Who Let the Dogs Out… Unleashed?

by: Michael Finn

Wisconsin’s current leash law allows dogs to be unrestrained as long as they remain on their owner’s property. The problem with this is that no one can be certain their pet will stay within these boundaries. When animals, other pets, people, or motor vehicles pass by, a whole slew of dangers are introduced. While people may argue their pet is incapable of harming anyone, the CDC reports that there is an estimated 4.5 million dog bites each year in the United States. So whether your dog is friendly or not, we all have a responsibility as pet owners to keep our animals, and others in our community, safe from harm. This article discusses some of the dangers concerning unleashed dogs.


1.2 million dogs are hit by motor vehicles each year in the United States. Unleashed dogs make up a large chunk of this number. Even if you believe your pet will stick by you on a walk, or will stay in your yard, for their sake, keep them secure and supervised at all times. While you may trust your pet, you can never trust every passing driver.

Other Dogs and Wildlife

Unleashed dogs are prone to attacking, and being attacked by other pets and wildlife. dog fightAlthough rare, they even maim people, including children and the elderly. As we continue to encroach on the habitats of wild animals, there will be an increase of encounters between our pets and wildlife.


Unfortunately, Wisconsin is a state that allows the violent trapping of wild animals. “Steel-jawed traps,” for instance, viciously snap down onto the limbs and paws of animals that are unlucky enough to stumble onto them. And while you may believe they’re only a danger for wildlife, think again. Pets, and even people, who roam into the woods are subject to being mangled by these atrocious traps as well. No matter how much regulation there is on trapping, there will always be people who set them illegally. According to John Olson, DNR furbearer biologist, “Dogs were caught in traps when there was a violation on the part of either the trapper or the dog owner.” This is a serious issue. Don’t let your dog become the next victim. Keep them leashed and secure at all times.


Pets are stolen  every day in the United States. These animals are tortured, shot, used as bait for dog fighting, and sold for profit by their abductors. Sometimes the thief may wait for a reward to be posted, then return the animal for money. As disturbing as it sounds, abducted dogs are even sold to companies who conduct animal testing. If your dog is unleashed, or unsupervised in a fenced yard for prolonged periods of time, he/she could succumb to such horrors.

Poisons and discarded food

Antifreeze and rat poison are among two of the toxins that dogs can get into if they’re unleashed. They could also eat discarded “food,” such as bones, which could splinter in their bodies and require surgery. Onions, chocolate, garlic, grapes, and various other foods are toxic to your pet as well. Even if you’re supervising your unleashed dog, they could discover something very dangerous and ingest it before you can intervene.

Make periodic visual checks

Even if your pet is responsibly fastened to a tie-out, your pet could be stolen or attacked by other animals, including unleashed dogs, eagles, owls, cats, and coyotes. Invisible fences, while popular, offer no sense of protection to your pet, as intruders can get into your yard, but your pet cannot escape. While these scenarios are unlikely, they can, and do happen. To be safe, it’s always important to make periodic visual checks on your pet, even if they’re fenced in.

Avoid retractable leashes

Although they’re stylish and provide your pet with more freedom, retractable leashes can pose serious dangers for your pet. Not only can dogs inadvertently stumble into the street when they’re distanced from you, but they can also break free when mechanisms inside the leash falter. Retractable leashes can sometimes slip out of the hands of owners when they experience an unexpected tug from their dog. You should choose a leash that you can wrap around your wrist and can hold firmly with your palm. It should range between 4-6 feet in length. Compare this with the retractable leashes that allow 26 feet of slack!

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In a perfect world there would be no need for leashes, fences, and gates. Our pups would be able to sniff every inch of the neighborhood without fear of harm. But that’s not reality. We live alongside countless dangers. Because of this, our pets depend on us to keep them safe. Likewise, as citizens, we have a responsibility to keep other people, their pets, and wildlife safe as well. Although you may think an accident will never happen to you or your dog, the chance is always present. Don’t gamble on the life of your pet. Always leash and supervise.

