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Talkin' Pets News

November 13, 2021

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Karen Vance - Certified Dog Trainer

Producer - Lexi Adams

Network Producer - Ben Boquist

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guest - Hour 2 at 630pm ET Jon and Talkin' Pets is joined by Darby Camp & Jack Whitehall the stars from "Clifford the Big Red Dog"


On October 25, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a new statute, requiring that the “best interest” of a divorcing couple’s pet or companion animal be considered when awarding custody to a spouse, and applying many of the same factors considered in determining child custody. “Companion animals” or “pets” are defined as dogs, cats, and any other domesticated animal normally maintained in an owner’s household.
With the enactment of this law, New York joins California, Illinois, and Alaska in considering the interests of a couple’s pets during the divorce proceedings.

Before the passage of this law, pets were treated as property in New York, and courts generally awarded pets or companion animals to the spouse who purchased the animal and paid for its care. However, by now adopting the “best interest” of the pet as the primary consideration, each spouse will not only have the opportunity to prove why he or she will benefit from having the pet in his or her life, but also why the pet has a better chance of thriving and being loved in that individual person’s care.

Traditionally, the “best interest” approach has been used to determine custody issues for children of divorcing couples, which include inter alia, the home environment, specific needs of the child, the child’s preference and the parental involvement in the child’s life. The courts will now determine who is best suited to care for the pet{s} based on tangible factors, such as who feeds them, brings them to the veterinarian, takes care of their grooming and walks them, rather than treating the pet{s} merely as marital property. The “best interest” standard will also likely consider who spends more time with the pet, and the pet’s relationships with family members.

In the past, pets could have been used for leverage in divorce negotiations regarding the division and distribution of marital assets. However, now the “best interest” standard will require thoughtful consideration of a pet’s quality of life and emotional wellbeing.


Cats afflicted with a deadly type of cancer may soon have renewed hope, thanks to a promising new treatment.

Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands are using nanobody-targeted photodynamic therapy to tackle oral squamous cell carcinoma in feline patients. The method utilizes light, along with a tumor-cell targeted, light-sensitive chemical to precisely trigger cancer cell death, the foundation reports.

“There is a great need for treatments of this specific type of cancer,” says Utrecht University associate professor, Sabrina Santos Oliveira, PhD. “Nanobody-targeted photodynamic therapy could provide a new opportunity for treating cats.”

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is the most common oral cancer in cats, accounting for roughly eight to 10 percent of all cancers diagnosed, Morris Animal Foundation says. The tumors make eating and drinking difficult and are painful.

The cancer spreads locally and imbeds deeply into the oral tissue, making complete surgical removal rare. Once diagnosed, the average survival time for feline patients is three months.

“I cannot stress enough the need for new treatments for this terrible cancer,” says Morris Animal Foundation’s chief scientific officer, Janet Patterson-Kane, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS. “If effective, nanobody-targeted photodynamic therapy could help thousands of cats affected by oral squamous cell carcinoma each year.”

While conventional photodynamic therapy uses light and a light-sensitive chemical to treat cancer, nanobody-targeted photodynamic therapy uses tumor-cell targeted antibody fragments coupled to the chemical, offering a more precise treatment, Morris Animal Foundation reports.

Dr. Santos Oliveira plans to move the treatment to clinical cases in the next few months. She anticipates the study will take two years to complete.


Smokey Bear taught kids the importance of preventing wildfires. McGruff the Crime Dog warned them not to talk to strangers. And in 1972, Big Bird lined up on “Sesame Street” to receive a measles vaccine as part of a campaign to get more youngsters inoculated against the disease.

But when that same iconic, 8-foot-tall children’s character tweeted last weekend that he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, conservative politicians immediately pushed back.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, grilled Big Bird for what he called “government propaganda.” Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe described it as “brainwashing children” and “twisted.”

“My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy,” Big Bird tweeted.

