By Allen David
David Thomas can’t look at his dog without thinking about the money Maria Sanchez raised with a national Facebook campaign to pay the fees at the San Bernardino Animal Shelter that Thomas could not afford—money that freed the pooch before time ran out.
THURSDAY, JULY 18
But it’s not so much the money Sanchez raised to free the dog that Thomas thinks about—it’s more the $842.07 Sanchez put on her personal credit card for shelter fees, veterinarian bills and items from PetSmart that’s on his mind. Although, actually, it’s not exactly Sanchez’s credit card charges that Thomas thinks about, either—it’s the $842.07 Sanchez pulled from the money people donated to reimburse herself for those charges. To be a little more precise, however, it’s not the entire $842.07 that Thomas thinks about—only the part of that amount that Sanchez spent at PetSmart. When Thomas looks at his dog, he thinks it would have been better had Sanchez given the money to him . . . no, not the dog—to Thomas. He told San Bernardino Sun reporters Melissa Pinion-Whitt and Beatrize Valenzuela that Sanchez had no right to go on a shopping spree for his dog without at least consulting him. “I have three leashes now,” Thomas grumped. “The vet bills were about $750 to $800. (The dog) didn’t need all those squeaky toys and stuff like that.”
FRIDAY JULY 19
They’re called “Sucker fish”—and when people want to be really nasty, they’re called “Santa Ana Sucker fish.” Being small and algae-eaters, they’re easy to pick on. But the fact is, these fish are becoming more famous for their sucker punches—lately, they’re nobody’s suckers. Last October, the U.S. District Court that upheld a decision by the Fish & Wildlife Service to designate more than 9,000 acres along the Santa Ana River in San Bernardino and Riverside counties as critical habitat for the endangered fish—essentially doubling their local habitat. The people aren’t feeling so smug, anymore. They’re feeling more . . . um . . . thirsty—kinda starting to worry that expanding the area of protection could reduce the water supply for residents in the region. Now the Association of California Water Agencies (440 agencies that deliver much of California’s water) are appealing, arguing that expansion of the habitat violated federal guidelines of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which they said requires that federal, state and local agencies work together in a cooperative way . . . maybe kind of like the Sucker fish and the also-endangered kangaroo rat, which currently share the habitat that the people are in a tizzy about.
SATURDAY, JULY 20
Meanwhile, David Thomas is still looking at his dog, and now that’s making him think about the money that was left over when the Petco bills were paid. He kinda woulda liked it if Sanchez had given him that money, too. Sanchez claims she was going to give Thomas the money, but stressed that Thomas ought to spend it responsibly—such as on his legal fees. Legal fees? Thomas says he doesn’t have legal fees. “Well, maybe a jaywalking fine,” Thomas told the Sun reporters. “But I paid for them with my time in jail.” Time in jail? Apparently, Thomas was arrested by San Bernardino police in February. Sanchez said she tried to contact Thomas, but a woman claiming to be his wife “screamed at me saying I was stealing their dog’s money.”
SUNDAY, JULY 21
Sanchez begins to get a little holier-than-thou—certainly a littler holider-than-Thomas, anyway—contacting the donors, who she says told her to use the leftover money to save another dog for another needy family. “I will not be giving Dave or his wife one single penny,” she wrote on Facebook. “I have had my life and the lives of my children devastated by drug addiction. I will play no part in supporting anyone’s habit.” Drug addiction? Thomas denies it, saying his arrest was for delinquent traffic citations. But the cops say Thomas was suspected of possessing drugs for sale. “He was arrested for a felony crime,” said San Bernardino police Lt. Paul Williams. On the other hand, no felony charge was filed, and Thomas seems to have found balance. He and his wife would have liked the money, sure, but they insist the important thing is having their Buzz.
MONDAY JULY 22
Their Buzz? Yep, the guy who may or may not have a drug problem most definitely named his dog “Buzz.”
TUESDAY, JULY 23
Mark Covert, long ago a star distance runner for Cal State Fullerton, goes out for a one-mile jog today—the 16,436th day in a row that he has run at least one mile. That’s 45 years. Covert was 17 years old when he began his streak in 1968—his family had just returned from vacation—with a 15-miler. The next 13 days, he ran 30 miles per day, 15 in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. His average during the streak is 9 miles per day. But tomorrow, we all catch up with Covert. He will not run. He is 62 years of age, and he needs foot surgery.