Neighborhoods that have lots of dogs as well as high trust among neighbors tend to have less crime, a new study has found.
Such locations “had lower rates of homicide, robbery and, to a lesser extent, aggravated assaults compared to areas with fewer dogs,” according to a post from The Ohio State University.
“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” said Nicolo Pinchak, a doctoral student in sociology at OSU and lead author of the study. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”
The study was published in the journal Social Forces.
The researchers looked at crime statistics from 2014 to 2016 for 595 census block groups (neighborhoods) in the Columbus, OH, area. They also used survey data from a marketing firm as well as data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study.
“When people are out walking their dogs, they have conversations, they pet each other’s dogs,” Pinchak said. “Sometimes they know the dog’s name and not even the owners. They learn what’s going on and can spot potential problems.”
YOUR COMPANY’S PET-SITTING or dog-walking contract outlines the services you will provide, collects important information about your client’s home and pet-care needs, and indicates any limitations to your liability as a service provider.
Remember, the contract is a legal document. Combined with your business liability insurance, it is the best defense against possible legal claims against your company — so have your contract drafted or reviewed by an attorney and make sure these elements are included:
1. Services you will provide/frequency of visits. Specify feeding, playtime, dog walks, etc., and the number of visits per day or week.
2. Medical and behavioral history. Inquire about any health conditions or medications the pet may need and document instructions provided. Ask about and note the pet’s temperament, including if the pet has ever shown reactivity and/or aggression toward other pets or people, and in what situations.
3. Pet routines. Take thorough notes about important routines, such as a dog’s typical feeding time or location. Also ask about any special toys or favorite hiding spots (especially for cats!). Be sure to include where the pet food and other supplies are kept and if the client has any special requests, such as leaving the TV or radio on, and at what volume.
4. Home rules. Should the thermostat be set to a specific temperature? Are any areas of the home off limits? For example, may you use their restroom if there for a midday visit? Or for an overnight visit, where should you sleep, and do you have permission to use their Wi-Fi, refrigerator, etc.? Get it in writing.
5. Service fees and payments. List your rates and terms of payment. Indicate if a deposit is due prior to the assignment and/or whether full payment is due at the start or end of the visit(s). Note which forms of payment you accept and how the client will be invoiced.
6. Contact information. Include how you will be able to reach the client, whether they are in town or away, in the event of an emergency. This may be via their cellphone, work phone or if traveling, the number for their resort or hotel. You also should have contact information for at least one local person who can be reached if you are unable to complete a visit or if an emergency occurs. For non-emergencies, note how the client prefers to be contacted.
7. Social media. Ask if you have permission to share photos or videos of pets on social media and when.
Your contract will be customized to your business and can be updated as your needs change. However, one rule applies to all pet sitters and dog walkers: Never accept an assignment until you have a signed contract in hand!
Agroforestry Group ("AFG") today announced a major upgrade to its durian plantations following a thorough review of its operations. A fertigation system has now been implemented which replaces its previous system of separate irrigation and fertilisation work. This new system will improve durian production yields and is more environmentally friendly relying on less water and fertiliser.
Mr. Paul Martin, Agroforestry Group's MD said "Agroforestry Group is constantly monitoring the changing landscape surrounding our business and we have been reviewing the effectiveness of fertigation systems for some time now. Although costly to implement we feel it is necessary from an operational and environmental standpoint particularly as we continue to grow further. Environmental concerns are part of Agroforestry Group's business model and fertigation helps us expand and improve our production in a sound and efficient manner"
Mr. Martin added that traditional fertilisation and irrigation systems that most durian plantations employ are less efficient and harmful towards the environment as each activity is separate and not automated. Our fertigation system on the other hand combines both activities allowing for fertilisers to be administered along with irrigation water, through a fertiliser tank installed into the irrigation system. This ensures the even and timely distribution of water and fertiliser across all our durian. It also allows us to add additional necessary nutrients should they be needed to help growth.
Agroforestry Group decision to upgrade its entire durian plantations based in Johor, Malaysia with fertigation comes only after an in depth review of its effectiveness. It was found to be the most effective method for applying fertiliser and nutrients as it provides an easy means of precise doses to be delivered to its durian. It also provides cost savings and improves production yield and quality in the long term, as it reduces fertiliser and water waste and ensures its durian are safe from issues relating to overfertilisation or nutrient deficiencies.
