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Tag: animals

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)

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)

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)

Alpha — the “first” boy meets dog movie — hits theaters this month

It’s certainly not the first “boy and his dog” movie, but “Alpha,” coming out this month, is the oldest, at least in terms of the history it attempts to portray — that being 20,000 years ago when man and wolf first befriended.

It’s a tale from the ice age, billing itself as historical and an “incredible story of how mankind discovered man’s best friend.”

It takes place in Europe, 20,000 years ago.

Alpha-300x300While on his first hunt with his tribe, a young man is injured and left for dead. He awakens to find himself alone in the wilds.

Things get worse from there when he encounters a pack of wolves and fends them off, injuring one of the younger ones. He can’t bring himself to kill the wolf who, like him, has also been abandoned by his pack.

That proves to be a bumpy process, requiring more than a “here, boy,” or a tossed treat.

The two eventually bond, learning to rely on each other as they encounter dangers that include doing battle with prehistoric animals as they try to find their way home before winter arrives.

The movie was directed by Albert Hughes and features “X-Men: Apocalypse” star Kodi Smit-McPhee and Johannes Haukur Johannesson.

Lawsuit claims Rachael Ray’s Nutrish contains weed killer

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A $5 million class action lawsuit has been filed against Rachael Ray’s Nutrish dog food, alleging it contains a chemical used in weed killer.

The suit, brought by Bronx resident Markeith Parks on behalf of himself and others, claims that samples of the dog food were found to contain the chemical glyphosate, a herbicide used in Roundup and other weed killers.

The lawsuit says the dog food brand is deceiving and misleading customers by touting itself as healthy and natural.

“The products at issue are not ‘natural.’ Instead, the products contain the unnatural chemical glyphosate, a potent biocide and endocrine disruptor, with detrimental health effects that are still becoming known,” the lawsuit says.

The New York Daily News reported on the lawsuit yesterday, saying it was unable to get a comment from the company it names, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.

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Ainsworth sold the Nutrish brand to J.M. Smucker Co. last month for $1.9 billion.

The brand’s new owner strongly denied the lawsuit’s claim.

Bobby Modi, vice president of Pet Food and Pet Snacks for JM Smucker, said: “We are in the process of reviewing the details of the claim but strongly stand behind the quality of our products, ingredients, and sourcing practices. As animal lovers and humans, it goes without saying that we do not add pesticides to our products as an ingredient. We plan to aggressively fight these claims.”

And even Ray chimed in, telling the Daily Mail, through a spokesperson, “Rachael herself has always championed the great lengths Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and now The J.M. Smucker Company take to create and provide the highest quality and safest pet food products on the market. This is why she does, and will continue to, feed Nutrish to her own dog Isaboo and her extended pet family.”

The spokesperson also called previous reports alleging that Rachael herself had been named in the suit ‘libelous’.

Ray is not named in the suit, but the dog food carries her name and she has said the recipes used are based on her own.

In the lawsuit, Parks says he purchased the dog food several times at a BJ’s Wholesale Club on Exterior St. in the Bronx because he “saw, relied upon, and reasonably believed Rachael Ray Nutrish’s representations that its products were ‘natural.'”

Glyphosate, the active ingredient used in weed killers, was found in tests done by an independent lab, the court papers claim.

The lawsuit states that the source of the glyphosate in the food could be from “crops such as peas, soy, corn, beets and alfalfa” being sprayed with the chemical in order to “produce an earlier, more uniform harvest.”

“By deceiving consumers about the nature, quality, and/or ingredients of the products, Rachael Ray Nutrish is able to sell a greater volume of the products,” the lawsuit says.

Aiming high to leave their mark

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No matter how big your male dog is you’ve probably noticed, and maybe wondered why, when he finally finds what upright object he wants to pee on, he often strains to aim as high as he can.

The answer is — and perhaps this is more a matter of male behavior than canine behavior — he’s trying to impress other dogs.

canine_urine_marking_dog_behaviorScience and conventional wisdom generally concur that sharing urine scents serves to let dogs get to know each other — that it’s a method of honest communication.

But now a group of researchers is saying that — honest as it otherwise is — there is some deception going on, especially along smaller dogs who are even more likely to hike their legs as high as they possibly can to leave the impression that they’re bigger than they really are.

In a study published in the Journal of Zoology, Betty McGuire and her team at Cornell University found smaller dogs tend to urinate more often than larger dogs, and they’re more likely to aim higher when focusing on vertically oriented targets.

handstandpee“Assuming body size is a proxy for competitive ability, small adult male dogs may place urine marks higher, relative to their own body size, than larger adult male dogs to exaggerate their competitive ability,” McGuire said.

Like this little fella (left).

The researchers went so far as to follow adult male dogs while they (the dogs) urinated on walks, then calculated the angle of their legs when raised during marking. They (the researchers) compared those calculations to the dogs’ height and mass and measured the height of the urine marks on the dogs’ chosen targets.

“Small males seemed to make an extra effort to raise their leg high — some small males would almost topple over,” McGuire told New Scientist. “So, we wondered whether small males try to exaggerate their body size by leaving high urine marks.”

The researchers said it’s likely the goal is to deceive other male dogs, but I suspect it is to impress the ladies, too.

D.K.-Metcalf-595x334Perhaps it emanates from that same source that gives some small dogs Napoleon complexes, making them make up for their lack of size by being louder.

But, I’d argue, neither is limited to canines.

Go to any bar and you can see pretty much the same thing, minus the fire hydrants, lampposts and urination, but with the same kind of loudness, strutting, poking out of chests, boasts, and little white (or yellow) lies.

Seems that, when it comes to the male of the species, neither dogs nor humans are above a little showing off.