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News 2001

SSSNP in the Press

Nevada Appeal

Article published September 13, 2001

Local describes Washington scene after Pentagon attack

By Rhonda Costa-Landers

Silver Springs resident Lee Blomquist was just five blocks from the Pentagon when terrorists flew a hijacked airliner into the U.S. Army wing of the Pentagon.

She had arrived Saturday in Washington, D.C., to attend the American Humane Association conference at the Crystal Marriott Gateway Hotel.

"We were in a session and one of the people from the humane association broke into the session to let us know this had happened," said Blomquist.

People from the conference ran outside to use their cell phones and call loved ones to let them know they were all right. Many were not able to get through.

"We went looking for pay phones, which are very hard to find, to call our families and friends. We finally got through."

Bloomquist said she and the others went back inside and looked from the windows of the hotel in the direction of the Pentagon. They could see and smell the smoke billowing from the wreckage.

"The hotel highly recommended we stay there because they nor anyone else didn't know what was going on."

As they waited and watched reports on televisions in the conference room, Blomquist said workers from the Pentagon and others from nearby Reagan National Airport began arriving at the hotel.

"It was like refugees arriving to a safe place," said Blomquist.

"People were moved out on foot from the Pentagon to the hotel. Some of them were military personnel who were slightly injured. Then we got people from the airport, including pilots.

"One of the things I saw was an airline pilot watching the TV while they replayed and replayed the second plane flying into the World Trade Center. The look on his face when the place flew into the building... he was just sick. They are a tight-knit group of people. It was just the fact that something like that could happen. It was pretty wild for him."

Blomquist is scheduled to leave this afternoon. After checking her computer, she noted her flight out of Baltimore-Washington has not been canceled. Just in case, she and three new friends from Salt Lake City have a backup plan.

Blomquist has a rental car and if worse comes to worst, she and her friends will drive west. "I'm thinking it will be a quicker drive with the four of us. We can share driving duties."

Blomquist and the others tried their best to finish the conference.

"I left the hotel about 8:30 Tuesday night and went past the Pentagon. It was a very eerie sight with the spot lights and the smoke and fire. It was just incredible."

Blomquist then drove by the carnage Wednesday morning. What she saw brought her to tears. She could barely speak the words of the sight she will remember forever.

"This morning, somebody stuck a flag, an American flag, at the site. It was almost like Iwo Jima all over again."

The experience has been especially hard for Blomquist. She was enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1973-1977, stationed in Washington, D.C.

"Part of it was, I lived here in the '70s for four years and worked in the Pentagon. I was a driver for the comptroller of the U.S. Army for a couple of weeks. That was my job - driving people around. I've been on the White House grounds, and for somebody who's between 18-21 years of age, it's pretty big stuff."

When she gets home, her husband, Tom, will be the first one to get a big hug at the airport. When she's at home, it's the dogs' turn.

The Blomquists are the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project, a not-for-profit Nevada corporation focusing on spay-neuter programs.

They also arrange low-cost and subsidized veterinary work for the elderly and their dogs.

"Now people are asking me if I'm going to be afraid to be on a plane tomorrow. It will probably be safer than ever. I'm never in control when I'm on a plane, but I think it's a human thing. I don't think I have to worry about crashing into buildings at this time."

Las Vegas SUN

March 08, 2001

Many growling over animal bill

By Erin Neff


CARSON CITY -- A measure to impose statewide regulation on animal welfare issues ruffled a lot of fur Wednesday -- and not just because it prohibits anyone from banning a circus or rodeo.

Local city and county officials from across the state testified before the Assembly's Natural Resources and Mining Committee that Assembly Bill 208 will make it impossible for them to institute even an innocuous pooper-scooper bill.

Assemblyman Tom Collins, D-North Las Vegas, sponsored the measure to prohibit anyone from banning a circus, rodeo or other animal exhibition.

"The bill does allow the state to have the final say in many animal laws," Collins said. "But this will not change any regulations today on their (local government) books."

Collins said he was driven to sponsor the measure after efforts nationwide to ban circuses and other animal exhibitions. He said "extremist minority factions" have been able to persuade a handful of lawmakers in cities nationwide to pass laws banning zoos, circuses or other exhibitions.

But Tom Blomquist, director of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project, said he doesn't know anyone in rural Lyon County who wants to ban a rodeo.

Blomquist said Lyon County is currently trying to establish regulations to deal with a growing feral cat problem.

"If you stop us from finding our own solution, you will have to have additional legislation for everything that comes up related to animals," Blomquist said.

A Clark County animal control officer presented similar testimony, saying the bill would prohibit Clark County from finding an answer to a growing problem with exotic animal ownership.

"If this passes, you all become the town board for the pound," lobbyist Bob Barengo told lawmakers on behalf of the Nevada Humane Society, which opposes the bill.

The bill also prohibits any local governmental agency from making rules requiring an animal to be spayed or neutered or prohibiting ownership of an animal.

Nancy Goldwater, the Douglas County animal control officer, said in some animal neglect and abuse cases the best solution for an animal is to be removed from a particular owner.

The bill's main focus, protecting circuses and rodeos, fits with Nevada's Western lifestyle and drew considerable support from other lawmakers. The bill is jointly sponsored by 33 Assembly members and 14 senators.

But lawmakers presiding over Wednesday's hearing began to raise significant questions about the bill.

Nevada Appeal

Article published February 16, 2001

PETA - It's all about publicity, nothing about pets

By Barry Smith

I was pretty excited when I heard PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - had come to Carson City.

The group put up a billboard outside of town about how vegetarians make better lovers - something I think I saw on a bumper sticker a few years ago, but I can't remember exactly.

