Skechers has reached an important milestone in its commitment to animal welfare by contributing more than $6.2 million to date to help save and support more than one million shelter dogs and cats in the United States and Canada. Through sales of its BOBS from Skechers collection, the company’s donations continue to provide crucial aid to animals in need. More than $2.7 million of these contributions have benefited thousands of animal organizations through the Petco Foundation.
“From its inception, BOBS from Skechers was about giving back—first to children in need with new footwear, and then in 2015 to animals in need. It’s incredible to see how we’ve raised over $6 million for animals, including over $2.7 million for Petco Foundation’s extensive animal shelter and support network in just two years,” said Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers. “To see us reaching these milestones in a year this challenging speaks volumes about our consumers’ engagement and belief in the BOBS movement.”
“Many people in isolation have been finding comfort in the unconditional companionship of shelter pets due to the quarantine. Pets change our lives for the better—and the past year definitely served as a reminder that they make our world a better place,” said Susanne Kogut, president of Petco Foundation. “Our partnership with BOBS from Skechers is essential as we continue to save pet lives through adoption, medical care and numerous other lifesaving initiatives throughout the nation.”
Initially a philanthropic collection of slip-on styles that donated new shoes to children in need, the BOBS from Skechers movement has grown to help protect shelter animals through a diverse collection of sandals, sneakers, boots and slippers, including collaborations with icons like Doug the Pug and James Goldcrown. BOBS has also expanded beyond footwear to offer apparel and accessories, from tops and bottoms for pet lovers to pet beds and harnesses at Petco.com. For every BOBS item purchased in the United States and Canada, a donation is made to the Petco Foundation to help save and support shelter animals through their partnership with 4,000+ lifesaving animal welfare organizations across the nation.*
The BOBS from Skechers collection is available at Skechers.com, Skechers stores and select department and specialty locations in the United States. To learn more, follow BOBS from Skechers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or visit BOBSfromSkechers.com.
A former pet rescue director in Gainesville, FL, has been charged with embezzlement.
Cassie Marie Wheeler, who worked for Haile’s Angels Pet Rescue, is accused of felony theft and embezzlement as well as false entry into financial books, the Gainesville Sun reports.
Authorities say she embezzled more than $41,000 starting in November 2019, CBS 4 reports.
Wheeler started with the rescue in March 2015, initially working as a kennel hand. Eventually she was put in charge of operations for the organizations.
She reportedly admitted to the theft when questioned by Samantha Rivera, president of the rescue board, according to the Sun.
The board released a statement saying it had “taken the necessary steps and coordinated with the IRS and law enforcement to report and to restore all stolen funds from our donations,” WCJB-TV reports.
The board said it had terminated Wheeler’s employment.
Two giraffes died in a fire at a zoo in Virginia on Monday, according to the zoo and the local fire department.
Roer's Zoofari said in a Facebook post that staff were "devastated" by the loss of their "beloved giraffe" named Waffles and his new companion that had not yet been named.
"Waffles was a favorite with our visitors and our team. We are heartbroken," owner Vanessa Roer said in a statement on the zoo website. "We are so grateful that no person or other Zoofari animals were injured or lost. And we deeply appreciate the firefighters who came so quickly to help extinguish the fire."
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said in a Facebook post that the two giraffes were found deceased after the fire at the zoo on Hunter Mill Road in Vienna was brought under control. No other animals were injured, the department said.
The Zoofari owner received a call around 5:30 p.m. that the barn was on fire, according to the post from the zoo. The zoo website said the fire occurred after the zoo had closed for the day.
Zoo staff and the veterinarian arrived on scene to help rescue and care for 20 other animals.
"Grief counselors are being made available for staff, who are devastated by this tragedy and who cared deeply for these members of the Zoofari family," the zoo said on Facebook.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States released the following statement:
“This tragedy raises serious questions about this operation and hundreds of others just like it. This facility is ‘accredited’ by an organization with weak standards that sanction ramshackle roadside operations and promotes the cruel commercialization of wild animals. The two giraffes who died in the fire are not the first disturbing deaths at this zoo and certainly won’t be the last. Inadequate facilities and poor animal care make such losses inevitable, and will continue to produce bitter, heartbreaking outcomes for animals in the absence of stronger regulations.”
Upheaval at the White House this week: According to a source “familiar with the dogs’ schedule,” President Biden’s two dogs, Champ and Major, have been sent back to the family’s home in Delaware after an alleged “biting incident” involving Major Biden, 3, and a member of White House security. CNN reports that “the exact condition of the victim is unknown.” It doesn’t sound like Champ Biden, 13, was involved in the scuffle, but he has graciously joined his little brother back home in the Diamond State.
