The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : April 2012 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : April 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Judge Gives Tennessee Dog on Death Row a Reprieve - He Will be Featured in Animal Planet's reality TV show "Pitt Bulls and Parolees,"

In Nashville, Tennessee, a dog who sat on doggy death row for more than a year before given a reprieve is now officially free from government captivity and headed toward TV stardom.

Prada, the 4-year-old pit bull mix  that was ruled vicious and ordered put down, was released Thursday from Nashville's Animal Control facility, where the dog had been held since January 2011.

Prada was ordered put down after attacking several other dogs. A judge spared the dog's life after the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans agreed to take the animal.

The center is featured in Animal Planet's reality TV show "Pitt Bulls and Parolees," which puts ex-convicts and abused dogs together so both man and animal can be rehabilitated

"Prada loves these people," Nicole Andree, the dog's former owner said after a representative from the rescue center came to Nashville to collect the dog.

Andree, a 35-year-old childless real estate agent, fought a lengthy court battle to spare the dog, vowing never to stop until she got Prada off death row. But she had to agree to give up her beloved pet to save the animal's life. The judge lifted the death order after Nashville lawyers said they would not object if Prada went to the rescue center. The dog, however, must stay there for the rest of its life.

Andree says she plans to visit Prada at the center. She believes the dog will have a good life there. FOLLOW US!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Soldier and Dog’s Reunion Video - A Web Hit!

How do you say "welcome home" in dog? We're pretty sure this Great Dane, Emmitt, nicknamed "Thunderpaws," got his super-excited message across.

The overgrown pooch was reuniting with his dad, Trevor Chowder, who was returning from deployment in Afghanistan after spending nine months apart.

The loving giant, who is normally not allowed to jump up (you'll see why when you watch the video — he's as tall as his human companion) stares into Trevor's eyes and gives him a hug while standing on his hind legs.

Here's another video showing a soldier and dog's reunion:

Reunion shows dog's unconditional love (VIDEO)

To say that this boxer, Chuck, was excited to see dad come home is an understatement.  He jumps out of the suv to greet him!  The family went through the same thing last year when he came home.


Dog Delays Flights at LaGuardia Airport

A few flights were delayed this morning when Byrdie, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, made a run for it on runway 3L at LaGuardia Airport.

The approximately 30-pound canine got loose while being loaded onto a Delta flight bound for Memphis at 10:20 a.m.

Authorities quickly escorted the owner onto the runway and the dog came running to her when it was called.

The pup was only on the tarmac for about 10 minutes and two or three flights were briefly delayed.


Hired Dog Walker Busted on Video by Owner for not Fulfilling Service

If you have a dog walker, you will want to watch the video.

Many say dogs are members of the family, and owners spend a lot of money to make sure their dogs are walked while they are at work or on vacation.

But a Kensington, Maryland woman says something just didn't seem right, so she decided to take a closer look. Yogi Carroll grabbed her video camera and a baby monitor to record exactly what her dog walker was doing when she visited her home each day.

Carroll says the agreement was for her dog walker to come in each day to spend a little time outside with her pet, two-year-old Wilson, and to make sure he did his business.

Carroll says she set up the cameras and even put tape around Wilson’s crate to determine if the dog walker had even bothered to open the crate.

After just a few minutes inside the home, the dog walker leaves the home. Carroll approaches the dog walker to ask for the key to her home.

Carroll says, “I'm here to get the key from you. I'm Yogi. I live here. I'm here to grab the key because I'm actually going to discontinue the dog walking service from now on."
The dog walker says, “Why is that?"

Carroll responds, "I'm guessing if I walk in there, you wrote ‘peed only,’ you didn't walk Wilson. That going to be true?"

The dog walker replies, "Yes."

Carroll walks into her home and finds Wilson in his crate and the tape still in place showing he had never been removed from his crate.

Carroll says she made this recording not only to confirm her suspicions, but to also warn others who may be concerned about their pets.

"So many people use dog walking services in this area,” says Carroll. “My friends are dog walkers, so not all dog walkers are bad. I know this is a hard industry to be a part of, but people need to be aware of what's going in and out of their house."

Carroll did not want to reveal the company who provided the dog walker. She said the owner of the company took swift action.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Mexico Fat Cat Weighs in at Nearly 40 Pounds

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a cat name Meow can't help but waddle. He's one super-sized cat.

The 2-year-old orange and white tabby tips the scale at nearly 40 pounds, and the Santa Fe Animal Shelter is on a mission to get the feline back into shape.

Meow's 87-year-old owner could no longer take care of him, so the pet was turned over to a shelter in southeastern New Mexico that called the Santa Fe shelter for help.

"The thing with this cat is when you look at it, certainly it's obese. You see that. But it's a sweet looking cat. His face is very sweet. It's just incredibly fat," shelter spokesman Ben Swan said Friday.

Meow has been placed with a foster family. He'll be on a special diet so he can start shedding some pounds. The goal is for him to lose at least 10 pounds so he can be put up for adoption.