“Sesame Street” has long faced grumbles from conservatives unhappy with its connections to U.S. public broadcasting, which receives federal funding. Yet this latest fallout marked a new contentious flashpoint that has plagued previous rollouts of the vaccine, just as the shot becomes available to children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Nearly 50 years ago, when the show was in its third season, “Sesame Street” encouraged kids to get the measles vaccine by showing Big Bird and other children getting the injection. The move was similar to other public service campaigns that used beloved characters to help teach children life lessons, including discouraging littering, wearing seatbelts and looking both ways before crossing the street.

“What Big Bird is doing is part of a long tradition. But what’s different now, of course, is that everything is political and everything is contentious,” said Thomas Doherty, an American studies professor at Brandeis University. “Something that we all wanted a year ago, the vaccine, is now this matter of great contention.”

“The whole `Sesame Street’ embrace of diversity, inclusion, being nice, paying attention to people of poverty and of different colors, that is all a form of education directed at kids that most people would think is a really good thing and a great contribution. Then comes the vaccines,” Thompson said. “And now, this idea of getting a vaccine is no longer a celebration. It’s become something else.”

“It’s not surprising that the pandemic, vaccination and following public health advice might fall into this cultural battle or effort to leverage emotive issues to your political advantage if you’re a senator or a political candidate,” said Colin Woodard, author of “ American Character: The History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good.” “The flashpoints in our culture wars,” Woodard said, “are often flashpoints between an individual liberty and a common good perspective.”


Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed new artificial intelligence (AI) models to recognise behaviours of chimpanzees in the wild. The method will allow researchers and wildlife conservationists to significantly cut back on time and resources spent analysing animal behaviour in video footage, according to the new paper published today in Science Advances.

The new computer model was trained using videos from two populations of wild chimpanzees in West Africa from Bossou in Guinea, and Cantanhez National Park in Guinea-Bissau, to capture several behaviours: nut-cracking, eating, and buttress drumming. The tool is the first of its kind to automatically recognise behaviour in wild primates using both audio and video, and builds on previous work which developed an automatic method for tracking and identifying individuals using face recognition.

'Our models can be applied to thousands of hours of video recordings of chimpanzees in their natural habitat from camera traps or archival footage,' says Max Bain, researcher and DPhil student at Oxford University’s Department of Engineering. 'We use methods from deep learning with networks that are able to ingest both the audio and the visual stream of information from a video, crucial in the wild where an animal behaviour might be heard but not seen (e.g. cracking nuts behind a tree) or inaudible actions.'

With the widespread deployment of camera trap databases and use of long-term video archives in field research, capturing the sheer volume of animal behaviours using human researchers is becoming increasingly difficult to scale.

'For species such as chimpanzees which have remarkable behavioural complexity, cross-site comparisons of video datasets using AI presents an exciting opportunity to capture subtle variation between groups and the evolution of behaviour over time at a scale and depth not previously possible,' says Daniel Schofield, researcher and DPhil student at Oxford University's Primate Models Lab, Institute of Human Sciences.

The method is novel by combining individual identification from previous approaches with audio-visual behaviour recognition to gain richer insight into the complexity of animals’ lives. 'Our method is not restricted to chimpanzees, and can be trained to recognise any behaviour,' says Bain. 'We hope that other teams and researchers can apply our cutting edge methods to other species.'

Monitoring vast amounts of data from field research of wild species is a crucial component of conservation efforts tackling the biodiversity crisis. The use of behaviour recognition using AI has potential to capture novel behavioural indicators that can more accurately measure the viability of threatened populations.

'Ultimately this can help us examine the social and ecological drivers of behaviour, as well as monitor how these communities are responding to environmental pressures caused by climate change and habitat degradation from human activities,' says Schofield.

‘As a computer scientist, it is extremely satisfying to see these methods applied to solve real, challenging biodiversity problems,’ adds Arsha Nagrani, a co-author who is now at Google Research. The international collaboration also featured scientists from other institutions in the UK (University of Exeter), Japan (Chubu Gakuin University, Japan Monkey Centre) and the US (University of Rochester, California Institute of Technology).


