The Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF), in its latest set of actions on disaster response efforts, is providing hay to surviving horses on the island of Grand Bahama. Large animals are often not a central focus of animal disaster response efforts after an emergency, but their needs are often as acute as those of stranded or injured dogs and cats.
The team departed from Fort Pierce, Florida at 8:00 AM EST on Monday and returned later in the day. Once on the ground, the team traveled to three farms to assess structural damage and equine health needs. The mission was led by Jennifer Skiff, director of international programs for the Animal Wellness Foundation, and Laurie Hood, Florida state director for Animal Wellness Action, and Dr. Bess Darrow, an equine veterinarian based in central Florida.
The Bahamas does not produce its own hay, and with such incredible human dislocation on the islands, there is no safety net for horses. “These horses need us, and we are prepared to meet their needs in crisis,” said Jennifer Skiff, director of international programs for the Animal Wellness Foundation. “Our plan is to stabilize them, attend to any immediate needs, and to provide food for as long as six months.”
AWF was a member of a coalition of humane organizations facilitating the rescue of 72 homeless dogs from Nassau after Hurricane Dorian caused mass destruction on August 24th. Each U.S. organization played a specific, coordinated role, with AWF tasked with taking pet food and supplies to the islands as well as bringing the dogs back. AWF continues to provide relief to animals affected by the hurricane and has since ordered a six-month supply of hay to feed the remaining 19 horses on Grand Bahama. Over 200 animals and their guardian perished at the Ol’Freetown Farm during the hurricane. Searches continue for goats, and pigs that may have survived.
Sales growth of pet treats continues to outpace growth of the more mature pet food market and growth of pet supplies in general, market research firm Packaged Facts notes in a new report.
U.S. retail sales of pet treats will reach $6.7 billion by the end of 2019, up from $6.5 billion last year, according to the report Pet Treats and Chews in the U.S., 3rd Edition.
Among a range of industry developments, innovation and market growth have notably been fueled by human-food trends.
“Pet treats have come a long way in the past 20 years, with the aisles of pet stores closely resembling the snack aisles of human foods at supermarkets and products positioned as better-for-your-pet,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “Limited-ingredient products, grain-free options, and superfood ingredients are all in high demand, with innovative new product entries hitting the market on a regular basis.”
Product innovation featuring cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient in cannabis derived from hemp, in products for humans and pets alike has arguably been the most discussed trend of 2019.
“CBD, or cannabidiol, supplements are in high demand in human markets, credited with treating conditions ranging from anxiety to asthma,” said Sprinkle. “The use of CBD has crossed over into the pet market, with usage spiking after the passage of the most recent Farm Bill in December 2018, which took a significant step towards separating hemp and hemp-derived CBD from marijuana-based products.”
Pet owner interest in CBD centers on relieving anxiety and stress issues in pets, but owners also view CBD as an alternative treatment for issues including pain management and allergies. Perhaps not surprising given the massive consumer interest in and media coverage of CBD supplements, Packaged Facts’ 2019 Survey of Pet Owners reveals that 11% of dog owners and 8% of cat owners have used cannabis (CBD/hemp) supplements or treats for their pets.
PETA is slamming Justin Bieber over his decision to buy two part-exotic kittens that cost a total of $35,000. The animal rights organization spoke out on Thursday and attacked Bieber, 25, for his recent decision to purchase the expensive Savannah kittens, whom he named Sushi and Tuna, claiming that the singer does not “care” about helping animals.
“Baby, baby, baby, nooooooo,” PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange tells PEOPLE. “Justin Bieber could inspire his fans around the world to save a life by adopting a cat from a local animal shelter — rather than fueling the dangerous demand for hybrid cats, contributing to the animal overpopulation crisis, and proving that when it comes to helping animals, his stance so far is ‘I don’t care.'”
Though Bieber has yet to address the backlash, the singer appeared to be unbothered by PETA’s comments on Thursday. Posting a screenshot of the Instagram account he created for Sushi and Tuna on his Stories shortly after PETA’s criticism, the star asked his fans to follow their account.
