Giraffe helps Missouri man propose to girlfriend
A man in southwest Missouri proposed to his girlfriend with the help of a very, very tall friend.
Zookeepers at the Dickerson Park Zoo on Sunday attached Cody Hall’s engagement ring to a lanyard and hung it around the neck of a giraffe at the zoo.
Hall’s girlfriend, Makayla Blakey, thought she was getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo when the couple approached the giraffe enclosure.
“They gave us this spiel about how we are going to feed the giraffe and help participate in a training exercise,” Hall said. “They showed us the training exercise, getting Mili (the giraffe) to point at a big tennis ball with her nose.
“They gave Makayla a tree branch to feed the giraffe and when it craned its neck out, the ring was hanging.”
Hall then got down on one knee and asked Blakey to marry him.
“Marriage was something we had talked about, so I knew she’d say yes,” Hall said. “But it’s a different feeling when you ask the question and she says yes. It’s still surreal.”
Hall said his friend Jesse Rollhaus and zoo spokeswoman Joey Powell helped him plan the exotic proposal.
“We were able to make my dream proposal happen,” Hall said.
Blakey and Hall are planning to have a spring wedding at the church where they met.
The zoo shared photos of the engagement on its Facebook page Thursday. The post suggested that Mili, the giraffe that made it all happen, should be the couple’s honorary ring bearer at the wedding.
Escaped dog back home after surviving Hurricane Irma
A 14-month-old Tibetan terrier is safe and sound in her new Florida home after surviving Hurricane Irma, numerous thunderstorms and heat.
If Devlyn could talk, her owners — Robin and Dave Saltman of Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville — say she’d tell quite a story.
The Saltmans bought Devlyn from a Houston breeder in August. On Aug. 11, they were letting the dog run around outside and she escaped from their fenced-in yard. With help from daughter Kari Saltman Keene, they sought help though social media.
The Florida Times-Union reports sightings of Devlyn started coming in. On Day 13, she was spotted 12 miles away. She ran off. Then Hurricane Irma hit. Devlyn was caught two days later.
Now safe, Devlyn has a new leash with GPS tracking capability.
German court tells donkey owners to pony up for damaged car
A German court has ordered a donkey’s owners to pony up 5,800 euros that equals about $6,800 US dollars to the driver of a pricey McLaren sports car to cover damage caused when the animal chomped the backside of the vehicle.
Police said that Vitus the donkey may have mistaken the orange McLaren parked next to his enclosure as a giant carrot when he bit the back, damaging the paint and a carbon-fiber piece.
The dpa news agency reported that the state court in Giessen on Thursday sided with the car owner, who filed the suit after the donkey owner refused reimbursement for the incident last September.
At the time, Local media reported the owner of the donkey refused to pay for the damage, telling the McLaren owner he should have picked a better parking place.
Police officer avoids stinky situation during skunk rescue
A Maine police officer put his nose in harm’s way during a wildlife rescue.
York Police Department officer David McKinnon came upon a skunk with its head stuck inside a cup while on patrol early Sunday.
He decided to help despite the high risk of a malodorous outcome.
He recorded video with his smartphone in one hand and gently tugged on the paper cup with the other hand while speaking reassuringly to the skunk.
Once freed, the skunk lifted its tail in preparation to spray. But it decided instead to scamper away as McKinnon exclaimed, “I never thought in a million years!”
The video had 41,000 views on Facebook as of Wednesday, and McKinnon earned praise for his bravery in the face of a potentially stinky rescue.
Some positive news from Washington today as Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, a bill to prohibit the possession or use of body-gripping traps within the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) has sponsored a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
As per the Animal Welfare Institute, a recent national public opinion poll showed that 79 percent of Americans believe trapping on national wildlife refuges should be prohibited, while 88 percent believe wildlife and habitat preservation should be the highest priority of the refuge system.
Sadly though, cruel body-gripping traps such as snares, Conibear and steel-jaw leg holds are currently allowed on more than half of the nation’s 566 refuges.
The stated mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) is to conserve land and water for the sake of “biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health.”
These spaces are intended as sanctuaries where wildlife can thrive and all Americans can enjoy our great outdoors. Therefore, it is shocking that such traps are allowed within hundreds of refuges.
The use of these torturous devices violates the NWRS’ goal and is a threat to the safety of wildlife, people, and pets. The act would ensure that management of these protected lands aligns with the intent behind their preservation.
