Sunday, March 18, 2007

Town of Holland, Wisconsin

This is Reno, he is no longer welcome in Town of Holland, Wisconsin. Shame on the residents of Town of Holland, Wisconsin. Keep reading to find out why.
I am sharing this post with all of you because I feel very strongly that everyone needs to see just how the restrictive and unbending anti-dogs laws really effect the individual. The unfriendly Town of Holland, Wisconsin is a place you don't want to live.

Here is a story of dogs, highly and careful trained, dogs who give back to the community far more than they will ever take, dogs who brighten the lives of many. This is the story of a town chasing away dogs trained to provide a community service. No, the dogs in question are not of the breeds the headlines love to tout as killers. The dogs in question are Labrador Retrievers. I ask you, all of you, just what sort of people live in a town that drives away dogs trained to bring a little sunlight to shut-ins, encourage a child to learn to read, entice an old man to take his medicine? Is this the sort of cold, uncaring town you would chose to live in? For me, I know it is a town I would go out of my way to avoid. Shame on you, Holland, Wisconsin, shame on you.


In the wake of the town board's decision not to issue a variance for the number of dogs I have, I've been preparing for each dog to go to his new home. What should the dog take with him to help settle in? What do the new owners need to know about their training and handling? What do these people need to know about the dogs' individual likes and dislikes? What their souls are like?

One of the dogs leaving is my Reno. Oh my God. Reno.

He needs his semi-deflated basket ball. A bumper of course. A cow femur bone preferably stuffed with peanut butter, but it's fine plain if that's all there is. He'd like a spot on the couch if one's available, but he'd never be rude or pushy about it.

He gives 5 with both paws individually and then "10" with both. After this, he leaps into the air, and then spins one circle and grabs his tail. He's a very mellow dog by nature, and this trick just cracks him up. It's his only one.

He barks three barks to let you know someone's arrived, and then quiets. Other than that, he never makes a noise. His obedience is terrific, on or off leash. His manners are terrific. He has the temperament of an angel. He passed his Canine Good Citizen / Therapy Dog International test as a walk in. He leaves and go lays down when you eat, although he's happy to help you out with the leftovers if invited. He looks sad when you give him a bath or trim his nails, but he always cooperates. Reno always cooperates.

He is wonderful with anyone he meets, human or animal. Any age, any temperament. He used to go to work with me at the assisted living facility. There was an old crotchety man who would only take his meds and come out for meals in exchange for being able to take Reno for a walk and throw a few bumpers for him. The only time I ever saw this man let his guard down or his expression soften was when he was with Reno. He'd been a hunter when he was younger. I guess the dog took him back to better days.

Reno loves to ride in the car. He makes the most wonderful face if you ask him about "The Bird." He likes to "tunnel" through your legs, and stop in position to get scratched above the base of his tail. His back feet march in place as he does this. He likes to be scratched behind the ears, too.
On the day he passed the final series of tests needed for the American Kennel Club to award him the title Companion Dog, he was mounted by another male dog who had gotten up during the exercise known as the three minute down. Not only did Reno not get up from his down, but he looked at me across the ring and wagged his tail as if to say, "See? I am a GOOD boy."
Yes, Reno. You're a VERY good boy.
God help me next Wednesday when he's taken out of here.

Eleanor Herrick
Holmen, Wisconsin

Eleanor, my heart cries for your pain and let's hope you are able to find a more friendly town to live in and soon since Town of Holland certainly isn't friendly to man nor beast.


  1. Anonymous6:45 PM

    My heart goes out to you! Shame on that town! These stupid dog laws only serve to stop the responsible, ethical people who keep dogs in a humane and sanitary manner. They do nothing to stop the puppy mills and back yard breeders. I hope you fight and get to keep your dogs.

    TanBrae Labradors

  2. Anonymous6:59 PM

    You have been so important to so many dogs and they, in turn, have been so important to you and so many other people!

    You have my support across the miles!

