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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Harwood Heights Trustees Approved Revisions to an Existing Animal Cruelty Ordinance that Make it Illegal to Confine an Animal without Access to Shelter

Temperatures in the Chicago area have plunged below freezing, and with months of winter still ahead, officials in Harwood Heights have taken new steps to protect animals from extremely cold weather.

Harwood Heights trustees, at the Dec. 8 village board meeting, approved revisions to an existing animal cruelty ordinance that make it illegal to confine an animal in a way that denies it access to shelter. The revised ordinance makes it an act of cruelty to improperly care for animals by not protecting them from the weather. It also adds to the definition of "abuse and neglect" by including animal owners who leave pets exposed to prolonged periods of unsheltered exposure to extreme cold or heat.

The village already had an ordinance in the books to address the treatment of animals, but Trustee Therese Schuepfer said it lacked clear definitions of several important terms when determining the state of animal care.

"The amendment added new definitions to reduce any ambiguity," Schuepfer said. "There were not precipitating events that prompted this change, rather the amendment of this ordinance is a reflection of our ongoing attempt to provide clear statements of village ordinances."

In Harwood Heights, the updated anti-cruelty ordinance gives the village more authority to enforce measures to protect pets. Pet owners who get caught leaving what the village defines as a "companion animal" — a cat, dog or horse — outside in the cold, for a period of time long enough to cause the animal to suffer, could face penalties, including fines and losing custody of their pet.

Police officers, under the updated ordinance, can now enter private property to investigate complaints of animal cruelty. If a pet owner refuses entry, authorities can get a search warrant to enter, according to the ordinance. Mistreated animals can be confiscated by the village, and pet owners who violate the animal cruelty law can face a fine of between $500 and $5,000 for each violation. The fines would be decided by an administrative hearing officer.

The action was approved unanimously as part of the consent agenda.

Determining a pet's threshold for cold weather is simple, according to Dr. Robyn Barbiers, president of the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago. She said if it's too cold for a human, then it's too cold for an animal. Different dog breeds are able to handle cold weather better than others, such as a husky, which is protected by the winter chill by its dense fur designed for cold climates, Barbiers said. But many dogs with thinner hair, like pit bulls and greyhounds, for example, get cold faster.

"What many people sometimes don't realize is that pets get frostbite on their extremities like ears and feet, just like humans," Barbiers said.

Frostbite, in part caused by the cold slowing a pet's blood flow, is just one of the dangers cold conditions pose to pets. Road salt and ice can become lodged in the paws of cats and dogs, causing discomfort and sometimes cuts if the ice is sharp enough, according to Barbiers.

She said cats need protection from the cold, too. Barbiers advises people to call their local animal control if they see a cat roaming outdoors in the cold and to try to contain the animal in a garage or porch until help arrives.

"If it's a free-roaming cat, it has to be picked up," Barbiers said. "A lot of stray cats can be adopted, or if they're feral, they can be placed into colonies."

She said extremely cold conditions, which the Chicago area has been experiencing in December, can be especially dangerous for dogs, cats and other animals whose owners leave them in a yard with no shelter from the wind and snow.

"Unfortunately, some pet owners view animals as property and not as part of the family," Barbiers said. "Any pets left outside need adequate shelter, and that doesn't mean a simple wooden dog house, but one with proper bedding that's raised off the ground and protects from the wind and wet weather."

Other tips on helping pets survive the winter offered by Barbiers include honking the horn of a car before starting the engine (a small animal could have crawled inside for warmth) and cleaning up any antifreeze spills to protect pets and wildlife from poisoning.


How To Send A Care Package To A Dog Serving Overseas

Military Working Dogs (MWD) are a vital part of the US Armed Forces. These highly trained pups work side by side with their handlers in war zones as trackers or sentries, in search and rescue, explosive detection and so much more. Interested in sending these hard working canines a little TLC? Below we’ve listed several ways you can send or contribute to care packages for these well deserving pups and their handlers…

**Disclaimer – It’s important to contact each organization before you send your donation or package to verify shipping details.

The United States War Dog Association, Inc. 

This non-profit organization has been sending care packages to US military dogs all over the world since 2003. President of the organization, Ron Aiello, told BarkPost that packages are sent all year round. To send specific items, visit their website here for a full list of approved donations. You can also make a financial contribution by donating here.

To read more on this story, click here: How To Send A Care Package To A Dog Serving Overseas


An Artist Recreates the Wild Wild West Out of Discarded Farm Equipment

Recreating the wild wild west out of discarded farm equipment, South Dakota-based artist John Lopez’s amazing metal sculptures will blow your mind! Check them out below:

Eco-friendly and full of personality, these welded figures perfectly capture the iconography of the American West — a bison, a horse with a plow, a Texas Longhorn — a past reconfigured out of recycled materials.

