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Talkin' Pets News

December 23, 2023

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Karen Vance - Pet Trainer, Behavior expert and Agility advice - Tampa, Florida

Producer - Lexi Adams

Network Producer - Paul Campos

Social Media - Bob Page

The AKC National Championship will air as a three-hour special on the ABC television network on December 31st, 2023, at 2 p.m. ET. The show features thousands of dogs from around the country and the world competing for the coveted title of America’s National Champion. 

  

Hosting the broadcast are AKC Executive Secretary and spokesperson Gina DiNardo and noted sportscaster Carolyn Manno. This year’s AKC National Championship is the largest dog show in North America, with 5,762 dogs entered in Conformation from 50 states and Washington, DC, and all around the world. That, combined with competitions in Agility, Obedience, the National Owner-Handled Series Finals, junior competitions, and AKC Fast CAT, brings the total entries to a staggering 9,801. Dogs will compete for multiple titles across various events, with the owner of the Best in Show winner receiving $50,000.  

  

“We are so excited to once again host these top canine competitors from around the world and honor the tradition of this show,” said Dennis Sprung, Show Chairman and President and CEO of the AKC. “The dogs that competed this year are the best of the best and shining examples of responsible breeding and canine athleticism. It’s a thrill to have our show return to ABC on December 31st to watch the crowning of America’s champion.” 

           

Award-winning company B Live Productions will once again produce the TV broadcast and the Livestream.  

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The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for all dogs, is excited to announce that the AKC® Agility Invitational is coming to ESPN2 this Christmas Eve starting at 9 pm ET.

The event occurred at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, on December 16th and 17th, 2023.

“We are excited to share with viewers the outstanding athletic abilities and skills these dogs demonstrate in this high-energy sport,” says Gina DiNardo, AKC Executive Secretary. “This Christmas Eve, viewers will cheer on their favorites and see the human-canine bond in action.”

Mark your calendars for Christmas Eve at 9 pm ET to tune into the AKC Agility Invitational presented by YuMOVE® on ESPN2. Check your local listings for channel information.

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The AKC® National Owner-Handled Series (NOHS) Finals Best in Show honors went to GCHB CH Kinloch So There!, an Irish Setter known affectionately as “Stryker” owned and handled by 14-year-old Adam Kucera and bred by Patty Fanelli and Mike Fanelli. Adam and Stryker beat out 874 other dogs to take highest honor. Additionally, 15-year-old Savanna Michalak won Reserve Best in Show with her Australian Shepherd GCHS CH Serendipity Collinswood Kestrel CGCA CGCU TKN ATT, known as “Hawk,” and bred by Clare Cox, Terri K Collins, Erin Aufox. The 2023 NOHS Finals Best in Show winner was crowned by Mr. Dennis B. Sprung after intense canine competition at the AKC® National Championship Presented on December 16th, 2023.

“Congratulations to this year’s winner of the AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals,” said Guy Fisher, Manager, Club Development. “We are thrilled to see the next generation of handlers showing their passion and excelling in the ring. The competition was exciting, and each competitor showed their tremendous skill and dedication.”

The top ten owner-handled dogs (plus ties) in each breed from the 2023 qualifying period were invited to compete in the Finals, and the 875 competitors entered represented 209 different breeds/varieties.

Group Winners

After winning their Best of Breed competitions, the following top dogs went on to win in their respective groups and compete for AKC National Owner-Handled Series Best in Show:

Sporting: GCHB CH Kinloch So There!, an Irish Setter known as “Stryker” owned by Linda Layfield & Adam Kucera and bred by Patty Fanelli and Mike Fanelli.

Hound: GCH CH Sobers Hazelyn, a Greyhound known as “Hazel” owned by Armando Sobrado, W Santiago, Bitte Ahrens and bred by Bitte Ahrens.

Working: GCHG CH Ridgetop'N Marconian's Aventador ATT, a Bullmastiff known as “Hugo” owned by Olga Contant & Ronie Whittall & Galina Taylor and bred by Olga Contant, Rene A Contant, Galina Taylor.

