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Talkin' Pets News

March 30, 2024

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Dr. Adrianna Seidl - St. Francis Animal Clinic - Tarpon Springs, Florida

Producer - Lexi Adams

Network Producer - Alex

Special Guest - James Dern, Director of Puppy Program at Canine Companions www.canine.org/raisepups

 

The chunky alligator that caused growing concern among Temple Terrace, Florida residents, who were worried the gator would escape the fenced-in area through a gaping hole where it lived, has been relocated.

The gator was found at the old Coca-Cola plant and had been living in the area for a “really long time.” Construction crews told WFLA that people had been feeding the reptile — something that’s illegal and dangerous.

After the gator’s presence was brought to attention, Croc Encounters in Tampa relocated the reptile to its facility. Croc Encounters told WFLA that the alligator is 9 feet long and is estimated to weigh nearly 500 pounds.

Before the alligator’s relocation, photos showed the massive reptile sprawled out in a pile of mulch with various trash and debris littered around the animal.

Croc Encounters in Tampa rescues dozens of alligators and provides tours and educational programs where guests can get up close and feed gators.

It’s unclear what led the gator to make this location its home.

In the state of Florida, it’s illegal to kill or harass an alligator without a permit. FWC also advises citizens not to bother or feed the animals.

Anyone with concerns about an alligator should call the agency’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

Here are some tips the FWC said people should know when dealing with alligators in Florida:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator.
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and without your pet. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Never feed an alligator. It’s illegal and dangerous. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food, which can lead to dangerous circumstances for yourself and others who could encounter the alligator in the future.

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The French Bulldog reigns supreme! The American Kennel Club (AKC), a not-for-profit organization, the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, announced this morning that the playful and adaptable French Bulldog is America’s most popular breed for the second consecutive year, according to AKC registration statistics.

Since overtaking the loveable Labrador Retriever as the most popular breed, the French Bulldog’s popularity has continued to surge. The breed is playful, adaptable and has an even temperament. Frenchies are very popular among city dwellers, as they’re also portable and get along with almost anyone.

“The French Bulldog’s surge in popularity shows no signs of slowing down,” said AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo. “Their long list of fabulous traits makes them wonderful companions for a variety of people, but that doesn’t mean they’re for everyone. It’s extremely important to do your research to not only find the right breed for your lifestyle, but to ensure that you’re getting a well-bred dog from a responsible breeder.”

Making a comeback is the Dachshund, working its way up the top 10 (#9 in 2022 to #6 in 2023). Other breeds making moves in 2023 include the Papillon (#51 in 2022 to #45 in 2023), Great Pyrenees (#69 in 2022 to #64 in 2023), Basenji (#91 in 2022 to #81 in 2023) and Finnish Lapphund (#167 in 2022 to #135 in 2023).

Making strides over the past decade are the Cane Corso (#51 in 2013 and #16 in 2023), the Belgian Malinois (#61 in 2013 and #33 in 2023), the Giant Schnauzer (#84 in 2013 and #56 in 2023) and the Russell Terrier (#103 in 2023 and #66 in 2023).

Enjoy dogs on Instagram? Here’s where some of social media’s favorites fall on the list: Pembroke Welsh Corgi (#11), Yorkshire Terrier (#13), Siberian Husky (#24) and Pug (#36).

2023 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.        2022 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.
1. French Bulldog                               1. French Bulldog
2. Labrador Retriever                          2. Labrador Retriever
3. Golden Retriever                            3. Golden Retriever
4. German Shepherd Dog                   4. German Shepherd Dog
5. Poodle                                             5. Poodle
6. Dachshund                                      6. Bulldog
7. Bulldog                                           7. Rottweiler
8. Beagle                                             8. Beagle
9. Rottweiler                                       9. Dachshund
10. German Shorthaired Pointer         10. German Shorthaired Pointer

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The top Agility dogs in the nation were crowned from an overall combined entry of 1,330 competitors at the AKC National Agility Championship. The high energy competition was held March 14-17 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, GA.

“We had a stellar competition this year,” said Carrie DeYoung, Director of Agility. “The canine athlete and handler teams showed up and did not disappoint. They gave it their all! Congratulations to all of the competitors on a job well done.”

