Political Fix (3 January, 2019)

Valley Voice’s Top Ten Stories Online and Facebook

Top ten stories from our website for 2018:

  • Former Exeter officer identified as Golden State Killer, Visalia Ransacker suspect
  • Both Tulare police chief & city manager fired in one day
  • Tulare Mayor takes on the Ag community
  • Tulare Councilman Accused of Fraud, Threatening Employees
  • Tulare citizens erupt in protest at council meeting
  • HCCA CEO served with search warrant at house
  • District attorney provides update on HCCA investigation
  • Tulare County DA candidate forum gets heated
  • Top Dog Kennel accused of being a puppy mill
  • Tulare hospital’s creditors lining up in court

Top ten stories and videos on Facebook for 2018

So it took a serial killer to squeeze past Tulare to get on the Valley Voice top ten list. The Visalia Ransacker actually made CNN’s top 10 crime stories, which shows how high the bar was to compete with Tulare.

Technically, our number 8 story of the year, “Tulare County DA candidate forum gets heated” was also not about Tulare, but county-wide. Normally, forum articles are a big yawn, but this event was complete with yelling, wild accusations, door slamming, and people stomping out of the room.

The best quote of 2018 happened during this forum when Xavier Avila, Tulare Hospital Board Director, said to Assistant DA Dave Alavezos:

“What we are seeing in this town (Tulare) is, you can have experience, you can have a doctor manage a hospital, but if you aren’t pure of heart or don’t have a thirst for justice, your experience doesn’t mean anything.”

A real unexpected Christmas treat that made our top ten was Tulare City Council Member Carlton Jones’ December 20 deposition. The videos took 5th and 7th place on our facebook list and were of Lawyer Mike Lampe questioning Mr. Jones about sharing possible confidential information about former Tulare Police Chief Wes Hensley.

I don’t know Mr. Jones personally, so am not familiar with his current state of mental health, but his Facebook posts were crazy.

I got back to work on the 26th and immediately saw that Mr. Jones spent Jesus’ birthday posting irrelevant links about police corruption, copying old website comments, and calling people names.

Taking into consideration he is a gospel quoting, bible thumping Christian, I thought it a bit hypocritical.

During his deposition and on facebook, Mr. Jones called people “pigs,” “liars” and “pieces of sh**.”

But the piece de resistance was when he called another Tularean a “home wrecker.” Though his philandering is only rumor, I do know through court records and personal testimonies that he had a restraining order against a man whose wife he was shtupping.

Intriguing questions surfaced as a result of Mr. Jones’ deposition.

Seeing as former city lawyer Heather Phillips charged $30,000 a month, how much does Mr. Zamora cost and why was the allegedly unqualified Ms. Phillips hired in the first place?

Was the report about Mr. Hensley, and shared to the press and on social media by Mr. Jones, actually confidential? The position of chief of police is exempted from the Police Bill of Rights that makes personnel information confidential.

Can Mr. Zamora represent Mr. Jones in his legal problems with the city? Or does Mr. Jones have to get his own lawyer on his own dime? Would it be a conflict of interest for Council Member Greg Nunley to pay Mr. Jones legal bills?

The good news is that since the 2018 election, Tulareans seem to have taken back their city. Because of this, I predict that Tulare doesn’t dominate our top ten list for 2019.

Election 2018

Facebook had the only top ten 2018 election related article, “Nunes flees coffee shop confrontation.” In hindsight, the article foreshadowed the Republican experience in November.

For the first time since my husband and I have run the paper the Democrats actually showed up at the polls. Until November 6 no one really believed the “Blue Wave” would happen.

Happen it did, and all seven of California’s targeted Republicans got flipped. Mr. Nunes only won by 5.6% against a previously no-name candidate. His small margin of victory tied in shock value to Congress Member Valadao and State Senator Andy Vidak’s losses.

In a column by Washington Post writer and conservative political pundit George Will, he wrote, “In the next Congress, 31 Democrats will represent districts Trump carried. In 2018, 40 Democrats flipped districts from red to blue – 41 if the Democrat wins the North Carolina race.”

If you love your pure bred puppy, then why don’t you love the puppy’s mother?

The only other top ten story that was not about the Tulare City Council or the hospital concerned Ron Abbott’s Top Dog Kennel. The commercial breeding kennel is accused of being a puppy mill.

It’s uncertain what finally woke everyone up to the fact that their purebred Labradoodle is the product of animal abuse. But public opinion, state laws, and county ordinances are finally catching up to the problem of large scale commercial dog breeders.

What exactly is the problem with Mr. Abbott’s kennel if it is legal and operates mostly within county codes?

I’ll let his customers speak for themselves.

