MARTY RUSSELL: Animals in the courts and on the porch

By Marty Russell

You never know what the day will bring.
I had originally intended to write this column today about the lawsuit filed against Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog. In case you haven’t heard, Michael Gmoser, the prosecuting attorney for Butler County, Ohio, filed a lawsuit last week against Phil charging him with “misrepresentation of early spring,” according to the indictment, and asking for the death penalty as a result.
According to the lawsuit, the groundhog “did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early.” Gmoser posited as evidence to the contrary the record cold temperatures and snowfall amounts currently being experienced in his county.
The prosecutor has since withdrawn his lawsuit after the groundhog’s handlers came forward to take the blame for “misinterpreting” the rodent’s prediction. No word yet on whether Gmoser will go after them and whether he will also seek the death penalty in that case but given the late arrival of spring this year, I say go for it. Name Mother Nature as a co-conspirator.
Anyway, that was to be the topic of today’s discussion until my wife woke up this morning and discovered a dog on our front porch. It was a beautiful golden that looked like a lab/retriever mix just sitting on the porch watching the road.
“Somebody’s dumped another animal in our yard,” my wife groused.
Apparently we’re known far and wide as being big softies when it comes to animals. We’ve had kittens with their eyes barely open so they didn’t crawl there themselves and mangy, tick-ridden dogs appear on our doorstep. So we assumed this was just another case of someone who should be euthanized for dumping their problems on us.
The dog just sat there on the porch all morning watching the road as if waiting for whoever dropped it off to come back and pick it up as I grew angrier at the thought of someone abandoning an animal that had obviously been a pet. The dog appeared fat, healthy and clean.
Finally, as I was about to leave the house I knew better than to feed it but I figured a bowl of fresh water couldn’t hurt so took a bowl out and sat it in front of the dog. That’s when I noticed the blood. Not a lot, just enough to leave small stains on the decking.
It had been injured, maybe bitten by another dog or hit by a car and had found our porch as a safe haven. That’s when my anger changed to concern. It was obviously, as I said, someone’s pet. So I took a picture of it and went up and down the road knocking on doors trying to find the owner. I met a lot of nice people, but no one who recognized the dog.
So if anyone is missing such a dog in the Clear Creek area of Lafayette County, please contact me. I may have your dog.
MARTY RUSSELL writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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