The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : July 2015 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : July 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Today is National Pet Fire Safety Day

In honor of National Pet Fire Safety Day, Center for Pet Safety has put together the following list of practical tips and free downloads to help families prevent pets from causing fires. Being prepared for any emergency is mission critical and will help you save the life of your family and your pets. Please take a moment and learn how Center for Pet Safety helps you be prepared.

Window Clings and Identification – Installing a window cling on the front window of your home is a simple way to help to notify First Responders that your pets are inside. However, that’s not everything you’re going to need in an emergency. You should also keep ample identification aids (including images of you with your pet and microchip id), medical records, and county registration records in an easy to access off-site location – like a neighbor’s house. Also the contact information of veterinary, and the nearest emergency veterinarian is something to keep with your records. While you’re at it, think about keeping a copy in your vehicle glove box too – because accidents happen.

Center for Pet Safety’s PAWS UP for Safety® program has a link to download a free vet record book.

To read more on this story, click here: Today is National Pet Fire Safety Day

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Circus Cats: Meet the Amazing Acro-Cats and Rock Cats

To train a cat to balance on a ball and walk it forward, you will need a weighted ball, a track to place it on, a hand-held clicker and lots of kitty treats. Each time the cat masters part of the process — standing on the ball, say, or learning to walk backward to make the ball advance — you make a clicking noise while delivering a treat. It takes time, patience and a willing cat.

“You start very small,” said Samantha Martin, ringleader of the Amazing Acro-Cats, a 14-cat circus that is coming to New York City next week for the first time. “Some tricks take weeks to train, some take just minutes.”

She should know. Ms. Martin’s cats, who will play one-hour shows from July 16 through 19 at the Muse Brooklyn, are trained to do highly non-catlike things: Tuna, the lead performer, rings a cowbell; Alley, who holds the Guinness World Record for longest cat jump (six feet), plies her specialty; Sookie pushes a shopping cart across the stage, unless she is distracted by shiny objects or finds the stage too warm, in which case she lies down.

The show ends with the Rock Cats, a six-piece band whose members play free-form on a miniature guitar, drum set and other instruments. Except when they don’t.

“I am pretty much at the mercy of what they want to do,” said Ms. Martin, who is in her late 40s and has been training animals from a tender age. The performance, she said, “is never the same, because the cats lead the show.”

Ms. Martin is based in Chicago but drives her circus around the country in a painted bus reminiscent of the Partridge Family’s. Until now, she has avoided New York for fear of maneuvering the bus in the city.

She got her start at 10, teaching simple tricks to her family’s yellow Labrador, Boots. As a teenager, she became enamored of rats.

“At one point, I had a rat trained to drive up to my dollhouse in a little tiny fire truck, go up a ladder, retrieve a doll and bring the doll down into an ambulance,” Ms. Martin said. But her first attempt at a pet circus, the Amazing Acro-Rats, was not a commercial success, for obvious reasons. “I couldn’t make a living with rats,” she said.

Then Ms. Martin migrated to fowl. “I had a chicken that played the piano, a duck that played the drums and a goose that played the guitar” using their beaks, she said. “Poultry is remarkable to work with — they learn very quickly.” But along came avian flu, and people stopped turning out to see this act.

Ms. Martin switched to cats roughly 10 years ago, training shelter cats that she adopted and fostered. All the performers are her pets. When they are not jumping through hoops, climbing ropes or pushing wheelbarrows onstage, Ms. Martin’s cats are prized by television directors and have appeared in commercials for brands like Target and Purina.

“My cats are excellent on set,” Ms. Martin boasted. “They just move in — they are accustomed to the stage.”

Part of her message is familiar in cat adoption circles: Friendlier shelter cats are more appealing to potential owners. Since 2009, Ms. Martin said, she and her two assistants have trained 159 foster cats, often teaching them to give humans a high-five or to jump through a hoop, to make them more adoptable.

“So many cats end up in shelters because they have behavioral problems, and most behavioral problems are due to boredom,” Ms. Martin said. “If you train your cat to do tricks, you make them use their brains. I hope to encourage people to expect more of their cats.”