Help Stop Pig Wrestling at the Stoughton Fair

One year after the much publicized end to the St. Patrick Parish’s “Pig Rasslin” spectacle in Stephensville, Wisconsin, we are asking the Stoughton Fair to cancel its pig wrestling event this summer.

Please join us by signing our petition against this event and contacting the people listed at the bottom of the petition.

We have also contacted Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Chief of Police Greg Leck of Stoughton to make them aware of this illegal event in their jurisdiction.

Pig Wrestling violates Wisconsin state statue 951.02  Mistreating animals. No person may treat any animal, whether belonging to the person or another, in a cruel manner.  “Cruel” means causing unnecessary and excessive pain or suffering or unjustifiable injury or death.

During a pig wrestling event four-person teams consisting of men, women, and/or children will chase a pig around a small muddy pit and try to stuff her into a barrel or force her into a small platform before their time runs out. Video coverage of such events in Wisconsin demonstrate pigs being manhandled and struggling desperately to get away.


Pig Wrestling is a tradition whose time has come and gone. Animals are mistreated during these events and adults have a responsibility to teach children the importance of empathy and compassion for all of Earth’s creatures.

For more information on pig wrestling: http://www.nopigwrestling.org




Prevent a “Cat”astrophe: Don’t Let Your Kitty Roam

by: Michael Finn

There are approximately 84 million domestic cats throughout the United States. Of this number, between 40 -70% are allowed to roam freely outdoors. Although many owners do this to benefit their pet’s urge to explore, exercise, and hunt, when pets are unsupervised in this fashion, they’re exposed to an overwhelming amount of dangers. Cats also pose threats to wildlife, such as birds and small mammals.  This article discusses some of these dangers, as well as some helpful solutions.


According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, 5.4 million cats are hit by motor vehicles each year in the United States. This danger is among the most critical, as cat and carmotorists seldom watch for animals crossing the road. If your pet is struck and injured by a car, he/she may require thousands of dollars in medical treatment. Even worse, they may need to be euthanized. Obviously, this can be devastating not only for the animal, but to your family as well.

Rivals & Wildlife

When allowed to roam free, not only could your pet be violently attacked by a rival, but cat and doghe/she could also be preyed upon by coyotes, owls, eagles, foxes, and unleashed dogs. Disease is another issue. Currently, there are about 60 million stray cats in the United States – some of which could infect your pet with life-threatening diseases. Some of these illnesses include,  Feline Leukemia, Feline immunodeficiency virus, Feline infectious Peritonitis, Feline Distemper, and upper respiratory infections.

Cats that are allowed outdoors are also exposed to parasites, such as ticks, fleas, ear mites, intestinal worms, and ringworms. For owners, getting rid of these “bugs” is often a very tiresome, expensive, and lengthy process.

Toxins & people

When cats roam, they often come into contact with toxins such as antifreeze and/or rodent poison. Because antifreeze has a sweet taste, it may entice your pet. Your pet could also stumble upon rodent poison and mistake it for a possible food source. If your cat were to consume a rodent who ingested poison, he/she could also be become very sick, and could potentially die.

Believe it or not, there are many people who would find it entertaining to shoot, run over, Black catpoison, or torture your pet. Some may even abduct them as bait for dog fighting. Because cats have an unfair association with the supernatural, they’re sometimes sacrificed – especially around Halloween. Several humane shelters across the United States refuse to adopt out cats the week of this holiday for this very reason.

Domestic cats are sometimes picked up by animal control and are taken to humane shelters with kill policies. Because of this, it’s possible that your cat could be euthanized if not redeemed in time. According to the ASPCA, 1.4 million cats are put to sleep each year in the United States. Although it’s difficult to say how many of these cats are runaway pets, it’s plausible to assume that a significant portion could be. While it’s important to provide a collar with contact information on it, it’s best to keep your cat indoors, and supervise them while outside.