The 2024 Winners:

AKC National Agility Champions

Placing first in their height division (8", 12", 16", 20", and 24” respectively) were:

8”: MACH So Cal's Gayheart's Little Keeper MXB MJB OF, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi known as Chelsea, handled by Janelle Julyan of Chamblee, GA

 

12”: NAC MACH2 Quicksilver Cherry On Top MXS PAD MJG PJD XF T2B, an All American Dog known as Sundae, handled by Angie Benacquisto of Ortonville, MI

16”: Epic Chase The Stars MX MXB MXJ MJB OF, a Border Collie known as Zula, handled by Jada Sawhney of Punta Gorda, FL

20”: NAC MACH Pride Creek's Walk It Like I Talk It MXS MJB, a Border Collie known as Wit, handled by Perry DeWitt of Wyncote, PA

24”: CH MACH2 Trax Atomic Number Forty Seven MXC MJG T2B SWE SCM SIM SEM SHDN TKN, a Weimaraner known as Sterling, handled by Lori Barbee of Huntington Beach, CA

AKC Preferred National Agility Champions

Placing first in their height divisions (4”, 8”, 12”,16”, and 20” respectively) were:

4”: PNAC MACH10 PACH9 Kayangee Wishing Well Excuse My Dust MXG3 MJB4 MXP24 MXPB3 MJP26 MJPS3 PAX9 CGC, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel known as Zoom, handled by Antonia Rotelle of Dover, PA

8”: MACH10 PACH4 Nohea Tinker Bell MXC3 MJB4 MXP10 MXPC MJP11 MJPC PAX4 XF T2B, an English Cocker Spaniel known as Tinker Bell, handled by Tim Pinneri of Gahanna, OH

12”: MACH2 The One And Only Mini Great Ape Joe MXS PAD MJG PJD MXP2 MJP, an All American Dog known as Monkey Joe, handled by Naci Berkoz of Simi Valley, CA

16”: MACH EC's Cajun Charm In the Thieves Guild RA MXB MJB MXP2 MJP2 NF DMA DDG CGC, a Border Collie known as Gambit, handled by Adriana Nottestad of Wendell, NC

20”: Steppinstone's All-Terrain MXP MJP2 XFP, a Labrador Retriever known as Gator, handled by Rachel Evers of Mequon, WI

The National Agility Championship will air on ESPN at a later date.

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The American Pet Products Association (APPA) announced that the total U.S. pet industry expenditures reached $147 billion in 2023 and is forecasted to have solid year-over-year growth through 2030. The announcement came during Global Pet Expo, the pet industry’s premier event, co-produced by APPA and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA). The expenditures were released in conjunction with the launch of the association’s first of four quarterly reports, APPA’s State of the Industry: Strategic Insights from the National Pet Owners Survey 2024. APPA’s pet industry expenditures encompass spending in four major categories: Pet Food & Treats; Supplies, Live Animals & OTC (over the counter) Medicine; Vet Care & Product Sales; and Other Services. The breakdown of actual sales within the U.S. market in 2023 are as follows:

  • $64.4 billion was spent on pet food and treats
  • 32 billion was spent on supplies, live animals and OTC medicine
  • $38.3 billion was spent on vet care and product sales
  • $12.3 billion was spent on other services (boarding, grooming, insurance, training, pet sitting and walking and all services outside of veterinary care)

APPA’s new State of the Industry Report also revealed new findings for the pet industry. “The data has shown that the pet industry has remained incredibly strong since 2009 despite wide-scale economic challenges. While there are signs of slowing, the industry is resilient, especially compared to other industries,” said APPA President and CEO Peter Scott. “In fact, we forecast the industry’s expenditures to top $250 billion by 2030.” Six key findings from APPA’s State of the Industry: Strategic Insights from the National Pet Owners Survey include:

  • Pet industry expenditures remain strong over time. In 2023, the pet industry supplied an overall economic contribution of $303 billion, an increase of 16% from $260 billion in 2022.
  • Pet care is the top dog in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) category – now and before COVID-19 – surpassing even grocery and dairy.
  • The percentage of households that own pets has normalized to pre-pandemic levels even as the overall number of households that owns pets has increased over time.
  • Post-COVID buyer shifts have changed to an omni-channel approach, splitting between brick-and-mortar and online modalities.
  • Although Millennials remain the largest pet owning generation, Gen Z is changing the way owners want to learn about and purchase pet products.
  • Younger generations prefer visual media to learn about products, and it will be important for brands to consider this in their top-of-funnel strategies.

