Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.
TODAY: Windy, blowing snow, cold. "F"
SUNDAY: Sunny but very cold. "F"
You may remember a few months ago about the terrible case in Maryland… A case of mistaken identity where a small town mayor and his family were thought to be part of a drug ring. During an overzealous and unnecessary raid on this man’s family, police officers shot and killed the two family Labradors.
In these crazy times of kindergarteners bringing weapons to class, soccer moms selling street drugs at their children’s’ games and parents prostituting their daughters to pay rent, anything is possible, including a small town mayor being a drug lord. Generally I am extremely supportive of law enforcement. I am grateful to the men and women in blue who put their lives on the line every day so that I may live safely and free from harm.
Tempers and emotions run high during situations where a split second action or hesitation can mean life or death for either the officer or perpetrator of a crime. You don’t need to watch Law and Order or CSI for examples of the battles between officers and criminals. Just turn on your 10 o’clock news. However, not every law enforcement official makes a good decision every time he or she is on duty. Mistakes can be, and are, made.
One example of how criminals attempt to keep police at bay is the use of violent or dangerous dogs, often but not always Pitt Bulls. OK, I know Pitt Bulls have a bad reputation but it’s not without plenty of stories to fuel the debate about this particular breed. Again, I understand if an officer is facing being ripped to shreds by a dog, that officer is more than justified in taking action.
But something I find disturbing is the fact that over the last decade, there have been over 400 dogs killed in the line of duty by Milwaukee police officers. 400 dogs in 10 years… 40 dogs in one year… or at least three dogs per month. I’m not a statistician or a criminal expert but to me, that seems like an extraordinarily and possibly unnecessarily high number.
In 2004, officers shot Bubba, a seven-year-old Lab/Springer Spaniel mix as they were searching a South Side neighborhood for a wanted man they were told had a Pit Bull. Read the details of the case here.
They didn’t find the man, and even if you are not a judge for an American Kennel Club dog show, surely you know the difference between a Pit Bull and a Lab/Springer mix. Based solely on the information from this article, it appears to me that the police were not justified in executing this dog. Even if the dog was baring its teeth after it had been shot the first time… that is the way an injured dog reacts. I’ve known owners bit by their own dogs when they were trying to help it after an injury.
I would be extremely curious to find out the details of the 400+ dog shootings this past decade. I am sure that the majority of them are justified. If my husband was the police officer facing a dangerous dog, I’D be happy to pull the trigger myself. Yet I wonder how many family pets were destroyed because of someone being a bit too eager to do away with a dog.
In our overly litigious society I’m not a big advocate of lawsuits over spilled coffee, fights between neighbors over a fence or tree on property line, or thieves suing the homeowner for an injury they incurred during an attempted robbery of that person’s house.
But if I were in Virginia Viilo’s place, I would probably file a claim too. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the trial. Quite frankly I don’t hold out much hope that the ruling will favor Viilo and Bubba. I think there are times when law enforcement officers should be held accountable for their actions. And I think this is certainly one of them.
Thanks, Jennifer! My turn. That means it's time for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.
The SPCA put out this notice, asking those concerned to sign a petition to stop the inhumane killing of dogs in Iraq.
From the, "Some people shouldn't own pets" category... so please, take some advice from your friends at the state of Wisconsin.
Pet therapy is becoming more popular.
For the person who doesn't have time to take care of the pet...these gizmos.
Don't forget to protect the paws.
A promise is a promise...please pass the ALPO.
We close out this week's entry with a dip into The Barking Lot e-mailbag:
Dear Jennifer and Kevin,
Just had to drop a note, mates, that I love The Barking Lot, I honestly love it.
If not for The Barking Lot, I couldn't even find the door. Why, I couldn't even see the floor, I’d be so sad and blue, if not for you every Saturday morning.This is pure and simple and you must realize that it's coming from my heart and not my head that I honestly love your blog. The first time I read it, I was happy in your sunshine. I grew to love it more each passing week. I guess you could say I'm hopelessly devoted to your blog.