Threats to Wild Birds and their habitat

It’s estimated that cats kill between 1.4-3.7 billion wild birds each year. For small cat picturemammals, the number is a whopping 15 billion! Although these numbers include kills from feral cats, their domesticated counterparts are said to be responsible for 1/3rd of bird deaths and 1/10th of mammal deaths. This means that pet cats kill up to 462 million birds and 1.5 billion mammals each year… this is not good for wildlife and the environment.

According to the American Bird Conservancy, 800 bird species in the United States are either endangered, threatened, are in significant decline. Because domestic cats place such a significant pressure on bird and animal species, its unethical to allow feline pets to hunt them. By adopting some of the following solutions, you can keep your kitty safe, as well as alleviate some of the pressures on wildlife.


It may sound unorthodox, but if you want to take your cat outside, consider getting cat with leashhim/her a harness and leash. Many people are now walking their cats for their daily exercise. This is a very safe way to allow your pet to have outside time, without the dangers associated with roaming. It provides additional bonding between you and your pet, and helps protect bird and small mammals from being overhunted.

Another option is an outside kitty enclosure. These structures allow your cat to experience the joys of being outdoors, while also keeping them safe. They’re relatively inexpensive, and can even be fun DIY projects for you to try. Here’s one example of such a project, although there are several more on sites like Pintrest.

Providing toys, a scratching post, and a place to hide will also benefit your cat’s well being, and will decrease their desire to venture outside. If they seem to lose interest in their toys, you can consider rotating them occasionally.

Let’s face it, your cat is your baby. You  wouldn’t want to jeopardize his/her happiness, health, or safety. By keeping your cat indoors, responsibly walking them, providing an  outside enclosure, and ensuring a mentally stimulating indoor setting, you will significantly increase the likelihood of a long, happy life for them. Remember, your cat doesn’t really have nine lives. It’s up to you to protect the only one they have!

sleeping cat


For more information check out the links below:
The Dangers and Risks For Outdoor Cats
6 Reasons you Might Let Your Cat Out, and Why Not To
Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats



Roasted Sesame Asparagus

By Sara Andrews

Asparagus season is one of my favorite times of year.  The weather is warming up and the farmers’ market is brimming with asparagus.  There are many ways to prepare asparagus but this is my preferred method.

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus


  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • Toasted Sesame Oil (or other sesame oil)
  • Sesame Seeds (I used plum sesame seeds but any will do – optional)
  • Sea Salt (fine or course, your preference)


  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Wash your asparagus and trim the bottom tough part of the stems if needed.
  3. Put the asparagus in a bowl.  Add some oil and coat each stalk lightly.  I stir this with my hands and rub each stalk. The amount of oil you will need can vary. It depends on the amount of asparagus you have and bunches can vary widely in size.
  4. Lay out the asparagus on a baking pan.   Sprinkle sesame seeds over your asparagus and add salt to taste.
  5. Roast asparagus for 10-14 minutes.  It can be easy to go from not cooked enough to burnt pretty quickly.  Check on the asparagus at 10 minutes.  If the stalks are on the thin side they will be done much sooner.  You want the asparagus to have a slight crisp and be  soft enough to chew easily.
  6. Enjoy!


Give Animals a “Brake”

by Michael Finn

Every day in the United States, over one million animals are hit by cars, busses, and other motor vehicles. This is estimated as one animal for every 1.3 seconds and nearly 400 million a year. Disturbingly, these statistics don’t even consider those who are injured and die off road, which suggests that the actual numbers may be considerably higher. If we placed insects into the calculation, including threatened species such as honey bees and butterflies, the number would be astronomical.

When these fatalities occur, families are split apart. Monogamous couples are widowed, and baby/adolescent animals are left completely defenseless. But the dangers aren’t only Baby Raccoon.jpgfor the animals. An estimated 200 people die each year from accidents involving collisions with wildlife. According to Rob Ament, the research director for the Western Transportation Institute, “If you reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, you would in all likelihood reduce fatalities.” While we have an ethical & moral obligation to watch out for animals on the road, altering our driving habits can help save our lives and those around us.