Dr. Carlo Siracusa, a veterinarian specializing in behavior medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School’s Ryan Hospital, said that while cats do not need to be trained — and some need less stimulation than others — there is no harm in teaching them tricks as long as no punishments are involved. (Some Russian cat circuses have drawn controversy for the way they treat the animals.)

“Emotionally, it’s not bad for the cat” to be taught anthropomorphic tricks, Dr. Siracusa said. “One ethical thing is whether it’s appropriate to watch animals mimicking human behavior, but I don’t really think that a cat cares about this. The action for the cat, playing on an instrument, it’s not fun, but they’re waiting for the treat.”

One of his students, Dr. Siracusa noted, has trained a cat to play dead when she points her finger like a gun and says “bang;” a video of this is posted on a Penn Facebook page. Like all such tricks, it brings to mind the Samuel Johnson saying involving a dog walking on its hind legs: “It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

At the end of Ms. Martin’s show, the musician cats play on, and the audience can mingle with the performers.

Angela Buccinni, director and founder of the Muse Brooklyn — a circus-oriented performance space that moved to Bushwick in April after losing its lease in Williamsburg — said she was looking forward to the show. “I know that we’ve had a ton of inquiries,” she said, “and that all of our managers are fighting over who is going to get to work this event.”

The Amazing Acro-Cats and Rock Cats will perform July 16 and July 17 at 8:00 p.m., July 18 at 5 and 8:00 p.m. and July 19 at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. No cats are allowed in the audience; the Muse Brooklyn, 350 Moffat Street;


A 5-Year-Old Girl Has Been Killed by a Jumping Sturgeon Fish Which Leaped Onto Her Family's Boat

Jayln Rippy was travelling along the Suwannee River near Gainesville, Florida, on Thursday when she was struck by the fish.

Her mother Tanya Faye, 31, and nine-year-old brother Trevor were also injured during the horrifying incident.

They were airlifted to hospital and treated for facial injuries that will need surgery.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it was the first death caused by a sturgeon this year, while four people have been injured.

Two other people, Colleen Harvey, 42, and her husband Charles, 41, were also hurt by jumping sturgeons Friday while boating on the nearby Santa Fe River, WTSP reported.

Maj. Andy Krause, FWC regional commander in Lake City, said: 'With the low water levels in the river system, the sturgeon are jumping much more frequently than in recent years.

'We want everyone boating on the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers to be aware that the sturgeon are jumping and that people have been injured.'

A GoFundMe page  was set up to help the family cover funeral and expenses costs.

The description read: 'The Rippy family was involved in an accident on Thursday, July 2, 2015 where a sturgeon collided with their boat.

'Their precious baby Jayln became an angel early July 3, 2015. Tanya and Trevor will both have to see specialist and face possible surgeries.

'This family will also face the cost of the funeral. Please donate what you can and continue to keep them in your prayers more than everything!'

As of Saturday afternoon, they had raised $7,930.

The fish are known for leaping more than seven feet above the water.

They can grow up to eight feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds and can cause serious injuries.


Is It Against the Law to Leave a Dog Unattended in a Hot Car? Do You Know the Law for Your State?

Although animal cruelty, neglect, endangerment, and abuse in a variety of forms are illegal in all 50 states, in varying degrees that can earn the offender a simple citation all the way up to a felony charge, only 16 of those states have laws on the books specifically prohibit leaving an animal locked inside a hot car.

Of all fifty states, only Arizona, California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia have state statutes in place that protect dogs specifically from being trapped in cars.

In the 16 states named above, although it is illegal to leave a dog unattended, it is also unlawful for a concerned citizen to take matters into their own hands.

Of the 16 states that make it illegal to leave a dog in a parked car, only 14 grant permission to either law enforcement, animal control, or other authorized personnel to enter a vehicle.

In New Jersey and West Virginia, although it is illegal to leave a dog trapped in a hot car, no one, not even law enforcement officers, are granted the authority to break into the vehicle to save the dog from dying.

What about those other 34 states?

Although the remaining 34 states may not have laws that specifically make it illegal to leave a dog (or other animal) unattended in a vehicle, all 50 states have laws in place to protect animals from abuse, neglect, and cruelty.