Terrier: GCHB CH Grabo Frankie Goes To Magor, a Bull Terrier known as “Frankie” owned by Sarah Byzewski and bred by Grace S. Thomas and Robert K Thomas.

Toy: GCHS CH Landd Shooting Star, a Papillon known as “Zeke” owned by Deedy and Larry Sorenson and Paige Fink and bred by Linda Knight.

Non-Sporting: GCHP CH Paintabull I'm the Pied Piper CGC TKN, a Bulldog known as “Piper” owned by Phyllis Portera and bred by Phyllis Portera and Greg Rodgers.

Herding: GCHS CH Serendipity Collinswood Kestrel CGCA CGCU TKN ATT, an Australian Shepherd known as “Hawk” owned by Savanna Michalak and bred by Clare Cox, Terri K Collins, Erin Aufox.

For full breed results, visit www.akc.org.

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One month after the South Korean government announced a bill to ban the dog meat industry, 27 dogs rescued by Humane Society International from a dog meat farm in South Korea were flown to the United States to find their forever homes. Raspberry, Trudy, Nana, Bruno, Zelda, Roxy, Max, Mia and other dogs from the now-closed farm are settling in and being evaluated at our care and rehabilitation center near Washington D.C.  Ranging in age from 10 months to nearly three years old, the dogs are now receiving the love and comfort the dog meat industry denied them, including soft beds, nutritious food, toys and enrichment, veterinary care and rehabilitation. After this initial phase, they will be transferred to shelter and rescue partners where they will be prepared for adoption into loving homes. 

Adam Parascandola, vice president of the HSI/HSUS Animal Rescue Team, said: “We are excited to see these dogs start this next chapter of their lives and learn how to be dogs. We are providing everything they need to get them ready to be part of someone’s family. They are undergoing veterinary exams, exploring new exciting smells and sounds, enjoying treats and playing with the people caring for them. Most of these dogs were not even born yet when we arrived, rescued their pregnant moms and closed the dog meat farm, so they were spared the worst conditions and have only known kindness from people like our rescue team. It is going to be a wonderful new year for them.” 

These dogs were fated to be killed for their meat as part of an industry that breeds and slaughters up to 1 million dogs a year for human consumption. They were saved as part of a 200-dog rescue when Humane Society International/Korea worked with the farmer, who wanted to leave dog farming behind him and convert his land into a self-sufficient crop field growing cabbages and other vegetables.

Sangkyung Lee, Humane Society International/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager, helped rescue the dogs and said: “The dog meat farm where these 27 pups came from was a hellish scene. Some 200 dogs were locked in barren, metal cages in squalid conditions thick with feces, many suffering from malnutrition as well as painful skin and eye diseases. Thankfully, most of these 27 dogs were too young to remember the trauma of the farm, and it makes me so happy to know that they will soon be embraced with new names and cherished as loved family members. It’s one month since the South Korean government pledged to ban the dog meat industry, so each one of these dogs symbolises a day that we have waited for political action. We need to get this ban done so that no more dogs have to suffer for a meat that virtually no-one wants to eat.”

Since 2015, HSI’s Models for Change program has helped dog farmers in South Korea transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery. HSI/Korea has permanently closed 18 dog meat farms so far and rescued more than 2,700 dogs who have flown to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to find homes, with a small number rehomed in South Korea.

HSI’s rescues are conducted in compliance with national and local COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Following removal from farms, dogs were evaluated by a veterinarian. They were vaccinated against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza, leptospira and canine influenza, and screened for respiratory illness as needed to ensure the health of each animal and comply with international export and import requirements.

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Hearst Media Production Group (HMPG), a leading producer and distributor of educational/informational programming, has acquired the library of TV series hosted by legendary wildlife ambassador Jack Hanna from Into The Wild, LLC.