The shelter plans to post updates on Meow's weight loss on its Facebook page.

It's not clear how the feline was able to gain so much weight in just two years. Adult cats typically weigh between seven and 12 pounds.

"If you go online, you'll see a lot of fat cats and these are people who have fed them just one thing, like meat or something that's not nutritionally balanced," Swan said. "Then the cat refuses to eat anything else and then they just get fatter and fatter and fatter."

Meow has one thing going for him. He's not the fattest cat out there.

That record belongs to Himmy, a tabby from Australia that weighed almost 47 pounds. The shelter said Guinness World Records has since stopped accepting applications for the record over concerns it would encourage people to overfeed their animals.

In Meow's case, the shelter is awaiting blood test results to make sure he doesn't have any additional health problems.

Shelter veterinarian Jennifer Steketee said the idea is for Meow to gradually lose weight by eating a special diet. He has already lost a couple of pounds since being turned in.

Steketee said the dangers of feline obesity are not much different than they are for humans — extra pressure on the heart and joints.

Swan said all the extra weight makes it tough for Meow to play. He had little interest in the super-sized toy mouse the shelter gave him when he first arrived and he couldn't squeeze much more than his head into the carpeted ring attached to the shelter's scratching post.

"He's very sweet. He's doing everything a normal cat would do except he loses his breath and tires easily," Swan said. "We're seeing what we can to do help him."


Dogs Get $5,000 Wedding with All the Amenities

In this canine love story, ring around the collar was the intended effect.

Scruffy Rubin and Snickers Carter had a wedding many couples dream of, featuring 100 guests, a wedding cake, open bar, receptionist and even security. But while the newlyweds are reportedly happy together, that are not actually human.

The Desert Sun reports that actual humans Ernie Rubin and Ann Carter got together to throw Scruffy and Snickers a $5,000 wedding at the Palm Desert Resort Country Club in Palm Desert, California, on Sunday.

"I'm not losing a son, I'm gaining a daughter-in-law," Carter told the paper. The ceremony was officiated by "priest" Harry Farber, who wore a black collar featuring novelty dog bones.

As the two dogs, dressed in custom couture dress and doggie tuxedo walked down a faux grass carpet aisle , they were accompanied by a ring bearer, flower boy, groomsman and usher. However, it's worth noting that the groomsman was a Pug named Max.

A live band serenaded them with a rendition of "You Light Up My Life."
And while all of that sounds pretty over-the-top, Rubin and Carter turned the canine ceremony into a good cause by asking guests to donate to the Orphan Pet Oasis Humane Society of the Desert  in North Palm Springs.

"In planning this event Ernie and Ann wanted to make sure that a charity was involved and they felt strongly about what we do at the society," society representative Jennifer Hamilton told the Desert Sun.

"The whole thing just took on a life of its own and kept growing and growing," Rubin said. "But that was OK because the donations we collected for the shelter were just amazing."


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dying Man Gets his Wish to Spend his Final Days with his Dog - Video

There's a joy and a love that only a pet can give us. This man, in his final days, only wanted to see his dog one last time. Thanks to some caring people, his wish was granted.


Bears Spook Pennsylvania Weatherman During Newscast

Two truisms of television, never work with animals and you never know what to expect on live TV — combined to send a Pennsylvania weatherman fleeing for his safety as thousands of viewers watched.

Kurt Aaron, meteorologist for ABC affiliate WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pa., was seconds from delivering the weather forecast on Monday from the station’s outdoor studio when a mama bear and her three cubs wandered on set.

Viewers who tuned into the 11 p.m. broadcast expecting to find out whether to prepare for rain or sun, instead saw Aaron running inside for cover.

Aaron was forced to report a shortened weather forecast from inside the station’s control room while he and the newscast’s anchors watched and narrated for viewers the wildlife right outside their window.

“I walked out there, and I turn around and I hear the sound, and the bear’s literally 10 feet from me,” Aaron explained, once he was safely back inside the studio.   ”And I ran like I stole something.”

The crew left the bears alone as they explored the set through the rest of the evening’s newscast.  Even a high-pitched alarm, also heard on-air, did not immediately chase them from the area.

“We are located at the base of a mountain and we’ve had raccoons, skunks and all sorts of critters and creatures come through our backyard,” Carl Abraham, news director for WNEP, told today.  “But I don’t recall us ever having a mother and three cubs roll on through.”

“Nobody was hurt,” Abraham said.  “It’s just one of those things. It’s just Mother Nature, so there’s not much you can do sometimes.  We don’t have any plans to change.  We’ll always do it outside.”

Abraham says WNEP in the 1970s became one of the first stations to report the weather from an outside set.  Rapid development in the area, he believes, is likely what sent the bears out of their natural habitat and to the news station.

“This was one of the rare times that we were forced, besides severe weather, to do the forecast from the inside of the building,” he said.


Multi-Platinum Singer, Chris Brown - Is Now Selling Puppies

Like many modern day celebrities, Chris Brown has the entrepreneurial spirit. Rather than the typical fragrance or clothing line, however, the multi-platinum singer’s newest venture appears to be selling puppies.

