Here's a strange way to start a Saturday.
I was taking the dog out to the yard early Saturday morning and heard a loud honking from the creek bottom down the street.
When I checked on the commotion, I saw a Canada goose running from the woods, wings flapping, with a coyote in pursuit.
The goose flapped and honked a few more times before the coyote snapped down on its neck and trotted off into the woods with it.
I told a neighbor about it later. She'd seen all the feathers, and said the place in the street looked like a bird had exploded.
Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker, who also oversees Animal Control, says coyote populations have been increasing in our area, and that they can be a real danger to pets and other small animals. They also carry rabies.
And apparently they eat geese, when they can catch 'em.
There has also been an increasing number of dead armadillos on the road around here. (They're nocturnal, so you rarely see live ones.) The pest control folks also say we're being overrun with Argentine ants. I guess if so many illegal aliens can make their way north, it stands to reason the animals would migrate this way, too.
Guilty as charged
Speaking of animals, it seems like a shame that the dozens of pit bulls seized from Michael Vick's property in Virginia get the death penalty, and all he gets is a little time in prison.
We won't know his sentence until later, but I don't think the guidelines will allow execution. So whatever he gets will certainly be more merciful than the treatment he and his cohorts were willing to give all those dogs.
Now that Vick has pled guilty, I hope this finally will shut up the small chorus of people who have been proclaiming Vick's innocence. The only ones left are the empty headed apologists who just want him forgiven.
To Vick's credit, at the press conference following his plea he apologized for his "immature" actions, and accepted full responsibility for them. No weasel-wording; he played it straight.
There are two good things that can come from this. The first is passage of legislation toughening Georgia's notoriously weak dog-fighting laws. I supported this legislation before any of the Vick controversy; this high-profile case has brought new supporters out of the woodwork.
The other is to support the folks who help rescue unwanted animals. The Columbia County Humane Society, which is making progress in its drive to raise funds for a shelter, could use donations.
In recognition of Vick's No. 7 jersey, I suggest a donation of $7, or $70, or $700. But any amount will be appreciated. Send a check to P.O. Box 204771, Martinez, Ga., 30907.
In later years, she always described herself as "the old has-been."
Inez Wylds would call occasionally, usually to talk about politics or issues dealing with the lake. A former member of the Augusta City Council and the first woman to run for mayor of Augusta, Wylds moved to Keg Creek near Wildwood Park after retiring from Augusta's political life.
She had a deep, broad perspective of the nature of local politics. Part of that perspective included her view that the late Ed McIntyre, if not for his bribery arrest, would have been one of the city's best mayors.
She was a sweet lady, full of commonsense wisdom, and it was sad to hear of her passing this weekend.
I'd really like to have known what she thought of that proposal for building a canal on Ellis Street. I have a feeling she would have settled that one quickly.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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