Fertigation is just one of many new environmental based improvements Agroforestry Group has made to its business and follows on the footsteps of its recently introduced reforestation environmental initiative which helps restore Malaysia's forests and protect its wildlife habitats. Agroforestry Group is constantly reviewing and monitoring its business operations and will be announcing further improvements later this year.
The Canadian government is investing up to 8.5 million Canadian dollars (US$6.5 million) to help Aspire build a cricket protein production facility.
The investment through the AgriInnovate Program “will allow the company to monitor and grow billions of crickets at a time, producing a nutrient-rich protein for premium health food and pet markets, according to a press release from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Edible insect production “can provide high volumes of nutritious food with a low environmental footprint,” the release notes.
The demand for alternate sources of protein is growing, with the global market for pet food exceeding US$90 billion and global demand for edible insects for human consumption forecast to be worth more than US$8 billion in the next decade, according to the release.
The Aspire facility will be located in London, Ontario.
“Aspire is re-imagining what it means to sustainably produce food, and how smart technology can turn that vision into a reality,” said Francis Drouin, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Aspire’s innovative facility will help further establish London’s reputation as a hub for cutting-edge technology, strongly contributing to Ontario and Canada’s position as an innovator in agriculture and agri-food.”
Aspire was formed by five McGill University students in 2013 interested in finding solutions to global food scarcity. The company was launched after the team won the 2013 US$1 million Hult Prize, an annual social entrepreneurship competition that challenges students to build businesses that contribute to solving a pressing social issue.
In addition to Ontario, the company has a research and development facility in Austin, TX.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far. Webb’s First Deep Field is galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, and it is teeming with thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared. Webb’s image is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length, a tiny sliver of the vast universe. The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying more distant galaxies, including some seen when the universe was less than a billion years old. This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours – achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks. And this is only the beginning. Researchers will continue to use Webb to take longer exposures, revealing more of our vast universe.
This image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago, with many more galaxies in front of and behind the cluster. Much more about this cluster will be revealed as researchers begin digging into Webb’s data. This field was also imaged by Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), which observes mid-infrared light.
Webb’s NIRCam has brought distant galaxies into sharp focus – they have tiny, faint structures that have never been seen before, including star clusters and diffuse features. Light from these galaxies took billions of years to reach us. We are looking back in time to within a billion years after the big bang when viewing the youngest galaxies in this field. The light was stretched by the expansion of the universe to infrared wavelengths that Webb was designed to observe. Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the galaxies’ masses, ages, histories, and compositions. Other features include the prominent arcs in this field. The powerful gravitational field of a galaxy cluster can bend the light rays from more distant galaxies behind it, just as a magnifying glass bends and warps images. Stars are also captured with prominent diffraction spikes, as they appear brighter at shorter wavelengths.
Webb’s MIRI image offers a kaleidoscope of colors and highlights where the dust is – a major ingredient for star formation, and ultimately life itself. Blue galaxies contain stars, but very little dust. The red objects in this field are enshrouded in thick layers of dust. Green galaxies are populated with hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds. Researchers will be able to use data like these to understand how galaxies form, grow, and merge with each other, and in some cases why they stop forming stars altogether.
In addition to taking images, two of Webb’s instruments also obtained spectra – data that reveal objects’ physical and chemical properties that will help researchers identify many more details about distant galaxies in this field. Webb’s Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) microshutter array observed 48 individual galaxies at the same time – a new technology used for the first time in space – returning a full suite of details about each. The data revealed light from one galaxy that traveled for 13.1 billion years before Webb’s mirrors captured it. NIRSpec data also demonstrate how detailed galaxy spectra will be with Webb observations.
Finally, Webb’s Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) used Wide-Field Slitless Spectroscopy to capture spectra of all the objects in the entire field of view at once. Among the results, it proves that one of the galaxies has a mirror image.
Days ago, an entire litter of puppies was saved by firefighters in Colleton County, South Carolina. The pups were discovered beneath a shed that was fully engulfed in flames in Jacksonboro.
Engine 2 arrived to find the storage building well involved. They deployed two handlines to control the yard fire and the building fire. While firefighters were working to extinguish the fire, they heard a loud whining noise coming from the storage building. Upon investigation they found seven puppies under the burning building and rescued the pups. Firefighter-Paramedics moved the puppies to Fire-Rescue Medic 6 and began treating them for smoke inhalation.
All of the puppies managed to not only survive, but escape being burned. The homeowner had no idea that the puppies, born to a stray dog, were underneath the shed.