It can be argued that a dog left unattended in a parked car, without protection from extreme heat (or cold), that is suffering or showing signs of distress, is the victim of cruelty.

In other words, even though a dog owner may reside in one of the 34 states without specific laws to protect dogs in hot cars, they can be (and very often are) charged with animal cruelty for doing so.

Additionally, although state laws may not specifically address dogs trapped in hot cars, many county and municipal laws do address the issue. Check with your own city and county to be sure of the exact laws in your area.

So what is a concerned animal lover that spots a dog suffering inside a hot car supposed to do?

Currently, there are zero states that grant legal permission to concerned citizens to break and enter a vehicle to save a distressed animal.

If you see a dog in a parked car, no matter which state or what that state’s laws provide for:

1. Make every reasonable effort possible to locate the dog’s owner.

2. Call local police and animal control and report the incident.

3. Remain with the dog until help arrives.

4. If the dog is in imminent danger and help has not yet arrived, you’ll have to use your own judgement, considering the possible legal ramifications of breaking and entering to save the dog.

Many of us would happily face criminal charges, fines, and possible jail time if it meant saving the life of a dog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Owners, of Zekiah Farms in Waldorf, Maryland Are Offering a $1,500 Reward for Information Leading to the Arrest/Conviction of the Person(s) Responsible for The Shooting of Their Two Dogs

The search is on for who shot and killed two dogs on a farm in southern Maryland.

The mother and son dogs, named Benelli and Bear, were found Monday.

The owners, who operate Zekiah Farms in Waldorf, said in a Facebook post the dogs had been missing since Friday when they went missing on a walk.

They had searched around and called local animal shelters before making the heartbreaking discovery in the area of Bryantown Road and Booth Place.

On their facebook page,, the owners are offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest/conviction of the person(s) responsible for this horrific act.

Sharing from their facebook page:
It is with great sadness and I can't articulate our grief and violation. We found Benelli and Bear today and it wasn't good news. They were shot and killed. Benelli was found in the field with the cattle. I used Remi to find Bear about 150 yards away in the woods. It is obvious the shooter knew how to shoot and was proficient with a gun. Both were shot between the neck and left shoulder and mortally wounded. They would not have been able to travel with extensive fatal injuries from the place of the shooting.

I can't tell you how my heart broke while watching my sons bury their beloved dogs.

If anyone has information, please contact myself or the police. The dogs were on the farm in the area of Bryantown Rd and Booth Place.

These were friendly and loving dogs. They play with school children and customer who come visit the farm. They are always around animals and would not hurt any. This was a mean, hateful, and senseless crime. Please help us find who would do this to loving animals.

I'd like to thank everyone who tried to help locate our dogs. Animal lovers are a great and supportive community.

If you have any information, please call: (240) 216-4065

Please Share!

Wonder What Happened to Michael Vicks’ Fighting Dogs?: Most Have Been Rehabilitated and Found Loving Homes

It was a crime that shocked the nation. In 2007, investigators walked inside NFL quarterback’s Virginia mansion and uncovered an illegal dog fighting operation. Gruesome details of abuse, torture and execution of “under-performing” dogs made headlines and sparked public outrage.

Vick served 19 months in a federal prison, after which he was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles. As for the 51 abused pit bulls seized from Vick’s farm, a.k.a Bad Newz Kennel? They were immediately deemed the most aggressive, violent dogs in America and were doomed to be put down. That’s where a hero named Donna Reynolds comes in.

Donna was part of a panel of animal experts who found these dogs were anything but dangerous toward people. They believed the dogs deserved a chance to live, and fought for the dogs’ redemption.

Yes, these pit bulls required work, patience, and care; they were justifiably scared to death of the world around them. But they got their redemption, and each day brought unbelievable progress. The pit bulls once used as bait, breeding, and fighting dogs began to overcome their fears. Some have even gone on to become therapy dogs who work with children!

It was recently announced that the former Bad News Kennel has been reinvented as a haven for the recovery of abused dogs. The 15-acre property, purchased in 2011 by non-profit Dogs Deserve Better, has since been transformed into a refuge known as Good Newz Rehab Center. Its mission is to serve as a place to help abused dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds regain trust in human beings.