“you could see the bones in her face and hips. She was covered in ticks, fleas and feces. We took turns sleeping with her in the barn. Our dog did not move for 5 days”

“They (the moms) were so skinny you could see their ribs. Their teats were out of proportion to their body. I recall thinking that one teat was almost the size of the mama’s paw. Her puppies were playing and rolling in feces. I saw a pup with fees on his head then put his head in the water bucket to drink then another pup went to drink from the same water.”

“She was 10 years old and had had a litter about six months ago. She had scratches and facial scars. She was very hand shy which is a symptom of being hit. ….. Absolutely everything is overwhelming to her. Windows, mirrors, normal house noises, moving too quickly, the sound of a TV, water running, etc. A quiet environment is what she needs for a while and a lot of patience and to understand humans can actually be good too.”

“Rowdy had a severe seizure in July of 2015 and quit breathing…..We took him to a veterinarian who wanted to wait until Rowdy was 2 years old to put him on an anti-seizure medication. We asked what caused Rowdy to have seizures and the vet said it is almost always bad breeding techniques. He told us to watch Rowdy and to bring him back if he had another seizure. Shortly before Rowdy’s 2nd birthday we lost him to another massive seizure.”

“The filth and stench was hard to overcome. I’ve been to many animal shelters and I know what to expect. ….What I saw was an emaciated woeful mama with severe hair loss, not mange, and possibly a yellow lab/or weim…..Several kennels in that area were full of various sizes and kinds of dogs. Filthy labradoodles, doxies., labs and a black shepherd. These animals were cold and wet and begging for some socialization. This place needs to be shut down.”

As a result of nearly five years of complaints, investigations, and work sessions, Tulare County Animal Services has revised their commercial kennel standards.

Under the new ordinance a dame can only be bred once a year and not before the dog is 12 months old. Also a dame will be considered too old to breed when she turns seven. Kennel owners will need to get a breeding permit for each unaltered dog and get them microchipped. Each chip will contain the dog’s vitals, breeding life, and veterinary record. Most important, the maximum number of dogs a kennel can own will go from 45 to 25.

The new ordinance will be presented to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors in February for approval.

In addition, Tulare County has banned the sale of all animals at swap meets and starting in 2019 California passed a law that pet stores can no longer sell puppies from breeders.

But are kennel owners like Mr. Abbott really going to just walk away from $300,000 plus a year?

A rescue operation person involved in protesting Top Dog Kennel has hypothesized that Mr. Abbott plans on spreading his alleged100-plus dogs over his eight or more properties in Tulare and Porterville. “I guarantee you he has been planning his strategy for a long time to continue his business.”

But how will he sell them after the new ordinance is passed? Unfortunately with the help of the Fresno Bee and the Visalia Times-Delta (VTD,) Though both papers have been informed since September of Mr. Abbotts practices, they refuse to stop advertising his puppies.

In one issue the VTD and Fresno Bee classifieds advertised: Dachshund piebald pups, Dachshund Chocolate pups, Dachshund black and tan pups, Toy Poodles, German Pointer Short hair pointer pups, German shepherd pup, Labradoodle minis, Labradoodles, Standard red and apricot pups, Labradors Chocolate pups, Labrador yellow pups, Labrador Black pups.

The definition of a puppy mill is when a breeder sells two or more different breeds or litters at one time. Mr. Abbott has 12 litters for sale at one time. That’s almost 100 litters a year being sold with the help of our local newspapers.

After sending the Fresno Bee a handful of emails concerning Top Dog Kennel I got this response from writer Carmen George: “Are you aware of any criminal complaints against him or his business?”

I encourage everyone to run out and get a subscription to the Fresno Bee and VTD, but while you are at it, tell them to quit advertising the sale of puppies from puppy mills. Just because there are no criminal complaints doesn’t make it right.

Because Mr. Abbott runs a commercial kennel, meaning his dogs are not pets, he can shoot them all in the head and throw them on a bonfire.

That’s legal too, Ms. George.

I took a break from writing my column on New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop on Time Square and see the revelers sing to Frank Sinatra’s New York New York. Bunbun burrowed under the blanket covering my legs and laid her head on my feet completely oblivious to the fact that her brethren lay shivering in their kennels on a 28-degree Central Valley night.

Looking back over 2018 there was much for which to be grateful: St. Paul’s Church getting their conditional use permit to open a warming center, the opening of Tulare’s Hospital, the passage of Measure H, and karma catching up to Mr. Jones and Mr. Nunley.

This time next year I hope we will also be grateful for the closing of all puppy mills in Tulare and Kings Counties. In the mean time, maybe St. Paul’s Church could open a warming center for Mr. Abbott’s dogs.

Use your voice

Your email address will not be published.