Colleton County Animal Services took custody of the puppies and then turned them over to a rescue organization. On Friday, the animal welfare agency said:
We are happy to report that all puppies spent the night with Officer Preacher and her family where they received baths, snuggles and some good food before resting in a safe place. They were transferred to a rescue group the next day, as they are very young and will require more care than we can provide at the shelter for several weeks. And on a very happy note, one of the fire fighters and his family are adopting 2 of the little pups when they are ready to leave their siblings.
According to the shelter, efforts are underway to try and catch the puppies’ feral mom.
Wildlife officials in Tennessee used a tragic incident in June to educate the public about the danger of food, and food-tainted trash, to bears. The warning from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency followed a bear’s death inside of a car that was parked at a cabin in Sevierville, Tennessee, on June 22.
According to the wildlife agency, a bear climbed into an unlocked car and the door closed, trapping it inside.
The bear was unable to get out of the car on the 95-degree day and it died. Officials believe that the temperature inside of the vehicle climbed to at least 140 degrees, causing the bear to die of heatstroke.
The wildlife agency posted this reminder to the public, with the hope that people will be mindful of the danger their food/garbage can have on wildlife:
Notice the empty soda can and food package on the floorboard. Bears have noses 7 times better than a bloodhound and can smell even the faintest odor of food inside a vehicle. Lock your doors, roll up your windows, and never leave food or anything that smells like food inside! Empty food containers, candy wrappers, fast food bags, and even air fresheners can attract bears. Please be #BearWise and help us keep bears wild and alive.
A 58-year-old Sandusky, Ohio, woman is facing a felony animal cruelty charge after locking her dog inside of a car in early August as “punishment.” The dog, named Chapo, suffered a miserable death from the heat.
Sandusky Police arrested Mouheb Ashakih on August 7, at her Perry Street home, after finding Chapo dead in the backseat of her Toyota Camry.
Ashakih’s neighbor confronted her about putting the dog in the car and her response was, “I don’t care, mind your own business I want him to die!”
The neighbor told the police that he saw Ashakih place her pit bull inside of the car and roll up the windows – he then saw the dog frantically trying to claw his way out of the car.
Death by heatstroke is not quick, or painless. Dogs can suffer seizures, tremors, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and delirium. Chapo undoubtedly suffered horribly before collapsing in the backseat of the Toyota.
When the police arrived, they could see the dog collapsed in the rear of the car. The police report describes what was observed after the window of the car was broken out:
After opening the door through the broken window, the dog was observed to not be breathing and showed no signs of life. I carefully shook the dog and noticed him to be stiff and very hot to the touch. There was also a very hot burst of air released from the interior of the vehicle when the window was shattered and the door was opened – considerably more hot than the temperature outside. The vehicle’s interior was observed to be destroyed and covered in blood, which indicates the dog was struggling and attempting to exit the vehicle. The dog’s paws were also observed to have lacerations and were covered in blood, as if he was attempting to scratch/dig his way out.
Chapo’s body was removed from the car and taken to the dog warden’s office, pending the investigation. Officers also removed a two-year-old dog, and two six-month-old puppies from Ashakih’s home. The dogs were taken to a shelter and Ashakih was booked into the Erie County Jail.
Please sign the petition at animlvictory.org to have court officials give Mouheb Ashakih the maximum sentence allowable by law for what she did to Chapo. She caused this dog extraordinary suffering, and by her own words, she intended for him to die. She should be forbidden from reclaiming the dogs that were seized, as well as denied the ability to own pets in the future.
A new survey released by Elanco finds many pets are insufficiently protected against common diseases like Lyme and leptospirosis. Once largely isolated to wooded regions, Lyme and lepto have escalated in urban and suburban areas due to expanding tick populations across the country.
Survey respondents indicated that they take their pet’s health and wellbeing seriously, according to a press release from Elanco. At the same time only 61% said their dogs are vaccinated for Lyme and less than half (47%) are vaccinated against lepto. Moreover, 33% and 69%, respectively, are unsure about the prevalence of Lyme or lepto in their area, highlighting the urgent need for broader awareness of risk exposure and proper prevention.
As COVID-19 restrictions lift around the country, owners and pets who spend more time outdoors, traveling and socializing with other pets will find themselves vulnerable to Lyme and lepto, according to the release.
Lyme disease in dogs can cause symptoms such as joint swelling, loss of appetite, and depression. Dogs that are at risk for Lyme disease are also at risk for leptospirosis – a serious and potentially fatal infection that carries symptoms such as vomiting, anorexia and lethargy. Dogs are at risk when they lap water out of a puddle or are exposed to contaminated mud and soil that infected animals have urinated in.