Watch the incredible transformation of these pit bulls below:


Experts Say This Summer is Brewing up Something of a Perfect Storm for Shark Attacks

More than half a dozen shark attacks have happened in North Carolina in the last three weeks, nearly as many as happened all of last year.

Experts say this summer is brewing up something of a perfect storm for the attacks. But while they seem like they're everywhere, shark populations are actually dwindling.

And the real reason there have been so many attacks likely isn't because there are more sharks in the water — it's because there are more people swimming in it than ever before.
Shark expert George Burgess of the International Shark Attack File explained the trend in a recent NPR interview:

Shark populations in the US and around the world are at perhaps all-time lows. On the other hand, the human population continues to rise every year. We have no curbing of that.

And fundamentally [a] shark attack ... is driven by the number of humans in the water more than the number of sharks, and when areas such as the Carolinas become popular tourist destinations, as they have, there's [sic] more people entering the water. You're going to end up having more shark bites.
While a number of studies in recent decades have suggested that shark populations around the world are all declining sharply, it's hard for scientists to get exact numbers on them.
Nevertheless, by comparing recent population numbers with past data, we can get a general estimate of how sharks are doing across the globe, marine biologist and University of Miami graduate student David Shiffman explains in a recent post on his blog.

 One frequently-cited survey of data published in 2003 from fisheries gathered between 1986 and 2000 suggests that shark populations are in deep trouble.
The data from that survey found that hammerhead populations were declining by an average of 89%; great whites by 79%; tiger sharks by 65%, thresher sharks by 80%, blue sharks by 60%, and mako sharks by 70%:

(Science/"Collapse and Conservation of Shark Populations in the Northwest Atlantic") Declines in estimated relative abundance for coastal shark species: (A) hammerhead, (B) white, (C) tiger, and (D) coastal shark species; and oceanic shark species: (E) thresher, (F) blue, (G) mako, and (H) oceanic whitetip.

"We may never know exactly how many sharks are out there, or exactly how many are killed each year. What we do know, from a variety of different types of analysis, is that many species of sharks are decreasing in population at alarming rates," writes Shiffman.

Why are sharks in trouble?

While vigilante shark hunters can do significant damage to local shark populations, the real problem centers around two main activities: Hunting sharks for their meat and fins and irresponsible fishing practices. Each year, thousands of sharks are caught and trapped in fishing nets and other fishing gear.

And while it might seem like good news that there are fewer sharks around, it's actually a very big problem for the rest of us.

In many places, sharks are apex predators, meaning they occupy the spot right at the top of the food chain. If their populations aren't healthy and stable, it throws all of the other life in the oceans out ofbalance.
Plus, sharks have a bunch of characteristics that make them especially vulnerable to exploitation, including the fact that they live long lives, mature late in life, and have very few young.

Standing at 6’4” Tall, a Cow Named Blosom, is Officially Recognized as the Tallest Cow by Guinness World Records

Although she is no longer alive, the 2,000-lb cow was announced as the new record holder on June 25.

Blosom, who was named by Guinness as the world's tallest living cow last August, died on a farm in northern Illinois on May 26, after holding that record for less than a year.

Guinness World Records said that the 13-year-old female Holstein will “live on in the record books as the world's tallest cow eve”.

The average weight for a mature Holstein cow is 1,500 pounds and 'top producing Holsteins' have been known to produce more than 72,000-lb of milk in a year when milked three times a day, according to Holstein Association USA.

“The funny thing about Blosom was how unaffected she was by all the attention that seemed to surround her”, Blosom's owner, Patty Meads-Hanson, told Guinness World Records following the news of the animal's latest record.

“As long as she had her oats, daily chin rubs and ear scratches, life was good.” she said.

Hanson said she is not sure what was wrong with Blosom, but had to have her put down after two veterinarians said they could not save her.

On Facebook, at the time of Blosom's passing, Hanson later wrote that the animal had seemed to have slipped in the mud and damaged a ligament in her hip causing her to never be able to stand.