On Sunday night, his mother, Joyce Brown, took to Twitter to announce her son’s new venture. “Chris Brown puppies for sale,” Hawkins tweeted.

While is a free web domain most people wouldn’t associate with a Grammy-award winning artist, it doesn’t appear to be a joke. The bare bones website lists 8 eight-week old puppies whose breeds are not mentioned, but most of whom appear to be pitbulls.

The puppies, who sell for $1000 each, are purportedly healthy and come with current vaccinations, pet registration, a health guarantee, a veterinary exam, and a four generation performance pedigree. There is no mention of spay or neuter, so the puppies are presumably intact.

In a world where countless pets, particularly pitbulls, are euthanized daily, Chris Brown’s latest effort appears to be yet another in a long line of the singer’s poor decisions.

Please do not buy puppies from websites, or pet stores. These puppies usually come from puppy mills.


Monday, April 23, 2012

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) - No Pet Store Puppies

The no-nonsense canine mascot of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)’s No Pet Store Puppies Campaign is at it again! Watch as he skillfully “trains” an oblivious consumer to not shop for her pet supplies in a store that sells puppies.

Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Refusing to buy a dog from a pet store is a crucial first step. But we’re also asking all pet owners not to buy anything in stores that sell puppies! No kibble, no kitty litter, no toys—nothing! By purchasing anything from a store that sells puppies, you are unwittingly supporting the puppy mill industry.

Please take the pledge not to shop for anything at pet stores that sell puppies, and please use the social media tools on the site to spread the word to friends and family! It’s time to put an end to puppy mills.

Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Refusing to buy a dog from a pet store is a crucial first step. But we’re also asking all pet owners not to buy anything in stores that sell puppies! No kibble, no kitty litter, no toys—nothing! By purchasing anything from a store that sells puppies, you are unwittingly supporting the puppy mill industry.

Please take the pledge not to shop for anything at pet stores that sell puppies, and please use the social media tools on the site to spread the word to friends and family! It’s time to put an end to puppy mills.

Does your local pet store carry dogs?

Are they for sale or for adoption?  If a store sells puppies, don't buy anything there!  Learn why it matters and what you can do to be a responsible dog owner.

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Maryland Zoo Welcomes Baby Colobus Monkey - New Arrival Brings Colobus Count to Four at Baltimore Zoo

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore has announced the birth of a black-and-white colobus monkey.

Mike McClure, the zoo's general curator, made a statement announcing the birth to parents Keri, age 14, and Bisi, age 19.

“We have been hoping that this pair would breed successfully, however they are secretive breeders and we were not certain she was pregnant,” said McClure. “We were very happy to see this new offspring arrive this morning.”

Found in the forests of equatorial Africa, colobus monkeys are distinguished by their black bodies and long white tails. The species is officially considered to be "in decline" due to the loss of their forest habitat, as well as the fact that they are hunted for meat and fur.

The new arrival brings the count of colobus monkeys at the Maryland Zoo to four, with the infant joining Keri, Bisi, and another adult female.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Beekeeper Dons 73-Pound Bee Suit in China

A Chinese beekeeper donned a 73-pound coat of live bees on Wednesday in a daring record-breaking attempt.

Assistants helped cover She Ping with more than 300,000 bees, the Associated Press reported. The entire process took about one hour, and left only parts of Ping’s face exposed.

She Ping, 32, broke the previous world record for heaviest coat of bees worn in Chongqing, China, which was set by Ruan Liangming, in 2008. Liangming wore 59 pounds of bees, China Daily reported, citing local media.

But She Ping still has a long way to go before he breaks the world record. Guinness World Records’ website lists Vipin Seth of India as the wearer of the “heaviest mantle of bees.” Seth’s mantle weighed about 136 pounds. The record was set in 2009.


Urgent! Vets Warn of New Treats from China Poisoning Dogs

Despite repeated warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), chicken jerky treats, but this time they are being poisoned with a whole new class of treats: sweet potato treats imported from China.

The brands veterinarians say are associated with the new cases of unexplained acute kidney failure are Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good Dog Treats (Nestle-Purina), Beefeaters Sweet Potato Treats (16 types of yam-related treats), Drs. Foster and Smith (exact item not specified in the report) and Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality (4 types of Veggie Life brands).

It is important to remember that although the type of treat most often mentioned in the press is described as a jerky treat, the treats may also be called by a myriad of other names such as stix, chips, poppers, tenders, drumettes, kabob’s, strips, fries, lollipops, twists, wraps, bars, tops and discs.

The report says that there is speculation the problems may also extend to pork treats and cat treats imported from China.

In 2010 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Import Refusal Report and later issued an Import Alert for sweet potato dog treats imported from a company in China (whose main business is, oddly, in rubber and plastic raw materials) were contaminated with a highly toxic pesticide known as Phorate

Phorate is an extremely toxic organophosphorus compound and is among the most poisonous chemicals commonly used for pest control. It is used in agriculture as a pesticide and Phorate is identified by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) as one of the “most toxic” set of pesticides known (aka a Bad Actor) in the world.