 HMPG has been the long-time distributor of the Hanna franchise.  In addition to its current ownership of Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures, HMPG has acquired nearly 400 episodes of the series Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown and Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild for global distribution.

 The announcement was made today by Frank Biancuzzo, HMPG president, and the Hanna family.  Terms of the transaction were not announced.

 Jack Hanna’s enthusiasm and hands-on approach to wildlife conservation have won him widespread acclaim as a conservationist, television personality, author and Director Emeritus of the famed Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio. For more than 50 years, Hanna built a wildlife programming franchise that has been viewed in more than 60 countries.   He has been nominated for 15 Emmy awards, winning five for his work on Into the Wild.   Hanna has also authored several books, won many awards, and received multiple honorary doctorates. 

 “We’re proud to deepen our decades-long partnership with the Hanna family and be entrusted to continue sharing this compelling, legacy wildlife programming worldwide,” said Biancuzzo. “HMPG is committed to the important work Jack started,” said Suzi Hanna, wife of Jack Hanna.  “Their extensive knowledge of producing and distributing engaging wildlife programming ensures Jack’s lifelong commitment to wildlife education and conservation will reach fans of all ages for years to come.”

 In 2021, HMPG launched The Jack Hanna Channel, a FAST channel showcasing hundreds of episodes of Hanna’s adventures in the wild.  The channel is currently distributed across leading US platforms that include Samsung TV Plus, The Roku Channel, Vizio WatchFree+, Freevee and Tubi. The channel is also available in Canada and India with ongoing discussions to expand globally into new territories.

“Jack’s endearing personality and authentic love of conservation have created one of the most popular franchises in wildlife programming,” said Andrew Tew, HMPG senior vice president, global licensing and distribution.  “Adding the full library of his iconic work enables us to serve his fans in new ways.”

 HMPG’s leadership in the wildlife programming genre includes Wildlife Nation, hosted by Jeff Corwin; Earth Odyssey, hosted by Dylan Dreyer; Wild Child, hosted by Sheinelle Jones; Oh Baby!, hosted by Janai Norman; and the newly launched Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild, hosted by Peter Gros and Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant.  Overall, HMPG’s current program portfolio comprises more than 30 original series and hundreds of hours of original content annually on leading broadcast networks and station groups and on connected TV and streaming platforms.  It has a library of more than 4,000 hours of programming and its content can be found in 97 countries.  HMPG was recently honored with 86 national Telly Awards and named Telly “Company of the Year,” recognized as a standout for equity and inclusion programming.

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The Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) is proud to share its story of shark scientist Dr James Lea, a field biologist deeply committed to a hopeful future for sharks and rays. Viewers can stream the film for free on YouTube, journeying with Lea as he travels the planet using his expertise to save sharks. The SOSF hopes that together we can learn how science helps inform how and where sharks and rays can thrive.

 

This is a film about hope for the future of sharks and rays. The film tells the story of James Lea, a field biologist who grew up dreaming of sharks, enigmatic creatures of the deep. In his first few years as a field biologist, he fell in love with silky sharks in the Red Sea, where he interacted with them and learned their individual personalities. But in the space of just a few years he watched as almost each and every animal he had known was lost to overfishing. Feeling heartbroken and helpless, Lea resolved to use his expertise as a scientist to protect sharks in places where they still have a chance to thrive.

 

Older Than Trees highlights Lea’s work in the field and the success he’s contributed to in safeguarding these ancient species. Using both new and never-before-seen archival footage, the film takes us on an expedition around the world that showcases the critical role science plays in safeguarding vulnerable species like sharks and rays. ‘We rely on our oceans for food, livelihoods, climate regulation and our well-being, and sharks play many crucial roles in the stability of ocean systems. Increasingly, we risk losing this stability through intense overfishing; global shark populations have declined by more than 70%. Sharks really, really need our help,’ says Lea. ‘This is where the science comes in. Filling knowledge gaps about sharks and their behaviour helps us to target conservation efforts, making sure they are as effective as possible.’

