A woman charged in connection with the theft of Lady Gaga’s prized French bulldogs who were dognapped at gunpoint in Hollywood has sued the musician for alleging she was denied a $500,000 “no questions asked” reward, according to a complaint filed Friday.
Jennifer McBride was one of five co-defendants charged in connection with the theft of the prized French bulldogs in 2021. Lady Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was shot and wounded.
McBride pleaded no contest in December to receiving stolen property in connection with the theft. Now, she's accusing Lady Gaga of breach of contract, fraud by false promise and fraud by misrepresentation for not paying her the $500,000 reward.
In addition to the reward money, McBride is seeking no less than $1.5 million in damages, as well as unspecified general damages, in the eight-page complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
McBride alleges Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, announced the half-million-dollar reward through the news media and on her social media accounts.
McBride claims she was entitled to the reward for having delivered the dogs to the Los Angeles police Olympic Community station two days after they were taken. The suit alleges Lady Gaga never intended to pay the "no questions asked" reward money, instead having law enforcement ask McBride questions about the return of the bulldogs. As a result, McBride endured pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.
McBride, who police said reported that she found the dogs and responded to a reward email to return them, was charged with one count each of being an accessory after the fact and receiving stolen property. She pleaded no contest in December to receiving stolen property. Representatives for Lady Gaga did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee said any payout from a lawsuit would be considered restitution for Lady Gaga, who along with her wounded dog walker, were victims of a crime.
“It was clear from the evidence presented to the grand jury that Ms. McBride knew the dogs have been stolen in a violent robbery in which Ryan Fischer had been grievously injured. It was also clear from the evidence that McBride had known at least two of her co-conspirators for years," Hanisee said. "If Lady Gaga suffers a financial loss by paying that reward, she will qualify as a victim of crime under California law, and the people will be obligated by law to seek restitution in court for that loss from each and every defendant in the case."
Hanisee added that if Lady Gaga had not come forward publicly acknowledging the dogs were hers and offering a reward, "the dogs would likely have ended up in a breeding mill." She noted that "McBride is still on formal probation" and "still under the jurisdiction of the court." McBride's attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A dozen dead whales have washed up on New York and New Jersey beaches since December. It's part of a years-long trend in whale deaths up and down the east coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is trying to figure out what's going on.
The deaths have led some protesters to call for an end to offshore wind development, saying — without evidence — the sound of the boats and underwater surveying might confuse the whales. Some of those protesters are with the environmental group Clean Ocean Action, but some represent at least one conservative group that opposes offshore wind development.
The Marine Mammal Commission, a federal agency charged with protecting marine mammals, said the deaths are "not new, nor are they unique to the U.S. Atlantic coast."
Sixteen humpback whales alone have stranded along the Atlantic coast this winter. However, the Commission notes "there is no evidence to link these strandings to offshore wind energy development." Many of the deaths are attributed to being hit by ships or getting caught in fishing nets.
Nearly a third of dog owners claim they can immediately pick up on their pet’s different moods (28%), according to new research. A survey of 2,000 dog owners found that after being around their furry friends for so long, pet parents know when their dog is happy when they wag their tail (28%), jump on them (24%) or show them affection with cuddles or kisses (23%). Others said their pup loves being pet (21%) and has plenty of energy (20%) when they’re in a good mood.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ollie, the survey found that pet owners are used to their dog’s strange antics, like “trying to keep a neat environment,” “does a twirl when she’s begging for house food” and “sneezes for treats.”
A third of those polled would be concerned within a day or two if their pet started acting differently (31%). Owners pay great attention to their dog’s behavior, as the average respondent gets worried they’ll lose their dog four times every year. Four in five respondents who are also parents even said their dog’s wellness is just as important as their child’s (81%). Pet parents know their dog is sad when they stop eating (24%), have low energy (23%) or whine or cry (22%).
The average pup has exhibited even stranger “abnormal behavior” five times over the past year. One pet owner said their dog was “constantly licking elbows,” while another said theirs “became lethargic and did not eat for a few days” and a third noticed their dog was “spinning around nonstop.” Respondents keep a close eye on their furry friend’s behavior by keeping track with a journal or app (36%) and adjusting their diet to see if it’ll have an effect (31%).