    Oakdale Retrievers

  3. Anonymous8:17 PM

    Laws should be compassionate enough, flexible enough, and fair enough to accomodate those with special circumstances. I see none of those things reflected in the treatment you're receiving from Holland's heartless town board. "One size fits all" doesn't work for the fashion world, and it sure doesn't work here either. You have my utmost sympathy and support.

  4. Anonymous8:50 PM

    It's time everyone take a close look at what your "government" is doing to you and your pets. By all means, let's give convicts voting rights but heaven forbid a Lab be allowed to reside in a home where he neither barks, creates a nuisance or robs or steals or predates on small children.

    I am with you Eleanor, lock stock and barrel.

  5. Anonymous10:24 PM

    My God, look in the eyes of that beloved dog! Is this a dog that anyone could deny staying in his loving home? He hurts no one, causes no trouble. In fact, he offers a glimmer of happiness to old people who've all but given up on life.

    There are thousands of good, responsible breeders around the country who are appalled at what goes on at puppy mills. Thank God that good breeders like Eleanor exist or we'd have no well-bred dogs we'd dare bring in even as family pets anymore. Those proposing restrictions like this town need to go take a good look ... shut down the horridly cruel puppy mills (YES!) but applaud breeders like Eleanor who put in endless hours and her own financial resources just for the love of the breed.

    Jenny Mitchell
    Tealwood Labradors

  6. Anonymous11:23 PM

    Hey Eleanor, does Mr. George Hammes and members of the Town Board of Holmen, WI know what you did for RTF Maggie? Hurricane season is right around the corner. Is Mr. Hammes and his town board willing to open their homes the way you did? I doubt it.

    The funny thing about variances to local ordinances is that once one variance is issued, there is no justified reason to deny another. And once two or more are issued, then any denial starts to look like a discrimination matter.

    Hang in there Eleanor. The retriever community is behind you.

  7. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Thanks. All of you. Your support means more to me personally than I can say.

    And thanks for getting the word out. Reno is becoming the "poster child" for raising public awareness about attempting to regulate responsibility by enumeration.

    It can't be done that way, and there are many, many people who are becoming aware of it thanks to the efforts of my many friends and fellow dog lovers who are helping to spread the word.

    Eleanor Herrick
    Town of Holland
    Holmen, WI

  8. Anonymous4:25 PM

    I'd like to send you a check to help you pay for your lawyer. Where do I send it?
    H. Ferris

  9. Anonymous1:59 AM

    Thank you so much! That is incredibly generous. Dog lovers are just the best. :-) At this time, I've consulted a lawyer, but am still trying very hard to work this out without litigation. I am truly overwhelmed at the generosity of your offer, but there aren't any legal fees yet.

    And I sure would like to keep it that way! :-)

    Eleanor Herrick
    Town of Holland
    Holmen, WI

  10. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Eleanor and Reno you aren't alone in this. We'll help any way we can. Remember there are town elections coming up April 3rd!~

  11. Anonymous8:12 PM

    This is just horrid and unconstitutional - we support you Eleanor and Reno. If you need financial support please send the word out via the Lab lists - Lab owners will support you in this!

    Karen, Willie (Dunn's Marsh Music in the Night), Abby and Maggie
    New Haven, CT

  12. Anonymous6:55 AM

    Keep at it Eleanor. As I posted to you before we fought when this was proposed in our Town. One of the key phrases we used which was picked up by media was "you want to punish the whole for the actions of a few". We also questioned how they came up with the number 2 for each household.

    We are safe for now - no limits but are constantly on the look out for them to try and sneak something through. Enough with the regulations. Punish the people who are causing the problems and leave the responsible people alone.

    Stay strong!

    Carol Shows
    Lindsay, Ontario

  13. Anonymous2:00 PM

    Eleanor, Your story tuggs at my heart strings and should tugg at those of so many more. Keep on doing what you're doing and let us know what we can do to help. As a Holmen resident as well I just want to let you know that I'm 100% behind you in your fight to raise the publics awareness on this tough subject. GO RENO!