Ahead of his second wedding to Hailey Baldwin, Bieber bought the small beige and black kittens — Sushi at the end of August and then Tuna arrived a few weeks later. Now the two felines have their own Instagram account, which now has more than 176,000 followers and documents the kittens’ day-to-day adventures (and snuggles) in the Bieber household. The felines are part-domestic cat and part-African Serval and were purchased for $20,000 and $15,000 respectively from the Illinois-based breeder Select Exotics, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Because Savannahs are considered “living room leopards,” they are legally restricted or banned in Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont, the Savannah Cat Association reports. Other states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, allow all Savannah cats. The pop star first announced he would be getting a new kitten at the end of August.
“I’m getting a cat tomorrow and The name will be sushi !!!,” he excitedly wrote alongside a cartoon image of a cat. “I can call her sooosh Magooosh and I’m very happy about it.” “I can also in a baby voice call her TOOSHIEEE BUM BUM or Shooshi wowl .. read it outloud how it’s spelt . Also sushi Poo.. or just TUNA,” he added.
Baldwin, 22, seemed to be on board with the new addition, commenting “Tushi buns” and “Soosh soosh magooooooosh???” on her hubby’s post. After bringing their fuzzy friend home, Bieber shared videos on his Instagram Stories of the feisty, black-spotted kitten jumping and rolling around in his room as he rested in bed. At one point, the cat pounced onto the remote changing the channel on the “Sorry” singer’s TV.
Surrounded by the shattered remains of her home, an elderly dog lay barely moving on an old mattress in front of where her home used to stand. After being rushed to a shelter where she received lifesaving nourishment, fluids, and tender loving care, the starving, frightened and dehydrated pet we named “Hope” slowly rose and took her first steps toward Amber, a veterinary technician with the American Humane Rescue team. Laying her head in Amber’s hands, she looked up and, in our rescue responder’s words, “She looked at me with complete trust, and for the first time knew that she was safe.”
Other scenes that unfolded during the past month of lifesaving rescue work were also heartbreakingly poignant: One puppy they discovered was thin, anemic and barely clinging to life when she was rescued and rushed to the MASH unit where she received immediate veterinary care and comfort.Three puppies who were born during the storm were also rescued. Their mother was very wary at first and would not let our team near her or her babies, but soon realized she could trust us. All four are now in a foster home. Another animal victim of the catastrophe, “Chen” (which means “dog” in Creole) was discovered by our rescue workers in a remote, decimated village. He had horrific mange, was emaciated and dehydrated, and had deep, open lacerations. Although he was very ill, he had the sweetest, most gentle disposition. He is now in a foster home and is happy and thriving.
During its multiple deployments to the Bahamas over the past month, American Humane, which has been saving and sheltering animals in disasters for more than a century, found and provided critical aid to hundreds of emaciated, dehydrated, injured, and starving dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, goats, turtles, pigs, and sheep.In September, the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to strike the Bahamas, and the worst natural disaster in the country's history, swept through the island chain with winds of 185 mph, splintering homes, buildings, boat, trees, and lives. On Great Abaco Island, Hurricane Dorian destroyed or swept almost everything in its path out to sea. All told, the storm caused $7 billion in damage and left more than 70,000 people and tens of thousands of animals homeless. In the wake of the disaster, American Humane, immediately deployed its rescue team with an invitation from IFAW, conducting search-and-rescue operations, setting up, rebuilding and running shelters, transporting tons of emergency food, performing spay-and-neuters, and helping airlift animals to Nassau Island to help reunite pets with their families.
To support American Humane’s lifesaving efforts, please visit www.AmericanHumane.org.
Experts said an influx of crickets that some San Antonio residents have called a "plague" resulted from "perfect" weather conditions that allowed the insects to thrive this year.
Residents said they first started noticing huge swarms of crickets gathering Tuesday in locations including the University of Texas at San Antonio.
One man tweeted a video of himself eating a fistful of crickets with a caption parodying a letter from someone involved in a disaster.