“We thank Sen. Booker and Rep. Lowey for their determination to end use of cruel traps in our country’s refuges,” said Cathy Liss, AWI president. “Body-gripping traps, such as strangling snares, crushing Conibear traps, and steel-jaw leghold traps, are inhumane and inherently nonselective. These traps do not belong on public lands where families enjoy spending time outdoors, and where anyone who trips a trap can become a victim.”
As noted by Congress.gov, the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act imposes on persons who possess or use such traps in the System: (1) for a first offense, a civil fine of up to $500 for each body-gripping trap possessed or used; and (2) for subsequent offenses, a civil fine of up to $1,000 for each body-gripping trap possessed or used, imprisonment for up to 180 days, or both such a civil fine and imprisonment.
Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR), a no-kill rescue and sanctuary in Napa Valley for companion and farmed animals in need, announced yesterday that it will honor actors and noted animal advocates Ian Somerhalder, founder of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, and wife Nikki Reed with the first Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch Humanitarian Award.
A new partner of the Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF), taking place November 8th-12th, JARR will present the award to Somerhalder and Reed during the 7th annual Celebrity Tribute on Thursday, November 9, at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville.
“I am delighted to dedicate the 2017 JARR Humanitarian Award to Ian and Nikki for their outstanding animal advocacy work,” said Monica Stevens, Co-founder of Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. “They not only bring inspiration to their fans by promoting a cruelty-free lifestyle but have shown incredible dedication and compassion in their work to educate people and youth to make a positive change for the planet and the animals.”
The Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch Humanitarian Award celebrates those individuals who have shown outstanding compassion, advocacy, and dedication to animal protection issues.
“We are thrilled to work with the Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch team, and to open the eyes of our intelligent film-loving audiences to the actors and filmmakers who use their celebrity and resources to inspire us and make a difference in the world,” commented Brenda Lhormer, NVFF Co-Founder/Director. “JARR is a special organization that deserves support and recognition, and we are thrilled to work with them as a sponsor of our festival that recognizes extraordinary achievement by amazing individuals and teams.”
A compassionate group of animal advocates is helping the desperate dogs in Puerto Rico. Not only now, in the midst of the dire conditions left in the wake of Hurricane Maria, but for the last six years!
Hurricane Maria made landfall in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, the exact location of Dead Dog Beach where The Sato Project, a non-profit animal welfare organization that is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs from Puerto Rico year-round has focused its rescue efforts for the past six years.
In Puerto Rico, satos are poor, unwanted, often abused dogs that have been dumped on this desolate stretch of beach.
The devastating hurricane brought 155 mph winds, huge storm surges, and torrential rain and flooding that have pummeled the island into submission. Upon hearing this, The Sato Project immediately mobilized to provide supplies and support its team with boots on the ground, as well as to transport as many dogs as they can to safety in the coming days and weeks.
Yabucoa, which is on the southeastern coast of the island, has been rated the poorest of all 78 Puerto Rican municipalities. The median household income is well below the national average and over half of its population lives below the federal poverty line. Yabucoa is also where Dead Dog Beach is located.
As per The Sato Project’s website, as the name states, Dead Dog beach is usually the last resting place for dogs, and it is not a happy one. No dog walks to Dead Dog Beach, they are dumped there. There is no food or fresh water on the beach. The heroes of The Sato project are the dogs’ only source of food, fresh water, and most importantly, love, on a daily basis.
Aside from the poverty, Puerto Rico suffers from tremendous crime including drugs, gangs, and firearms. This further demotes animal abuse as a priority. While Puerto Rico has very strict laws regarding animal cruelty and abuse, unfortunately, it is rarely applied.
“Rescuing dogs means more than just pulling them off a beach or the streets. We are dedicated to each and every one of our dogs and we want to give them the greatest chance in life,” the organization states on its website. “After what they have been through, what they have witnessed, we never want them to suffer again.”
Founded by champion Amateur Boxer, Chrissy Beckles, since its inception in 2011, The Sato Project has rescued over 1,600 dogs, rehabilitated them to the highest veterinary standard possible, and found them loving homes.
In 2016, the organization also launched an ambitious Spay, Neuter, Vaccine, and Microchip program and is working to bring systemic change to Puerto Rico through education and partnerships on the Island. Please consider donating to The Sato Project to help ensure that countless animals in Puerto Rico are not left behind to suffer on their own during the long road to recovery ahead.