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Don’t feed the birds, pg 14

Anodyne Cafe Arrives, pg 10

Volume 3 • Issue 11

November 2006

Vicious dog law in South Milwaukee?

Resident says yes


and both front and rear driver’s side windows were open. The self-deposit station’s attendant, Michael Kilbourn, standing outside her car and holding a clipboard, had just given Stewart her change. She turned to put it away when she said Blizzard, with his head out the rear window, bit Kilbourn’s right arm near the wrist.

Under the city of South Milwaukee’s municipal code section 23.20, Stewart was cited with harboring a vicious dog, a charge she plans to contest in court Dec. 11.

Stewart didn’t see the bite but said she heard her dog growl three times. When she looked back, she said Kilbourn indicated he was all right and she went about her business. She doesn’t know if he did anything to provoke Blizzard.

By Michael Timm t was a dog owner’s worst nightmare. Last spring, when Debbie Stewart turned away from Blizzard, her white German Shepherd mix, the 70-pound dog, with his head out her open car window, bit a city employee on the wrist.

If convicted, she would face a forfeiture of between $250 and $1,000 and her dog would have to be removed from South Milwaukee or she would also be considered a public nuisance. Shocked to learn about the city’s strict vicious dog ordinance, originally drafted in the wake of pit bull attacks over a decade ago, Stewart said the subsequent legal battle on behalf of her dog has been emotionally draining.

“We didn’t have the intention that one dog bite means the dog is doomed to this community. That’s too extreme.” —Mike McCarthy South Milwaukee Alderman A five-year South Milwaukee homeowner, Stewart has indicated she plans to leave the city one way or another because of the community’s attitude toward dogs and because she feels she’s been treated unfairly. She’s put her house on the market. But she’s not going quietly. Stewart has vowed to represent herself in court and to become a crusader against dog laws everywhere that she feels are too extreme and contrary to the public interest. And, she said, she has nothing left to lose. As a result of the incident she’s lost her homeowner’s insurance (carriers in Wisconsin fear the state’s double indemnity law, which provides victims of dog bites with double the damages if the bite is by dog that has bitten before, and so one incident can tarnish a dog owner’s record for life). She said she’s lost $500 to a lawyer she hired to represent her but since fired because she was unsatisfied with what she got for her money. She’s lost her faith in government, feels she and her dog are presumed guilty, and that she’s being evicted from a city whose law enforcement officials are drawing too hard a line over too small an incident. The Incident April 20, Stewart drove her Nissan Ultima to the South Milwaukee self-deposit station, the municipality’s fee-based dump, with grass clippings. Blizzard, she said, was in the back seat,

When he realized he had been bitten, Kilbourn came up to her to show her and get her contact information. Kilbourn told the Compass the city was not allowing him to make any statement about the incident because of the pending court case. Stewart went to the police station later on April 20 to report the incident and found that Kilbourn had already reported it. As is policy, and independent of the police report, the incident was reported and filed by Kilbourn’s supervisor, Street Superintendent Rich Davidoff, April 21. That report went to the city’s workers’ compensation insurance company. Calls to Davidoff were referred to South Milwaukee City Administrator Tami Mayzik. “Any injury that an employee sustains while on duty must be reported,” said Mayzik. “With the employee’s skin being broken by an animal, he [Kilbourn] took the appropriate steps for going in for medical treatment.” Stewart said Police Officer Jason Walker initially told her the incident “could have been worse” and that he would need to look into the matter. She said he later told her he had to give her a ticket because there was a workers’ compensation claim filed. She found that argument illegal.

“The point is that all dogs will bite, so to put laws against dog owners that say, well, if your dog is a dog, then you can go to jail, that’s just not constitutional.” —Debbie Stewart Walker could not be reached for comment by press time. “Why was he [Walker] having to discuss it? What was taking so long to write this little report? Was he being told what to say?” Stewart said. South Milwaukee City Attorney Joe Murphy said he did not recall speaking with Walker prior to the issuance of the citation. After the citation he said he spoke with Walker and determined that the situation was worth pursuing. Stewart had already received a letter from the city’s insurance company, dated April 25, before the police incident report was filed and the citation was issued, April 27. SEE PAGE 6

Fourteen Coast Guard live-fire safety zones are proposed for Lake Michigan. The proposal has some worried about the thousands of lead bullets that could end up in the lake. ~map courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard’s live-fire proposal criticized By Michael Timm


AUKEGAN, Ill.—A Coast Guard proposal to establish 34 live-fire training zones on the Great Lakes has drawn fire in recent months, in advance of a federal public comment period that ended Nov. 13. The training exercises, intended to prepare Coast Guard crews to fight terrorist threats, could send as many as 430,000 bullets to lake bottoms—including as much as 6,900 pounds of lead and 2,800 pounds of copper per year.

Critics expressed concern about the potential health effects from the added lead in the water, unstudied long-term environmental impacts, boater safety, legal compliance, and the perception of need for “militarizing” the Great Lakes without a publicly articulated threat. “Our observation is that the Coast Guard’s proposal is overkill,” said Cameron Davis, president of Alliance for the Great Lakes, based out of Chicago and Grand Haven, Mich. “We don’t need to open the Great Lakes to live fire for target practice in the way the Coast Guard has and to the extent the Coast Guard has.” At a Nov. 1 public meeting in Waukegan, Ill., boaters and lake advocates who vehemently opposed the plan nonetheless expressed glowing praise for the Coast Guard up to this point—especially in its search and rescue and lake cleaning efforts, as well as its positive response to Hurricane Katrina—but said this proposal was rapidly eroding their trust in the smallest branch of America’s armed forces,

INSIDE Pg 2 Pg 3 Pg 3 Pg 4 Pg 5 Pg 5 Pg 6 Pg 8 Pg 9 Pg 10 Pg 11 Pg 11 Pg 12 Pg 15

Flip-flops in November Dog Poop in Trees Wal-Mart Not the Problem Board Wants Bender South Shore Breakwater Fire House Damaged Dog Bite Law Bites? Profile: John Gurda Bay View’s White House Kneisler’s For Sale Actaea Works Spa on KK KK River Trail Ideas Budget Fixer-Upper Photos: Autumn By the Bay

placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. The proposal, which at press time had not yet been formally decided on, would establish 34 “permanent safety zones” occupying over 2,000 square miles, or roughly 2.5 percent of the nearly 95,000 square miles of surface water comprising each of the five Great Lakes. The zones would be at least five miles from shore and used for training exercises with new weaponry mounted on Coast Guard boats. Mounted at the fore end: the M240 “Bravo” machine gun, with an absolute maximum range of 3,725 meters, firing 7.62 mm rounds. Aft: the M16 rifle, with an absolute maximum range of 3,600 meters, firing 5.56 mm rounds. Within each zone, several times a year, one boat would run a training course while firing at a target buoy, with another boat observing visually and on radar to ensure the area was secure from other traffic. So many local zones were preferred to fewer isolated ones in order to keep the Coast Guard units close to their local areas of responsibility should they be called to aid boaters in distress, said Commander Gus Wulfkuhle, Coast Guard chief of enforcement for the Great Lakes region. Fourteen of the zones are proposed for Lake Michigan, with one east of Milwaukee and another east of Kenosha. Without describing a specific threat, Rear Admiral John E. Crowley, Jr., commander of the 9th Coast Guard District, indicated the SEE PAGE 7 Bay View Compass PO Box 100 Milwaukee WI 53201-0100

November 2006  

November 2006 Issue

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