Although Phorate is known primarily as a neurotoxin and not classified as a nephrotoxin and therefore unlikely to cause acute renal failure in dogs, its presence in any food item is a disturbing indication that treats of any kind imported from China could pose a risk to the health and safety of pets and to the consumers handling them.

On the Veterinary Information Network, several veterinarians have reported cases where dogs have developed symptoms of kidney failure (Fanconi’s syndrome) similar to dogs who have been poisoned by Chinese-made chicken jerky treats.

So far, the brands implicated are all made in China:

Beefeaters Sweet Potato Snacks for Dogs
Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good Dog Treats (FDA has issued a warning on this product)
Drs. Foster and Smith (exact item not specified in the report)
Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality

There was also speculation that the problem may also extend to pork products (pig ears) and cat treats made in China. Australian veterinarians have reported similar symptoms from chicken jerky treats, as well as several cases associated with “Veggie Dents,” a dog treat made in Vietnam by Virbac, an American company. Virbac recalled one batch of Veggie Dents in Australia in 2009.

The FDA still claims that there is no pending recall of Chinese-made pet treats, even though it has repeatedly issued warnings about the problems associated with chicken jerky treats since 2007.

Symptoms of Fanconi’s syndrome include:

  • Increased drinking and urinating
  • “Accidents” in the house
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Blood and urine tests show azotemia (high BUN and Creatinine), dilute urine, and glucose in the urine (that isn’t diabetes).

Most affected dogs have recovered over time with good supportive care.

We strongly recommend that you check the source of all cat or dog treats you may have purchased, and do not give them to your pet if they were made in China. It would be best to avoid any pet food or treat products made in China, and probably a good idea to avoid all dried animal parts, because they are not heated to a temperature that will kill pathogenic bacteria.


Smithsonian's National Zoo, Washington, DC - Two Young Otters Died from Dye Used for Identification Purposes

Two young otters died Thursday at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, and officials believe they passed after ingesting dye used on their fur for identification purposes.

The Zoo said the young adult Asian small-clawed otters were among seven that received routine quarantine exams, during which they received contraceptive implants. Officials said that they were reintroduced to the 13-member family and appeared to be eating and acting normally.

However, later that afternoon keepers said they noticed that two of the otters showed discomfort while moving and were taken to the Zoo's hospital for treatment. They later died.

The Zoo said a preliminary necropsy suggested that the otters had methemoglobinemia, a condition affecting oxygen transport by the blood, which caused liver and kidney failure.

The Zoo said in a release that the most likely cause of death is ingestion of the dye.

More from the Zoo's release:

This dye has been routinely used by wildlife researchers and professionals on birds, marine mammals, small mammals and ungulates among many others. The National Zoo has used the product for more than three decades on numerous species without incident, including golden lion tamarins, prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets and the previous group of otters that lived on Asia Trail.

Zoo officials said the excess dye was cleaned off the other otters, and all 11 remaining otters appear to be acting normally. They will remain in quarantine.

The Zoo said it has ceased using the dye.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Peacocks Ruffle Feathers in Harford County, Maryland

In Abingdon, Maryland an unusual neighborhood dispute over what's allowed in one's back yard is ruffling feathers in a Harford County community as the County Council considers expanding a law regulating animals.

Feathers of a peacock blowing in the breeze are easily mistaken for blades of grass. But when dusk falls, there's no mistaking the noise when the peacock ascends to the roof and fans out his feathers.

Lisa McNair and her family own Petey, a male peacock, and other peacocks. They are a permanent fixture in the Bynum Overlook Community in Abingdon, a compact residential neighborhood.

"Harford County law says I can put anything I want in my yard but a chicken," McNair said.

Of course, some neighbors aren't too pleased, mostly because Petey is noisy, especially now since it's breeding season.

One neighbor, who chose not to be identified, said the noise interrupts sleep.

"They squawk all night long," the neighbor said. "At first, it was pretty unique. I took pictures. But I get up at 5 a.m., so it's not pretty anymore."

"When evening comes, he starts calling to let everybody know that this is his territory," McNair said. "There (are) other animals in the neighborhood."

Harford County inspectors have responded to complaints about the peacocks, which county law limits to five per property.

WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller counted eight birds altogether, but any under 6 months old aren't affected by the limit.

"How do you keep a peacock on your roof and not everybody else's?" Miller asked.

"That's why the kids are chasing him," McNair said.

The county prevents the McNairs from caging the peacocks because the houses in the neighborhood are so close.

"If people would stay out of my business, my birds would be penned, but they didn't. So, zoning came and said, release the birds," McNair said.

The county considers the peacocks domestic animals, albeit noisy ones.

When asked whether she's keeping her peacocks at her home, McNair said, "Yes, they're my pets."

