This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

The Barking Lot (06/06/09)

The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of this just in
Written by my lovely wife, Jennifer and me.  It opens with the weekend dog walking forecast followed by the main blog from dog lover, Jennifer. Then its DOGS IN THE NEWS and our close. Enjoy!

We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors. 

Choose your dog walking opportunities carefully this weekend.

TODAY:    Cloudy skies in the morning. On and off showers in the afternnon, with showers likely in the evening. Much cooler. High of 55.  "D"

SUNDAY:  Scattered thunderstorms. High of 62. "D"


There’s no question the nation’s airlines are hurting. They have two strikes working against them.

1) The economy is affecting everyone.

2) The airline industry just might be the most inept in the country. There is no rhyme or reason for why they run their business the way they do.

Southwest Airlines is reeling, having suffered three straight quarterly losses. The airline has discovered what it thinks is a great new way to increase revenue, and the airline claims it’s responding to demand. Southwest is going to allow dogs and small cats aboard for a $75 fare each way.

Southwest calls its program PAWS (Pets Are Welcome on Southwest). You can bring your dog or cat aboard the plane as long as the pet is in a well-ventilated, leak-proof container. It must fit under the seat in front of you.

Can’t bring those little bottles of shampoo with you, but your French poodle is just fine.

A Southwest spokesperson is predicting the new policy will bring in tens of millions of dollars each year. Tickets are being sold for air travel on or after June 17.

Southwest might think it has a money-making winner here, but as you can imagine, people are starting to howl, and not just at the moon. Complaints have been raised about onboard barking, dog and cat smells, and passengers whose allergies might be affected.

Pat Anderson of Littleton, Colorado told the Denver Post, "They are catering to the Paris Hiltons of the world. When do we start paying attention to people and not the bottom line?"

Another spokesman for Southwest is playing dumb, claiming they didn’t hear any opposition until AFTER they announced the new policy.

Hmmmm. You think Southwest didn’t do its homework?

The same spokesman offered this brilliant defensive reply: "We will quickly make accommodations if a pet is causing any disruption in flight.”

Other than moving people around, I’m not sure what that means. Do they pull out a can of Glade? Lysol? Another trip down the aisle with the beverage cart?

This is not an airline first. American, United, Delta and JetBlue charge anywhere from $100 to $150 for pets to fly. American flies about 100,000 dogs and cats each year.

The airlines swear it’s no big deal with the exception of Frontier Airlines. It put the kibosh on its pet policy, reverting back to shipping dogs and cats in the pressurized cargo hold. I have heard the horror stories about pets caged in that part of the plane. I understand. However, I think a pet policy on planes is a bad idea.

Flying today is uncomfortable to say the least, sometimes excruciatingly so. This new policy can be just another nuisance for many fliers who may not be as pet-friendly or accepting as the next guy.

Southwest and all the rest can certainly adopt such policies and let the market decide. Being an opponent of smoking bans, I understand that, too.  

I, for one, would certainly understand passengers having second thoughts about patronizing these airlines. The answer, of course, isn’t to bitch and moan selfishly. Just choose another airline.

It is time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the previous week.

Here's an update on a previous story in DOGS IN THE NEWS. A pit bull set on fire that was rescued had to be euthanized. The officer who helped rescue the dog was honored this week.

This is major. The FDA has approved the first drug to fight cancer in dogs.

When La Jolla, California wanted to use real dogs to get rid of real seals, the courts had to get involved.

The pup of a fallen soldier in Iraq comes to the United States.

Stray dog Lulu needed eye surgery. Care to guess what happens next?

Katrina separated them. Now they're back together, after four years.

The owner of a pet spa in Tennessee killed himself and his wife. There is some good news.

You think your job is difficult? How about this one?

An incident in Ohio should remind us that this is the time to watch out for coyotes.

There isn't much a dog's snout can't smell.

Quiz time: How many calories in these dog treats?

And finally, what famous person would you trust to sit for your pet?

That's it for this week. We close, as we always do, with a doggy-related video. 

The Barking Lot extends its deepest apologies for missing this important week:

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