Winter the Dolphin, star of “Dolphin Tale” and Tampa Bay icon, has sadly passed away following her battle with intestinal issues.

Team members at Clearwater Marine Aquarium noticed on Monday, Nov. 1 that Winter “wasn’t acting like her normal self” and was not interested in eating.

Test results on Wednesday, Nov. 10 showed that, despite “aggressive” treatment from aquarium staff, abnormalities in her intestines intensified, making Winter’s condition critical. Animal care experts at CMA worked with veterinary specialists from all across the country and world as they explored all possible options to help save Winter.

Unfortunately, despite battling intestinal issues in the past, Winter died at approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11 while being held by her caregivers.

“Many are inspired by her resiliency and this amazing response reminds us of how deeply she has affected millions, including so many on their own health journey,” the aquarium said in a statement.

The aquarium will close its doors Friday, Nov. 12 to allow staff members to grieve. A grief counselor will be made available to the team.

“While we are heartbroken by Winter’s death, we are comforted knowing that our team did everything possible to give her the best chance at survival. We worked with specialists and marine mammal experts from around the country to provide her with the best care available. Our staff worked around the clock during this challenging time,” said Veterinarian Dr. Shelly Marquardt, DVM, CVA. “I’m honored to work alongside such dedicated and talented professionals who gave their all for Winter.”

Plans for a memorial for Winter, honoring the positive impact she made on the world, will be announced soon.

Winter made national headlines in 2005 when she was rescued off the Florida coast and taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The bottlenose dolphin had become entangled in a crab trap line and lost her tail. She later received a prosthetic replacement.

Her story inspired the 2011 film “Dolphin Tale,” starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and Morgan Freeman. The movie would go on to receive a sequel, called “Dolphin Tale 2.”

Winter was 16 years old.


A Florida man accused of beating a pit bull puppy, stabbing it 50 times and stuffing it into a suitcase while the dog was clinging to life will serve 10 years in prison after admitting to the crime, his defense lawyer said Tuesday.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Brendan Evans, 35, of Hollywood agreed to plead guilty four years after the attack on Ollie the pit bull, according to his lawyer, Michael Gottlieb.

The dog died two days after being discovered.

The attack on the Ollie caused an international outcry. 

Evans first denied being involved, but investigators found cat paws and rats with severed heads in his freezer, blood stains in his bathroom and dried blood and animal fur in his oven, the newspaper reported.

Evans has been held in jail since his arrest four years ago. He was initially charged with 17 counts of animal cruelty but prosecutors dropped 15 in exchange for the guilty plea, Gottlieb said.


For thousands of years, the circulating currents of the Atlantic Ocean have continuously regulated the temperatures of Europe and North America, producing a warming effect that allows them to enjoy relatively moderate weather conditions.

But the effects of anthropogenic climate change have diminished the flow of this vast conveyor belt system, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), and recent scientific research suggests it may even be headed for collapse.

The unprecedented slowdown of the vast system has been measured directly since 2004, but analysis of indirect data suggests a longer decline, beginning in the mid to late 19th century and accelerating after 1950. One study, which looked at ice cores and ocean sediments, determined the AMOC was “in its weakest state in over a millennium”.

“Everything points to a weakening of the AMOC,” said Sybren Drijfhout, an oceanographer at the University of Southampton. The timeline of a potential collapse of the AMOC remains unclear, but the consequences for the Earth’s climate would be immense. Temperatures in Europe and the east of North America would drop by as much as 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit), leading to more extreme winter weather.

Coastal cities in North America would be flooded by rising sea levels. It would also disrupt the West African and Asian monsoons, which supply vital rainfall for crops that tens of millions of people depend upon.

Whether the decline of the AMOC will continue in a linear fashion, or reach some tipping point, after which the decline could accelerate precipitously, remains a point of discussion among scientists.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” said Niklas Boers, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Whether it’s just linear, slowing down, or whether there’s actually a loss of stability.”

