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Puppy ice cream? Hard to swallow for some

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Given Taiwan’s location, just off the coast of China, this new gelato treat being offered by a shop in Kaohsiung is raising some eyebrows.

The shop, known as Wilaiwan, is producing a peanut butter-flavored ice cream treat in the shape of a puppy — a shar-pei, it appears — and it is delighting some customers and disturbing others.

Taiwan is not known for its consumption of real dogs, and the legislature there declared the consumption of dog meat illegal in 2017, but it is still believed to be practiced by some, mainly immigrant workers from Vietnam.

But with dog meat being consumed in many parts of Asia, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and Indonesia, according to Humane Society International, this, in the big picture, is a little bizarre.

The dessert item comes in peanut, chocolate or milk tea flavors. Each is made in an individual mold and they take five hours to create, with special attention to the eyes and the wrinkled features. The shop is making about 100 a day, selling smaller ones for $3.50, larger ones for $6.

Taiwan outlawed the consumption of dog and cat meat in April of 2017 when the island’s legislature passed a landmark amendment to its animal protection laws.

Before that, the Animal Protection Act only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, but the new amendment specifically prohibited the actual consumption of dog meat.

Individuals who eat or trade dog or cat meat can now be fined between $1,640 and $8,200, and the maximum penalty for animal cruelty has doubled to to two years.

Yet, it has been reported that “dog and cat meat factories” have been set up in Taiwan to satisfy the appetites of the 200,000 Vietnamese migrant workers, some even offering delivery service.

Videos of the shop’s realistic looking dessert treat have gone semi-viral on the Internet, and with mixed reaction — some find them cute, others cringe-worthy.

Dogs of Chernobyl finally getting homes


Thirteen dogs living as strays on the Chernobyl nuclear testing site have found homes in the United States.

An unlikely partnership between the Ukrainian government and international dog advocates has led to the rescue of hundreds of dogs near the site of one of the worst man-made disasters in human history.

And some of the dogs, after being spayed neutered and having their radiation levels detected, have been shipped to the U.S. for adoption.

It was back in 1986 when the Unit 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded and spread radioactive materials into the environment.

The former Soviet Union established a 30-km exclusion zone around the facility and evacuated over 120,000 people from 189 cities and communities. The evacuees were not allowed to bring everything they wanted, meaning many pets were left behind.

Later that year, soldiers of the Soviet Army were dispatched to shoot and kill the animals left behind in Pripyat, but it was impossible to cull all of the animals in the various small villages throughout the exclusion zone. Former pets living in the exclusion zone migrated to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where their descendants remain to this day.

Clean-Futures-Fund-Chernobyl-4ccb38f8-989f-47b3-b773-38e73f105a19-PCTwo or three dog generations later, about 250 dogs remain — the only form of life at the nuclear power plant, not counting the over 3,500 people each day who work there cleaning up and monitoring conditions, according to Clean Futures Fund

Meghan Mollohan, of Grovetown, Ga., said her husband was sent to Chernobyl for a welding job shortly after the the older of their two dogs passed away, leaving their German shepherd, Nikita, by herself.

There her husband encountered the strays.

“When he went over there, he said there were so many stray dogs everywhere,” Mollohan told WRDW. “He would feed them every day and love on them and he just knew that he wished he could take one of those dogs home.”

One particular shepherd mix, named Yuri, hit it off with him immediately.

Clean-Futures-Fund-Chernobyl-DSC_0845-PC“The trainer said he wouldn’t come to a lot of people,” Mollohan says. “Right when my husband got there, he ran right to him. And so, we just kind of knew that he was the one that we would be adopting.”

Yuri was one of 250 puppies — all dsecendants of the dogs left abadoned their after the nuclear disaster — the SPCA International and the Clean Futures Fund have cleared for testing and extraction from the site.

Each dog went through a 45-day quarantine period to make sure they were not contaminated while also being tracked by scientists with radiation-tracking ear tags.

The SPCAI and Clean Futures Fund say the dogs with the lowest possible radiation levels are rescued and sent out to adoption centers.

Mollohan says some of her family members were concerned about potential radiation issues, but she was assured that only dogs that were clear of radiation were being released to adoption centers across the world.

