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January 2, 2008
Dogged reporting at the Woodland Daily Democrat

Imagine waking up on Jan. 1, maybe a little bleary-eyed from too much, uh, celebrating the night before, picking up your morning paper and seeing this photo splashed across the front page:

Deo Ferrer/Woodland Daily Democrat

Hey, is that a dog taking notes???

Whoa. That is a dog taking notes. Or, rather, half-dog, half-human.

That's what readers of the Woodland Daily Democrat saw Tuesday on that paper's front page. Photographer Deo Ferrer apparently sought a creative way to illustrate a story on a border collie mix that Yolo County is using to assist child victims of abuse. Read the full story here.

Anyway, the paper did not explain in the caption that someone wrapped a trench coat around Daisy the dog's body, cut holes in the back and then slipped a pair of human arms through the sleeves to make it appear as if Daisy was taking notes.

Daily Democrat editor Jim Smith did not immediately respond to our queries about whether the paper should have alerted readers that the photo was doctored set up and a human was hiding behind the propped-up Daisy. But...

UPDATE AT 3 P.M.: Smith, via e-mail, deferred comment to associate editor Jake Dorsey, who could not be reached today. But Smith did write: "A quick word, however, is that we have received no reader reaction except from the owner of the dog who liked the photograph."

Still, Jeff Reisig, the Yolo County district attorney, wasn't laughing.

"It was a surprise to us, too, when they ran that photo," Reisig says via e-mail. "Obviously, we had no input on their 'creative' choice. The program is serious."

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