"Dearest Mother," user @MeepMeepNation tweeted. "We are approaching the third day of the cricket plague. What sanity remains is quickly being whittled away. Starving students are now accepting these vile creatures as a source of sustenance. I fear cannibalism is next."
Molly Keck, an entomologist with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, said the weather is to blame for the plentiful insects.
"It's technically not an invasion because they didn't come from anywhere, right. We just have the perfect three conditions that kind of have to happen consecutively for them to do just really, really well this year," she told Accuweather.
She said the conditions that contributed to the cricket explosion were a dry summer, late rains and an influx of cool weather.
"We had the perfect storm of the perfect conditions to make these cricket populations explode," Keck said.
A Florida woman captured video of hundreds of blue land crabs in her neighborhood, skittering across the roads, lawns and sidewalks.
Abriel Arnel captured video in her Stuart neighborhood showing the swarm of crabs that descended on the area.
"I was told they are blue land crabs. Apparently they burrow throughout the year, but it's during this season (and their spawning season) when the heavy rain forces them out," Arnel told WOFL-TV.
She said there were several crabs outside of her front door when she left her house in the morning.
"We've lived here for a few years and this is the worst we've seen them!" she said.
University of Florida researchers said blue land crab mating and female migration season lasts until December, typically peaking around October or November.
Newly released DNA test results reveal a raccoon — not a bobcat — is to blame for the ferocious attack on a Lauderhill Florida woman, who suffered bites to her face, leg and hand. It also ripped off the tip of her finger. Eslyn Fray, 85, and her husband told officials they thought it was a bobcat that attacked them during their morning walk Oct. 4. But the animal vanished, leaving it unclear for days precisely what kind of creature it was. Wildlife officials then arranged for hair found at the scene to be tested, ultimately showing the attacker was a raccoon. Wildlife experts say it’s common for raccoons to attack if they feel threatened or are protecting their young.
Paul Zambrano, the owner of Bandit Wildlife Management, which traps wildlife from Monroe to Palm Beach counties, said the attacking raccoon likely falls in two categories: “In my experience, raccoons can be kind of territorial. It might have been a female and had babies nearby." Or it could be a raccoon who was sick. "Typically, they are not going to just attack you for no reason. It could be a territorial issue but it’s not normal raccoon behavior to attack for no reason or without being provoked. "Maybe the people scared it and it thought it had to defend itself.”
A raccoon mom defending her young is plausible, he said, because raccoons can breed year-round in Florida because of the temperatures. They have “multiple litters throughout the year.” It may never be known whether the raccoon in the Oct. 4 attack had rabies. It was never found to be tested. But for precaution, Eslyn Fray has been treated for rabies with five injections, her family.
Carol Lyn Parrish, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s south region, said the final report of the DNA test of hair samples are pending from the University of Florida’s Veterinary Forensic Program in Gainesville. But they received word “the results confirm this species as raccoon,” she said. Eslyn Fray and her husband, Rupert Fray, are now out of the hospital and recovering. Eslyn Fray remains at a rehabilitation center while her husband is back home.
As the pair approached the east side of their parking lot, some kind of animal jumped out from behind a vehicle and attacked Eslyn Fray. Rupert Fray described the animal as a black or gray large cat that was larger than a typical domesticated house cat. When emergency workers arrived, Eslyn Fray was on the ground bleeding from several places from her body, according to a Lauderhill police report. The animal first bit her leg, which caused her to fall to the ground, bit her right hand, and in its last act before running away, bit her in the face above her left eye.
Rupert Fray, 71, said he suffered a fractured hip after falling trying to protect his wife. Rupert Fray’s brother, Howard Fray, said Eslyn was treated for rabies at shots that could cost thousands of dollars each. Her finger is still bandaged and he said the couple will keep “fighting on.” Raccoons are commonly attracted to human areas by garbage, pet food, bird seed and gardens. Once accustomed to being fed, raccoons lose their natural fear of humans and move closer to food sources, Parrish said. Wildlife officials urge the public to never feed raccoons. It’s illegal to intentionally feed them.