Harford County officials told the 11 News I-Team that the County Council is considering a proposal at a meeting Tuesday night that could increase the number of animals property owners can have...peacocks included.


Hero Dog Saves Puppy From Drowning

A Golden Retriever mother rescues a puppy from potentially drowning in the swimming pool.

Seeing her helpless pup in distress, the dog jumps into the pool and, using her nose, tries to lift the puppy out of the pool. When that fails, however, she runs out of the pool, ultimately lifting up and dragging her pup to safety.

While many are praising the Golden Retriever as a hero, there are also people condemning those filming the video for failing to take action to save the puppy, which may have been much quicker than having the mother dog save her pup.

Comments on the video raise the question of whether the puppy was in fact thrown into the water at the start of the video in order to set up footage of our hero dog. Such an act could severely traumatize the puppy, not to mention, place a damper on the seemingly heartwarming nature of the video.

The divide amongst viewers is clearly illustrated through the top comments on Youtube as the top ranked comment notes how the video borders on animal cruelty, while the next highly rater comment deems any calls of animal cruelty unwarranted.

Regardless of the motives behind the video, however, it is clear that this Golden Retriever exhibited fierce courage and natural retriever intelligence in her quick actions to save the pup. The fact that she is a hero is not even debatable.

What do you think about the video? Do you find it adorable or does the filming of the video disturb you? Is there any doubt that the Golden Retriever is a hero? Share your thoughts in a comment.


Man, Distracted by Texting, Almost Walks into Bear Attack (video)

A man was texting and walking, when he looked up to see a 400-pound black bear right in front of him. The crazy scene was captured on video by California-based station KTLA 5.

The clip below shows the man, apparently shocked and scared, running as fast as he could away from the bear.

Authorities were able to subdue the bear with tranquilizers.

The animal was taken to a nearby forest and released into the wild.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Texas Man Claims Police Killed His Dog When Responding to Wrong Address

A Texas man claims that his beloved dog Cisco was shot point blank by a police officer who responded to a call at the wrong address.

Michael Paxton, 40, said he and his Australian Cattle Dog, Cisco were relaxing and playing Frisbee in his Austin backyard on Saturday afternoon when he decided to go get something from his truck in the driveway.

As he approached his truck, he said he saw something from the corner of his eye and looked up to see a police officer who immediately drew his weapon, and told Paxton to put his hands up.

"He had a Taser. He had pepper spray. I don't understand why, in broad daylight, he pulled a gun on me. I wasn't running. I wasn't hiding," Paxton told today. "I was just saying, 'I live here.' I was panicking. I was afraid for my life."

Paxton said he heard Cisco, who weighed about 50 pounds, barking and coming towards him from the backyard.

"I said, 'Don't shoot him. Don't shoot my dog. He won't bite you.' But he shot him, just like that. It all happened in under 30 seconds," Paxton said. "There was no attack on the officer other than barking and challenging him."

Austin Police Cpl. Anthony Hipolito told ABCNews. com that the officer did respond to the wrong address, but it was the address provided by the 911 call. The call came from the house next to Paxton's.

Hipolito said that dashcam footage shows the dog barking and attacking the officer.

"The officer was basically in retreat and asked the owner to grab the dog," Hipolito said. "He was unable to and the dog continued to attack and that's when the officer discharged his firearm."

An apology was issued at the scene, according to Hipolito, but Paxton said no one apologized to him.

"Officers have to do everything they can to protect themselves, up to and including the use of deadly force," Hipolito said. "It's something that we don't ever want to do. To shoot and kill an animal is very unfortunate and tragic. The officer is distraught and did not want to do it, but at the same time, he had to protect himself."

As a shocked and horrified Paxton stared down at his dog's lifeless body, he said he was confused when the officer started asking him if he had a girlfriend.

"I was saying, 'You just killed my dog. I can't believe you just killed my dog. What is going on?'" Paxton recalled.

Paxton said the officer said he was responding to a domestic issue report of a man choking a woman. Paxton does not have a girlfriend and believes the report came from his neighbor's house.

Paxton said the officer did not apologize and when his sergeant arrived, he was unsympathetic and told Paxton the officer was within his right to shoot the dog. He said he has not heard from the police since the incident.

"I was in shock for probably almost 24 hours," Paxton said, choking up. "I wasn't crying at that point, but when I picked my dog up out of the driveway, I lost it."

Paxton's friends started a Facebook page called "Justice for Cisco" that has nearly 14,000 supporters. Hundreds of people have left messages of support, outrage and anger.

"How heartbreaking and so uncalled for. Tears just fall for the fallen. So very sorry for your lost over a mistaken address," one supporter wrote.

Another wrote: "How dare any officer make a mistake & not apologize? If that were a citizen they would be made to apologize immediately. A life was taken & even though some might look at it only being a dog; it was somebody's pet that they loved dearly."

"The only thing that has brought me comfort is the response and outpouring of emotion for him," Paxton said. "I'm sure he heard the yelling. He's a dog. This is his territory. He's going to be territorial to some extent. To me, it's pretty typical dog behavior. He's not a viscous dog. He was a good boy. He was a real good boy."