    Anja Drogseth

  14. Anonymous2:14 PM

    there is more than one Holland Town in WI I live in Holland Town in Brown County and I've never heard of this. I too have dogs and could never think of having to give one away. They should put a limit on how many kids people have then too if they are going to limit the number of well trained and taken care of dogs!

  15. Anonymous8:00 PM

    What was the outcome of this situation? I'm afraid to ask but I just read about it on a few breeder sites.

    Did they take all but two dogs from Eleanor? :***( How sad! We have towns near where I live that have the same law. I moved to a town where it is unlimited but of course could change any time.

    Eleanor, best of thoughts are with you and your dogs.

    Oct/2009 by Lab Breeder

  16. Lab Breeder, the Town of Holland I had trouble with was in La Crosse County. I was unable to get down to acceptable limits and, due to my mother's health, unable to move far away enough to completely escape limits, so I compromised, placing several and moving to a nearby town with a bit higher limit. Fortunately I was able to find extremely good homes for the ones I wasn't able to keep and able to place the ones nearest to my heart with family, so I still get to see them.

    I am still amazed and overwhelmed at the amount of support I received from dog people all over the world during the ordeal. They are the greatest. Thank you for thinking of me. Wishing all the best for you and your dogs as well.

  17. Eleanor, Thank you so much for your update. I still get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every single time I think about what you had to go through. May there be a black pit in hell for the animal radicals that bring about this sort of thing.

    For those of you who read this, just remember any one of us may be next unless we all stand up and shout NO MORE and drive them away.

  18. Anonymous9:42 PM


    Thank you for the update and my condolences that things happened this way. I am glad the dogs you couldn't keep are in great homes but I'm sure this took it's toll on you. I am so sorry.

    I wish you and all of the dogs the very best. My heart is with all of you and your Mom. Having a Mom with serious health issues, I do understand. Not all children of ill parents would do what some of us do for our parents. Kudos to you and best of health to you and your Mom ( and your labradors.)

    Lab Breeder (on the East Coast)

  19. Eleanor,

    Is there anything we can do to change the outcome of this? If nothing else how do we insure that this does not occur quietly and all who should be outraged are. You have your plate full but if you have some names and addresses it is terribly important that we hold public officials accountable. You are located in a rural, agriculturally dependent area and I can't believe that there is not a huge outcry about this.
    Please let us know how we can help!

    Curtis Johnson
    Minneapolis, MN

  20. Anonymous1:49 PM

    im sure there is another side to this whole story. i am from holmen wi-right next door, and dont really beleive this.

    1. Anonymous3:48 PM

      Anonymous, it doesn't show the date you posted this, just the time. It could have been years ago. But I just saw this post and felt compelled to respond.
      There is no other side to the story. I personally know Eleanor and her dogs. I visited her at that house. She is a fabulous and responsible dog owner. I've never met a better trainer.
      The reason she moved to Holland WI is her mom was being treated for cancer and needed a bone marrow transplant. She needed a lot of help at home. Eleanor dropped everything, sold her house, quit her career job, and moved to her mom's to take care of mom. Of course bringing her dogs with her.
      The reason it came out was she applied for her annual dog licenses, a few months after moving there. That got the town all up in arms that she had too many dogs. Her neighbors didn't even know she had dogs, or multiple dogs... that's how much trouble they caused.
      I have a neighbor that at the time had ONE dog, who was not fenced and would leave his yard and roam all over. He was in my yard all the time, but he'd also be across town. He was picked up by animal control several times. He had to take basic obedience class THREE times before passing.
      The point is... you can't judge how many dogs are "too many" by numbers alone. Eleanor's dogs are model citizens no matter how many she has. She's just that kind of person.

    2. wısconsın kasabasında oturan asena kıliçı arıyorum yıldız bayan voleybol takımında takım kaptanıymış bılenlerın tanıyanların otelci dan mail atmasını rıca ederim