Monday, June 29, 2009

Rodeo week day 1

Because I am totally consumed with the Vancouver Rodeo this week, I'm going to walk you thru it with me.
Dennis is "Ted" this year so he was out at the Saddle Club about 9:30 this morning. He was there to check on some stuff and just hold some hands as people start moving in for the Rodeo that starts on Wednesday.

It is a great show because there is a bunch of work that goes on all year. But the rubber hits the road the week or so before rodeo starts when grand entry practice goes into high gear and the Saddle Club grounds get spiffed up.

Today the fence came so it is literally taking shape now.

Howells brought the stock in today, our announcer, Al Parsons, rolled in and a bunch of people have set up their live-ins for the week.

We spent the evening watching Pennie direct the grand entry practice complete with flags, stage coach and the National Anthem.
The show starts at 7:00 PM on July 1st at the Clark County Saddle Club, 10505 NE 117th Ave., Vancouver, WA

You can get your tickets just before the show but to save yourself some time, get your tickets online. The ticket office will be open all day tomorrow also.

It will be a good show.
Come join us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sorting Party

We had an end of the year sorting party out at Silver Buckle last night and it was a blast.

Horses, friends, food and fun.

The sorting has been very laid back and just fun. Great for newbies and seasoned alike. It has been a good place to try a horse on cows for the first time, to socialize (a term we used with our Guide Dog Puppies) young horses and to just get out for some exercise at least once a week. We have all gotten to be good friends so the visiting has been a bonus.

This was the last regularly scheduled sorting for the summer but Silver Buckle recognizes that we are having too much fun so they are offering sorting on a reservation basis thru July and August. Call out there by noon on Wednesday and if there are 10 people that commit to sorting that Thursday, they’ll have the cows available. So it is 5 teams or $200 to schedule a night of sorting.

With all that is going on out there this summer, that is a generous offer and a bunch of us are going to take them up on it. I’m guessing that there will actually be sorting most Thursday nights. So call to make your reservation by noon on Wednesday, sign in and pay your $20 starting at 6:30 and be ready to sort by 7:00. And join a really friendly and fun group of people.

Did you see the new picnic table and fire pit? Good times.

Speaking of lots of activity out at Silver Buckle, remember they are having some really fun camps out there for kids this summer. The camps are filling up fast so check them out on their website calendar

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Session at Silver Buckle

From Maryjo Turnbull, Program Manager at Silver Buckle:

Go Morning Everyone!

I would like to thank all of you for your support of Silver Buckle Ranch, by enrolling in our weekly riding programs and other programs.

Our 2009 Spring Session Ends this Saturday June 20th. We will start our 2009 Summer Session Beginning the week of July 06, 2009.

We will be offering weekly riding lessons for the same rate ($10.00 per week) for our 8 week summer session. If you have pre-paid for a lesson package and have not completed those lessons by June 20th, your lessons will roll over to the Summer Session until you use your package is used up.

Weekly lessons will be offered during the summer Monday-Friday at 4:30 or 6:00 pm. There may be other times available. We will try to be as flexible as possible.If you would like to get your name on the list please just send me an email or give me a call and we will get you scheduled!

We still have some camp spots open

Youth Camps ages 8-16

July 6-10
Firm Foundation Camp: 1 spot open.
July 13-17
Firm Foundation Camp: Full
July 27-31
Need for Speed Camp: 2 spots open
August 24-28
Cow Chase Camp: 1 spot open

Pony Camps Ages 4-7

July 6-10 - FULL
July 20-24 AM: 2 spots open
July 20-24 PM: 8 spots open
August 17-21 AM: 5 spots open
August 17-24 PM: 5 spots open

Summer volunteer Opportunities
We have several opportunities open for enrolled youth ages 12 to Adults.
If you would like to help out this summer there are many great jobs from taking care of horses to working with kids or even taking care of the little critters in the petting area.

Volunteer Training
Saturday June 27th
9AM to 3PM - lunch is included
Please register in advance if you would like to attend this training!!

Hope to hear from you all soon !!


Maryjo Turnbull
Program Manager


Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Important Issue

When it rains, it pours.

We have another very important meeting coming up –
Tuesday, June 19th at 10am
Public Service Center
1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver
6th floor hearing room
Public testimony allowed

At this meeting, the county commissioners will decide if they will lay off 2 Animal Control officers. These two particular officers have been instrumental in bringing around the horse care in our county and we need them to remain in their positions.