Lopez began his career as a bronze sculptor, but realized the versatility of scrap metal when he forged a family grave for his deceased aunt. It creates a unique aesthetic, a kind of mishmash punk sensibility in his beautiful and imposing artwork.

It pays respect to the past while also playing with the idea of renewing and reconfiguring familiar imagery into something completely different. Where have you seen a cowboy riding a dinosaur before?

“My favorite part about these pieces is the texture,” explains Lopez. “I just start grabbin’ stuff from the pile and welding it, in and if you weld enough of the same thing on over and over it creates this really cool texture that I’ve never seen in these kinds of pieces before. And I think that’s what draws people in.”

Blurring the line between organic, artificial, and symbol, Lopez’s art is sure to leave an impact! It’s striking how well they blend into the Midwestern scenery.


San Francisco International Airport Introduced “Lilou” the Therapy Pig

San Francisco International Airport introduced “Lilou” the therapy pig this week as the newest member of the airport’s Wag Brigade. And, not surprisingly, she's the first airport therapy pig in the United States, airport spokesman Doug Yakel said, adding that he's sure she'll be a "big hit" with travelers.

Lilou happily let passengers pet her pink snout and her back (all the while wearing a pilot’s cap and a blue tutu) while walking through the busy terminals. At one point on Monday, Lilou did circles and ate treats to entertain the crowds. Lilou wasn't immediately available to snort and oink for an interview, but of course, she has an Instagram page, where she touted her new gig: "City pig & the 1st pig in SF SPCA AAT program."

One traveler tweeted that she was more excited to meet Lilou than any celebrity.

SFO launched the Wag Brigade in 2013 and Lilou is the first pig to join the ranks of friendly dogs, named Bailey and Biggie, to make “passenger travel more enjoyable.” The dogs — and now, one pig — are trained through the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and certified through their Animal Assisted Therapy Program.

SFSPCA spokeswoman Krista Maloney said the idea for the pig came straight from the swine's owner, Tatyana Danilova.

"She was very interested in having Lilou become certified as a therapy animal," Maloney said. So except for the "sit" and "down" commands, Lilou jumped through the same training hoops that dogs do, and passed with flying colors, Maloney said.

"She's friendly and she's pretty well trained," Maloney said, adding that Lilou also visits hospitals and senior homes to give comfort there as well. "She's also housebroken, which is pretty important in an airport."


Friday, December 9, 2016

9-Week-Old Goldendoodle to Become the Trump Family’s First Dog

There is a long and storied history of presidential pets and the roles that they play in an administration. Checkers, a cocker spaniel, helped (briefly) save Richard Nixon’s career. The Clintons’ chocolate Lab, Buddy, and cat, Socks, provided ample, family-friendly distractions from less pleasant matters. Not content to live a life of leisure, President George H.W. Bush’s springer spaniel, Millie, “wrote” a best-seller called Millie’s Book that offered insights into the life of the first family. Martin Van Buren had tiger cubs. Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt had bears, and Calvin Coolidge had a pygmy hippopotamus! Presidents have frequently cottoned on to the pleasure of pet ownership, not least for their warm and fuzzy public relations opportunities. (After listening to Nixon’s “Checkers” speech, a tearful Mamie Eisenhower reportedly told her husband that any man who loves dogs has to be honest.) And perhaps the Trumps will be no different.

A Palm Beach–based philanthropist named Lois Pope told the Washington Post that she has been training a 9-week-old Goldendoodle to become the Trump family’s First Dog. Pope, who has named the puppy Patton, after General George Patton, the World War II general whom Trump often publicly admires (most recently in the installment of his “victory tour” in Cincinnati), said that she has known the family for the past 20 years. She even showed the president-elect a picture of the dog at Mar-A-Lago, she said, in the hopes that the family will take him on as a companion for their 10-year-old son, Barron, who will likely face a tough adjustment ahead. “It’s going to be hard for me to let him go,” Pope told the Post of Patton, who is to receive what she calls “hero dog training,” and who, at the time of their interview, was gnawing on a basket. “But I will do it. Because [Barron] is more important than I am.”

Trump’s camp has not issued any public decisions about Patton, but it may be worth noting that his family has a history of preferring to hunt animals rather than care for them. And while a Goldendoodle (a historically clever, friendly breed favored by young families who abhor shedding) is certainly on brand for a president-elect with a predilection for that particular metal, one has to wonder: Would a Trump endorsed ’doodle help that breed or hurt it? Back in 2009, pet owners fretted that an Obama-provoked spike in Portuguese water dog popularity would incite “101 Dalmatians syndrome.” At a dog park in lower Manhattan, one Goldendoodle owner wrinkled her nose at the suggestion that Trump would soon be synonymous with her pet. “God,” she said, “I hope not.”