“Your dog is uniquely yours; no one knows their quirks the way you do! This puts you, the pet parent, in an incomparable position to quickly identify changes in your pup’s normal behavior,” said Nicole Sumner, senior brand manager at Ollie. “These behavioral nuances could indicate something more serious.”
This prompts constant care for their pet’s wellness — even when it comes to sleeping. Respondents want to ensure their dog gets enough rest and do so by giving their dog a potty break before bed (39%), cuddle time before bed (37%) or a sleep supplement (34%). Thirty-five percent even implement a bedtime/”lights out” time — by 9 p.m. for most dogs (69%).
Pet parents want to ensure their furry friend is rested enough to be active the next day, with a quarter of respondents saying they “always” take the time to be physical with their dog, no matter how tired they are from their day. More than a third of owners also help their pup work up an appetite by exercising before meals (38%).
Caring for their canine carries over to mealtime where pet parents shared their tricks for getting their dog to eat like giving them a variety of foods (43%), having in-between snack times to keep them going throughout the day (43%) and stimulating their mind with puzzle feeder bowls (36%). Owners see treat time as another way to care for their dog’s well-being by bonding and showing affection (50%), helping them manage stress or anxiety (46%) and boosting their nutrition (48%).
“Every dog is different, and every day contains slight deviations from the structure dogs crave,” Sumner said. “Dogs need a healthy mealtime and exercise routine to feel their best. We support pet parents and make it as easy as possible for them to give their dogs solid foundations for healthy lives.” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The addition of a blood draw to wellness checks could help in the early detection of more than 30 types of canine cancer.
This is according to PetDx. The molecular diagnostics company has published the results of a clinical validation study for its proprietary product, OncoK9, a multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test for dogs that uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) of blood-derived DNA.
The study looked at more than 350 dogs diagnosed with cancer. Retrospective medical record review was performed to establish the history and presenting complaint that, ultimately, led to a definitive cancer diagnosis.
Four percent of these patients were found to have had their cancer detected during a wellness check before the onset of clinical signs. Blood samples were subjected to DNA extraction, library preparation, and next-generation sequencing. Sequencing data were analyzed using an internally developed bioinformatics pipeline to detect genomic alterations associated with the presence of cancer.
The proprietary product detected cancer in about half the dogs with preclinical disease, PetDx reports, suggesting the use of a next-generation sequencing-based liquid biopsy screening test has the potential to increase early cancer detection at wellness visits and expand the number of cancer types detectable at these visits.
“This study showed that very few cases of cancer were actually found using the current paradigm,” says lead author and PetDX chief medical officer, Andi Flory, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology). “The vast majority were found only after the dog’s family noted clinical signs at home. By the time clinical signs are evident, cancer may already be advanced.”
The test, which uses a blood drawn, has previously been shown to detect 30 different types of canine cancer, with a sensitivity of 85.4 percent for three of the most aggressive types (lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma) and an overall sensitivity of 54.7 percent, at a specificity of 98.5 percent (corresponding to a false positive rate of 1.5 percent).
“Next-generation sequencing is an advanced technology that is used for multiple applications in human medicine, including liquid biopsy testing for cancer detection,” says Ilya Chorny, PhD, chief technology officer for PetDx. “It is highly specific for cancer, so it has a low false-positive rate. It looks for cancer-associated genomic alterations across millions of DNA fragments in each blood sample and can allow for more cancer cases to be detected in both human and canine patients.”
“Liquid biopsy is a new tool to change the way we detect cancer in dogs, allowing for more cancers to be diagnosed earlier, when there may be more treatment options,” Dr. Flory adds.
Advancing individualized pet health care for future generations of dogs and cats is the driving force behind a new open-access genome database project.
Mars Petcare has partnered with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in creating the Mars Petcare Biobank Genomes initiative, where genomes from 10,000 dogs and 10,000 cats are enrolled and will be sequenced in the next 10 years.
“This project could help us further understand how we can build individualized pet care solutions for each unique dog or cat, which has the potential to become part of routine healthcare practice,” says Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO.