A paper published by Boers in the Nature Climate Change journal in August analysed eight separate indicators, making use of sea surface temperature and water salinity data that stretches back to the 19th century.

It found the AMOC may have evolved from a period of relative stability towards a “critical” transition that would signal a profound change in the global climate system. Such a tipping point could see the AMOC halt entirely over a relatively short period of decades.

“We have a situation where there’s a threshold … If we reached that threshold, then we will have a very, very massive impact that is possibly practically irreversible,” said Boers.


A woman was seen climbing over a barrier at the Bronx Zoo's lion exhibit, witnesses exclusively told NBC New York, as cellphone video showed her holding roses and tossing money toward the fearsome feline. The incident occurred around 4 p.m. Thursday, according to the zoo. The woman in a blond wig, red dress and leopard-print shawl addressed the animal as if it were a long-lost friend, witnesses said. She carried flowers and threw what appeared to be cash into the air at one point. "I missed him so much," the woman is heard saying on video.

The woman whose husband recorded the cellphone footage told News 4 that the apparent lion lover said "King, I love you, I came back for you," adding that witnessing the wild stunt "was definitely surreal."

A spokesperson for the Bronx Zoo said that onlookers alerted staff about the woman, but she was gone by the time they got there. The zoo said she was on the other side of a protective moat separating the enclosure from the viewing public, and that she was not in any danger.

In an updated statement Friday, a zoo spokesman said, "Video shows she crossed a barrier into a planted area near the exhibit. The woman was not in the exhibit as has been falsely reported and she was never in the same space as the lions."

"This situation involves one individual who is determined to harass our lions with no regard for her safety, or the safety of our staff and our guests, and no regard for the well-being of the lions. We have an NYPD substation in the park and are working closely with them to resolve this situation with this individual," he added. "The Bronx Zoo has a zero-tolerance policy in matters such as this and will aggressively seek prosecution against this individual and anyone who violates park safety rules."

If the bizarre situation seems familiar, that's because it is. In 2019, a woman named Myah Autrey went to the very same enclosure — basically to the exact same spot — and appeared to seemingly taunt the lions, raising her arms and wiggling her body for a second as if she was dancing for them. The lion didn't react, just stared at her. The woman who witnessed Thursday's incident said that based off Autry's Instagram page, where she is sporting blond hair, it appears to be the same woman.

"I can't believe she did it again, if it even is her. I don't know what's going through people's minds," said Belmont resident Raul Rivera. Autry was charged with criminal trespass after her last misadventure, where she didn't just limit herself to just teasing the king of the jungle. Another video of her surfaced from the giraffe den, where she's seen waving to the lanky ungulates as they munched on leaves further away.

After 2019's incidents, Autry said in a rambling, 15-minute session outside a courthouse that her reasoning for jumping into the lion’s den was “a lot more spiritual” and that she was never afraid while she was in there. “I fear nobody. No animal, no human, no one. So no, I wasn’t fearing of the lion because the lion loved me. That’s why he came to me and I let the lion know: Lion, I love you,” Autry said, and later referenced "reincarnation."


Hold on to your cats, Seattle.

It’s common these days to see viral videos of people pilfering packages from porches, but an Amazon Ring camera captured a more unusual scene in our side yard in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood this week: our neighbor’s cat leaping for his life, literally, with an urban coyote hot on his tail.

Apart from the drama of the escape, the video quality is quite good. The Ring’s infrared camera captured the scene in black-and-white in the dark, providing a clear and chilling glimpse of the coyote sniffing the ground and assessing the situation after the cat’s narrow escape. Looking at the video, we were surprised — and the cat was fortunate — that the coyote didn’t leap the fence.

Coyote sightings have become more common in our part of the city, which is near the train corridor and greenbelt that runs alongside Golden Gardens Park.

For those concerned about the cat, our neighbors report that he was spooked by the close encounter but otherwise alright.


Read 365 times Last modified on Friday, 12 November 2021 23:56
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