Maybe Howard Brookins Jr. will think twice before he criticizes squirrels again.
In October, the alderman for Chicago’s 21st ward went on a public tirade about “aggressive squirrels,” griping that the furry critters kept eating through the city-supplied garbage cans.
But Brookins had no idea just how “aggressive” squirrels could be. This month, the alderman found himself in the hospital with a skull fracture after a squirrel leapt into the path of Brookins’ bike, wrapping itself in the spokes and causing him to flip over the handlebars, The Star Tribune reports.
“I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge,” he told the Tribune.
Some outlets, like the Chicago Sun Times, covered the incident but simply referred to it as a “freak accident,” apparently afraid to call radical squirrel terrorism by name.
Brookins posted about the accident on Sunday to announce that he would be unable to attend events in the near future as he was still recovering from his serious injuries.
Sadly, it appears that the squirrel did not survive the incident, based on the photo that Brookins posted.
The alderman has made the image his Facebook cover photo, as if to serve as a warning for squirrels who may try the same thing.
Some in New Jersey think declawing is a faux-paws.
And now, the state could be the first in the U.S. to ban it.
On Nov. 14, an assembly committee approved a bill that would ban veterinarians in the Garden State from carrying out the procedure, deeming it a criminal act of animal cruelty. If the bill passes the legislature, vets and pet owners who violate the law would be punishable by an up to $1,000 fine and six months in prison, according to the bill.
“For humans not to respect the integrity of the animal and the animal’s body is criminal,” Linda Rosenthal, an assembly sponsor for a similar bill in New York, said during a press conference in May. “However, it’s still allowed, it’s an option, and that’s why we aim to make it illegal.”
People declaw their cats to prevent them from scratching, according to The Humane Society.The procedure involves cutting bone from the animal’s toes, which could have harmful side effects like nerve damage and bone spurs.
“Too often, people think that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cat’s nails — the equivalent of having your fingernails trimmed,” The Humane Society writes on its site. “Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”
Jim Nelson, a New Jersey vet, does not think the procedure is cruel as long as it’s done properly.“I don’t think it’s any more pain inducing than spaying a cat or neutering a cat and they recover from it quickly,” he told ABC6, an ABC affiliate in Philadelphia. “I don’t think it’s inhumane.”
Other vets believe that the procedure can save cats exhibiting destructive scratching behavior from being euthanized.
For instance, NJ.com reports that Assemblyman Parker Space voted against the bill based on his own experience with his cat whose claws were catastrophic to his home, causing $600 worth of damage.
“It was either getting declawed or going back to the shelter,” Space told the outlet.
Many vets, however, do stand by the belief that declawing is unkind.
“It’s a disfiguring, inhumane and misguided procedure,” Eileen Jefferson, a New York veterinarian who does not perform the procedure, told The Associated Press.
A Californian cat named “Fat Boy” has a lot to be thankful for this past Thanksgiving.
The black-and-white feline was rescued from the top of a 45-foot high power pole in Fresno, where he had been stuck for nine days, The Fresno Bee reports.
Fat Boy’s owner, Andrew Perez, wasn’t sure how the cat got up there, but guessed that a neighborhood dog may have scared him.
“We were calling his name, and he was looking at us, and he’d just meow, Perez told ABC 7.
The cat’s human family was worried for their pet, so the fire department and other local agencies referred them to power company Pacific Gas and Electric, according to ABC News.
“It’s not a simple thing to climb a power pole and get a cat down,” PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles told the Fresno Bee. “The first thing we have to do is de-energize the line – it’s a 12,000-volt line. The safety of the two guys who went up on the pole, and the crew member on the ground, has to be our first priority every time.
He said they usually “wait out” cats on poles, and the felines typically come down on their own, but after Fat Boy had been up there so long, they had to take action. In order for workers to get him, the company had to shut off power to about 250 homes for a few hours.
Fat Boy seemed healthy, but since he had gone so long without food or water, veterinary workers gave the feline electrolytes and made sure he had food before returning him to his family.
Welcome home, Fat Boy.
A man is filing a formal complaint against a Popeyes restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, for refusing to serve him because of his guide dog, Yolette.
Willie Richards says he lost his eyesight 20 years ago in an accident and needs Yolette to get around.
Although the American with Disabilities Act allows guide dogs to go anywhere the public is allowed, Richards said the franchise owner at his local Popeyes refused to follow the law.
“He pointed to a sign, but we explained to him that’s for regular dogs, but this is a service dog,” Richards told CBS New York.
He added that the owner demanded documentation from him, which is also against the law.
Willie Richards said a Popeyes restaurant in Brooklyn refused to serve him because of his guide dog.
Even after a police officer explained the law, the restaurant owner still refused to admit Richards and Yolette, according to RawStory.com.
CBS New York reached the owner, but didn’t identify him by name. He said he stands by his decision to deny service to a man with a service dog, citing health concerns and questioning whether Richards was really blind.
“We have to protect ourselves too. I mean, the man walked in with a dog, no tags on the dog, no nothing,” he said.
According to an FAQ page at ADA.gov, service animals “must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. Individuals with service animals may not be segregated from other customers.”
Richards and a witness have filed a claim against the restaurant with New York City’s human rights commission.
The Popeyes restaurant in question is franchise-owned, but the chain’s corporate office released a statement to HuffPost about the incident:
“We welcome every guest at Popeyes and want everyone to have the best experience possible, and franchises are required to follow all federal, state and local regulations. The manager and owner of this restaurant are trying to work with this guest to address the concerns directly.”