The full genome sequence and variant data of the 20,000 pets will be made publicly available via the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Sequence Read Archive, enabling scientific investigation across a range of areas, such as in-depth dog- and cat-breed ancestry, new genetic mutations specific to certain dog and cat breeds and how they link to diseases, as well as pets’ aging process.
“As veterinarians, we’re always looking to improve patient outcomes and for new ways to solve some of the most pressing pet healthcare challenges such as obesity, skin conditions, dental disease, infectious and zoonotic diseases, orthopedic disorders and, of course, cancer,” Dr. Welser says. “I look forward to seeing how the open access data can enable new insights supporting individualized pet health.”
They anticipate releasing the first raw genome sequences as soon as they become available throughout 2023, with additional, processed data to follow as pets are enrolled in the biobank study.
When a horse is limping, it’s an obvious indicator he is in pain. Oral pain, on the other hand, can cause just as much (or more) discomfort but is often invisible.
“There is no advantage to a horse to stop eating, so they find ways to chew around the pain,” said Ian Bishop, DVM, owner of Northern Equine Veterinary Services, in Kirkfield, Ontario. “I’ve been called out to see horses that must have had broken jaws for weeks or months standing out at the round bale eating with everybody else.” Weight loss was the only sign something was amiss.
During regular oral exams, veterinarians often find painful dental diseases no one expected because the horse’s behavior had not changed. “We know that in dogs, you’ll find something important on radiographs about 30% of the time. And it’s about 40% of the time in cats,” Bishop said. “In our study, 20% of patients had signs of disease on a radiograph that were not predicted based on an oral exam.”
Before compiling data on the 248 horses in his study, Bishop estimated that full-mouth radiographs would reveal only one in 10 or one in 20 horses had a dental disease. Instead, full-mouth radiographs revealed one in five horses had an undiagnosed dental issue.
“Sometimes, we found a painful dental disease that would progress into complications if left too long,” he said. “In other cases we found abnormalities that we wanted to monitor because they may lead to the horse requiring surgery in the future. “In older horses, a common unexpected finding was a painful disease called equine odontoclastic tooth resorption and hypercementosis (EOTRH).”
By taking dental radiographs to screen for disease, veterinarians might find issues months or even years before they become externally noticeable, potentially making treatment easier and cheaper, preventing consequences such as secondary infections, and saving the horse from additional time spent in pain.
Bishop recommends taking dental radiographs after oral examination almost any time a horse exhibits signs of oral pain or the veterinarian finds something concerning on an oral exam. He believes the images are invaluable for gathering more information about problems found during oral exams as well as discovering or ruling out a disease that might not be immediately apparent.
“The costs and practical challenges of taking dental radiographs can vary a lot, and whether they become part of a routine dental exam will come down to discussions between individual horse owners and their veterinarians,” he said. “Horse owners and veterinarians may also wish to consider including an oral exam and dental radiographs as part of prepurchase exams.”
Full-mouth radiographs offer a snapshot of the horse’s dental health at a specific point in time. Bishop says the next question research needs to address is how long it makes sense to wait before retaking dental radiographs and how frequently to repeat them over the horse’s lifetime.
By surgically implanting microchips in specific regions of the large colon in a horse, researchers gleaned a great deal of information about the secret life of this organ, leading them to contemplate studies aimed at colic prevention.* Currently, mechanisms and risk factors contributing to colic, such as large intestinal displacements, impactions, torsions, and entrapments, remain unknown. As a result, colic stemming from the large intestine remains an extremely common cause of morbidity and mortality in horses.
“Frequency of colic as a result of large intestinal abnormalities is at least partly due to the high mobility of a substantial portion of the organ. Many regions are not fixed to the body well and instead float freely within the abdominal cavity. This is particularly true for the pelvic flexure—the region of the large intestine where the ‘bottom’ and ‘top’ sections of the left colon meet one another in a hairpin turn,” explained Ashley Fowler, Ph.D., a nutritionist and director of research at Kentucky Equine Research.
Thus, studying the mobility of the large intestine, including the pelvic flexure, could provide important insight into colic prevention. The goals of the study were to: (1) confirm that microchips could be successfully embedded into the wall of the large intestine, and (2) verify chips could subsequently be detected using a microchip scanner transcutaneously, or from the outside of the horse’s body. Equine surgeons placed 12 microchips at various locations throughout one horse’s large intestine, including at the pelvic flexure. The horse was then scanned one to three times daily for a one-month period.
