shelter policy, protocol, and animal vaccinations.
Oconee County requires a dog, cat or ferret, whether vaccinated or not, which has bitten a person or other domestic animal shall be confined for a period of ten (10) days following the date of the bite. A pre-paid rabies voucher, from a licensed veterinarian, must be presented at time of reclaim and the animal vaccinated within 72 hours.

According to shelter protocol, if an adoption finalization occurred at the shelter; the adopter receives the animal’s paperwork. If at PetSmart, all information pertaining to the animal is mailed to the address listed on the application. Vaccination history is listed under Medical Summary.

Animals in foster care and/or attending events are microchipped, current with distemper and rabies vaccinations and all dogs receive Bordetella. When reviewing Katrina’s medical history, all vaccinations were administered during impound July 9, 2014; adopted June 2015 and rabies expired September 2015.

After reviewing your  PetSmart Charities Adoption Release Form; Your Pet’s History, 2 paragraph, “Any questions regarding  your pet’s health should be directed to the adoption group”… and under Your Pet’s Current Health and Follow-up Health Care, last sentence in bold print, “Veterinary fees incurred (such as diagnostics, vaccinations and/or medications) are the responsibility of the pet owner.” Both sections were initialed DN; form dated June 6, 2015. (See attachment)

Part of the adoption packet includes a PetPoint Animal View Report. This document supplies all information on the animal including, but not limited to, microchip number, vaccination and treatment date and re-vaccination and re-treatment date. Katrina’s view report is 4 pages. (See attachment)

The shelter is thankful for all its adopters because they do save lives. Staff and volunteers work very hard making sure the animal stays alive. It’s a shame you may feel it’s an error saving an animal’s life due to this incident. It is evident you have feelings for Katrina, based on today’s Face Book posting on Friends of Oconee County Animal Shelter. But, when an animal is in quarantine, the public is not allowed to have access. Only the owner is permitted. Your Face Book invitation requesting friends to visit and bring treats is not allowed. As you witnessed today, as a safety precaution, an owner is not allowed to visit without a staff member.

The shelter appreciates your taking responsibly by admitting you were at fault for the incident and as difficult as it may be for your family, and especially your son, having Katrina removed from the home for a short period of time, she hasn’t been current for 5 months and for this reason, she’s at the shelter.

I am forwarding this email to the County Administrator, Jeff Benko, who will in turn forward my response to the BOC.

If you have any questions or concerns, please forward all inquiries to my email address.

Catlyn A. Vickers
Oconee County Animal Control Director

Oconee County Observations: Oconee County Commissioners Reduce Protective Dist...

Oconee County Observations: Oconee County Commissioners Reduce Protective Dist...: Owner Wanted More It took 72 minutes last week for the Oconee County Board of Commissioners to reduce the size of the Scenic Preservation ...

Music of Oconee County High graduate featured in Super Bowl commercial

Music of Oconee County High graduate featured in Super Bowl commercial

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My dog got thrown in jail today (UPDATED)

I woke up rather cold this morning, and went to go flip the switch under my house for the electronic reboot of my central heat system. When the temperature goes up and down as much as it has lately, quite often the furnace does not stay light. There is your very basic on/off switch I have to trip (sometimes twice) to hear that familiar "WOOSH" that signals the return of warm air to my abode. I took my dog under the house and she started to tinkle on the plastic vapor lock barrier on top of the red Georgia clay in my basement.

Between the first and second attempts at re-igniting my pilot light, I implored my recent foster adoptee Katrina to go pee outside in the side yard, instead of on the plastic. She decided to escape and run around the neighborhood and found a couple of small dogs to scrap with instead. Evidently some lacerations were induced by my dog, and I arrived on scene immediately after the altercation to remove my pooch back to my house. I yanked Katrina swiftly back home and admonished her for escaping, unaware of the trouble that was forthcoming.

The owner of the other dogs found her second canine and took her back to her house only to discover some bite marks on her dog. She called animal control, and they called me this morning. I am totally at fault for having my dog off the leash, even at 5:30 am on a frozen morning, and Katrina can rocket like a sports car given the slightest opportunity. She did and I got to her a little late. Katrina has been remanded to the Oconee County Animal Shelter and will have to stay there for 10 days as punishment for her crime. I have learned my lesson.

UPDATE: I was given the opportunity to see her this afternoon shortly after lunch. She is being treated very humanely and quite well by Catlyn Vickers and the staff of the Oconee County Animal Shelter. She barked a very loud and stressed out recognition of "get me out of here right now." (or so it seemed). They have elevated cots. The concrete room was warmer than I expected. I will visit her again. 

Advance voting in Georgia continues for Super Tuesday primary

Early voting for the March Presidential preference primary continues for the next two and a half weeks in advance of the actual Primary at the Oconee County Board of Elections office on Water Street just adjacent to the Courthouse 8 to 5 Monday through Friday. Does not take very long and there was no line there yesterday. Here are the primary ballots.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Paul W. Sykes of Watkinsville has collected a record Christmas 503 different breeds of birds in his lifetime

Going where no one has gone before, 7 times

Deadline approaches for artists to submit to SOUTHWORKS art exhibit

Deadline approaches for artists to submit to SOUTHWORKS art exhibit

Peake won't run for lieutenant governor

The man who brought liquor by the drink to Oconee County with Cheddar's as well as medical marijuana for eight specific ailments will not be running for Lieutenant Governor in Georgia in 2018. I hope he runs for Governor instead.

Peake won't run for lieutenant governor

Conservative group inexplicably targeting Athens-Clarke GOP leadership

Conservative group inexplicably targeting Athens-Clarke GOP leadership

Luke not running for reelection | Classic City Today

Brian Brodrick endorses marcorubio

Luke not running for reelection | Classic City Today

Oconee County Observations: Oconee County Animal Control Advisory Board Agenda...

Oconee County Observations: Oconee County Animal Control Advisory Board Agenda...: Davis Confirms The Oconee County Animal Control Advisory Board will discuss a number of issues when it meets on Wednesday evening, but upd...