Craig Foster, co-founder of Sea Change Project and executive producer of Older Than Trees, comments, ‘It was a joy to work with Pippa, James and the Save Our Seas Foundation team. The team have dedicated their lives to ocean conservation, using science to protect sharks and marine habitats – in essence, protecting the life-support system of humans and all life on earth.’ He added, ‘This is a very important story – in a larger sense, perhaps the most important story. It’s very exciting for me and my colleagues at Sea Change Project to work with the Save Our Seas Foundation and to collaborate on projects for the ocean. The great transformation many are praying for, where we prioritise Mother Nature in everything we do, will only come through massive multi-level collaboration. For Sea Change, it is a privilege to be a tiny cog in that very big wheel.’

Older Than Trees is a compelling reminder of the value of impact-driven science in the urgent mission to protect and restore populations of threatened animals like sharks. On the impact of the film, Lea says, ‘Although I love sharks, I never dreamed I would get to know, and grow deeply fond of, particular individuals. These are connections I cherish, and ones that I hope future generations will get the privilege to experience too.’

You can watch Older Than Trees on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/6t2ZSalsMjQ

The film has been playing in festivals around the globe, acquiring numerous award nominations and being proclaimed ‘Best Documentary Short Film’ at the Braga Science Film Festival. It will be available to stream from 18 December 2023 on YouTube and Vimeo.

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Apes can recall the faces of their friends, even when they haven't seen each other in decades, scientists have found. A new study, which involved the longest-lasting social memory testing undergone on a species outside of humans, worked with chimpanzees and bonobos in three different zoos: Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, Planckendael Zoo in Belgium and Kumamoto Sanctuary in Japan. The multi-institutional group of scientists used photographs of their old companions—other apes that they had seen before—that had either left the zoo or died. The apes studied had not seen these other apes for at least nine months and, in some cases, not for 26 years. The photographs were presented to the apes side by side with pictures of total strangers.

Scientists discovered that the apes were a great deal more interested in the pictures of their former friends, compared with a picture of a stranger. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The apes' reactions were also measured depending on the experiences they had had with their former companions. They appeared to look at the photographs longer if they had had a positive experience with the ape presented to them.Top of FormBottom of Form One case took scientists by surprise the most. One ape, a bonobo named Louise, had not seen her sister or nephew for over 26 years. Over eight trials, Louise showed a clear bias toward the pictures of her sister and nephew.

This suggested that apes could be capable of social memory lasting up to or even beyond 26 years. This takes up most of their average lifespan, which is between 40 and 60 years. The research was originally inspired by the researchers' own experience with apes and how they appeared to recognize them when they visited. From this, they hypothesized that the apes could recognize others, and it appears they were right. "Chimpanzees and bonobos recognize individuals even though they haven't seen them for multiple decades," said senior author Christopher Krupenye, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University who studies animal cognition, in a press release. "And then there's this small but significant pattern of greater attention toward individuals with whom they had more positive relationships," he continued. "It suggests that this is more than just familiarity, that they're keeping track of aspects of the quality of these social relationships." Human memory and recognition begin to decline after 15 years but can carry on for as long as 48 years, previous studies have shown. Chimpanzees and bonobos are some of humans' closest living relatives, and similarities between the two are not uncommon. But discoveries about these similarities, and how far they go, are made all the time.

"This pattern of social relationships shaping long-term memory in chimpanzees and bonobos is similar to what we see in humans, that our own social relationships also seem to shape our long-term memory of individuals," said lead author Laura Lewis, a biological anthropologist and comparative psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, in a press release. Do the findings mean that apes miss their relatives or companions that they are no longer with? Previously, the act of missing another individual was thought to be "uniquely human," Lewis said. "The idea that they do remember others and therefore they may miss these individuals is really a powerful cognitive mechanism," she said. "Our study doesn't determine they are doing this, but it raises questions about the possibility that they may have the ability to do so." People often think apes are quite different from themselves," she said, but this research is just another example of how similar they are."I think that is what's so exciting about this study," Lewis said.

