The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : January 2016 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : January 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Man in South Suburban Lansing Kept a 200 Pound Alligator at His House for Over Two Decades

A man in south suburban Lansing kept an alligator at his house for over two decades without neighbors knowing, according to authorities.

The 6-foot-long alligator spent most of its 26 years in a cage of the basement of Charles Price’s house, according to Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Chris Young.

However, Price "put it out periodically in his back yard. No one knew he had it, no one had ever seen it,” IDNR Sgt. Bill Shannon told The Chicago Tribune Saturday.

The animal was noticed earlier this month by an appliance repairman who had been working in Price's basement, Young said. The worker noticed something moving in a covered container, so he lifted the cover, took photos of the reptile and contacted Lansing Police Department's animal control.

Shannon got word of the alligator and contacted conservation police Officer Roberto Macias and an alligator specialist known as "Bob."

"It was every bit of 200 pounds," Shannon told the Tribune.

Lansing police Chief Dennis Murrin Jr. also told the publication: "In 25 years, I've never had anything like it.”


The Recent Death of a Beloved Turtle Has Caused the Entire Country of Vietnam to Mourn

According to the New York Times, media outlets in Vietnam are reporting that the giant turtle known as Cu Rua, which translates to Great Grandfather despite being female, has died.

The event happened about a week ago, and while it is unknown exactly how old the animal was, the cause is believed to be natural.

The death is particularly meaningful to the Vietnamese who believe she was the incarnation of a sacred figure from the 15th century.

The spiritual connection is significant, with one local noting, "People say the turtle's death is bad luck, and a way for the gods to show that something's about to happen."

Cu Rua was also only one of four known members of the Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtles species to still be alive on Earth.

The dwindling number of survivors is a concern for conservationists who have tried—but thus far failed—to propagate the species in order to prevent extinction.

The animal's remains will be embalmed and eventually displayed.


Meet Dr. Evan Antin, the Handsome Veterinarian, Who is Melting Hearts All Over the Internet

The bond that humans and animals share is one of the most unique, most precious ties that exists.

And while most of us who have pets realize the importance of this, there are those who go a step further in life and make it their passion — and mission — to help as many animals as they can.

I’m talking, of course, about all the heroic veterinary doctors out there! In addition to saving lives, they see the intrinsic value in each and every pet, or even wild animal, that they meet — like this doctor, who performs miracles on pets who were once paralyzed.

And then there are others, like Dr. Evan Antin, who dedicate their lives to understanding the rarest, most endangered, and exotic species.

Dr. Evan has in fact been making rounds lately on the Internet for a very curious reason — but when you read his story, you won’t be surprised to see why.

Meet Evan Antin: California-based veterinary doctor, exotic animal veterinarian, and all-around animal expert.

He has recently been making rounds on the Internet, after being named People magazine’s “Sexiest Beast Charmer” last year.

Other than being devilishly handsome, the 31-year-old vet has an impressive résumé.

He previously spent several years traveling between six continents to treat animals, and received his doctorate from the Colorado State University in veterinary sciences, before settling down at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA, to practice exotic medicine.

To his curious newfound fame, he tells WABC, “I thought it was pretty funny. I’ve always strived to be the sexiest something, and so I’m glad it could be [as] a vet.”

“I’ve gotten a little bit of teasing from my colleagues, a lot of attention locally, and a few more patients than normal since the magazine came out,” he told Source, a blog at Colorado State University.
Helping save animals means everything to Dr. Evan.

He loves snakes in particular, even though he used to stay away from them as a child.

“They’ve always fascinated me,” he told BuzzFeed. “And a big part of that is the fact that they’re basically living dinosaurs.”

To him, there’s nothing more sacred than the bond between animals and human beings, calling it “one of the most special things on the planet.”

Ever since he was young, he was always on the lookout for new, exciting, and exotic species.

According to his page on the veterinary hospital’s site, “he grew up spending the majority of his childhood in search of native wildlife including snakes, turtles, and insects.”
Dr. Evan currently lives with his dog, Henry, his cat, Willy, his savannah monitor lizard, Matilda, and several tropical fish, and he is happily engaged to his girlfriend.

In his spare time, he loves to lift weights, hike, and snowboard. He also does some modeling on the side. No surprise there!

But his truest passion in life is interacting with exotic animals in their natural habitats.

He has had extensive experience researching and interacting with animals in Central America, Australia, Africa, Southeast Asia, and North America.