According to CFF, the nuclear power plant has hired a worker to catch and kill the dogs, because they don’t have the funds available for any other option, but the worker is refusing to do so at this point.

“We have developed a 3-year program with our partners to manage the stray dog population in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone,” the fund’s website says.

The fund accepts donations to cover the costs of veterinarians, vaccines and medical supplies necessary to spay and neuter over 500 animals.

(Photos: Clean Futures Fund)

Great Dane rides crowded train standing up

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A Great Dane on a crowded train in Oakland stood on his hind legs to give other passengers more room, but let’s hope his kindness doesn’t backfire.

A 28-year-old Berkeley resident, Sean Herron, snapped a photo of the unusual sight and posted it on Twitter, inadvertently letting the world know that the thoughtful dog was in violation of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) rules that require dogs on trains to be in crates.

Imagine the space that would have taken up.

On his Wednesday morning ride to work, Herron saw man board the crowded train with his dog at 19th Street Station.

The dog (name unknown) jumped up and put his two front paws on his human for the ride, apparently at his owner’s command.

“The train was getting crowded as people were going through West Oakland and the dog was having trouble finding a place to sit,” Herron recalled. “The owner said, ‘Stand up’ — he was standing against the door — and the dog was leaning his paws against him.”

Most aboard seemed to appreciate the sight.

“The entire train was taking pictures and laughing about it,” said Herron. “It turned an unhappy commute into a positive experience.”

Herron’s tweet describing the spectacle has since been liked thousands of times, KSBW reported.

“It was definitely not the weirdest thing I’ve seen on BART, but it was definitely the best thing I’ve seen on BART,” Herron said. “I hope to see the dog again.”

Crated dog was placed in bay to get revenge on rival boyfriend, prosecutors say

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The man charged with leaving a pit bull mix in a cage to drown in the Sandy Hook Bay was trying to get revenge on a romantic rival, prosecutors say.

Aaron Davis, 34, is being held without bail pending trial on third-degree charges of animal cruelty and disorderly persons charges.

A judge in Monmouth County Courthouse Monday sided with the state in its bid to deny bail and keep Davis behind bars until he is tried in the case, the Asbury Park Press reported.

The dog was discovered and rescued before the tide came in July 30 by a woman who had been walking her own dog at Veterans Memorial Park in Highlands, N.J.

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During a hearing Monday in Superior Court in Freehold Borough, prosecutors revealed that the dog — actually named Blaze — belonged to the ex-boyfriend of Davis’ girlfriend. The woman has children by both men.

The prosecutor said that the ex-boyfriend, Benito Williams, tried to break into the woman’s home but Davis stopped him and a fight ensued. Davis acted with “malice and depravity” to eliminate an “emblem of his enemy,” a prosecutor said.

Davis’ attorney, Adamo Ferreira of Hackensack, argued that the charges would likely result in probation in the event of a conviction and that the state’s case was “paper thin.”

Jennifer Vaz, who rescued the dog and named him River, has been fostering the dog.

She had planned to adopt him, but announced this week that she would be turning the dog over to the Monmouth County SPCA because her own dog has not taken well to the new dog.

Ross Licitra, executive director of the Monmouth County SPCA, said the dog will not be returned to the original owner.

(Photos: Asbury Park Press)

Omarosa is Trump’s latest “dog”

omarosabookPresident Trump has once again called a person he is displeased with a “dog” — his derisive term of choice for anyone who badmouths him, and one we’ve criticized before.

Not because it’s ridiculously outdated — right up there with such vintage slurs as “Your mother wears combat boots,” as far as verbal jabs go.

Not because it is rude, not because it can be racist, not because it is vague. It can mean lazy, dishonest, or evil; it can mean an ugly woman, or a man who treats women shabbily.

It’s because it shows a total disrespect for, and misunderstanding of, dogs. He is seemingly oblivious to the esteem in which most of the public now holds dogs.

Dogs never were an accurate metaphor for bad behavior, lowly character, or dirtiness, or lying — and they certainly are not now. Fact of the matter is, humans lead the way in all those things.

But Trump nearly always falls back on “dog,” as he did this week when Omarosa Manigault Newman, his “Apprentice” contestant turned White House aide, went public with a book she has written about him and some tapes she secretly recorded.