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COLUMBIA, MISSOURI – Missouri is home to 95,000 farms — the second highest number of farms per state in the country. Farming is a way of life for people here, one that is increasingly threatened by the effects of a changing climate. Now more than ever, reforming the ways farmers practice their craft is vital for survival. Earlier this year, MU implemented the $25 million, statewide Missouri CRCL Project — funding that more than half of is going directly to farmers in the form of eight tailored incentive payments to support the adoption of climate-smart practices. As part of the distribution of funds, the Missouri CRCL Project launched an app designed to expand the access to incentive payments for a diverse range of Missouri producers. Now, supported by a $650,000 National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) award from the Department of Agriculture, University of Missouri farm specialist Kelly Wilson and her team are working to refine the app to make it accessible, inclusive and user-friendly to as diverse a range of Missouri farmers as possible.

“Our hope is that having an easily accessible digital application will encourage farmers to apply — and be accepted for — incentive programs online,” said Wilson, the associate director of MU’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture. “I’m thrilled to help facilitate the distribution of this funding to as many of Missouri’s farmers as possible so they can adjust to the changing climate while keeping their profits up. With so many farmers across the state, adopting practices like cover crops and regenerative grazing is paramount to successful future yields.” Oftentimes, farmers had to work a more complicated process to successfully complete the applications for these cost-share programs. Wilson and her team hope the new app, developed by digital agricultural technology firm FarmRaise, will educate farmers about the programs available to them, including the Missouri CRCL project’s incentives as well as other state and federal support programs. The app, which launched in the summer of 2023, will aid in distributing approximately $18 million to Missouri farmers who adopt climate-smart practices, including:

  • Soy-Rye and diverse cover crops
  • Restorative grazing
  • Silvopasture (integrating trees and livestock)
  • Nutrient management and 4R approach (a framework to achieving goals for cropping systems.)

Wilson is also leading the Climate-Smart Fieldscapes Program, which is designed for small and underserved farmers. “Often for small producers, applying for a per-acre payment doesn't make sense,” said Wilson, who is also an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “Instead, the Climate-Smart Fieldscapes Program will offer three-year contracts where the producers put in place three or more climate-smart practices on one area with the goal of seeing a combined effect to maximizing soil carbon while keep productivity up — and they’ll get $10,000 over that time period.” While the app is still in its infancy, it has already seen success. In its first open period, Wilson and her team received 400 applicants. As the app is refined, they hope these numbers climb and the programs become accessible to a greater diversity of Missouri farmers. “We need to figure out ways to mitigate the effects of extreme weather and climate change,” Wilson said. “These practices are becoming increasingly necessary to adapt to the weather, keep up productivity and maintain our livelihoods, of course, while not eroding our soil base, which is an essential component of farming.”

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Morris Animal Foundation recently announced that 24 students were accepted into its prestigious Veterinary Student Scholar program. This program offers veterinary students an invaluable opportunity to engage in mentor-guided research, fostering their passion for animal health science and inspiring fulfilling careers.    "Our Veterinary Student Scholar program stands as one of the most impactful investments for advancing animal health research," said Dr. Kathy Tietje, Chief Program Officer at Morris Animal Foundation. "We are thrilled to support students from veterinary schools worldwide at this pivotal stage in their careers."    The program provides veterinary students in good standing at accredited veterinary medicine programs with a stipend of up to $5,500 to pursue a research project under the guidance of a mentor. "Research is the gateway to understanding and innovation," said student scholar Dennis Ronzani. "The Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Student Scholar program allows young minds, like myself, to learn and practice the methods that make proficient research." Since the program's inception in 2005, about 600 veterinary students have participated, gaining invaluable hands-on research experience. Many have published their findings in peer-reviewed journals as part of larger research projects. Some have transitioned into established investigators, continuing the mentoring cycle to educate future researchers. Past programs have funded students in Australia, Indonesia, Rwanda, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Kenya and the United States. The students selected for the program are:

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This week, following the failure of a last-minute lawsuit attempting to derail the process, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) successfully released five wolves in Colorado. The wolves, which were transported from Oregon, are the first ‘paws on the ground’ of the reintroduction effort, which aims to release at least 10-15 wolves in western Colorado by March of 2024. This week’s release marks the first step in fulfilling state law and the will of Colorado voters who passed Proposition 114 in 2020. CPW and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have worked together on plans, rules, and resources that allow for wolf restoration and account for possible livestock conflicts.

WildEarth Guardians’ wildlife program director Lindsay Larris issued the following statement:

"Colorado is richer, wilder and more resilient today with wolves wandering the land, and it’s worth celebrating their return. This reintroduction is the first step towards not just having a handful of lone wolves in the state, but the re-establishment of a robust wolf population that has been absent for 80 years. Without this reintroduction process, Colorado would never see the ecological benefits of wolves across the state or the key role they play in helping to maintain healthy lands and waters. Now, wolves will be roaming in places where they had been for thousands and thousands of years before we wrongly wiped them out. That's real rewilding and real progress that was accomplished because of the will of Colorado voters.

The state has done a lot of work preparing livestock owners for wolves as well as ensuring that there will be ample compensation in the event of unfortunate livestock loss. We're optimistic that livestock owners will utilize the resources at their disposal to foster coexistence. This thoughtful planning will hopefully allow us, collectively, to focus on the positive impacts of wolf restoration across the state. I'm confident that Colorado can and will serve as an example of how the reintroduction of native species can be done to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural world we all rely upon for our survival."

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San Diego Foundation announced today a $90,000 grant to the 2023 CNN Hero of the Year, Dr. Kwane Stewart. Dr. Stewart, who split his award money with the other Top 10 Heroes, received the recognition for founding Project Street Vet, an Encinitas-based nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness care for their pets by providing free veterinary care, treatment and support.

“The work of Dr. Kwane Stewart is commendable, touching countless lives of the most vulnerable among us and their beloved pets,” said Mark Stuart, President and CEO of San Diego Foundation. “We hope this grant will help him continue to make a difference in the community and inspire others through his commitment and acts of selflessness.”

After receiving the CNN Hero of the Year award, Dr. Stewart announced he would share the grant among the Top 10 Heroes equally. San Diego Foundation’s leaders committed the grant for Project Street Vet to recognize the valuable contributions of Dr. Stewart to the North San Diego County communities he proudly serves. 

The grant is from The Linda C. Scott Fund for Animal Welfare at San Diego Foundation. Scott was a North County philanthropist who dedicated the fund “to support and care for dogs and cats in San Diego, North County.” While Ms. Scott passed away in 2016, her memory and her impact lives on through this fund, along with her San Diego Foundation scholarship fund and another fund dedicated to animals.

San Diego Foundation partners with donors to set up legacy funds for their planned gifts to ensure their fund continues to support causes, initiatives and nonprofits that are most meaningful to them. Planned gifts are established during the donor’s lifetime but are not realized until they pass away. 

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Winter’s Garden, which pays tribute to Winter the Dolphin’s legacy, was unveiled outside Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Dec 21. 

Guests will have the opportunity to visit the site and remember her, her spirit and how she inspired millions of people around the world. Winter’s Garden is located outside the front entrance so that the public will have access. It will feature a 10-foot-tall bronze statue of a dolphin, called “Winter’s Dream,” which was created by artist Donjo. The date was chosen to honor Winter because she was rescued in December, and also because Dec. 21 is the first day of Winter. 

“Winter made an enormous impact on CMA and on our guests who were truly inspired by her story,” said Joe Handy, CEO. Many CMA guests still remember Winter, either from previous visits or from the Dolphin Tale movies.  “Winter was one of the first ambassador animals at CMA and has a special place in all of our hearts. She set the standard for exceptional animal care at CMA and we continue to remember her legacy through this garden, as well as the animals here that we care for,” he said. 