Anyway, first thing I did when I heard about the billboard was call home to talk to my dog.

The phone rang and rang, but Ozzie never did answer. Maybe that's because Ozzie is only 9 weeks old, rescued from the pound a little over a week ago, and he hasn't learned how to use the telephone yet.

That's too bad, because I wanted to tell Ozzie that PETA had come to town to rescue animals like all his brothers and sisters and cousins and in-laws, many of whom are sitting in pounds all over Western Nevada waiting for someone to treat them ethically.

If PETA has $1,200 to spend on a billboard in Carson City every month - let alone similar billboards all over the country - then it must have plenty of money to house and care for the dogs and cats that have no homes, I figured.

It won't just be the animals who are glad to hear PETA has come to town.

So will people like the Carson City Animal Control Division, who have to deal with lost and found animals every day. And the Blomquists out in Silver Springs, who run the Spay-Neuter Project out of their home and vow to rescue every dog that comes their way. And Isabel Young, who is beating the bushes to raise every dime possible to build a Humane Society shelter in Carson City.

By my estimation, the $1,200 PETA is spending on a billboard would be enough to adopt 24 puppies every month. What a relief that such a caring, active organization is going to solve problems for people around the capital city.


They're not?

You mean PETA hasn't made a donation to the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project? It hasn't come up with a contribution to the Humane Society shelter?

I can't believe it.

I can't believe a national organization this big - an organization able to sue Rosie O'Donnell for slander, use Jesus as a "poster boy," that would prefer college students drink beer than milk, and campaign on behalf of starving pigeons in Trafalgar Square - wouldn't be interested enough to talk to the people who actually care for animals.

Wait a minute.

Maybe this isn't about actually helping animals. Maybe this is about publicity. I think perhaps it is.

PETA is very good at doing outrageous things to attract attention. I'm not so sure that anything it does helps build credibility for the organization, which is bent on eliminating cruel practices among those who slaughter animals for meat.

For example, about the time it was erecting a billboard in Carson City, the group's executive director was throwing balled-up gobs of fly larvae at fur-wearing models at a fashion show in New York. Of course, they weren't real fly larvae. They were rubber special-effect movie maggots. Because maggots have rights too.

The other examples I mentioned above:

- Rosie O'Donnell apparently mistakenly said on TV that PETA had no problem with some types of leather, because they were scraps and would be thrown out anyway. PETA is against all types of leather. So it sued her.

- PETA used billboards to tell college students that beer is better than milk. College students, I'm told, thought it was a great idea. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving had other ideas.

- PETA threw a pitcher of water at London Mayor Ken Livingstone and charged that he was "starving pigeons to death" by removing Trafalgar Square's only licensed pigeon-feed vendor.

- Capitalizing on a display of the Shroud of Turin, PETA chose Jesus Christ as its "poster boy" because he is "believed to have been a member of a Jewish religious sect that followed a vegetarian diet and rejected animal sacrifices."

As far as I can tell, PETA has made a joke of itself. I can't even think of anything outrageous enough to be satirical, because PETA has already gone far beyond that.

Do they really think that billboard is going to change somebody's mind? For anybody who's not already a vegetarian believer, PETA's credibility is zero.

Maybe someday I'll take Ozzie for a ride out to see the PETA billboard. I'll tell him there's this big organization with an executive director, Web sites, public-relations people, an advertising agency, a quarterly magazine, lawyers, investigators and researchers.

I'll tell him PETA came to town one day and spent $3,600 on advertising to tell people that "eating meat can cause impotence."

He'll look at me with his puppy-dog eyes, the same ones that melted my wife's heart the day she decided to rescue him from the pound.

I'll interpret that look to mean, "What about me?"

And I'll tell him, "Not a thing, Ozzie. I'm pretty sure that this had nothing to do with you."

Barry Smith is managing editor of the Nevada Appeal.

Nevada Appeal

New animal adoption policy backward


TOMAS K. BLOMQUIST II, Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project
January 18, 2001

On Jan. 10, I attended the Lyon County Animal Control Advisory Board meeting to hear about the new adoption rules implemented at animal services.

The previous day Maureen Willis from the Lyon County Manager's Office called to defend the county manager's decision to release dogs to new homes without spay or neuter. She told me the county doesn't have the resources to take the dogs to the vet even though the state law is quite clear that dogs 4 months or older have to be fixed before placement.

The new policies will allow people to take a dog and leave a deposit. This was tried from 1997 to 1999 and at least (according to an animal services officer), 150 dogs went out unaltered and the deposit was not reimbursed.

Board member Johnye Saylor asked if the NRS were actually looked at before the new adoption contract was implemented. She also said most people think Lyon County is backward. Let's not prove it with this new adoption policy.

I have to agree.

Last May, Lyon County Commissioner Hillyard said, "It is time to stop sweeping the problems with animal control under the rug."

The Lyon County commissioners then removed animal control from the sheriff's department and gave it to the county manager and renamed the department Lyon County Animal Services, with instructions to advertise for and hire a new Animal Services manager, a trained experienced professional.

At this point, the county manager's office advertised in the local paper for a job for less money than kennel workers in other Nevada counties make.

If the county is to actually find a new professional, they will have to do more than advertise in the Mason Valley News, a fine weekly paper, but without sufficient circulation to reach and hire a new manager. Lyon County will have to use animal sheltering trade papers, out-of-state newspapers and the Internet, plus offer a wage that is competitive, not a joke.

Even though Commissioner Hillyard said it is time to stop sweeping this under the rug, I am afraid the county manager's office has just gotten a bigger rug.