APPA researchers predict that pet industry brands capitalizing on new trends coinciding with the emergence of Gen Z pet owners through targeted marketing efforts will outperform in the market. “Millennial pet owners still account for more pet owners than any other generation, but the number of Gen Z pet owners is quickly rising,” said Ingrid Chu, vice president of insights and research. “While brick-and-mortar is still a big driver of awareness of new pet products, social media is equally important among the younger generations.”

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A giant anaconda has been found dead in the Brazilian Amazon, possibly killed by a gunshot wound, according to a Dutch researcher who studies snakes and recently helped discover a giant anaconda that was a contender for the largest snake in the world.

The snake found dead is not the same as the largest anaconda discovered in the Ecuadorian Amazon, despite a flurry of media reports saying that it is, according to professor Bryan Fry, who led a team of scientists with help from the Indigenous Huaorani people that discovered a new species of the green anaconda while filming "Pole to Pole with Will Smith," a National Geographic series that will stream on Disney+.

"This particular specimen wasn’t one of the new species but was a southern green anaconda," Fry told USA TODAY.

Professor Freek Vonk, who was on the team that first found the southern green anaconda that has since been killed, shared the news in an Instagram post saying: "With enormous pain in my heart I want to let you know that the mighty big green anaconda I swam with was found dead in the river this weekend."

The snake, named Ana Julia, was discovered in the Formoso River in the rural area of Bonito in southern Brazil, according to The Independent. It measures 26 feet across and weighed in at around 440 pounds.

"I've heard from several sides that she was shot to death, though there's no official confirmation on the cause of death yet. I’m so sad and angry at the same time!" he wrote.

Scientists hope to keep an eye on the reproduction of green anaconda species to gain greater insight into the health of the ecosystem at large.

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The Department of Agriculture wants residents to be on the lookout for spongy masses growing outdoors "to help stomp out invasive pests this spring."

The spongy masses are the eggs of the spotted lanternfly and spongy moth, two "economically and environmentally destructive invasive insects," USDA said in a notice sent out earlier this month.

The masses can attach to and travel unnoticed on trucks, cars, trains, planes, and items people leave outdoors and then move to other areas, USDA said.

“Invasive insects and plant diseases, such as the spotted lanternfly, spongy moth, citrus greening, and many others, cost the U.S. an estimated $40 billion each year in damages to crops, trees, and other plants,” Kathryn Bronsky, national policy manager for the spongy moth at Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said. “Together, we can make a difference."

Spotted lanternfly egg masses are flat and mud-like, according to USDA. Spongy moth egg masses are fuzzy, spongy, and cream or brown-colored.

USDA recommends "smashing and scraping" the masses and putting them into a plastic bag and sealing it. The bag should then be thrown away in municipal trash.

Additionally, the agency said pressure washing is another effective way to remove the masses from hard, outdoor surfaces.

The agency says to watch out for the masses during late fall, winter, and early spring, and they can be found on outdoor surfaces like tree bark, cars, and items kept outside.

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Concerns about bird flu have been on the rise since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the discovery of infections in dairy cows in two states earlier this week.

The agency announced Monday that the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu, was found in unpasteurized milk samples from cattle at two Kansas dairy farms and one in Texas. The USDA, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are further investigating reports of sick cows in these states as well as New Mexico.

Following reports of dead birds found on farm property, further testing took place over the weekend, indicating that known infections thus far originated from wild birds, not domestic ones. The agencies have reaffirmed that the likelihood of transmission to humans remains low, with the FDA saying, "At this stage, there is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health."

The CDC, which tracks instances of bird flu in animals and people across the U.S., has the current health risk listed as "low" with no sign of person-to-person spread.

As of March 28, only one case in humans has been reported.

The CDC has been tracking cases of bird flu in wild birds since January 2022. On March 13, it reported a total of 9,181 wild cases. Poultry cases have been tracked since February 8, 2022, and were last reported on March 20 at 82,048,716

These numbers aren't specifically concerning thanks to the safeguards we have in place, the agencies said. However, some experts have advised that people should consider looking into their own backyards to ensure they are not unintentionally contributing to the spread in the form of unkept and neglected bird feeders and baths.

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Police went on a wild goose, er, ostrich chase after the bird escaped from a local zoo in South Korea.

