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Archive for May 21st, 2009

Abandoned dog finds home with elephants

A puppy dumped on the side of a road in Alvin, Texas, is now enjoying life with the elephants at a Houston Zoo.

It was Christmas Eve when Alicia Kemery’s neighbor saw someone in a truck dump the pup, a terrier mix only about two months old. The neighbor called Kemery, a keeper at the Houston Zoo, who provided the dog with shelter at her home. Two weeks later — already having five dogs of her own — Kemery sent a zoo-wide e-mail asking if anyone wanted to adopt the black-and-white pup.

Daryl Hoffman, large mammals curator, replied, saying he’d been thinking about adding a dog to the elephant barn — an increasingly popular practice at zoos. Max was an instant hit as soon as he walked into the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat.

Only a few of the elephants were a bit apprehensive when the dog first joined the keepers. “It was this new small thing around, and they didn’t really know what a dog was,” said Dan Calarco, part-time elephant keeper.

But since then Max has settled into a routine with the elephants, the Houston Chronicle reports. After breakfast, he sniffs around the compound until it’s time for the keepers to clean the elephant yard. That signals playtime for Max who loves to fetch, roll and chase the ball that keepers toss for him while they work.

Penny: For your thoughts

 

Penny, an 8-year-old sheltie, was one of 202 small dogs that Prairie Bark Kennels, a large commerical breeder of dogs in Colorado, needed to unload in connection with the company’s plan to relocate.

All breeding stock — Yorkies, papillons, dachshunds, pugs and Chihuahuas among them — Penny and the other dogs were crated, loaded on a truck and driven 788 miles from the Denver breeding operation to be put on the auction block in Missouri, where they were mostly likely to be bought by other commercial breeders.

But the little dogs weren’t the only ones headed for Missouri.

A group of animal welfare organizations, hearing of the Denver breeder’s plans and hoping to spare the dogs from continued lives in puppy mills, had contacted the company, offering to take the dogs and find them homes. The breeder declined the offer, so the animal welfare groups started a fund drive, raised $16,000, and sent a representative to Missouri to purchase as many of the dogs as their finances permitted.

As a result, 66 of the dogs, Penny included, ended up making the trip back to Denver — all tolled, a 1,500-mile journey to end up just 8 miles from where they’d started out a few days earlier.

USA Today’s Sharon Peters told the fascinating story in her “Pet Talk” column yesterday.

It started in early May, when Prairie Bark Kennels decided to sell many of its 250 dogs in advance of relocating, according to the seller statement filed with the auction company.

When Last Chance for Animals and Rocky Mountain Animal Defense heard the dogs would be sent to auction, they offered to pick them up. “The dogs are perpetually pregnant or nursing; they live their lives in cages,” Last Chance’s Julie Sarff says. “We wanted something better for them.” When the offer was turned down, Peters writes, the animal welfare groups flew into action.

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Chihuahua thrown from car; two arrested

Two people were arrested Tuesday after they threw a dog out the window of a moving SUV in New Bedford, Mass., police said.

At first, witnesses thought it was an accident, but then they saw the driver yelling at the dog, according to Fox News

According to police, the pair threw Princess, a 1-year-old Chihuahua, from the window of their SUV as the car was speeding down the street. The couple then drove back around the block.

“These people were overheard laughing, saying that the stupid dog was still there waiting. Turns out that the dog wasn’t so stupid at all, because that allowed witnesses the opportunity to give us the license plate,” New Bedford police Lt. Jeffrey Silva told WCVB-TV in Boston.

Princess wasn’t injured in the incident and will be put up for adoption at a local animal shelter.

Jenny Torres, 31, and Jimmy Correa, 24, were arraigned Wednesday on felony animal abuse and abandonment charges.

Dogs’ water bowl becomes fire hazard

Can a dog’s water bowl, sitting under a bright sun on a wooden deck, work like a magnifying glass and start a fire?

Apparently, if it’s made of glass, yes — at least that’s what firefighters in Bellevue, Washington suspect. Investigators blamed a house fire Sunday on the family dogs’ partially filled glass water bowl.

“It’s very unusual, but it’s not unheard of,” Lt. Eric Keenan, the department’s community liaison officer told the Seattle Times.

The 11-inch-diameter bowl was elevated above the wooden deck in a wire stand, Keenan said. “There was nothing else in that area that could be identified as a fire source — no smokers, no electrical devices.”

No one was home when the fire started. It destroyed the deck and badly burned the adjacent kitchen. The family’s two dogs were both apparently unhurt, Keenan said.