Timeliness is next to newsiness

A story is making the rounds on the social Web this morning about a Bozeman-based animal-handling company and a bar in Virginia City.

According to Judy Slate of KBZK, Animals of Montana brought a wolf into the Pioneer Bar at the request of a photographer for a shoot. However, the company didn’t have the right permits, so the owner was charged with a misdemeanor in Madison County.

News right? Especially given Animals of Montana’s sad history, which KBZK didn’t fail to mention.

But check the dates. The wolf-in-a-bar incident happened “last winter” — Slate’s report doesn’t give an exact date (though Feb. 1 is spoken in the video). She does write that the company’s owner was fined $500 and “will be on probation for six months.”

When does that probation period run? Is it already over? Did the owner have a recent court date? You wouldn’t learn it from reading the story.

I have left messages for both the Madison County Attorney’s office and Animals of Montana seeking clarification and comment. I’ll add their comments if I hear back.

KBZK screen grab
Screenshot from KBZK story on a photo shoot involving a wolf in a Virginia City bar.

What it does sound like, from reading the story, is that someone from the TV station happened into a conversation with the bartender and learned what happened last winter, then decided to write an untimely story about it.

Given the lack of any other details from court or deputies, I can’t assume anything else — unless it’s a disregard for providing details to readers.

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