The feathered runaway looked pretty excited as he dodged authorities for about an hour, running down the middle of busy streets as he stopped traffic and turned heads.

But the ostrich's adventure ended 1-1/2 miles away from Bug City — the zoo that he escaped from — after police and firefighters joined forces to safely capture and return him. Better luck next time, big guy!

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Last week marked 47 years since Happy the elephant first arrived at the Bronx Zoo. For decades, Happy and Patty–the other elephant at the zoo who has been held captive there for over half a century–have been deprived of their freedom and forced to live in a small enclosure. Both are confined alone. This is undeniably wrong—but, today, we have the power to make it right.

A bill to ban elephant captivity has been reintroduced in the New York City Council. The bill, Intro 213, will also require those holding elephants captive in New York City to relocate them to a sanctuary that meets their complex needs, creating a more just life for both Happy and Patty. 

NonHuman Rights Project is honored to have been able to work closely with Council Member Shahana Hanif and Voters for Animal Rights (VFAR) to develop this groundbreaking bill, and they need your help to reach New York City residents about it. Only New York City residents can complete the action alert, but you can help ensure the passage of this legislation in other ways! Will you share this action alert on social media, and reach out to any friends and family in NYC about supporting a ban on elephant captivity? It is very important that only New York City residents contact the city council members, so sharing the alert is the best way you can help right now.

Thank you for being with us as we work to #FreeHappy and #FreePatty and create a just future for elephants everywhere!

Visit www.nonhumanrights.org for more information.

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It was all in a day’s work for Deputy Willie Carson when he found himself being set upon by a protective turkey while he was out on traffic duty. The funny incident, which took place in St. Johns County, Florida, and made local news, saw the deputy being approached by the large bird.

Quacking, kicking his legs, and using his cap in his attempts to shoo off the interloper, Deputy Carson can be heard comically referring to the distinctive turkey as a chicken.

“Quack, quack, quack ... Somebody better come get their chicken,” the law enforcement officer is heard saying in the video.

When contacted by dispatch, the deputy says, “I’m getting attacked by a chicken right now!”

After a standoff between man and bird that lasted several minutes, the turkey gave up and waddled off with his feathered posse.

An avid hunter, Deputy Carlson also likes to get out and about on his bicycle. When he’s riding, he is “always running into ducks.”

“My normal instinct is to quack at those ducks when I see them. So, that was just the first thing I thought of when I saw the chickens and the turkey. I got a lot of flack for not knowing the difference between a turkey and chicken, but, truthfully, I do know the difference,” he said with a laugh.

The incident and the ensuing social media storm—the video amassed over 5 million views—were handled all in good spirits, says Deputy Carlson, who has been with the Sherriff’s Office for 11 years. He wanted to join the police force ever since he was a child when his father was in law enforcement.

The turkey and its friends appeared to have wandered from a nearby yard, where the homeowner keeps his birds.

“If I encounter another turkey again, I’ll be sure not to quack at it,” Deputy Carlson said.

Luckily, he took it all in good humor.

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A robotic dog is being thanked by state police in Massachusetts for helping avert a tragedy involving a person barricaded in a home.

The robotic dog named Roscoe was part of the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad and deployed on March 6 in a Barnstable house after police were fired upon. Police sent in two other robots often used for bomb disposal into the house to find the suspect along with the robotic dog.

Controlled remotely by state troopers, it first checked the two main floors before finding someone in the basement. The person, armed with a rifle, twice knocked over the robotic dog before shooting it three times and disabling its communication.

The person then shot at one of the other robots and an outdoor swimming pool before police deployed tear gas and arrested them.

“The incident provided a stark example of the benefits of mobile platforms capable of opening doors and ascending stairs in tactical missions involving armed suspects,” state police said in a statement. “In addition to providing critically important room clearance and situational awareness capabilities, the insertion of Roscoe into the suspect residence prevented the need, at that stage of response, from inserting human operators, and may have prevented a police officer from being involved in an exchange of gunfire.”

Boston Dynamics, the company that made the robotic dog known as a SPOT robot, said in a statement that it was the first time one of them had been shot.

“We are relieved that the only casualty that day was our robot,” the company said. “It’s a great example of how mobile robots like Spot can be used to save lives.”

Authorities have not identified the shooter or said what charges they face.

The robotic dog was sent to Boston Dynamics to remove the bullets. It will remain with the company and a new unit will be sent to state police.

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