I remember December when I was young
And the air was cold and full of snow
In the great plains, the Midwest,
Where old man winter is the frozen king
I remember the time of Christmas vacation
Where my memories are so very clear
We dressed for the cold outdoors
And did our frozen thing
Of course, snowball fights were common
When the snow was right
Building snowmen and forts
Was fun everyone could do
And when the river froze
Ice skating was a special kind of joy
But when the wind was blowing hard
Ice skating was too difficult for me and you
And we had three hills where
The streets were the best for sliding
When crusted with frozen ice and snow
One was the longest slide to know
Our town was like a living Christmas Card
Downtown stores and houses everywhere
Decorated with pride and loving care,
Topped only by Santa’s visit Christmas morning,
A long time ago.
Dennis C. Orvis
Winter Haven, Florida
County animal ordinance
Are the Bremer County Supervisors running at large and out of control?
When I first saw the article entitled “County Adopts Animal Control Ordinance” in the Nov. 27 Bremer County Independent I thought OMG, what have they done now! My initial thoughts were that the Supervisors need to focus more on the problems created by urban sprawl than creating more laws and ordinances aimed at making it harder for farmers to make a living.
Farm cats are feral cats, living primarily on their own resources, and they help the farmer control the rodent population, but the farmer does not claim ownership of them. Farm dogs earn their keep as guard dogs primarily to warn off intruders and help the farmer in many other ways, but they can’t do their job tied up on a chain. They tend to stay near their farm homes as long as they’re fed regularly and treated well. More often than not, they bond closely with the farm family and become loving pets and don’t wander about aimlessly. Nor do they bark excessively without a good reason. Cats and dogs often end up in the country, because they’ve been abandoned there by urban people. Livestock do occasionally get out of fenced areas in spite of the farmer’s best efforts to contain them and it is far more upsetting to the farmer than the neighbors when that happens. Habitual offenders and others who mistreat livestock should be encouraged to find another way to make a living.
Sheriff Pickett, according to the newspaper article, is responding to “dog complaints, due to a number of housing additions in the unincorporated areas of the country.” He said “that there have been situations where some dogs’ excessive barking has resulted in neighbors being unable to have their windows open during warm summer nights.” My wife and I tried country living for almost four years in northwestern Iowa and we found the summer heat and humidity so unbearable that we kept the windows closed in favor of air conditioning. When the weather was more inviting in the spring and fall, the dust and dirt from the persistent windy conditions and field work kept us from opening our windows. In addition, we had to put up with the loud mooing of cattle (which didn’t bother me) and the odor from hog confinements on neighboring farms (which bothered me a little). Finally, there was the frightening howling of coyotes, also canines (which bothered me a lot).
Nevertheless, I found something positive in the new ordinance in Section 3, where “At Large” is defined to mean “any dog or cat, or any domesticated animal or livestock found off the premises of such animal’s owner and not under the control of a competent person.” Bremer County park regulations go beyond the meaning of “not under the control of a competent person” to require that “the owner carries such animal or leads it by a leash or chain not exceeding six feet in length.” I urge the Supervisors to revise park regulations to make them consistent with their new county-wide regulations. If my dog is off-leash in a county park, yet under my control, a leash should not be necessary and can sometimes make matters worse.
I hope that the supervisors will rethink the absurdity of these new regulations and leave rural Bremer County to the farmers, so they can do their job feeding the rest of us. For those folks who otherwise choose to live in the country, my advice is accept conditions as they are and not try to make them as you would like them to be at the expense of farmers. Otherwise take ownership of your mistake and do as I did, move back to town.