His knowledge of varied ecosystems and fauna is what makes him a top expert in his field.

His day-to-day responsibilities include caring for both small, delicate animals and larger, more dangerous species.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Veteran with PTSD Reunited with Military Bomb-Sniffing Dog Partner

Lance Cpl. David Pond and his military working dog, Pablo, were split up when Pond's service ended in 2011. The Marine went home to Colorado, and the dog moved on to stateside assignments.

This was tough on the military veteran who spent seven months in Afghanistan with his military bomb-sniffing dog partner searching for and finding bombs that could take out a platoon.

During that time together, Pond and Pablo survived a number of combat patrols and over 30 firefights.

But now, they were separated and the Marine didn't know if he would ever be reunited with his military dog.

"He was my rock, my foundation," Pond, 27, said of the Belgian Malinois who became his best friend and protector. "He saved my life more than once."

Veteran Faces New Battle at Home

After Lance Cpl. David Pond returned to the U.S., not only did he have to deal with being separated from his military dog, but he was also taking on a new battle.

The Marine veteran was diagnosed with PTSD and also dealing with a traumatic brain injury. It was at this time that Pond made up his mind. He was going to find and reunite with Pablo.

Unlike many veterans who return home and do not get a second chance to be with the military working dog they served with overseas, Pond's story does have a happy ending.

But it wasn't an easy journey. It took four years to reunite with his military dog. The Marine veteran wrote countless letters to politicians, started an online petition and had to cut through a lot of red tape.

In the end, it was well worth it as Lance Cpl. David Pond and Pablo now spend the days together in a much more peaceful manner than they did in Afghanistan.

To learn more about the Marine veteran with PTSD reuniting with his military dog, watch the NBC News video below:


General Mills Has Welcomed a New Member to its Family:Trix Bunny Replaced with Real Rabbit

There is a new silly rabbit hopping on the box of Trix Cereal.

Meet Cinnabun,  a Holland lop rabbit, was named the new honorary Trix Rabbit on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Houston.  And now, Cinnabon will be featured on commemorative boxes of Trix cereal to celebrate that the cereal no longer contains artificial flavors or colors from artificial sources.

So the original rabbit hasn't disappeared, but the truly nostalgic will likely remain sad that the real Trix of their childhood, with clunky attempts to replicate fruit shapes, was replaced by boring old spheres in 2006. Cinnabun's owner, Natalie Tran, is excited to have such a suddenly illustrious pet, saying, "It's kind of unbelievable that they picked him out of thousands of bunnies".

"I'm obviously biased, but I always knew Cinnabun was an especially playful, cute and lovable bunny", said Tran.

He'll be featured on limited-edition Trix cereal boxes.

The move coincides with the company's plan to eliminate artificial flavors and colors from its cereals, a goal which 75 percent of its cereals have already met. Having a real rabbit mascot reinforces the idea of an authentically made cereal.

This little furball is hopping for joy!


Friday, January 29, 2016

Saudi Arabia: Two Giant Monitor Lizards Were Filmed Fiercely Battling in the Middle of a Dusty Road

Two monitor lizards were filmed fiercely battling in the middle of a dusty road.

The animals were spotted grappling with each other for nearly three minutes as huge buses, tuk tuks and motorbikes passed just metres away.

A clip shows the lizards, which are known for fighting over food or females, on their hind legs as they compete for victory.

They can be seen thrashing each other with their long tales and even pushing each other to the ground during the three-minute war.

At one point, one of the animals appears to have the upper hand and forces the other into the dust as a bus roars by.

The fight eventually comes to a pause as one manages to scamper away.

But - with the other hot on its heels - the fight continues in the sandy verge and the clip ends with lizards still clutching each other.

The footage, which is believed to be from Saudi Arabia, has been viewed nearly 5,000 times having been uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday.

Monitor lizards are known for their long necks and powerful tails and claws. 


Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Teenager Allegedly Planned to Pack a Kangaroo with Explosives, Paint it with an Islamic State Symbol and Set it Loose in a Terror Plot

A teenager allegedly planned to pack a kangaroo with explosives, paint it with an Islamic State symbol and set it loose on police officers in an Anzac Day terror plot, a court has heard.

Sevdet Ramadan Besim, 19, is also accused of plotting to run down and behead a police officer at a Veterans' Day ceremony in Melbourne last year.

He has been ordered to stand trial in the Victorian Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to four terror charges.