This relocation seems like the best move for Major, who has reportedly struggled to adjust to the hustle and bustle of White House life. Sources say that the young dog, whom the president and first lady adopted from a Delaware shelter back in 2018, “has been known to display agitated behavior on multiple occasions, including jumping, barking, and ‘charging’ at staff and security.”
The adjustment has also apparently been stressful for the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, who said in an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson show last month, “I’ve been getting obsessed with getting our dogs settled because we have an old dog and we have a very young dog. They have to take the elevator, they’re not used to that, and they have to go out on the South Lawn with lots of people watching them. So that’s what I’ve been obsessed with: getting everybody settled and calm.”
When the theft of Lady Gaga’s two French Bulldogs and the brutal attack of her dog walker, Ryan Fischer, made international news in February, a flood of concern permeated the pet-sitting and dog-walking community. And understandably so — pet sitters and dog walkers must make their personal safety a top priority, but they also have the responsibility to protect their clients’ pets.
A recent article published by BBC News touted the past year of lockdown as the “worst ever” for dog thefts, so if you are a pet sitter and dog walker, it’s a good time to review your policies and not grow lax in taking common-sense measures to keep the pets in your care safe.
Leaving a pet alone in public — even for just a few moments — can have disastrous results. While it should go without saying, never leave a dog in your care tied up outside of a store, restaurant or location while you run inside. You should keep the dog with you on leash while they’re in your care.
The same is true for leaving a pet alone in your vehicle — never do it. Even if you plan to be gone for a brief time, leaving a pet in your car can pose health risks (since temperatures can rise or drop significantly inside a vehicle in a matter of minutes), and it also makes them a target for potential theft.
Even while at a client’s home, be vigilant when letting a pet out into the yard. You want to make sure any fences or gates are secure to avoid the pet’s escape, but also keep in mind that fences don’t always deter would-be dog thieves. So, it’s best practice to supervise a dog when they’re outside.
Also, make sure all dogs in your care have on a collar with ID and are microchipped.
When taking on new clients in neighborhoods unfamiliar to you, take time prior to your first dog walk to familiarize yourself with the route. Make note of any places to avoid, such as areas that aren’t well lit or spots that are secluded. Choose an alternate dog-walking route if necessary. You may also want to check recent crime records in your service area to learn if there have been any recent dog thefts and, if so, in what area and if specific breeds were targeted.
When walking a client’s dog (or your own), it’s also important to always be focused on the dog and be aware of your surroundings. This means not talking on your cellphone or having your earbuds in. While walking may seem like the perfect opportunity to listen to music or catch up on your favorite podcast, this may prevent you from hearing a person or automobile approaching you.
You may also consider seeking out local situational awareness and self-defense trainings — online and in-person options are available — to help you better prepare should the unthinkable happen.
Danielle Kessler, Acting Director, US Office of ifaw, issued the following statement regarding the Congressional passage of the COVID 19 Stimulus Package in Congress:
“The pandemic has illuminated the intrinsic link between animals, people and the planet. The stimulus bill includes some strong provisions for pandemic prevention through wildlife and conservation programs, including funding to crack down on wildlife crime and to care for rescued or confiscated wild animals. There is also funding for wildlife disease monitoring and surveillance, which are important to protect against the spread of zoonotic illness. Importantly, the legislation will support a number of global programs that could be used by the Biden Administration for conservation and health projects that both address current needs and protect against future pandemics.
While a strong start, the government still needs to go further to explicitly address pandemic prevention. Critically important is stopping zoonotic spillover before it occurs by addressing the key drivers such as unsustainable and abusive wildlife trade practices; habitat encroachment and fragmentation; and biodiversity loss, which is rapidly accelerating. We hope to work with the Administration in coming days to ensure that critical programs on the front lines for zoonotic spillover prevention get the funding they need.”
About ifaw (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
International Fund for Animal Welfare (ifaw) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.
Virginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam has signed into law bills that would ban new cosmetics animal testing and sales of animal-tested cosmetics in his state.
Virginia joins three U.S. states that already have similar laws on their books. In 2018 California became the first state to prohibit the sale of animal-tested cosmetics followed by Nevada and Illinois in 2019.
Six other states, including New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New York and Oregon, are now considering similar bills to end cosmetics animal testing. The New Jersey state Senate has passed a bill 35-0, and it now awaits action from the state Assembly. In Maryland, too, the Senate voted 47-0 on a bill, which will soon be voted on by the House of Delegates. In Hawaii, bills have passed the Senate and House of Representatives and they are now being reviewed in crossover chambers.