Hanson said Blosom was buried in her favorite pasture, with her head facing east toward the farm. 

Hanson, who had Blosom since she was eight weeks old, said she knew the animal was special when she was a calf. 

After learning the cow could not bear a calf, Hanson decided to keep her as a pet instead of sending Blosom to slaughter, reported.

Blosom was born to two normal sized cows and was at her tallest when she was eight years old, Hanson told Guinness World Records.

“Blosom is the pride of the farm,” Hanson said in an interview last year. “I love to share her with my guests and she loves to greet them. 

Many of my guests come from the city, and to have a cow officially greet them adds to the ambiance of the farm.”

Hanson said she sought the record after veterinarians, the cow's foot trimmer and her father constantly noted Blosom's large size.

At the end of May 2014, family and friends began documenting Blosom's large size through photos and videos. Her official measurements were taken by a vet from Orangeville Animal Health Service.

In October 2014, Patty and Blosom posed for their official Guinness World Records photo.

Blosom will appear in the 2016 edition of the Guinness World Records book which will be out in September.

Last week, Hanson also shared news on Facebook that PETA had extended condolences following Blosom's passing, and that a gold leaf would be added to their Tree of life memorial at its national headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.

Following the news Hanson wrote on Facebook: “I am very proud of Blosom, and thrilled that PETA views her worthy of this huge honor and recognition! Her memory lives on”.

Hanson said she cannot wait for its release and that she misses Blosom 'terribly'.

“I will cherish our memories forever,” she said. “I am excited for the world to meet Blosom in the 2016 edition, but I know it will be very bittersweet.” She said.

The previous title holder for the tallest cow ever was a 6-foot-2 Holstein-Durham cross called Mount Katahdin who held the title from 1906-1910.


Cabell County, West Virginia: A Man Was Charged for Confining Two Deer in His Home for Over a Year

West Virginia Natural Resources Police received a complaint on July 4th of deer being kept in a home. When they arrived to the residence, they found two bucks and set them free.

A man now faces charges for illegally confining wildlife and his prosecution is pending.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Caitlyn, The Pit Bull Who Was Found with Her Muzzle Taped Shut Will Be in Shirtless Firefighters Calendar

Is it getting hot in here, or is it just some shirtless firefighters cavorting on the beach, alongside a formerly abused pit bull?

Caitlyn the pit bull was discovered with her muzzle taped shut in late May, in North Charleston, South Carolina.

She was so badly injured at the time that staff from the Charleston Animal Society, which assumed Caitlyn's care, worried she might not make it.

But after a lot of medical treatment, and a whole lot of love, Caitlyn is doing great. (Her alleged abuser was arrested and charged with animal cruelty in early June.)

She's now recovering in a foster home, where she has a new best doggie friend.

And in her spare time, Caitlyn is starring with area firefighters in a really, really ridiculously good-looking calendar -- the proceeds of which will help other abused, abandoned and neglected animals also get medical care.

"I do have a fun job, don't I?" says Charleston Animal Society's Caroline Eller, who organized the calendar and took some of its especially memorable behind-the-scenes shots.

Eller says that on top of raising much-needed funds -- medical care costs the Charleston Animal Society some $500,000 per year -- she hopes that this calendar encourages folks to adopt their next pet.

"I'm a firm believer that an animal knows they have been rescued," she says. "I hope these images show the true bond between a rescue and their rescuer."

And hey, you don't need to commit arson to get these guys coming to your home.

The Charleston Animal Society has lots and lots of adoptable animals who'd love to be loved by you.

And if you're burning up for the 2016 Charleston Animal Society Firefighters, you can pre-order HERE.


Dogs and Fireworks Don’t Mix: Did You Know that More Pets Go Missing During the Fourth of July Weekend than Any Other Time of the Year?

Washington, DC – Flashing lights and loud booms may be exciting for some during the Fourth of July weekend, but for pets, it can be a nightmare.

The unfamiliar noise, rush of bright lights, swarms of people, strange smells and sometimes firework debris falling, can prove to be too much for your beloved pet, sending them leaping over, through or under the fence.

