The governor of New Mexico has vetoed a bill that would have levied a fee on pet food, The Associated Press reports.
Under the bill rejected by Gov. Susana Martinez, commercial pet food registration fees would have increased to $100 per label from the current $2 per label. The change would have raised more than $800,000 a year.
The goal of the bill from Reps. Debbie Rodella and Carl Trujillo, both Democrats, was to help pay for spaying and neutering for cats and dogs.
The Las Cruces Sun-News quotes Martinez saying: "I strongly encourage New Mexicans to spay and neuter their pets. However, this misguided legislation is nothing more than a tax increase that would not solve the problem."
"Emotional support animals" are not the same thing as trained service animals, and airlines are starting to take note.
There's been a trend of people taking their emotional support animals into airplane cabins and other places where pets aren't allowed, Business Insider reports. In many cases, people are easily able to get a letter from their therapist saying they need an emotional support animal, even when the therapist hasn't met the animal. Some websites will provide the designation for about $70.
But lately there's been an uptick of issues caused by such animals on flights, at least with Delta, Business Insider reports. Problems have included urinating and defecating, along with biting.
Emotional support animals don't have the extensive training that service animals get to help with with diasbilities such as blindness. The federal government has stated that "dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."
Delta recently "started requiring anyone flying with an emotional support pet to sign a waiver stating that the animal can behave on a flight" and imposed other restrictions, as well, Business Insider reports. United Airlines has implemented a similar policy, ABC News reports.
East Asian tick species turns up on New Jersey sheep
Last summer, the owner noticed her clothes were covered in ticks—and not the area’s native deer ticks
A tick native to East Asia—also known as the longhorned tick or bush tick—turned up on a New Jersey sheep with no travel history or nearby domesticated animals, according to a report from National Public Radio.
This tick multiplies quickly, feeds on mammalian blood, including humans. In China, it has been linked to the spread of SFTS virus, described in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report as “an emerging hemorrhagic fever,” NPR reported.
In August, the sheep’s owner noticed that her clothing was covered in ticks—and not the area’s native deer ticks.
Investigators found hundreds on the sheep and collected nearly 1,000 more from the 1-acre paddock, according to NPR.
The tick has previously been found in the U.S. on large animals in quarantine, but this is the first time larvae, nymphs, and adults have been found on an unquarantined animal in the U.S., the report stated.
This spring, the researchers plan to go back to the site to look for any ticks that might have survived the winter and chemical treatments. If they did, they could pose a threat to livestock. What’s less clear is whether people should be concerned.
Why using 'baby-talk' improves our bond with dogs
Using "dog-speak" is important in building a bond between a dog and their owner, scientists from the University of York have found.
During a series of tests, dogs were spoken to in a high-pitched voice and again in a normal adult voice. Researchers then monitored which speaker the dogs responded to and wanted to interact with. PhD student Alex Benjamin said it seemed dogs were more likely to favor the speaker who used a high pitch.
The researchers wanted to test whether speaking to dogs in "dog-directed" speech was useful to the animals, or whether humans did this simply because they view pets in the same way as babies.
"Dog-directed" speech involves speaking in a high-pitched voice with exaggerated emotion - in a similar way that adults often talk to small children.
Dr Katie Slocombe from the university's department of psychology explains: "This high-pitched rhythmic speech is common in human interactions with dogs in western cultures, but there isn't a great deal known about whether it benefits a dog. "We wanted to see whether social bonding between animals and humans was influenced by the type and content of the communication."
During the tests, phrases such as "you're a good dog!" and "shall we go for a walk?", were used. Next, another person would talk to the animal in a normal voice about non-dog-related content, for example "I went to the cinema last night."
The speakers then mixed "dog-directed" speech with non-dog-related words, and normal speech with dog-related words. Researchers measured both the attentiveness of the dog while the speaker was talking, and whom the dog wanted to interact with once the speaker had finished.
The scientists found dogs were more likely to want to spend time with the speaker who had used both "dog-directed" speech and dog-related content. When the different types of speech were mixed up dogs did not show a preference for either speaker.
It led student Alex Benjamin to conclude: "This suggests that adult dogs need to hear dog-relevant words spoken in a high-pitched emotional voice in order to find it relevant." The researchers could start looking into whether puppies demonstrate similar preferences, however there are no plans to carry out the same tests with cats.
It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. A horse walks into a nightclub…
But that’s exactly what happened at Mokai Lounge in South Beach on Thursday night, and the Internet is outraged.
A video of the incident — which starts out with a bikini clad woman riding bareback on a white horse through the crowded venue — has been making the rounds like wildfire. The animal is surrounded by clubgoers and suddenly drops to the ground and then bucks, throwing the woman off. People gasp and scream, and the horse looks terrified, attempting to bite someone. Then the video stops.
A Yelp user with the handle Tori S. posted a complaint on the club’s page: “Last night a horse was brought into this club and used as entertainment. I was happy to see the horse kicking the party goers. How disgusting. A night club is NOT a place for animals!”
Chimed in fellow Yelp user Laura D.: “DONT GO HERE. They promote ANIMAL ABUSE. They had a horse inside their packed night club struggling to get out. Their owner needs to be charged.”
Miami Beach community activist Michael DeFilippi shared the video on his Facebook page, imploring his friends to do the same: “ANIMAL ABUSE PLEASE SHARE! Mokai Lounge Miami Beach. Shocking footage of a horse in a horrible situation. This club should be stripped of their license to operate. A change.org petition entitled, “Miami Beach Police: Take action for animal abuse in Miami night club Mokai,” was quickly set up by a concerned citizen named Laura Sosa.