Besim, from Hallam, in Melbourne's outer south-east, was arrested along with four alleged conspirators in April 2015 - a week before Anzac Day. He has been in custody since.

Prosecutors alleged on Thursday that he was discussing the planned attack with a British accomplice as well as doing online searches about Gallipoli landings commemoration events.

He allegedly said he was “ready to fight these dogs on there [sic] doorstep”, according to court documents.

“I'd love to take out some cops,” Besim is alleged to have written. “I was gonna meet with them then take some heads.”

The ABC also quoted a document presented by prosecutors that summarized the alleged conversation about the kangaroo bomb.

Besim allegedly sent an image on 20 March 2015 saying “look what I got ahaha”, the court documents said.

'The conversation continues with BESIM detailing what he did that day and they have a general discussion around animals and wildlife in Australia including a suggestion that a kangaroo could be packed with C4 explosive, painted with the IS symbol and set loose on police officers.'

Besim allegedly also said: 'Main thing I guess is that I send the dog to hell'.

The 19-year-old has been in custody since 18 April, when 200 heavily armed officers swooped on the city's south-east, arresting five teens and seizing knives and swords.

He will appear in the Supreme Court charged with planning an Islamic State group-inspired terrorist attack at services in Melbourne and the neighboring city of Dandenong to mark Anzac Day.

The campaign for the 1915 Gallipoli landings in Turkey was the The campaign was the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the First World War.

Police have alleged that Besim was motivated by an extremist ideology and had expressed support for terrorist organizations, particularly the Islamic State movement.
Besim faces a potential life sentence in prison if convicted.

A British court in October sentenced a 15-year-old boy from Blackburn, northwestern England, for his part in the ANZAC Day plot.

In passing sentence in the Manchester Crown Court, Judge John Saunders said the teenager, who can't be named because of his age, would only be released when he was no longer a danger to the public.

Saunders handed down a life sentence with no chance of parole for five years. 

Sevdet Ramadan Besim, 19, (pictured) allegedly planned to pack a kangaroo with explosives, paint it with an Islamic State symbol and set it loose on police officers in an Anzac Day terror plot, a court has heard.

Multiple photos of Besim on his social media pages show him posing with one raised index finger, a symbol that other ISIS supporters have also frequently used.

He has been ordered to stand trial in the Victorian Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to four terror charges.

He will appear in the Supreme Court charged with planning an Islamic State group-inspired terrorist attack at services in Melbourne, pictured is the Dawn Service on Anzac Day in 2015.


Did You Know That There Are Some Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Wet and Dry Food?

Some cats are very finicky eaters and will only eat a certain kind of food.  Some cats like wet food better while others like dry food better.  There are benefits of both wet and dry food, but if your cat is not a finicky eater, the choice is yours and your cats!  So what’s a cat owner to do?

What is the real difference between wet and dry food?

Both canned and dry foods are (if you buy a high quality food) nutritionally complete. The biggest difference between the two is moisture content with canned food having a much higher moisture content.  Many cats do seem to find wet food more palatable and this can be especially important if you have a cat with a finicky appetite.

Wet food is beneficial as it has a higher water content

Due to its higher water content, wet or canned food can be of particular benefit for cats with kidney problems (it helps keep them better hydrated) or lower urinary tract disease (it helps produce more dilute urine that can alleviate or reduce the frequency of symptoms).

The higher water content may make it easier to put your kitty on a diet (if necessary) because most cans of cat food contain roughly the same number of calories as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dry food, but in a larger volume of food, so the cat may feel fuller at meal time.

The benefits of dry food are the following:

Dry food is good for your cat’s teeth

Dry kibble can be more convenient and many vets feel that dry food is better for a cat's teeth. However, dry food is not a substitute for dental care and most cats, regardless of whether they have eaten canned food or dry food, will need professional dental care at some point in their lives.

Dry food can be left out all day

Dry food is also convenient for cat owners who leave their cats at home alone every day and want them to be able to graze during the day.  Some cats that are not big eaters will nibble at it all day until they are full.  However, if your cat is overweight or tends to eat a lot, only leave out a certain amount of dry food during the day so that he doesn’t gorge when you aren’t around!

If you feed your cats’ dry food, make sure that your kitty drinks water

If you feed your cat dry food, he or she should drink at least one cup of water for every ten pounds of body weight daily. In warm weather, your cat will need even more. Cats on canned food diets only need to consume one-third to one-half that amount of water.