More pets go missing during the Fourth of July weekend than any other time of the year, according to the American Society for thePrevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

“Every year we see several more pets get loose and run the neighborhoods during the Fourth of July weekend,” Scott Giacoppo, chief of field’s services for Washington Humane Society, told WJLA in an interview.

“We anticipate this will happen and thus, have extra personnel and patrol staffed.”

Giacoppo went on to say that this situation isn’t much different than the reaction you would see with pets and thunder, but with fireworks, it can be nonstop.

Sadly, when pets run away in fear, they cause not only a safety threat for themselves, but also for others. Sometimes, pets run in front of cars, causing major accidents, unexpectedly being struck and killed.

Giacoppo said it is important to keep your pets inside, in a safe and secure location this holiday weekend, but if they are otherwise anxious, it may be worth talking to your vet about alternative solutions.

David Wright, dog trainer in Los Angeles, lists some dos and don’ts to keep your pet(s) safe, and your sanity:

  • Get collar IDs and microchips.
  • Use a crate or keep animals in a room where they can't flee.
  • Crank up music or the television to mask the sound of fireworks.
  • Provide water and food: Fear makes dogs pant, and unfamiliar food makes them anxious.
  • Offer chewable toys or treats as a distraction.
  • Take a pooch to see fireworks unless it's a noise-trained police K-9 or guide dog.
  • Leave them outside, where they jump or dig to escape the yard.
  • Approach dogs who look scared because they can attack.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Man Scales a Four Story Building to Rescue a Dog

A dog was rescued from the roof of a four-storey building in a dramatic video posted online.

The incident took place in Russia and was captured on camera by a local resident, who filmed the dog barking anxiously from a rooftop in Saratov.

In the clip, a man can be seen bravely scaling the building in an attempt to get to the dog and rescue it from the huge drop.

While it is unclear whether the man is attached to a harness, he does appear to receive help from an additional two men who stand on the roof with him.

After approaching the dog, the man attaches a lead to it and begins pulling it away from the edge of the roof and towards safety.

But despite his best efforts, the frightened animal fights against the man and makes it difficult for him to complete his rescue operation.

Eventually the man is able to maneuver the dog towards his two accomplices who pull it to safety.

The video concludes with the rescuer lying on the roof as the other two men continue to tend to the dog.

According to video maker, it is unclear who owns the dog and how it was able to gain access to the roof.


Mutilated Animal Carcasses Found Around Sacramento, California

It started when someone left a 120-pound cow head in a park.

At first, investigators in Sacramento wondered if that someone was a hunter, one who had accidentally left something behind. Then another cow head appeared nearby not long after, followed over the next few months by a series of gruesome packages containing dead goats, chickens, rats, fish, lambs and even a tortoise, according to the Sacramento Bee.

In most cases, the carcasses being left around California’s capital city are headless, but strangely blood free, aside from one instance in which a package contained bowls of what was described as “bloody oatmeal,” the Bee reported.

Since the first cow head was discovered in December, authorities have logged at least a dozen instances of mutilated animals being found around the city, often near train tracks, according to NBC affiliate KCRA.

The killings almost always involve livestock, and never cats and dogs, investigators say.

In March, the Humane Society offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the mutilations.

“These animals were mutilated and killed for no apparent reason and discarded as though they were trash,” the Humane Society’s Eric Sakach said at the time. “We are hopeful that this reward will bring forward anyone with information about these disturbing crimes.”

But more than six months after the killings began, authorities say they still don’t know who, or what, they’re dealing with.

Gina Knepp, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento Department of Animal Control, told Reuters that some packages have included bloody dollar bills, oil and seeds that are known to be used in some Afro-Caribbean religions.

And yet, she admits, investigators are stumped.

“It’s bizarre,” Knepp said. “We don’t know if it’s religion; we don’t know if we have a sick individual in our community that simply likes to cut the heads off animals and dump them where people can see them.”

On Monday, the city released surveillance footage that appears to show a woman dropping off bags that included a beheaded goat carcass, as well as red hens, a rat and a catfish.

The woman, who struggled with the weight of the object, can be seen getting out of a white van and dropping off the packages before getting back into the vehicle less than a minute later and driving away.