But I have a friendly observation I need to pass along. I couldn’t help but notice, and I can’t imagine why, that you’ve managed the last two weeks to work John Travolta into the blog. I’m not sure if that was intentional but I can’t wait to see if you decide to work John into The Barking Lot for a third straight week.
Gosh. Jennifer and I are blushing. To be honest, there was no intent to highlight John Travolta two consecutive weeks. It just worked out that way. As for incorporating him into our dog blog for a third week in a row, well, I'm just not sure that's possible. But thank you for reading and for that lovely note.
Kevin and Jennifer
That's it for this week. We always try to end with some kicker as they call it in the radio/TV business, a cute or funny story or, in the case of the Barking Lot, a video. Gosh, we're so sorry to disappoint Olivia. Let's see.
With a state budget deficit at $5.4 billion, according to Governor Doyle, the phrase, “Everything’s on the table,” is being bandied about when talk surfaces about how we crawl out of this ugly mess. A report this week suggests that the state might reconsider its decision to exempt Social Security Income from taxes. The taxes are being phased out and will be eliminated completely for tax year 2008 after the exemption was made part of the 2005-07 state budget.
Enter Governor Doyle, posing for holy pictures. From wispolitics.com:
"'This is something that I fought really hard for and people have been counting on it. We've been phasing it in, and I'm really proud of the fact Wisconsin no longer taxes Social Security,' Doyle told reporters following a reception for the opening of a Google office in downtown Madison."
Sounds like a nice sound bite, perfectly timed and appropriate. Problem is, that part about, “This is something that I fought really hard for,” simply isn’t true.
Assembly Republican Leader Jeff Fitzgerald sets the record straight:
“The repeal of the Social Security tax is clearly a Republican initiative. For Governor Doyle to publicly claim it as his own is disingenuous at best. Governor Doyle has introduced two budgets – neither one of them included even a reduction of Social Security taxes, let alone repeal. Make no mistake; Republicans repealed the Social Security tax.”
Fitzgerald adds Republicans did more than that.
“Republicans stood firm and removed 98% of the tax increases during the last budget negotiation.”
Read Fitzgerald’s news release.
Governor Doyle, not being completely truthful? Shocking, isn’t it?
That's quite a picture in today's MIlwaukee Journal Sentinel of Josie Kinnunen getting her first kiss from Ben Schmiedeck as he arrived Wednesday at Mitchell International Airport. Watching are Ben's stepfather, Bob Young; mother, Robin Young; and sister Sarah Marson.
The Post Office is one busy place these days, and that’s a good thing. Venture out to your friendly neighborhood PO (no, that was not meant to be sarcastic, but it could have been) and you may feel like you’re in a Perry Mason episode if you’re purchasing stamps.
“Do you want the Christmas or the regular?”
Tis the season, so you reply, “I’ll take the Christmas.”
The interrogation isn’t over.
“Will that be the religious…..
Tonight, the kids hang up stockings before going to bed. That’s the custom on St. Nicholas Day Eve. Good boys and girls will wake up on December 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, to find goodies in their Christmas stockings.
Of all things, prostitution helped to inspire the legend of St. Nicholas. From Christianity Today:
"According to tradition, a poor family in Myra had three daughters who were being courted for marriage but who had no dowries. This doomed the girls to a life of shame and possible prostitution. The good bishop took it upon himself to supply their dowries, anonymously slipping bags of gold into their home—some say into stockings that were hanging up to dry. In securing their dowries—and so their right to marry—he rescued them from an otherwise degrading destiny. When Nicholas's identity as the benefactor came to light, so began the adulation of this gift-bearing saint. As a result, he also became the patron saint of children.”
Read how St. Nicholas is celebrated around the world, including Austria where St. Nicholas doesn’t work alone. He’s aided by a gruesome monster.
Christmas comes this time each year....