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pet Experts Caution about Parasite Problems - Mild Winter to Blame

Veterinarians and other pet experts are worried the mild winter will present serious problems for dogs and cats this spring and summer.

"This spring came very early, back in February people started sending me ticks, and I was a little surprised, quite surprised," says University of Georgia veterinary entomologist Dr. Nancy Hinkle.

She isn't the only one.

Vets nationwide are worried the early arrival of ticks and mosquitoes will cause outbreaks of pet diseases like heartworms.

Chris Carpenter and Byron Blagburn are with the Companion Animal Parasite Council, and both say the exceptionally warm winter is to blame.

"We anticipate that we'll have more mosquitoes and, of course, since heartworm is moved from an infected dog to a non-infected dog by the mosquito, the mosquito plays a pivotal role," Blagburn says.

The council has set up a free website, Pets and, where you can look at county-by-county monthly updates on frequency of pet diseases.

"For you to see just how prevalent it is and it's not just limited to heartworm, we'll give you updates on tick diseases and other parasitic diseases that are prevalent throughout the country," Carpenter explains.

The council's forecast calls for extremely high levels of heartworm population in the South, with high to moderate levels elsewhere.

They advise that pets get parasite prevention medication year-round.


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Wausau City, Wisconsin - Leaders Consider Changing Animal Ordinance

Wausau City, Wisconsin leaders are taking a look at the city's animal laws after finding out many people aren't following the rules. The discussion was sparked when a Wausau family found out they have two more dogs than the city allows.

Public Health and Safety Committee Chair, Lisa Rasmussen said according to some estimates, there could be a lot of other households in the same boat. "There may be as many as 3,000 households that are currently in excess of the ordained limit."

That includes Melissa and James Lecker. In February, a public service officer noticed the couple has four dogs. That's two more than the city allows. The Leckers told Newsline 9 they'd rather move than lose any of their pets.

"I didn't want to be breaking any laws or hiding anything," Melissa Lecker said during an interview earlier this year.

Since that story came out, city officials decided to take another look. Now, they're moving forward with plans to try and change the rules. Under a proposal, people could apply for a permit to house more than two dogs as long as the pets are already living there.

"If it goes to the permit where we have to let our dogs die and then we can't replace them, no we will not stay in the city," Lecker said over the phone Monday night. She was out of state on vacation, but spoke to us over the phone.

Other people weren't afraid to speak out in front of the Public Health and Safety Committee and ask them to change the law.

"You want me to take two of my dogs that have a good home and put them in a shelter until they...they can sit there for months until they find a good home when they're taken out of one," one animal owner said.

But some people said the limit is in place for a reason. "I'm not naive to think that there aren't good pet owners out there, we've definitely heard some here tonight, but there are also those that aren't."

Even if city leaders change the law and adopt a permit process, they'll need to figure out how to enforce it. Right now, the police department handles animal complaints, but officials propose working with the Marathon County Humane Society to handle animal issues. "If folks who are currently out of compliance adopt this compromise solution, come forward and get those things done it will help us at least partially fund an animal control program without doing it purely off tax levy dollars," Rasmussen said.

But this is just the beginning. City leaders said coming up with a solid proposal could take months. Police said they know people are violating the law, but they say they'll only respond to animal complaints as they're called in, at least while city leaders work on developing a new process.


Love of Dogs May Cause Wisconsin Couple to Lose Their House

Melissa Lecker is walking outside her three-bedroom home in downtown Wausau, Wisconsin, and talking about her dogs.

“These dogs are our family,” she says as she looks down at two 13-year-old Golden Retrievers, Abbie and Jesse.

Right behind her are her 1-year-old Yorkie, Archie, and Chester, her 3-year-old Shih Tzu.
“They are just like our children,” she says.

In fact, she says emphatically her four dogs are more important to her than her money or even her home.

“This house doesn't mean as much to us as they do.”
Ironic because it’s the house she and her husband are set to lose because of their love for their pups.

James and Melissa moved to Wausau in early January, buying a new home and what they thought was the beginning of a great life in Wausau.

What they didn’t know is Wausau has an ordinance limiting the number of pets.
In Wausau, for instance, you can’t have more than three cats, three gerbils or three rabbits. And, unfortunately for the Leckers, you can’t have more than two dogs.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said when a police officer told her she was over the dog limit and subject to a fine of more than $100 per day. “I had never heard of anything like that.”
She says town officials have given her an unbearable choice.

“They told us that the ordinance clearly states they cannot work with us… that it's either two dogs or that you have to move, as you can't have four dogs here.”

No one from Wausau would return repeated calls from Fox News for comment. Not Mayor James Tipple. No one from the Wausau City Council. Not even Lisa Rasmussen, chair of the Public Health and Safety Committee, which oversees the pet ordinance.
But in local articles town officials have said their hands are tied.

