Scuba Santa feeds the fish this holiday season in California'Tis the season for Santa to take a scuba dive.As part of holiday festivities at the California Academy of Sciences, the fish are getting fed by a diver dressed as Santa Claus.The show known as "Scuba Santa" runs through Christmas Day. It takes place during the morning feed at the Philippine Coral Reef tank at the San Francisco museum.Volunteer diver George Bell donned his Santa suit, from hat to coal black boots, and scuba gear for a recent feed and fielded visitors' questions from inside the tank.Floating amid the coral reef and array of fish, he explained that Santa likes to "take a tropical vacation or two" during his off months and first learned to scuba dive in the Bahamas and then trained in California.------------------
Man sleeps outside to encourage pet owners to bring pets insideLuke Westerman, a well-known animal advocate, spent a night in Goodale Park in Columbus Ohio as a reminder to pet owners how tough it can be for animals outside. Temperatures at the time were in the teens. They're going to be below zero in the coming days. He says he wants people to think about what it is like to be outside in these conditions."It is inhumane," says Westerman. "It's inhumane to have your pets out here and it is the sad reality that this could be completely prevented if people would bring their pets in during the winter months."Westerman says that domesticated animals just are not equipped to handle frigid conditions. "The sad reality is that many dogs and cats are going to freeze to death this winter, because their owners simply won't allow them to come inside where they belong." He points out that animals can't tell their owners when they are cold, feel hypothermic, or are in pain.He says if it's too cold outside for you, or your children, then it's too cold outside for your pets.-------------------
PetMed Express suggested that a shortened flea and tick season, as a result of bad weather, was partly to blame for its disappointing second-fiscal-quarter results. Analysts and investors don’t seem to be buying it.Shares of the online pet-supply seller were down nearly 4% after the company missed profit and sales expectations. On a conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Menderes Akdag said: “On the flea and tick category, the weather is playing a role.” He said demand was weak for flea and tick topicals, as compared with last year, because “the season started so late.” Flea and tick season is traditionally seen as stretching from when snow melts until it returns. As bad as last winter’s weather might have been, PetMed’s latest report covered the three months from July to September, long after the snow was gone.But, as Piper Jaffray analyst Kevin Ellich noted, the peak flea and tick season goes from “when snow is gone till when snow comes back.” And as bad as last winter’s weather might have been, PetMed’s latest report covered the three months from July to September, long after the snow was gone.Meanwhile, Ellich said, the competitive landscape has become more challenging this year with the introduction of new prescription oral products, such as Nexgard from Frontline Vet Labs and the longer-lasting Bravecto from Merck Animal Health. Ellich noted it can be a lot more convenient to give a pet a chewable pill than to apply a topical cream.But when Akdag was asked if he believed new prescription oral products had hurt sales of PetMed’s over-the-counter flea and tick topicals, the executive answered: “That’s having some impact on topicals, but the data we have is that the overall market is down.” When Piper Jaffray’s Ellich asked why he thought the overall market was down, Akdaq responded: “The season started late; that’s probably why. The weather is impacting it.”Separately, Ellich noted that while PetMed is a “provider of convenience” in the pet-supply marketplace, large brick-and-mortar retail chains have lower prices.So wouldn’t it perhaps make more sense that some of the weakness in PetMed’s flea- and tick-care business could be linked to the company’s losing market share?“We think we are holding [market share], unless we have wrong data. Based on the data we got, we don’t think so,” Akdag said.Investors seem to think PetMed’s figures are wrong. The stock has lost 24% so far this year, compared with a gain of nearly 3% in the S&P 500.-----------------------
A type of bird flu usually only seen in chicken flocks has infected 45 cats at an animal shelter in New York, and vets say they're not sure how it got there.It is unusual, but not unheard of, for influenza to infect cats. Only one of the cats at the shelter, an elderly cat, has died."This influenza virus is spreading from cat to cat and may be able to spread to other animals and possibly humans," the New York City Department of Health said in a statement."No human infections have been identified to date," the department added.The shelter staff are testing other animals at the shelter, including dogs, and haven't found any other species affected yet. Cats with cough, fever, runny noses or lip-smacking behavior should be kept separate from other animals, and their owners should call the health department. It's just good advice to keep a sick pet of any kind away from others.--------------------
Box of dog poop leads to arrest for Texas package thievesA Texas woman whose neighborhood was targeted by package thieves said a box filled with dog poop helped lead to two arrests.Rose Faubush, who lives in the Belmont Park area of Schertz, said the neighborhood has been plagued with thieves stealing packages from porches recently, so she and her son, Hayden, decided to put some bait on their own porch."Dog poo. Packages of dog poo, I was really angry when I heard about the packages being stolen, even though it wasn't ours."Faubush said she left the house for only about an hour and returned home to find the package gone.The family decided the following day to put out a second bait package, this time filled with ribbons, bows and wrapping paper, and waited for the thieves to arrive.Faubush said they waited until a man was on the porch lifting the box before throwing open the door and snapping pictures with their cellphones.She said the getaway driver abandoned the man holding the box."The car took off without him and so he ran into the retention pond," Faubush said she circulated the photos on Facebook, leading the getaway driver to visit her home and plead for her to take them down."You know, sweetheart, there's nothing I can do at this point," Faubush recalled telling the man. "You were doing something wrong and the people in the neighborhood are really upset."Police said they arrested two suspects and recovered several items stolen from porches in Faubush's neighborhood. Investigators said they expect to file theft charges against the men.Hayden Faubush offered some advice for the thieves: "Get a job. Just get a job."