“Through her story of courage and bravery, Winter inspired millions of people to be strong and carry on,” said Karen Malo, manager of the Aquarium’s Inspire Program, which was specifically created because of Winter. “Thousands of children and adults, as well as veterans, have read about Winter and traveled to CMA because of her. Some were lucky enough to meet her in person,” said Malo. 

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A Shih Tzu was rescued from a dumpster in Florida last week after workers at a Family Dollar store found a trash bag "with something moving inside," authorities said Tuesday.

The "heinous" incident happened on Dec. 14 in Lehigh Acres, the Lee County Sheriff's Office said.

"Stuffed inside the bag, employees found sweet Xyla, a 16-year-old Shih Tzu, with a rope around her neck," Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said. "These heroic employees recognized this to be purposeful abuse and rushed Xyla to Blue Pearl Pet Hospital for evaluation."

The sheriff’s Animal Cruelty Task Force immediately responded and found surveillance footage showing a suspect driving up to the dumpster, taking a trash bag out of his trunk and tossing it into the dumpster from several feet away, according to authorities.

Detectives learned that Xyla had a microchip and discovered that her original owners were deceased. Using "the latest and greatest technology," detectives were able to track down the vehicle driven by the suspect in the surveillance footage to a residence, the sheriff’s office said.

At the home, detectives found a man, identified as Anthony Bellman, "who happened to be wearing the same clothing as the suspect in the footage," officials said.

Detectives took Bellman in for questioning and found probable cause to charge him with one count of aggravated animal cruelty. He will also be placed on the animal abuse registry.

"Today, I’m proud to announce that justice was indeed served upon a selfish and cruel individual, who clearly has no regard for animals," Marceno said

Meanwhile, Xyla was still recovering from the "horrific incident" while authorities and animal services worked to find her a loving home.

"We are ONE team that comes together to be a voice for the innocent, such as Xyla," Marceno said. "We will never stop holding individuals accountable for these heinous actions here in this county."

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Students at one elementary school in Sandy, Utah had an unexpected guest.

One of Santa's four-legged friends traded a snowy terrain for school grounds for a day, making it a special event for the kindergartners at Sprucewood Elementary School in Sandy.

"As part of their unit, they got to learn about different animals in habitats," said Christina Van Dan, instructional coach for the elementary. "And what characteristics make up a living animal and a nonliving animal."

Reindeer were part of a recent curriculum. As part of the class time, the kindergartners not only learned fun facts about Santa's helper, but they got to touch and feel its coat and antlers. The children even got to whisper their holiday wishes.

This allows the students to put real-life experiences to paper.

"This is their first big informational piece of writing that they have done in kindergarten where they wrote three separate sentences about reindeer," said Annalisa Krystof, a Sprucewood Elementary kindergarten teacher. "Being able to tell what reindeer can do, what reindeer have and what reindeer are."

It's a lesson the students will likely remember for years to come.

"They were like 'Oh, I remember learning about the click sound they make' or 'I remember learning about their antlers that they shed' and those are some experiences that they may not have remembered or even had an understanding of without this experience," Van Dan said.

The experience also has the teachers excited.

"Getting to see this at the very end after learning about them so much and being able to write about them is just a really neat special experience for them to get to see," Krystof said.

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With no room at the inn for even a couple at Christmas, how could three men possibly fit into the eye of a needle?

But micro-sculptor Willard Wigan managed it. He used an eyelash to decorate the Nativity's kings along with camels, he said, that were smaller than a full stop.

Mr Wigan, from Birmingham, who specialises in tiny crafts, said he wanted to bring "light to the world".

"We're living in troubled times and sometimes we need to see something that's going to bring some happiness to us and pleasure and fun," he explained.

