Dog shot by state police officer, poisoned by anti-freeze
Placitas Animal Rescue
Scooby story heard around the world
On October 25 Placitas Animal Rescue was called to assist the Town of Bernalillo Police Department with a dog that had been shot in the face. We arrived and found the dog, Scooby, being held by its owner Vanessa Salazar, twelve, whose clothes and shoes were drenched with Scooby’s blood. We loaded Scooby into our rescue van and took him to Sunrise Vet Clinic in Rio Rancho where Dr. Abernathy operated on Scooby’s nose and ear and sent him home the next day.
The person who shot Scooby was off-duty state police officer Thomas Maes, who told police that the dog was in his yard and was barking at him aggressively. Officer Maes went inside, retrieved his gun and then went back outside and shot the dog. Ray Salazar, Vanessa’s father, indicated that Scooby, a golden retriever, and George, a Jack Russell terrier, had left their yard when the gate was accidentally left open.
The Albuquerque Journal has reported the state police have completed their investigation of the incident and have cleared Officer Maes of any wrongdoing. However, Ray Salazar said that "Scooby was not an aggressive dog and was extremely nice." And from every encounter we had with Scooby, we agree.
Unfortunately, Scooby’s sad story doesn’t end there. After recovering at home for a week, Scooby was back at the Sunrise Vet Clinic after ingesting antifreeze. Dr. Cawthra treated Scooby for several days, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to save him. Scooby's kidneys had failed, so he had to be put to sleep. We had visited Scooby just two days earlier and he greeted us at the kennel gate with his tail wagging, so his death was especially sad and disappointing for us.
According to Ray Salazar, he had changed the antifreeze in his friend's car in front of his house and had put the used antifreeze into a covered pan, placed the pan in the back of his truck, and closed the tailgate. The next morning he found the pan on the ground, the tailgate down, and the yard gate open. When Salazar found Scooby, the dog appeared to be sick and he surmised that he must have drunk some of the antifreeze, so he took Scooby back to Sunrise Vet Clinic.
After following Scooby's story in the news, Albuquerque's mayor Martin Chavez put forward a bill to outlaw the sale of antifreeze within city limits without an additive that makes it taste bitter so that it will not attract pets, wild animals, or children. Every year, antifreeze is responsible for the injury and death of children and animals because of its sweet taste. The Albuquerque city council will vote on this issue in January. Hopefully the governor and the state legislature will follow Albuquerque’s lead, as well as that of California and Oregon, which already have a similar law in effect. Thank you, Mayor Chavez!
Please do not leave antifreeze where children and animals can get to it.
Store it in a safe place out of the reach of children and animals.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that donations for Scooby’s care have come from as far away as Belgium. Scooby’s story made the front page of the Albuquerque Journal four times and was on numerous television news broadcasts. Ray Salazar stated, "Vanessa was doing well and with all the bad that happened, people sent sympathy cards and called with genuine concern and it doesn't hurt as bad knowing that people care." He also said that the tragedy gave him a higher sense of awareness and that overall he was happy that good things were coming out of it.
Scooby touched everyone whom met him or saw or read the stories about his last weeks of his life. His legacy will live on.
Birder breakfast in the bosque
Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center will offer a Birders Breakfast at the Nature Center, 2901 Candelaria NW, on December 7 at 7:00 a.m. Steve Cox, director of Rio Grande bird research, will lead an early-morning bird walk in the bosque, followed by breakfast inside the visitor center. The cost is $12 per person and proceeds will benefit education at the Nature Center. For reservations, call 344-7240
A prairie dog speaks out
—Dictated to Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund
My name is Myra and I am a prairie dog. I live in one of the prairie-dog villages in Placitas. For some reason, your species seems to hate mine. I think it is probably because you don't understand us.
We are not dangerous and we do not carry diseases. We simply live in little villages and mind our own business. Some people think we kill trees, but that is not true. We do not feed on tree roots unless there is absolutely nothing else to eat. We find most of our food above ground. Other little animals, such as gophers, will feed on the roots of trees and bushes. Other people think we carry the plague and can spread it to your species. This is also not true. When the fleas that carry the plague invade our villages, we die just as humans do. If our village is full of healthy, fun-loving prairie dogs, then I can assure you that the fleas that carry the plague aren't in our village.
Unlike some other small animals, we are not a prolific species. I may have four pups a year but generally only two will survive. We are lucky to be able to maintain a population if we are left alone.
For whatever reason—fear, misunderstanding or just plain meanness—your species likes to persecute us. Recently some friends of mine who lived in a prairie-dog village close to a church in northeast Albuquerque had their village covered by the church because the church officials were expanding their parking lot.
A church official, when questioned, said he doesn't give a "rat's ass" about prairie dogs. Doesn't he understand that the same Being that created your species created us? Doesn't he understand that all species can live in peace? Why does your species with your superior intelligence find it necessary to destroy other species?
Over at Kirtland Air Force Base, the military was gassing more of my friends. The gas that they use is very painful and very slow-working. After being gassed, my friends will suffer in great pain for as long as seventy-two hours before they finally, mercifully, die. Other people like to shoot us with high-powered rifles so they can see us "explode" when the bullet rips us apart. Some people like to feed us rat poison. Rat poison destroys our capillaries and we bleed to death internally and very slowly. Is there no limit to your imagination when it comes to destroying not only other species, but your own?
We have been gassed, poisoned, and shot at to such an extent that we now only represent about 1 percent of our original numbers. We are not stupid little animals. We have one of the most sophisticated of all animal languages. We can vocalize different sounds that identify many of the animals that feed on us. We recognize hawks, owls, eagles, coyotes, snakes, and, of course, humans. All of the other animals kill us for food, which is the way nature is supposed to work. You folks do not kill us for any good reasons, except that you can. You may think you are killing us for good reasons, but you really don't understand us or know anything about us.
If we are in your way and you can't live with us, then hire someone who will help relocate us. We all live on the same planet and we can all live together.
We will not infect you with any exotic or domestic diseases. We will not destroy your landscaping and we will not harm your children. We will live our little lives as best we can in an ever-changing world.
Some day we will become extinct, unless we can get your species to help ours survive. If we leave this world, it will not be the same, just as it is not the same when any species becomes extinct. Many other species are dependent on our activities and they will follow our fate. When enough of the animal and plant species become extinct , then your species will soon follow them into oblivion. We were all created to help each other survive on this planet and as long as species are rapidly disappearing, then the future of the planet is pretty bleak.