Ultimately, wet or dry food is up to you and your kitty

The real decision should come down to your cat and your lifestyle.   If your cat is happy with both, feed your kitty wet food in the morning and leave dry food out all day.   If your cat only likes dry, then just make sure to have plenty of water for your cat due to the lack of water in the dry food.  If you feed your cat a premium cat food, with very few additives and enough crude protein, he or she is likely to thrive whether the food is wet or dry.


Why Bringing Home a Feral Cat May Not Be a Good Idea

Every winter we see articles reminding us to bring our pets in from the cold and to make sure that outdoor animals are given the care needed to survive the elements. If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, you may even be tempted to take one home with you. While this instinct may come from a good place, doing so might not be the best thing for these wild cats.

Since many people who care for cats keep them pampered indoors, it is hard to see these furry friends living outdoors. But in fact, feral cats are often just as safe and healthy as our own house cats. It’s been shown that feral cats have equally low rates of disease as indoor cats. The lean physique of some feral cats sometimes leads people to believe that they are starving or ill, but studies find that feral cats have healthy body weights and fat distribution. After all, keep in mind that outdoor cats tend to live much more active lives than the house cats who sleep at the side of our beds.

You might be asking, but wouldn’t all cats prefer to live in an apartment and sleep next to you at night? In the case of feral cats, the answer is no. The fact is, cats that have spent their lives in the wild rarely enjoy the confines of your walls. The ASPCA currently estimates that there about 20 million free-roaming cats in this country. That figure includes a mix of truly feral cats, semi-socialized cats, and lost or abandoned cats. These cats can adapt and thrive outdoors, but when temperatures drop below freezing, there are some things that you can do to help them stay warm – without bringing them inside.

How Can You Help Feral Cats?


One of the best ways to help cats is volunteer with a rescue organization that helps manage feral cat colonies. Colonies are groups of cats that live in the same area and form a sort of family bond. Some volunteer groups work to provide shelter and food for colonies to help them get by. Although feral cats are usually very wary of  people, they can come to trust volunteers – or at least, trust them enough to happily accept much-needed supplies.

Make a Shelter

You can even build a feral cat shelter yourself by constructing insulated shelter boxes to help to keep them warm and dry even on the coldest and snowiest days. The video tutorial below will walk you through the necessary steps. Smaller shelters work best, as they help to recirculate cats’ own body heat. Also, be sure that cats don’t become snowed into their shelters by keeping doorways free of blowing snow and drifts.


Another way to help your community cats is to participate in Trap-Neuter-Release, or TNR, programs during the warmer months. This will help keep their populations under control in the winter. Experts debate whether TNR should be done in the winter since it requires a portion of a cat’s winter coat to be shaved and the trapping process may expose the cats to the winter elements. If TNR is attempted in the winter months, be sure that adequate shelter is provided through each step of the trapping and recovery processes.

What to Know if You Do Bring an Outdoor Cat Home

Since there are literally millions of homeless cats on the street, it can be difficult to be sure which ones are truly feral, and which ones are abandoned house cats. If you do decide to bring an outdoor cat into your home, know that introducing him or her to home life can be a lot of work, and stressful for the both of you. Cats are generally timid about being put into a new home, even if they have already lived indoors their whole lives. So imagine what it’s like to go from a life of freedom to one of walls.

If you bring a cat home, it’s very important that you make visiting a vet the first stop. Have your vet check for worms and parasites (fleas and ticks), test for ringworm and lice, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, rabies and common parasites, and of course, be sure to spay or neuter as soon as possible. Most importantly, make sure that you do plenty of research beforehand. Making your cat feel comfortable can happen over a week or over a month. If your gut is telling you to bring an animal in then be prepared to put in the work.

Otherwise, keep in mind that you can help even more cats by organizing a group of volunteers to aid feral cats, while allowing them to keep their freedom.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Warm Springs Ranch: Join Us in Celebrating the Debut of Mac, the Newest Budweiser Clydesdale

Boonville, Mo. - Budweiser welcomed a new foal to the Clydesdale family on Tuesday.

The new foal was named Mac, in honor of the Budweiser Clydesdales being the most macro of all icons. The name also serves as a nod to the company's tagline "proudly a macro beer."

Mac was the first foal born in 2016 at the Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville, Mo. The foal joins the group of more than 160 Clydesdales at the ranch.