"Our current ordinance doesn't allow for a variance," Wausau city attorney Anne Jacobson told

Other city officials say the ordinance was passed in 1989 to curb animal “nuisance” complaints like dog bites.

And one municipal attorney from New Jersey says he understands the purpose of the ordinance, particularly when it comes to dogs.

“They smell. They bark. They have excrement,” explained attorney Jeff Gold, who fully supports laws limiting pets.

“You’re not punishing [the Leckers], he explains. “You're regulating society.” He says animal regulations are some of the oldest regulations on the books. “Animals used to be in houses,” he explains. “They used to be in front yards. Society gets to regulate it.”

“Well," counters Melissa while holding Chester in her arms, “I believe there are other ways to handle the nuisance complaints.”

“They should punish the nuisances, not responsible pet owners.” Melissa says she has put her house on the market and is willing to take a $15,000 loss in order to keep her dogs.

“I hope we can work something out,” she said. “But they are just being so mean. My dogs didn’t bother anyone.”


Monday, April 16, 2012

Doggy Identity Theft

It’s a face most dog people would love. So when a Facebook post sounded the alarm that Scion, a lovable, active seven-year-old lab was starving, in poor health, and needed money to be rescued from a kill shelter, animal lovers responded.

“Honestly, it makes me sick and makes me sad,” says Wendy Messenga, the top volunteer at Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center.
She’s not sick and sad because the story is true; she’s miffed because it is no more than a scam.

“He’s fat, he’s happy. I mean, he wants a home, but he’s not going anywhere and he’s certainly not in danger of being put down,” says Wendy.

The adoption center wants to let the cat out of the bag.  There’s no doggy danger.  It’s the work of scam artists who are trying to part good people from their money.

The center was forced to post a warning on its own page telling people do not donate.
“There is a woman who is not using her name, that is posting that Scion is in a kill facility and that she needs to raise money to get him out,” says Wendy.

The fact is, you can’t rescue a dog at the adoption center with money; they only take adoption fees and the center is run and funded by the city of Virginia Beach.

Volunteers say this isn’t the first time the scammer has stolen the identities of real-life shelter dogs only to pocket the cash. Wendy says the scammer did it in Norfolk with the picture of a dog who had been adopted two years ago.

“Rescue people, sometimes they will donate prior to going to dinner buying themselves something they will definitely donate,” says Wendy.

The Facebook post has since disappeared along with mystery scammer, but shelter volunteers fear the canine crooks will do damage to legitimate fundraisers.
“People who scam the animal business like this end up making people not want to donate,” says Wendy.

The city-run shelter does not accept money donations, but they`ll take food and pet toys.

And if you see another posting like the one the scam artist posted, do not donate.  But if you want to be sure your local shelter is getting help, call the shelter directly or go in person and make a donation.

Don`t fall victim to the canine crooks.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dogs of the Titanic: a Dozen Aboard, Three Survived

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the ship touted as unsinkable, during her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, en route to New York. Much research has been done on the passengers, crew, and the ship itself over the years. But little has been reported about one group of passengers...the dogs of the Titanic.

Many think of their pets as part of the family, and it's evident that that sentiment was as true 100 years ago as it is today.

Widener University, named for a prominent Philadelphia family that had three members on board, will honor the memory of that fateful voyage with an exhibit, a part of which will feature the dogs on board.

The producer and curator of the exhibit, J. Joseph Edgette, Ph.D., shared his knowledge of the Titanic and her four-legged passengers.

I've been researching the Titanic for about 20 years, but working on this particular exhibit for approximately eight months. There might have been more dogs, but based on eyewitness accounts and ship's records, there were 12 confirmed, only three of which survived.

The dog seen in those photos was Capt. Smith's.  Benjamin Guggenheim did a lot of traveling, often on ships skippered by Capt. Smith, so he knew him and his family well. Guggenheim, although originally scheduled to sail on another vessel, ended up on the Titanic, and brought a large Russian Wolfhound as a gift for the Captain's daughter.

The day before sailing, Smith had his photo taken on board with the dog that he named Ben in honor of the man who gifted him. The dog remained overnight, but was taken home to his daughter the next morning, so he was not on board when the ship got underway.

It was never questioned as to why there were three dogs saved when there was so little room in the lifeboats for people. The dogs that survived were so small that it's doubtful anyone even realized they were being carried to the lifeboats.

Two were Pomeranians and the third was a Pekinese, all tiny dogs. One Pomeranian named Lady, bought by Miss Margaret Hays while in Paris, shared the cabin with and was wrapped in a blanket by Miss Hays when the order was given to evacuate.

The Rothschilds owned the other Pomeranian, and the Pekinese, named Sun Yat-Sen, was brought on board by the Harpers (of the N.Y. publishing firm, Harper & Row).

It seems only prominent families had dogs aboard the Titanic. Only first class passengers had dogs on the voyage. One family even received an insurance settlement for their two dogs that didn't survive.

Another wealthy passenger, William Carter of Philadelphia, was traveling with his wife Lucille and their two children. Carter insured his wife's jewelry and other items of value, including the 1912 Renault automobile purchased in Paris.