This is not only a danger to everybody in the night club, but the horses well being and safety. In the video you can see the horse stumbling and collapsing probably due to a floor wet from alcohol, stress from people capacity and music/lights. The question remains as to WHY a horse was let into the doors of Mokai in the first place, but the answer remains the same, ACTION MUST BE TAKEN for letting this happen.”
Miami Beach police have responded and confirm that there is an investigation.
“Last night MBPD was made aware of this incident at Mokai. We are very concerned over the allegations,” reads a Tweet from the department. “As such, we have launched a joint investigation with @MiamiBeachNews Code Enforcement.”
Back in Studio 54’s heyday, Bianca Jagger rode a similar looking horse inside the wild NYC club in May 1977 for her birthday celebration.
A muzzle, designed to stop sheep from nibbling on vine leaves and grapes, could save vineyard owners thousands of dollars a year and help reduce their carbon footprint. But while the concept, called Wine Baa, is being praised for its innovation, its look has drawn some interesting parallels.
An overseas drinks publication has likened Wine Baa to the mask worn by Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, and Kiwi actor Sam Neill seems to agree.
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand business manager Justine Tate said New Zealand vineyard owners might be interested in trying the Wine Baa, though she had concerns about the look of them.
"I think it's incredibly innovative, but I would have to wait and see how they are viewed, because there's got to be a negative visual perception of a bunch of sheep with, what look like, muzzles on in vineyards," Tate said.
"I don't know if people could ignore the public perception. There will be tourist perception that we maybe have dangerous sheep in vineyards, so I'm not entirely sure how popular it will be with vineyard owners."
The muzzle is a plastic snout guard that attaches to a sheep's head using a single strap. It is designed to lift up when the sheep puts its head to the ground, and close when the sheep is looking up.
It was invented by Australian social worker David Robertshaw, who believed there had to be a better, more environmentally-friendly, way to control weeds in vineyards.
Robertshaw said Wine Baa could cut costs as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of trackers to mow between the vines. Tate said vineyard owners were always looking for new ways to control weeds without spraying. "But this is one of the most innovative things I have seen in that space."
Sheep were often used by vineyard owners, but they had to be closely monitored and could only be used at certain times of the year, Tate said. "What [Wine Baa] would probably mean, is that you could have sheep in there, year-round." The Wine Baa reminded Tate of Peter Yealands' baby doll sheep.
Yealands, known for his wild sustainability ideas, imported 30 miniature sheep to graze his vineyards. The sheep are so small, they cannot reach the leaves or grapes. The first baby doll sheep he imported reportedly cost $3000 each. His flock has since grown to 1500. Wine Baa costs A$280 for 10 muzzles, which last about five years.
Robertshaw, who came up with the idea two years ago, said he had received pre-orders from New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan, and Mexico. He hoped vineyard owners would see the sustainability benefit of Wine Baa. "If you are not having to use herbicides, then you're a lot better for the environment," Robertshaw said. And as for the Hannibal Lecter reference, he said: "I'm thinking more Bane from Batman. I reckon it looks more like him."
Los Angeles Animal Services officials rescued nearly 200 rabbits on Wednesday from the West Los Angeles home of an animal hoarder.
All of the rabbits were evaluated by LAAS Veterinary staff and the majority appear to be healthy.
The precious rabbits were distributed between local shelters and are now available at the East Valley, Harbor, North Central, West LA and West Valley Animal Shelters.
“If you’ve been thinking about adding a furry friend to your home, rabbits make wonderful indoor companions,” the department shared on its Facebook page, “and can be litter-trained, just like cats!”
LA Animal Services is also encouraging people to visit the shelters to speak to staff and volunteers about “the care and maintenance required to keep a bunny happy and healthy throughout its lifetime.”
It is imperative that potential adopters understand what adopting and caring for a rabbit entails before they decide to make the years-long commitment. This helps prevent the animals from being adopted on a whim, as part of a fad or because of the time of year it is such as Easter.
These rabbits, as with all rescued pets, deserve to be in the loving, responsible, and capable hands of a forever family.
The adults are available for adoption now while the bunnies will be spay/neutered and microchipped before going to their new homes.
A minimal adoption fee of $71.00 includes the vaccinations, spaying/neutering and microchipping.
Sadly, though, 50 of the un-weaned and underweight baby rabbits need to be placed with the department’s New Hope rescue partners only.
According to KABC News, investigators are currently working on the case, which has been called “an unfortunate overcrowding situation,” to determine if the owner of the rabbits will face charges.
More information is available on the LA Animal Shelter website
As WAN reported earlier this week, the Trump administration quietly shifted its position on allowing the import of elephant and lion trophies into the United States from Africa.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the controversial decision to approve certain trophy permits on a “case-by-case” basis along with an official March 1st memo documenting that the change in policy went into effect “immediately.”
This is not acceptable and the move is squarely at odds with public opinion in the United States where 82% of Americans surveyed support banning lion trophies, and 83% support banning elephant trophies.
That is why WAN’s partner Care2 is calling on Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, one of the most stalwart animal defenders in Congress, to introduce legislation to reverse the Trump administration’s trophy import decision as soon as possible.
Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) responded to the decision by issuing an urgent call for action requesting that people help spread the word by sending in their own letter through AWI, available on their website. Further, people are encouraged to write directly to Donald Trump, and the organization will forward your message to the President.
Near the turn of the 20th century, Africa was home to between three and five million elephants. Tragically, now less than half a million remain. Africa’s lions have seen similar declines, with lion numbers declining by 42 percent in just the last 20 years.
The Trump administration’s reversal of the ban will almost inevitably increase poaching of these rare animals.
It’s time this cruel and senseless loss of life ends!