Governor’s Dog Booted From Western Montana Fair

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – It’s a dog’s life in Missoula — even if your owner is the governor.

Jag, Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s border collie that got busted for strolling off-leash in Missoula two years ago, was kicked out of the Western Montana Fair on Tuesday.

“But he’s on a leash,” Schweitzer protested.

Assistant Police Chief Mike Brady then pointed to the sign at the fair’s main gate that read in large letters: “Please — no horses/bikes/skateboards/dogs.”

Jag is a regular presence by the governor’s side at public functions, including bill signings, news conferences and Democratic Party dinners.

He was not, however, welcome at the fair.

To make matters worse, another dog had the run of the fairgrounds Tuesday. Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, brought his dog along. Marbut’s organization recently endorsed Roy Brown, Schweitzer’s Republican opponent in this year’s gubernatorial race.

Dave Fowlkes, a Missoula County sheriff’s detective, said the 13-month-old golden retriever had a permit to be at the fair.

A spokesman for Schweitzer said Jag’s presence was cleared in advance, but the fair manager had been expecting the governor to call when he arrived, which apparently didn’t happen.

So, Jag spent the rest of the day in a security office outside the fairgrounds.

“I just wish every dog was half this well-trained,” said Leslie Willis, who agreed to watch the dog. “I think he’s a little sad because he doesn’t know me, and he just got left.”

Then she leaned over and gave Jag another stroke.