Jacksonville, Florida Man Offering His Pickup Truck as Reward for Return of His Dog, Buddy Boy

A Jacksonville man desperate to find his missing dog is offering his pickup truck as a reward to whoever can reunite him with his beloved pet.

In a plea plastered across several Facebook pages, James O’Sicky announced he’ll hand over the 2002 GMC pickup in exchange for the safe return of his 3-year-old pit bull-boxer mix, Buddy Boy.

O’Sicky, 31, acknowledged Friday he can’t afford to part ways with the truck but said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Buddy Boy back.

“The truck is replaceable, the dog’s not,” he said.

He said Buddy Boy was nowhere to be found when he arrived at his New Berlin Road home between 1 and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“The only thing I can imagine is he jumped the fence going after a squirrel or something,” O’Sicky said.

Since getting the word out online Thursday, he said his phone has been buzzing nonstop with messages from friends and total strangers pledging their time and energy to help search.

None of the handful of sightings reported as of Friday afternoon had turned up any sign of the dog, O’Sicky said, but he’s not losing hope.

“It’s torn me up,” he said. “I try to keep my head up though.”

O’Sicky said Buddy Boy, who’s got a white bib and brindle coat and sometimes flashes an underbite, has been by his side since he was a puppy and traveled with him from New Jersey when the pair moved to Jacksonville.

He said for the past few days he’s been wracked by a mix of emotions.

On one hand, he’s worried about his constant companion; on the other, he’s been moved by the generosity and support from everyone who’s reached out.

“I can’t begin to thank all the people that are looking for my dog,” he said.

Garrett Pelican: (904) 359-4385


British Trained Racehorse Actinpieces, Refuses to be Ridden by a Male Jockey

British-trained racehorse Actinpieces only wants to be powered by a girl and refuses to be ridden by a male jockey.

"She's not too keen on men," her trainer Pamela Sly explains to CNN. "I've never had a horse who's been like this before."

Actinpieces is exclusively ridden by Gina Andrews or, if she's not available, then her little sister Bridget climbs into the saddle. When 18-year-old Jack tried to step in for his sisters, it didn't end well.

"She tried to buck him off as soon as he got on," Sly reveals, followed by a devilish laugh.

"When he went to get on her she tried to bite him," explains jockey Gina. "It's quite funny because she doesn't normally do it when I get on. She's only had women riders."

Jack shouldn't take it personally, Actinpieces is clearly a woman-only horse.

"If a man went up to her in the yard she'll put her ears back," she explains. "It's a bit weird.

"There is an old boy, Bryan Drabner, who grooms and looks after her every day. She's all right with him but I think she's confused because he's got long hair!

"I also had Speciosa, who won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, and she did not like people in her box at all whether it was male or female.

"She would turn her backside on you and have a go but that was how she was and we managed."

Cambridgeshire-based Sly did initially ask a male jockey to try out Actinpieces when she made her debut over hurdles last season.

"The boys didn't want to rider her," Sly explains. "They said she was lethal. 

She wasn't very easy to break in.

"Gina has been riding for me since she was 16 and I asked her if she wanted to ride her and she said 'course I will.'

"When Gina goes out to get on her she always puts out her hand to let her have a sniff before she gets on. She's fine."

Jockeys are riders for hire and many dash up and down the UK for as many as 10 rides a day.

This peripatetic lifestyle means it is hard to build relationships with horses -- let alone any humans -- but Andrews says Actinpiece's unique gender preference means they have built up an unusual rapport.

"I ride her at home and do some schooling with her as well as racing," the 24-year-old explains. "I've got to know her and it tends to work better.
"Different riders get on with some horses better than others but it depends on the way you ride and adapt to the horse.

"I enjoy riding her. I'm not a professional jockey so I don't ride that much. Pam has been very loyal to me and not taken me off her which she could quite easily have when she realized she was quite good."

Actinpieces was first past the post three times over the hurdles last season and is showing promise over jumps this winter.

"We really want to try and win a chase with her," says Sly who also owns the five-year-old. "She ran really well over fences at Wetherby but jumped the last, slipped and unshipped Gina."

Winning Return
Actinpieces resumed her racing career at Wetherby on Wednesday.
And, beating the odds-on favorite ZeroShadesofGrey at the Yorkshire racecourse, Gina guided her singular steed across the line first to take the win.

"She won't be running in races like the Grand National or the Cheltenham Gold Cup but she's progressing," Andrews adds. "She's still one of the best I've ever ridden.

"She is temperamental. She only gives you one chance. You have to get it right the first time or that's it.

"You could say she's a bit of a woman -- she likes things her way!"
The feisty gray filly may be tricky to ride but she is also exacting and that just may be why a woman's touch works best.