Most microchips (10 of 12, 83%) remained in the wall of the large intestine postsurgically, and they were identified transcutaneously for the duration of the study. Individual sections of the large colon had variable mobility, with some remaining in the same anatomic location consistently, but others moved more frequently around the abdominal cavity.
“The researchers reported that the pelvic flexure could be found on the opposite side of the abdomen within a two-hour window. Specifically, the pelvic flexure was detected 69% of the time the horse was scanned and was identified in the left abdomen, where one would expect it, about half of those times. The pelvic flexure was also identified on the right side of the abdomen and in the lower part of the abdomen,” Fowler said.
Despite a high degree of movement of the large colon, the horse never exhibited signs of colic, suggesting to researchers the level of movement that results in colic requires further study. According to the researchers, “The development of this model to characterize the location of the large colon is critical to recognizing the mechanisms of colonic displacement as well as the effects in management, feed, gastric distension, and various activities on the movement of the colon.”
Fowler added, “This type of method-development research will help us better understand risk factors and perhaps prevention strategies for certain types of colic, such as colon displacement and torsion.” Based on our current knowledge of colic prevention, horse owners are encouraged to maximize the health of the hindgut, where fermentation occurs.
A monster cane toad weighing nearly 6 pounds has been discovered by rangers working in Queensland’s Conway National Park.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is encouraging people to help out the environment by hunting – and even eating – bullfrogs.
"Since it's National Invasive Species Awareness Week, it's a good time to remind you that bullfrogs are invasive to Utah, so you can catch as many as you want," the agency said Thursday on Twitter, adding, "And bonus: they're tasty."
According to Lee Kay, a public shooting range facilities and grounds supervisor at Utah DWR, are voracious predators in Utah that will eat almost anything, including snakes, fish, toads and mice.
Bullfrogs are typically green or gray-brown with brown spots and have easily identifiable circular eardrums — or tympanum — on either side of their heads, the agency explains.
The largest of all North American frogs, bullfrogs can grow to a length of eight inches and can weigh up to 1.5 pounds.
"So target the big ones — they have the most meat," Kay said in a 2019 blog post on the agency's website. "I think they taste like chicken, but a little chewier. Others think they taste like fish. So if you like chicken and fish like I do, you'll love the taste of frog legs."
A license is currently not required to catch the frogs, but a fishing license is recommended.
Most of the ponds and marshes along the Wasatch Front in Utah contain bullfrogs. They breed from late spring through early summer, during which time you'll hear males call together in a chorus.
A cheetah took a stroll out of her habitat at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo on Tuesday afternoon.
Zoo officials say it happened around 3:40, when they were made aware of a cheetah outside her enclosure.
The escapee in question was none other than Gretchen, the 5-year-old, 60-pound cheetah living in the Scott African Grasslands.
Although Gretchen was somewhere she shouldn’t have been, she was still behind the public barrier.
Regardless, emergency protocols went into effect. Entry points to the zoo were closed, and guests and staff were taken to secure areas.
Zoo staff had eyes on Gretchen during the entirety of the escape. They say she even laid down at one point.
An animal care team responded, and they were able to get the cheetah back into her night quarters without any trouble.
Zoo officials are now working to figure out how Gretchen was able to slip out of her habitat.
The zoo says it has protocols in place for such events, and a review of the incident is underway to ensure the safety of guests and animals going forward.
Surviving alone in the Amazon is not easy, and for one man it included eating bugs and drinking his own urine. Jhonatan Acosta, of Bolivia, was out on a hunting trip when he was separated from his friends and left to fend for himself in the world’s largest rainforest. His ordeal ended up lasting a whopping 31 days, before search-and-rescue teams finally found him with the help of a specially trained dog named “Titan.”
If Acosta’s story is confirmed, it would be one of the longest known instances of lone survival in the Amazon. “I asked God for rain. If it hadn’t rained, I would not have survived,” Acosta told Unitel TV., recalling catching the rainwater in his boots as he was bitten by a variety of wild animals. According to his sister, he also went toe-to-toe with a wild pig and narrowly avoided a deadly encounter with a tiger.