Manigault Newman’s new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” slams the president as racist and in mental decline.

That, and her release to NBC of a 2017 audio recording, prompted Trump to take to Twitter.

“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out,” Trump wrote. “Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

omarosaManigualt Newman, a memorable contestant from “The Apprentice,” became a White House aide and the highest ranking black person on the White House staff before she was fired last December, reportedly for taking too much advantage of the White House car service.

In being called “a dog” by the president, she joins the ranks of Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, NBC News journalist David Gregory, NBC’s Chuck Todd, conservative commentators Erick Erickson and Glenn Beck, Lindsey Graham, Michael Bloomberg, Marco Rubio, David Axelrod and Hillary Clinton.

This time, though, because he used it to describe a woman of color, and in light of previous derogatory remarks about African Americans — such as calling Rep. Maxine Waters “low IQ” — it’s getting a bit more of a reaction.

“The president of the United States is calling a woman of color ‘a dog.’ How dare he!” Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) said during an interview on CNN. “He has taken this country to its knees.”

Of course, Trump should lighten up on all those people, but he should also lighten up on dogs, and realize they are not so universally hated as to be used as a term of derision. We won’t suggest he use “pig” or “rat” instead, because those animals deserve better too.

That Trump is not a fan of dogs has been clearly established. He’s the first president since William McKinley not to have one, and even though he seemed to like being photographed with winners of Westminster, his ex-wife Ivana noted in a memoir that he was definitely not a fan of dogs.

That’s fine (because we doubt most dogs would like him, either), but he still needs to let it sink in that most people do, and they don’t appreciate the term being hurled at his latest enemy.

Maybe, in the future, a better insult will become obvious — if not to him, at least to the public.

Maybe, 50 years from now, we’ll all be saying, “He’s lying like a Trump.”

Dog park opens for homeless at LA shelter

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For decades, Los Angeles was one of those city’s that, like most, turned away homeless people in need of shelter who refused to part with their dogs.

More often than not, nationwide, those homeless aren’t willing to part with what is often not just one of the few things they own, but one of the few things they love, and, maybe more importantly, that loves them back.

As a result, thousands of homeless people don’t receive needed services.

In recent years, Los Angeles has been working to change that, and one of the latest examples is a dog park, opened Friday, at the Weingart Center, a transitional residential shelter in the heart of downtown LA’s Skid Row, on 6th and San Pedro streets.

The dog park is part of the center’s newly launched Assistance Animal Accommodation Program that allows people to stay at the facility with their pets.

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Shaded by a tree and decorated with dog graphics, the Weingart Center’s park comes amid a growing recognition that shelter pet prohibitions have posed a major barrier to helping L.A.’s 53,000 homeless people turn their lives around.

Two years ago, the Inner City Law Center and L.A. Animal Services opened a weekly pet resource center on skid row, providing free food, supplies, veterinary care and spay and neuter services.

Several big shelters have relaxed or eliminated pet bans, and now, Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to make accepting pets a big part of his upcoming, $20-million citywide shelter expansion.

“People in the streets have always had dogs and now we’re finally starting to incorporate services so they will want to go into housing,” said Lori Weise, founder of Downtown Dog Rescue, which helps run the resource center.

Nearly half of skid row’s pet owners are homeless and most of the rest live in motels, renovated flophouses or shelters, officials at skid row resource center said. The Weingart dog park will be restricted to use by the center’s clients, 15 of whom currently live with dogs or cats in the 11-story center, formerly the El Rey Hotel.

“We know that individuals sleeping on the street have pets for comfort, protection and solace, and faced with transitional housing that doesn’t allow pets, they therefore stay on the streets longer,” said Tonja Boykin, chief operating officer for the Weingart Center.

“We want people to come in,” she told the Los Angeles Times.

The dog park measures 22-feet by 23-feet. Grants and donations totaling more than $15,000 helped pay for it. In addition to the dog exercise area, the Weingart Center arranges access to veterinary care, obedience training and more services.

“Homeless people stay on the street because they’re afraid of what’s going to happen to their pet. They’re not willing to put it in a separate shelter,” Jet Doye, senior development director for the center, told the Los Angeles Daily News. “Women stay in violent situations because they’re afraid of what’s going to happen to their pet if they leave.”