Consider adopting the following tips:

  • Travel at or below the speed limit. By slowing down, you can dramatically decrease the likelihood of hitting an animal. Not only does a slower pace provide you with more time to scan the road/brush as you drive along, but you’ll be better prepared to brake without posing dangers to your and animals’ lives.
  • Be conscientious of the season and time of day. Springtime, for the majority of animals, is mating season. To find partners and nesting grounds, many creatures will cross roads and pathways, so be extra cautious from spring throughout summer. Also, be aware of what time of day you’re driving. Because many animals become active between dusk and dawn, you’ll want to be exceptionally focused at these times. If possible, you could postpone driving until daytime.
  • Stay to the center of the lane in one way traffic. Many times, drivers inadvertently strike an animal because they didn’t have time to act. When it’s safe for you, driving towards the center lane can help increase your visual field.
  • Be especially careful on two-way roads that wind through woods, corn fields, or brush. Because human activity is often limited in these areas, animals are less prone to take caution when crossing. Since these “back roads” tend to be quite narrow, it’s best to either avoid them or drive at a slow 45 MPH. You should also be extra careful around bodies of water and bridges as well.
  • Avoid throwing garbage or discarded food out of your car. Garbage and discarded food attracts hungry animals, so when garbage is thrown on the road, it dramatically increases their chances of being hit.
  • Use your high beams whenever possible. Not only does this extra light offer you more visibility, but it also alerts animals of your presence ahead of time. As you drive, try to spot the reflection of your lights in the eyes of animals that may be in the distance. Many times this will be your first indication of an one hiding ahead of you.
  • Be careful in neighborhoods where squirrels, rabbits, and domestic animals may dart out. It’s helpful to take caution when passing large trees or parked cars where animals may suddenly lunge into view. Because an estimated 1.2 million dogs and 5.4 million cats are killed each year on U.S. roads, this tip is especially important for pet owners and animal lovers alike.

In a world where animals are increasingly losing their habitat, and are being hunted by the millions, it’s imperative that we all do our share and give animals “a brake” from humanity’s constant bombardment. By considering the tips above, not only will you decrease your chances of striking them, but you’ll help ensure your safety, including others. So while you’re relishing in the pleasures of the season, remember these tips and keep a vigilant eye open!

For more information check out these very informative sources below
Driving Animals to their Graves
Animals and Cars: One Million Animals on the Roads Every Day







Easy Lentil Soup

This is a lentil soup recipe that is very easy to prepare but still flavorful and filling.  It does require a bit of cooking time so start preparing it at least an hour before you want to eat!

Easy Lentil Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oillentilsoup
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2-3 peeled carrots, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, adding the onions, garlic, and celery once hot.  Stirring often, cook until the onion is fragrant and tender, about 4-6 minutes.  Add the carrots, crushed tomatoes, water, bouillon cubes, and lentils.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lentils are soft but not mushy.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot!



Happy Hen Salad

By Sara Andrews

This recipe is from one of the first vegan cookbooks I bought back in the late 1990s: Vegan Vittles by Joanna Stepaniak.  This book first introduced me to exotic (to me) ingredients like tofu and nutritional yeast. These are now standards in my household.


Happy Hen Salad on Toast with Apples and Kale Potato Soup


1/2 pound regular tofu (firm), rinsed, patted dry, and well mashed (If you buy the vacuum sealed kind you can skip the rinsing and drying steps)
1/4 cup egg-free mayo (homemade or store bought)
1/4 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)
2 teaspoons pickle relish, drained
1/2 teaspoon onion granules
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
salt and ground pepper to taste


Place all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and stir them together until they are thoroughly combined.  Serve the salad at once, or transfer it to a storage container, and chill it in the refrigerator.

Yield: about 1 1/4 cups