This actually is a two fold request.

  • One is that you attend this meeting if at all possible but if you can’t,

  • Please send an email to the commissioners in support of Officers Trish Kraff and Tippy Rutherford.

This email from Pat Brown explains the issues very well:

We realize lots of people work at this hour, but if you can be present please come to support our animal control officers of Clark County.

The department cannot function at the excellence it has been with only three officers. We fear our horse-related programs will be greatly affected by this cutback and all the great progress we have made for neglect prevention of horses in this county will be impeded. The adopt-a-horse program takes in only horses that are involved in Animal Control neglect cases, and the proposed facilities at the new Human Society of SW Washington building will also exist to provide temporary sanctuary to horses relinquished to Animal Control. Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation relies on our animal control officers to distribute vouchers to horseowners in need. With the drastic cut in manpower it will be difficult for the officers to administer these programs and they are stretched to the limit as it is. This cutback is also going to greatly affect response times to dog bites and dog attacks.

And from a previous email –

This is a plea to the horse community to please contact the county commissioners immediately, leave messages and e-mails to all county commissioners ( website, or phone 397-2232 ) and Bill Barron, County Administrator (397-2232).

Our animal control department is in danger of losing two excellent officers who have stepped in for the defense of the horses. We’ve already lost one, Patrick Higbie, now we are in danger of losing Trish Kraff and Tippy Rutherford. We work extensively with Officer Carrie Martin but she cannot carry the department without the help and support of Officers Kraff and Rutherford. We have come such a long way with horse protection in our county and have succeeded in helping so many horse owners and placing neglected equines in good homes.

As an agency Animal Control receives over 10,000 calls for service a year. They respond to cruelty/neglect, injured animals, running at large, licensing, vicious animals, dog bites, bite quarantines, and monitor the potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs in the county and city.

  • Animal Control generates income through licensing and citations. They have educational programs including cruelty prevention and bite prevention.
  • Animal Control services are provided at a much lower cost than law enforcement and are a value to the taxpayer.
  • Animal Control keeps the criminal court system from being overloaded with animal related cases.
  • Animal Control is essential to the functioning of the community and an absolute necessity to keep the public safe.

There are currently 5 full time animal control officers for a population of over 400,000 people and their pets. Animal Control already lost the Lead Animal Control officer, Animal Control Officer Patrick Higbie, and the pet license officer. The current staff is stretched to the limit and the loss of Tippy Rutherford and Trisha Kraff would be devastating to the community.

What the commissioners may not realize and need to hear is that other county agencies in the state are contacting us for information to instill the Ripley’s Horse Aid Foundation program and Adopt-a-Horse program in their counties because it has worked so will here. Carrie Martin, Trisha Kraff, Tippy Rutherford, the Clark County Executive Horse Council, and Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation have brought a great deal of positive recognition to Clark County by coming together to implement this model program for dealing with the ever increasing problem of horse cruelty and neglect. These agencies are requesting assistance with developing programs modeled on the Clark County program to deal with the overload of animal neglect.

  • Why undo all of the positive changes that Animal Control has made by cutting staff?
  • With the current economic situation, Clark County should be adding Animal Control officers as opposed to laying the officers off. While the economy has fallen, animal related problems have increased.
  • The animal owners of Clark County spend an extremely large amount of money on their pets. The taxpayers and voters of Clark County deserve to have an adequately staffed professional Animal Control Department.

The county is experiencing budget cuts but the decision is up to them where to make the cuts and we have to convince them that cutting the positions of these two crucial officers is counter-productive.

Please contact the commissioners and county administrator to share this information with them so they can see that we feel it as vital that we keep continued protection of our horses and other precious animals in our county. Clark County has one of the best animal control agencies in this state and in the state of OR, as far as providing protection against horse neglect…let’s not allow them to step backwards!

Results of Planning Commission meeting

I received this email from the President of WTRA -

Tonight I could not be prouder of the 40 men and woman who attended the City of Vancouver Planning Commission meeting to speak against the proposed development code amendments related to urban livestock.

Over 24 people spoke up giving well thought out, meaningful testimony to the value horses bring to the lives of their family and community. What was said tonight had an impact.