Warm Springs Ranch: Join us in celebrating the debut of Mac, the newest Budweiser Clydesdale. He was born at 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday, January 26. Mom and baby are both happy and healthy!


CBP Officers at Miami International Airport Arrested a Passenger Attempting to Smuggle Nine Live Birds in His Groin Area

Miami, Florida  - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers working at Miami International Airport (MIA) arrested a passenger attempting to smuggle nine live birds. The passenger was arriving on a flight from Havana, Cuba on Jan. 9.

CBP officers selected the individual for further examination. During inspection, CBP officers discovered that the passenger was concealing six birds in a fanny bag and three birds in the groin area.  Both U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) were on-site for the investigation.

The individual was arrested and the birds were turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Miami Quarantine Station.  The smuggling of live animals into the United States is illegal per federal law.

“In addition to enforcing both immigration laws and customs laws at the border, CBP enforces laws for many agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Miami International Airport Port Director Christopher Maston.

The men and women of CBP are responsible for enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations. On a typical day, CBP welcomes nearly 1 million visitors, screens more than 67,000 cargo containers, arrests more than 1,100 individuals and seizes nearly 6 tons of illicit drugs.

To see more U.S. Customs and Border Protection activity in Florida, visit @CBPFlorida on Twitter.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.


100-Year-Old Woman in Miami Said She Woke Up to Find an Exotic Animal on Her Chest

100-year-old woman in Miami said she woke up to find an animal on her chest, according to a veterinarian caring for the unusual creature.

"I was awaken by a phone call at 2 a.m., which is never good news, and it was from my terrified mother-in-law," said Carlos Aguaras.

Aguaras said he rushed over, and found the animal that had terrified his mother-in-law. The only other person in the home at the time was her live-in caregiver.

It was a kinkajou, an animal usually found in the rainforests of Central and South America, said Veterinarian Dr. Don J. Harris, who works for the South Dade Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center.

Aguaras said the animal was in the attic when he arrived, and they lured it out with food. They got it inside a cage and brought it to Dr. Harris, who said he knew the animal belonged to someone.

"No undomesticated wild animal like this would curl up on a woman's chest to go to sleep," Dr. Harris explained.

The animal, whose name is Banana, was being cared for at South Dade Animal Hospital, where the medical center operates, but will be reunited with its owner Wednesday morning.

There's no word on how the animal got loose, but the woman's family has a message for the owners. "Put it in the hands of the experts, but it's not intended to be a pet in a home," Aguaras said.

Kinkajous typically spend most of their time in trees. They have the ability to turn their feet backwards to run easily in either direction, along branches or up tree trunks. Kinkajous also often hang from their tails. According to National Geographic, they are sometimes called "honey bears" because they raid bees' nests by slurping honey from the hive.


Hungarian Artist and Photographer Flóra Borsi Explores the Human-Animal Connection in a Series of Manipulated Photos

The relationship between humans and animals is one that many artists have explored since the beginning of time. And since people haven’t stopped loving animals both domestic and wild, it’s still a theme that draws in art-lovers and animal-lovers alike.

Hungarian artist and photographer Flóra Borsi explores the human-animal connection in a series of manipulated photos called Animeyed, where she “shares” an eye and creates a double portrait of herself and the animal.

The results are startling and beautiful, and Flóra manages to create a distinct character in each portrait, changing her hair and makeup to reflect the appearance of the animal.

While animals are of course lovely to look at, capturing them in art is also an important reminder to viewers that they share a planet with us, and that we must remember their needs as well as our own.

Like the photographer who captures endangered animals to raise awareness for their protection, Flóra’s photos remind us that we each have a deep connection to nature, even if we don’t always remember that.

To capture the personality of the animal, and to make herself blend into the animal’s appearance, Flóra uses makeup and effects.
Lacy ears and dramatic “cat-eye” eyeliner recall a slinky black cat.

Orange hair and lipstick match this goldfish’s shiny scales. To line up her eye and the animal’s, Flóra uses digital manipulation. So the fish isn’t out of the water, don’t worry!

And while the photos are beautiful, she still retains a sense of humor, like this fishy portrait, complete with matching hair!


Her portraits each have a distinct feeling and character to them, shaped by the color and texture of the animal, as well as the associations that we humans have with them. This white dove, for example, suggests purity.

Flóra herself also seems to become different in the presence of the different animals, and especially thanks to the makeup and costuming.

She captures the moods we associate with the animals perfectly, like this nervous rabbit.