“Whether you live in rural areas, the suburbs or in the city, your dog could be exposed to diseases simply by engaging in their regular daily activities,” said Dr. Casey Locklear, Elanco’s U.S. medical lead for infectious disease prevention. “At Elanco, we believe vaccinated pets are the happiest pets. Pets and parents share a unique and loving bond and our goal is to make sure pets live longer, healthier lives.”
Vaccines are the best preventative measure for protecting pets against infections and the long-term, negative impacts of disease, according to the release, which noted: “Elanco offers innovative products to advance the health of animals, including a robust portfolio of pure, safe and effective vaccines.” The nationwide survey, conducted by Savanta, January 2022, consisted of 3,002 American adult respondents.
These new findings support a study published by Elanco in January 2022 that analyzed variability in non-core vaccination rates of over 3.5 million pets across the U.S. That report found wide variation in lifestyle vaccination rates, highlighting a need for veterinary practices to address gaps in patient protection.
The full Wag Stats survey results and more information about Lyme and lepto can be found at www.WagStats.com.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) will transfer 4,000 beagles from a research facility in Cumberland, Virginia, to humane societies across the United States where they can be adopted, under a plan approved by a federal judge last week.
A series of inspections over the course of nine months found more than 70 animal welfare violations at the Envigo breeding facility. Mortality records reviewed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed over 300 puppy deaths from January 1, 2001, to July 22, 2021, that were attributed to unknown causes. The facility also did not take any additional steps to determine the cause in order to prevent similar deaths in the future.
A motion filed in June said federal agents had already seized 446 beagles. HSUS will transport the remaining beagles from the facility at its own expense over the next approximately 60-day period. Following last week's ruling, Inotiv, Inc., Envigo's parent company, said in a statement it "will implement an orderly closure plan" of the Cumberland facility.
Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said in a statement, "After months of advocacy, we're heartened to know that nearly 4,000 Envigo dogs will be spared a lifetime of suffering and will instead head to loving homes. We're also pleased to know that Inotiv -- Envigo's parent company -- will shutter its Cumberland facility and that no more dogs will be subject to the appalling conditions and inexcusable distress endured by so many dogs and puppies at the facility. We will continue working in the Senate to prevent the mistreatment of innocent animals across Virginia and the nation."
Sue Bell, the executive director and founder of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, told CNN her group took 36 dogs between the ages of one and six years old from the 446 beagles that were relinquished earlier this year. Bell said the dogs were adopted in just three weeks.
She's also part of a team working on the logistics of the 4,000 additional beagles that will be surrendered over the following weeks, she said.
"We hope to get about 200-250 beagles off the property on July 19th," Bell said.
The group will prioritize getting pregnant dogs, juvenile dogs and mother dogs with unweaned puppies from the facility first. "We prefer the pregnant dogs do not give birth at that facility. We hope to get them home first," Bell said. After that, there will still be thousands of adult beagles that will need to be removed from the property.
Inspections found more than 70 animal welfare violations over a nine-month period.
Animal rights organization PETA applauded last week's ruling allowing for the dogs to be released from the facility.
"Envigo's surviving victims will soon be given the opportunity to have what every dog deserves -- the freedom to enjoy life, love, and respect for their individuality as members of a family home," said PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. "PETA's groundbreaking undercover investigation helped spark a historic domino effect of state and federal legislative and law-enforcement action that paved the way for these dogs' independence and this dog prison's closure."
Anyone looking for information on how to adopt one of the beagles or how to help with the beagle rescue can go to the USHS's website at humanesociety.org.
You may be familiar with animal hybrids like the mule—a cross between a female horse and male donkey—or a liger—the enormous offspring of a female tiger and male lion. Now, The New York Times reports that Hungarian scientists have created a new animal hybrid when sperm from the American paddlefish and eggs from the Russian sturgeon were mixed in the lab. Nicknamed the "sturddlefish" by the internet, the existence of these hybrids seems exceedingly unlikely, considering the two parental species shared a common ancestor more than 184 million years ago. That is nearly twice the divergence time between humans and mice.
The sturddlefish shares the carnivorous appetite of its mother, and some have a smaller version of their filter-feeding father's elongated nose, researchers report this month in Genes. They assume these fish are sterile, like many other humanmade hybrids, and do not plan to make any more.