The planning commission sent back the proposed changes to the City of Vancouver planning department with recommendations of striking out the one acre per animal requirement and advising them to reach out to some of the groups represented to establish whether the current requirement of one acre for smaller animals was viable.

Sometimes what we say and how we say it makes a difference. Tonight it did.

Proud of all of you
Barbara Thomas

Way to go people. We did good.

This is just round one. I'll keep you updated on the progress and future meetings. This is of greatest concern to those of us in the Urban Growth Boundary but it does effect everyone within the horse community in one way or another.

Jody Benson

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Urban Horses

Very Important Meeting:
Tuesday June 9th
7:00 PM
Vancouver City Council Chambers

The City Council is scheduled to APPROVE a proposed amendment to the development codes relating to the keeping and raising of livestock such as horses, bovine, pigs, sheep, goats, llamas etc. that will effect folks within the city limits now and those within the Urban Growth Boundary as the city annexes those areas.

The 1st change is the definition of domestic animal (VMC 20.150) which currently limits this definition to dogs, cats and other pets.

Under the new proposal, farm animals will be classified as a domestic animal.

Some of the concerns are not directly related to the proposed changes but would come into play because of current codes for ‘dogs and cats’.

1) Domestic animals which would now include cows and horses under VMC 8.24.180 2 c requires the owner to provide a barn or other enclosed structure sufficient to protect the animal from wind, rain, snow or sun and which has adequate bedding to protect against cold and dampness.

Lean-to’s would not be sufficient anymore. Additionally, enclosed structures require building permits and must follow the adopted international building codes. The proposed, but not adopted, county animal control changes directed toward farm animals only require access to basic shelter for two hours per day, not enclosed and there were no acreage requirements.

2) VMC section 20.912.060 prohibits electric or barbed wire fences. There is no indication that there will be any exemptions on this requirement for cows and horses.

3) Peope that work with animal control on horse rescues believe that this change has the potential to flood animal control with ‘created’ work when they need to be out rescuing the horses that are really in need of help.

The 2nd change comes under the general requirements for land for each bovine, horse, goat, sheep, llama or similar large farm animal.

Previously the ordinance read that a minimum of one acre is required for each farm animal and an additional 10,000 square feet must be provided for the second. This now will read that a minimum of one acre is required for each and every farm animal.
Section 20.930.020 allows for nonconforming use status (grand fathered uses). This lays the burden upon the property owner that they legally had the allowable number of horses on their property when under Clark County jurisdiction. The examples of proof include copies of building or land use permits or maps or some type of demonstration that the use was established before annexation.

This code does not clearly establish how livestock owners will be able to prove (for example) that they had 2 horses on 1.75 acres of land.

There is also an existing code that states “where a nonconforming use is discontinued or abandoned for one year, the nonconforming use status of the land shall be eliminated". This could mean that if your second horse on 1.75 acres dies or is lame you have one year to replace that horse or you will never be allowed to have two horses on your property again.
With these proposed changes in mind, these are some things that need to be addressed:

  • Stables are not allowed within the city limits. Would this mean that any established stable would not be allowed to add on to what they have and if they have a fire they would not be allowed to re-build?
  • How do we establish that we have X amount of horses on our land while in the county so that we can be grandfathered in?
  • How do we keep our cows/horses inside our property without electric fencing or barb wire?? Is the city going to specify what a "barn" or proper shelter is for each horse or cow?

From the city’s point of view, the most important question we can ask them is how does the restrictions on the present rural community equate to a diverse experience that the City of Vancouver finds important? They need to recognize that there are urban areas and rural areas within the urban growth boundary and they need to have planning regulations that recognize both types of land use.

If you can’t attend or even if you do, a letter sent to Long Range Planning,
attn: John Manley, Senior Planner, 487-7948, would give them some idea of where we are on this issue and that we do find it very important and not as the staff report states: John Manley’s staff has determined (these changes)... Non-Significance (DNS).

This may not directly affect you and your property but I believe that it does affect the livablitly of our county and the horse community as a whole and is a meeting that everyone needs to attend.

It is especially important for those folks in the urban growth area to attend because it would be a very significant change. Check here to see if you in the UGB.

And be sure to wear something horsey so they know real well who we are. Dennis and I will be wearing our cowboy hats.

Tuesday June 9th at 7:00 PM
Vancouver City Council Chambers

Meeting agenda