Mr Wigan originally from Wednesfield, worked 16 hours a day across four weeks to create the piece entitled Three Little Kings. Its camels are made from nylon while the crowns are 24-carat gold.

The artist said he worked between heartbeats, holding his breath to limit any disturbance that might ruin his work.

He described the process as "trying to put a pin through a bubble without bursting the bubble".

Mr Wigan worked for 16 hours a day across four weeks to create the piece

Mr Wigan was made an MBE for services to art in 2007, and has been creating microscopic sculpture since the age of five when he made houses for ants.

The artist, who has autism and was told at school he would "amount to nothing", wants to share his journey to inspire people to follow their passions.

"Because I'm autistic, because I can't read, I found my own journey and I inspire people with what I do, so people can see who I am and what I'm about," he said.

"Sometimes we need role models so it can inspire them to become what they want to become within their own field."

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A suspected hand grenade that briefly caused a stir at Patton Middle School in McMinnville on Monday was actually a plastic bag dispenser for cleaning up dog poop, police said.

The McMinnville Police Department stated on social media Wednesday that officers responded to a grass field near the middle school’s track at 10:35 a.m. for a potential hand grenade on school grounds. Arriving officers secured the area and contacted the Oregon State Police Bomb Squad.

“All the students were secured inside the school by middle school staff during the ensuing investigation,” McMinnville PD said. “After immediately securing the area, officers started communicating with Oregon State Police Bomb Squad personnel.”

After taking close-up photos of the suspected grenade with the department’s drone, officers confirmed that there wasn’t any danger.

“After reviewing the photographs, the item was determined to be a dog waste bag dispenser that is manufactured to resemble a hand grenade,” McMinnville PD said. “The item was removed from school property and school activities returned to normal.”

McMinnville School District spokesperson Laurie Fry told KOIN 6 News that the school was not placed on lockdown during Monday’s investigation and no students were near the suspicious bag dispenser when it was found.

“In an abundance of caution, school staff notified teachers who may have taken students outside during this time to remain indoors,” Fry said in a statement. “McMinnville PD responded promptly, and quickly realized the device was not real. There was no direct threat to students.”

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DENVER (KDVR) — A 20-year-old from Colorado’s Yampa Valley is the world bareback riding champion.  Keenan Hayes, of Hayden, secured the win at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas earlier this month.

According to ProRodeo, Hayes started riding mini steers when he was eight years old, then progressed to junior bulls and smaller horses.

He competed in three roughstock events in high school before shifting his focus to bareback riding in 2021. This season, Hayes accumulated $434,050 in prizes for his success as a bareback rider and finished as the No. 1 bareback rider in the world.

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OGDEN, Utah — Giving pets as Christmas gifts is usually discouraged, especially if the recipient of the gift isn’t asked about it in advance.

But now, a local animal rescue group is warning about something even worse – giving pets as “white elephant” gifts for the holidays.

Usually, white elephant gifts are items that are impractical or funny, and things that can be tossed away, not a living creature.

At Wasatch Wanderers Animal Rescue someone came to them with a live mouse that was taken to a white elephant party in a jar and given to someone as a gag gift.

Wasatch Wanderers says giving a gift like this is cruel to the animal and can lead to the animal being abandoned.

“We want people to look at not just the here and now but are your kids going to be interested in this pet in four months,” said Adison Smith with Wasatch Wanderers. “Are you going to be able to take care of this companion if your child doesn't want to anymore? Usually around February we get all these phone calls from parents saying, ’I got my kid a guinea pig or I got my kid a bearded dragon and they don't take care of them.’"

Smith says her group named the little mouse ‘Elf,’ and says it suffered some cuts from the air holes that were punched in the lid on top of the jar. The mouse is getting better and will soon be up for adoption.

Wasatch Wanderers works mostly with waterfowl and exotic animals. Last January, Smith and her organization rescued dozens of domesticated ducks that were abandoned in the Ogden area.

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Read 123 times Last modified on Saturday, 23 December 2023 23:18
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