Jessie and Chase need help! Read the following story and call the Oregon governor's
SALEM, Ore. (Jan. 31) - Jessie and Chase are howlin' the blues on doggie death row,
doing hard time for the one canine capital offense in the state: chasing livestock.
The evidence against Jessie, a 7-year-old golden retriever, and Chase, an
appropriately named 9-month-old beagle, was overwhelming:
They still had sheep's wool in their mouths when authorities hauled them in earlier this
Under Oregon law, a dog can injure a human and get off with its paw slapped, but
killing or even pursuing livestock calls for a swift execution.
The sentence has angered dog lovers, especially after the dogs' adorable mugs graced
newspapers across the state last week.
The governor's office received about 100 calls a day last week, more than double the
number protesting the execution of ***er Douglas Franklin Wright last fall.
''It shouldn't be black and white. It seems like humans have one set of laws and, in
this instance, a different one for pets,'' said Sharon Parr, a Bend resident who
believes the law is too strict even though she owns some prime targets - 30 llamas that
cost about $10,000 each.
Many farmers and ranchers, however, are outraged at the show of sympathy, saying
folks would be alarmed if they saw ripped-up bodies of livestock that fall victim to
''Once dogs start to chase, they never learn not to,'' said Pete Test of the Oregon
Owner Lynn Stone said Jessie and Chase got worked up when a stray dog jumped her
fence and attacked them Jan. 5. Ms. Stone threw open her back gate, and all three
high-tailed it out.
Jessie and Chase found their way into a rancher's field, and started nipping at
sheep. Even though they did no serious harm, a citizens' committee sentenced the dogs to
They were awaiting lethal injection when Ms. Stone retained a lawyer and won a
temporary stay. The 11th-hour call came from Linda Swearingen, a dog-friendly county
''I figured common sense should rule in this,'' Ms. Swearingen said. ''These dogs
need to live long enough to see what the Legislature is going to do.''
It was not immediately clear when another execution date would be set.
In the meantime, state Sen. Neil Bryant is drafting a bill that would give the law
''I'm sure that will be hotly contested, with the Farm Bureau on one side and pet
owners on the other,'' said Gov. John Kitzhaber, who can't pardon the dogs because his
powers of clemency extend only to humans.
Ms. Stone says the dogs aren't responding well to jail. Chase had a seizure last
week and is on medication.
And Ms. Stone's 8-year-old daughter Kayla has had nightmares about her dogs' fate.
Kayla, who spent her recent birthday without Chase, a gift from last summer, wants
to be compensated on Valentine's Day. What's on her wish list?
''My doggies,'' she said.