A replica of that vehicle is what appears in Jack and Rose's steamy love scene in the 1997 movie. The vehicle was insured for the full purchase price of $5,000; their daughter Lucy's King Charles Spaniel  was insured for $100, young Billy's Airedale for $200.

The children begged to take the dogs when evacuating, but Carter insisted that they were too big and that they'd be fine in the ship's kennel. Both dogs perished and the insurance company paid the settlement.

A Toy Poodle belonging to Helen Bishop, a Fox Terrier named Dog, millionaire John Jacob Aster's Airedale named Kitty. Robert Daniel brought Gamin de Pycombe, his French Bulldog, on board, and there were several others, whose names aren't known.

Although a few of the animals shared the cabins of their owners, most were kept in the ship's kennel and tended to by crewmembers, so they were considered more as cargo and not on any passenger manifest.

One particularly sad story involves a Great Dane owned by 50-year-old Ann Elizabeth Isham. Miss Isham visited her dog at the ship's kennel daily and when she was evacuating, asked to take him also. When she was told the dog was too large, she refused to leave without him and got out of the lifeboat.

Several days later, the body of a woman clutching a large dog was spotted by crew of the recovery ship, Mackay-Bennet, and dinghies were dispatched. Eyewitness accounts by crew and ship's log confirm the sighting and recovery, and the body recovered is assumed to be Miss Isham.

There are two photos of dogs taken on board, one of crewmembers walking the dogs, and another of a group of dogs tied to a rail. The photos were taken by amateur photographer, Fr. Frank Brown, who disembarked the ship in Queenstown, Ireland before she embarked on her transatlantic journey.

Interestingly, Fr. Brown's are the only photographs of the interior of the Titanic known to be in existence, as the White Star Line had contracted with the Rochester firm, Eastman Kodak, to take photos upon the ship's arrival in New York, which of course never occurred.

Crew often had at least one cat on board each ship to help keep the rat population down. It's said that there was a cat with young kittens aboard the sea trials of the Titanic but when the ship arrived in Southampton from Belfast, she was seen disembarking. Up and down the gangplank she went, retrieving one kitten at a time that she deposited on the dock. She and the kittens quickly disappeared and it was later said that had some sort of premonition that the voyage wasn't going to be a good one.

The Widener University will be open from April 10 through May 12. Admission is open to the public at no cost.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Funny or Sad? Children Terrified at Sight of Purple Panda (VIDEO)

I wasn't sure if we should laugh or just feel bad for these kids, but this video is definitely worth watching.

The staff at Pennsylvania’s Center in the Woods preschool thought they would surprise their toddlers with a visit from Mr. McFeely, the delivery man character from the PBS Kids show
  “Mr. Rogers’.”

The youngsters eagerly listened to Mr. McFeely as he sat in front of the classroom and introduced another special guest, Purple Panda, one of the costumed characters also on the PBS show.

Mr. McFeely stood up to welcome his friend, and as he entered the classroom, Mr. McFeely held Purple Panda’s hand. The kids however, were not so welcoming.

Chaos immediately ensued. Screaming and crying children scattered to a far corner of a classroom, seemingly petrified by the sight of the Purple Panda, which was actually a person wearing a panda suit.

Confused, Mr. McFeely just told the kids to “stand right here” and as he waved at them. He then tried to calm them down by admitting that it’s not actually Purple Panda but “somebody pretending” to be the panda. His words did not soothe the children.

The Youtube clip has received over 770,000 hits and thousands of ‘Likes’ since it was first uploaded on April 9.

I must admit, as an adult...I would probably take off running if I saw someone dressed like that!

I think the purple panda should have immediately left the room when he saw that the children were upset. A little more thought should have been put in the designing of the costume. I understand that the characters have a whimsical look...however kids love Barney, the purple dinosaur.

Take a look at how receptive the kids are in the pictures below. I only hope that these kids are not scarred for life, and become afraid of animals.

What do you think?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Man, Distracted by Texting, Almost Walks into Bear Attack (video)

A man was texting and walking, when he looked up to see a 400-pound black bear right in front of him. The crazy scene was captured on video by California-based station KTLA 5.

The clip below shows the man, apparently shocked and scared, running as fast as he could away from the bear.

Authorities were able to subdue the bear with tranquilizers.

The animal was taken to a nearby forest and released into the wild.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rockland Farm, Poolesville, Maryland - Plan that Didn't Hatch: Chicks for Rent

It was an Easter promotion that didn't quite go off as planned.

Rocklands Farm in Poolesville, Maryland was offering to rent young chicks to families over the Easter holiday.

But Friday, Montgomery County Animal Control stepped in, and said the farm could only rent chicks that were three weeks or older.

Some families who showed up today walked away disappointed, but understood the county's decision:

Erinn Foster says she decided against bringing home some older chicks, saying they weren't as cute.

She says instead of chicks, she'll now fill up her kids easter basket with some toys.