One of the residents visiting the park on opening day was Jennie Link, there with her 95-pound bull mastiff/pit bull mix.

“This is my baby. He’s everything to me,” she said.

(Top photo: Bobby Ann Luckett, a Weingart Center resident, visits the new dog park with her dogs, Princess Ann, an 8-year-old Maltese/terrier mix, and Chub-Chub Lee, a 16-year-old cocker spaniel-Rottweiler mix., by Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times; lower photo: Resident Kimberlee McKee gives her dog Maggie May a kiss during the opening of the new dog park at the Weingart Center, by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

UK vet tends to street dogs in Sri Lanka

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There are an estimated 3 million street dogs on the island of Sri Lanka, and a veterinarian based in the UK is trying to provide medical care to as many of them as she can.

UK vet Janey Lowes was backpacking around Sri Lanka in May 2014 when she was confronted with the plight of the street dogs. Every year, an estimated 26,000 are injured in traffic accidents, and thousands more get sick and die due to a lack of vaccinations and veterinary care.

Her first instinct was not to get them off the streets. Most of them are not true strays. They have humans who feed them, and they are pretty much accepted in Sri Lankan culture — just not housed.

What they truly needed more than anything else was veterinary care.

whatsapp-image-2018-08-07-at-16-26-43-548a“I felt so helpless,” she told Metro.co.UK. “As a vet (and I’m sure many vets can relate) it was frustrating to be skilled enough to help but in another country with no equipment or supplies with me, or any idea of where to start with seeking help for dogs in need.”

Back home, and still thinking about how she could make an impact, she sought advice from her boss in the UK, who gave her £10,000 to set up a charity.

WECare Worldwide was born.

janey-and-bella-01062-fae9-e1533546995401In 2014 she went back to Sri Lanka and teamed up with local vet Dr. Nuwan, a local volunteer named Malaka, and a tuk tuk driver, Chaminda, who she paid to drive them around looking for sick and injured dogs. Some she treated on the side of the road, others she brought to her home in Tallalla on the south coast for treatment.

“I started by working out where we could be the most helpful and have the biggest sustainable impact, which is hard when you are surrounded by need everywhere.”

By the end of the year, her organization was offering neutering and vaccination services to local villages.

By 2016, Janey’s house was overflowing with dogs and she rented an old school in a nearby village to continue her work.

A year later, though, money was running low and Janey was giving some thought to giving up.

Then WECare was featured in a BBC documentary and donations surged, allowing her to slowly build the clinic she works from today, which is one of the best equipped vet hospitals on the island.

Janey now has has 10 full-time and 12 part-time local staff, and also helps train other local vets, to improve vet standards across the board.

eddie-0014WECare treats dogs across the Southern Province, and also runs programmes in Arugam Bay on the east coast.

Locals can also bring their pet dogs in to the clinic for treatment at a reduced rate.

Neutering and vaccinations are free for both street and owned animals.

Janey sees a big distinction between street dogs and strays.

“There’s this generalization that people think it’s cruel for dogs to be on the street, that they don’t have cuddles every night, they don’t eat steak for dinner, they don’t get to go to doggy daycare – but it’s just different over here,” she explained. “They’re not stray dogs, so it’s not like in England where pet dogs are dumped on the street and left to die … These dogs have been on the streets for generations and generations, so to take them in to homes – to even take them indoors, most have never been indoors – is really quite stressful for them once they get to a certain age.

“They’re so happy beause they have their freedom. You can see them when they’re charging up and down the beach chasing each other, or when they’re on a mission in the morning to the nearest roti shop, you can see the joy in their eyes … We don’t believe in scooping up three million dogs to put them in a shelter because for street dogs, that’s like prison. Our job is to provide veterinary care and to let dogs be dogs.”

She admits that her mission a never-ending one and she sometimes gets disheartened. “But then you take a step back and look at how many dogs you’ve helped – which is about 6,000 dogs so far … I just go look at all the street dogs we’ve helped and remember that they would potentially have had a really slow, painful death if we hadn’t been around.”

WECare Worldwide operates on donations.

(Photos: Courtesy of WECare Worldwide)