A Helena woman received dozens of stitches and lost the end of one of her fingers after prying apart two fighting dogs on April 23, but she also saw her Butte Ave. neighbors and some complete strangers risk themselves to help.
The victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said her daughter’s dog viciously attacked her own dog inside her Butte Ave. house. When she tried to pry her daughter’s dog’s teeth from her dog’s cheek, the former latched onto her hand.
“I was screaming, screaming for help, but of course no one could hear me,” she said.
The fighting dogs dragged the woman toward the front door. Next thing she knew, she was outside, looking at her mangled hand and watching the dogs continue fighting in the front yard.
That’s when some good samaritans jumped in to help.
The victim watched three strangers, two women and a man, quickly organize and use garden hoses and a broom to pry the dogs apart.
“I would not expect anyone to get in the middle of that,” the victim said.
One of the women, Arlene Alvarado, 48, said she had just entered the Oriental Medicine Clinic on Butte Ave. when she heard yelling outside.
Alvarado, who does educational programs for the Clark Fork Watershed Project, happens to hold a Ph.D. in animal behavior. She saw how tightly the more aggressive dog, a “pit bull,” had latched onto the other dog – and she reacted.
“I love animals and I will just not watch an animal kill another animal,” she said.
She and a friend who had attended the clinic with her ran across the street. Alvarado asked the victim for a garden hose so she could spray the dogs in the face. However, the hose wasn’t connected to a spigot.
Chris Ellsworth, a 44-year-old clinical lab scientist who works at St. Peter’s Hospital, was also at the Oriental Medicine Clinic when he saw what was happening.
“(The dogs) were really going at it,” he said. “I didn’t think they’d quit until one of them was dead.”
He said he doesn’t have any experience breaking up dog fights – he owns one dog only “because my daughter wanted one” – but he said one of the women seemed to know what to do.
“I couldn’t just stand there,” he said, adding that he likes to help people when he can.
Following Alvarado’s lead, he got another hose. But this one was too short to reach a spigot. At this point, Ellsworth, Alvarado and her friend decided to improvise: they used the hoses to pull the dogs apart.
Alvarado said this method didn’t work well at first and that the dogs locked onto one another a couple more times before the group was finally able to separate them.
Someone shoved the more severely injured dog in the house. Neighbor Kalli Mordan took the pit bull on a leash to the back yard while the other samaritans comforted the injured woman who was then sitting on her front
stoop, shaking and bleeding profusely from her arm and hands.
An ambulance, a police officer and an animal control unit appeared within minutes.
The victim was taken to the hospital where doctors stitched several wounds, treated a severely crushed finger and removed the end of another finger at the knuckle.
At press time, the aggressive dog was under quarantine until the woman’s daughter found another place for her and her dog to live. The victim’s dog, which had been shaved from the chest up and stitched in several places, roamed around happily during the interview.
“As long as my dog’s OK, I’m good,” the woman said, not five minutes after volunteering to remove her bandage and show this reporter her recently truncated finger.
Some 80 people gathered at the gateway Center in late April for a panel discussion about the possibility that coal-train traffic might soon increase in Helena as a result of increased coal exports to Asian markets. Outside, a passing train blew its horn.
The event, hosted by the local Sleeping Giant Citizen’s Council, an offshoot of the Northern Plains Resource Council, featured panelists who detailed potential issues that might warrant concern if train traffic does increase, as panelists estimated, by some 40 trains per day.
The more immediate, localized effects panelists warned against were increased traffic congestion, noise pollution, environmental degradation and health concerns related to increased particulates.
But panelists spent as much or more time warning against global threats caused by exporting coal to countries like China or India that do not have stringent regulations for carbon emissions.
Panelists based their estimates largely on government energy reports and statements in coal companies’ annual reports about increased demand in Asian markets and the companies’ desire to increase port activity on the west coast.
Whether the train passing outside was purely incidental or something event planners expected to happen, it might not matter. Many crowd members didn’t need to be convinced.
During the question-and-answer period, a curt, elderly gentleman named Murdo Wilson stood and said, “These blasts coming from these trains are not nostalgic whistles.”
He has lived in the Mobile City Home Park off Joslyn Street for about 15 years, very near a railroad crossing.
He complained about the horn blasts that already keep him awake so much of the night. He claims he averages only two or three hours of sleep per night.
“You try to go back to sleep and another one wakes you up,” he said in an interview after the event.
Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) has launched a new website, www.repowermt.org, that tells the stories of homeowners, businesses and organizations across the state that have reduced energy use through conservation projects or installed renewable energy systems, such as wind, solar or hydropower.
AERO staff provides tours of different renewable energy projects around the state—homes, business, ranches, etc.—so that interested parties can see what other people have done and ask nuts-and-bolts questions of people who have already gone through the process.
Sarah Lesnar, AERO’s energy program manager, said the goal is fairly straightforward: “So people are inspired to do their own projects.”
Anyone can submit a project to the website, large or small, by sharing their story and uploading photos and videos. Projects are also tracked on an interactive map so users can see projects in their community.
According to nonprofit newsroom ProPublica’s PAC Track Web feature, the top spender going into Montana’s June primaries is the pro-Gingrich PAC Winning Our Future, which has spent $45,681 supporting
Gingrich and $2,212 opposing Mitt Romney.
The next closest competitor is Florida Watch Action Inc., which spent $122 to oppose Mitt Romney. The only other PAC involved was the pro-Rick Santorum Red White and Blue Fund, which spent all of $76.