This fantastic news illustrates a growing momentum in efforts to end unnecessary testing on animals in the United States and around the world for products like shampoos, mascara and lipstick. Consumers are scanning labels and demanding products free of animal testing, cosmetics companies are listening to them and changing their practices, and lawmakers are solidifying these changes into permanent policy.
Many cosmetics companies have joined us to support bills in the states moving to end cosmetics testing sales and production. The Personal Care Products Council, which is the leading national trade association representing approximately 600 personal care products companies, partnered with us during the last Congress to lead the federal Humane Cosmetics Act, a bill addressing cosmetics animal testing and imports. We anticipate the bill will soon be reintroduced in the current Congress.
Globally, efforts made by Humane Society International, its partners and others have resulted in 40 countries, including member states of the European Union, Australia, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey passing laws prohibiting or limiting cosmetics testing on animals.
Cosmetics animal testing is simply not needed to ensure the safety of cosmetics for human use. Each year, thousands of animals endure harsh testing methods, including having chemicals dripped into their eyes or rubbed onto their skin, after which they are killed. But there are thousands of ingredients already available for companies to create great products without any new testing, animal or otherwise. In case of new ingredients many non-animal test methods have been, and continue to be, developed that are as effective—or even more effective than —animal tests have been.
We congratulate Virginia lawmakers including the primary bill sponsors, Sen. Jennifer Boysko and Del. Kaye Kory, as well as the residents of Virginia, for taking this compassionate step. And we thank Gov. Northam for signing this bill into law. We now urge other states to follow suit by working swiftly to end cosmetics animal testing and sales of animal-tested cosmetics on their soil at the earliest. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
A keeper at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was taken to a local hospital Thursday morning after an incident involving a cheetah.
Around 10 a.m., two staff members were walking 4-year-old cheetah Isabelle for her daily exercise.
According to the zoo, Isabelle was harnessed to transport her from one location to the other per standard procedures.
At the same time, a keeper from the Heart of Africa region was also walking down the service road toward Isabelle.
The zoo says, Isabelle's care team had her sit and she was calm and purring.
The team invited the keeper to approach, that's when Isabelle crouched down and lunged toward the keeper.
The zoo says the keeper works around giraffes and other hoofstock. They believe the scent of these other animals on the keeper triggered a natural instinct in Isabelle, who reacted.
“You can train a wild animal, but it is impossible to tame them and it just can't be done, instinct is so powerful,” said Suzi Rapp, Vice President of Animal Programs at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. "They are a wild animal and we treat them as that."
Team members immediately contacted the Liberty Township Fire Department, who responded and provided treatment onsite and transported the keeper to the hospital for further evaluation out of precaution. The keeper was treated and discharged.
The zoo said this is Isabelle’s first incident and as per the Delaware County General Health District, she will be placed in a 30-day quarantine just to ensure that she does not show signs of illness.
At the end of 30-days, she will return to her home in the Heart of Africa. They add Isabelle is up to date on her vaccinations.
Last year, Isabelle gave birth to two cubs through in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.
“Izzy is probably one of the most famous cheetahs in the world because a lot of people will know last year we did intro fertilization transfer. Izzy was the recipient of that transfer and 83 days later gave birth to two beautiful perfect cubs, Dave and Adrienne," Rapp said. "That was the first time in the world that science had been successful.”
A Leetonia Ohio man is facing felony animal cruelty charges following an investigation of a complaint about the condition of animals in his care.
A grand jury indicted John Arsuffi, 63, on nine counts of the charge. According to the prosecutor, he turned himself into the jail, where he was served.
The indictment stems from an incident in January in which the Columbiana County Dog Warden received a complaint from a power utility employee working in the area about animals living in deplorable conditions. Ultimately, two dogs were found emaciated but alive, and seven were found deceased, all from apparent starvation, according to a press release from the Columbiana County prosecutor’s office.
While previously classified as misdemeanor offenses, the cruelty of companion animals was elevated to the felony level by virtue of “Goddard’s Law,” named after the late Cleveland-area
broadcaster, Dick Goddard, who was a long-time advocate for animals’ rights throughout Ohio.
“The offenses are heinous, and the scene was one which no living creature should have to
endure,” said Columbiana County Prosecuting Attorney Vito Abruzzino. “My office will pursue this case vigorously to ensure that justice is served for what happened to these helpless animals. My hat is off to the utility worker that spoke out and called this dire situation to the attention of the Columbiana County Dog Warden.”
Arsuffi’s bond was set at $15,000, and he is set to appear for arraignment at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 1.