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Tag: captive

Taliban show off captured military dog

The military dog captured by the Taliban — and shown off by his captors on a video posted on the Internet — was apparently attached to a British special forces unit.

While the Taliban identified their captive as a U.S. dog, military sources who asked not to be identified say the bomb-sniffing dog was British, and that it disappeared after a deadly firefight in Afghanistan’s Laghman Province on Dec. 23, according to the Washington Post.

Officials  at the Pentagon said it is the first time they recall a military dog being taken captive.

The British Defense Ministry has not confirmed the nationality of the dog.

In the video, the dog, believed to a Belgian Malinois, stands amid a group of heavily armed men, appearing confused at times, tentatively wagging its tail at others.

“Allah gave victory to the mujahideen!” one of the fighters says in the video, adding, in apparent reference to U.S. forces, ”Down with them, down with their spies!”

The dog wears a black protective vest, which was oufitted with what the Taliban said were sophisticated electronic devices.

The video was posted on the Internet Feb. 5 via a Twitter account often used to disseminate Taliban propaganda.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the dog was captured after a firefight between coalition forces and Taliban fighters in the Alin Nigar district of Afghanistan’s Laghman province in late December.

“The mujahideen valorously put tough resistance against the troops for hours,” he said. “The dog was of high significance to the Americans.”

U.S. Special Operations troops often use the Belgian Malinois, some of which have been trained to parachute and rappel with their handlers.

A Belgian Malinois was among the members of the special forces team that found and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

Caged dog, shot six times, survives

Two men were arrested in Toledo after they allegedly took turns shooting a German shepherd while he howled in his cage.

The dog, named Sarge, was hit by six shots, but survived. He’s now being held by the Lucas County dog warden.

One of the men, Lawrence Mick, 57,  the dog’s owner, is in the Lucas County jail, where he was being held on $25,000 bond. He’s charged with a third degree felony for using the weapon, and if convicted, he could be sentenced to one to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The other charges he faces in connection with the incident, including cruelty to animals, are all misdemeanors.

Mick has a drug conviction and is prohibited from using a firearm, the Toledo Blade reported.

Mick and another man, Adam Collins, are accused of taking turns shooting the captive dog with a 25-caliber pistol Friday in Mick’s backyard with a 25-caliber pistol.

Elephant treadmill will train Iditarod dogs

maggieWhat do you do with an ever-so-slightly used $100,000 elephant treadmill?

If you’re a zoo in Alaska, you do the same thing you did with your captive elephant – admit it was a mistake and find it a new home.

The Alaska Zoo had the treadmill custom made so that Maggie the elephant — fat, cold and lonely being the only elephant in Alaska — could get some exercise in her otherwise cramped quarters. When the zoo finally came to its senses and shipped Maggie to a sanctuary in northern California, that left them with a contraption that wasn’t in too great demand. Not the sort of thing you can put out at the yard sale. Though the zoo did try selling it on Craigslist.

While the zoo didn’t get paid for the treadmill, they did find a home for it: Iditarod musher Martin Buser has hauled it to his kennel to be used to train his dogs for the 1,150-mile race, the Alaska Dispatch reports.

While he won’t have it reassembled in time to train dogs for the coming race, Buser, a four-time Iditarod winner, expects to use it in the future. Built for an 8,000-pound elephant, it’s 10,000 pounds and 22 feet long, more than big enough to let a whole team of dogs run on at once.

elephant_treadmillAt Buser’s Happy Trails Kennels, he plans to use it to let his dogs run long distances while getting nowhere, invite scientists to use it to learn more about sled dogs, and possibly entertain tourists who want to see a team of dogs run long distances without getting anywhere — like the Iditarod, only without the freezing cold or the breathtaking scenery.

Maggie the elephant left the Alaska Zoo in 2007, after several years of controversy over whether she should ever have been brought there in the first place.

The treadmill was the zoo’s attempt to get Maggie exercising through Alaska’s long winters. It was one of the steps the zoo took to improve her controversial and cramped living conditions. Critics argued she should be in a warmer climate , with more open space, where she could walk outdoors year-round and be with other elephants.

But the zoo decided to try the treadmill experiment first. It didn’t work out, zoo officials admitted. Maggie would have nothing to do with the treadmill – an objection to which we can relate.

At that point, the zoo gave up and loaded Maggie on an Air Force C-17 for a flight to northern California, where, thanks in part to funding from animal activist/game show host Bob Barker, she’s living the rest of her life at ARK 2000, an animal sanctuary in San Andreas operated by the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

After Maggie left town, Buser called the zoo and inquired about the machine. In exchange for the treadmill, Buser added the zoo to his list of official sponsors.

In addition to drawing tourists, Buser says the treadmill will allow for closer scientific research of his sled dogs. Instruments like oxygen consumption masks and heart rate monitors can yield valuable information, but can’t be used when the dogs are running outside.

Sled dogs cruise at 10 to 12 mph, the Swiss-born Buser said, but he’d like to get the treadmill up to 20 mph so he can put his dogs through some speed workouts. Buser said he probably won’t get his dogs on the treadmill until after the coming Iditarod, which has its ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 6.

The class of “71″

    Slated to be sold to a circus after her mother was killed by hunters, a baby elephant from Africa arrived in the U.S. a quarter of a century ago in chains.
    She had no name, just a number.
It was 71.
    Instead of ending up at a circus, she was purchased by a wealthy landowner in Florida and lived on his estate, but — having been taken so young from her mother — she was malnourished, chronically sick and nearly died.
    In an attempt to save her life, Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, founders of the Performing Animal Welfare Society in California, offered to give her sanctuary.

When she arrived at PAWS, again in chains, veterinarians said she would never be healthy, but Derby and Stewart bottle fed the elephant — whose name would remain simply “71″ — until she was strong enough to eat on her own. They slept with her for months.

“When 71 first arrived and walked out of her crate,” Derby recalls, “we immediately cut the chains from around her neck. We promised her right then she would never again be chained. She would never be beaten. She would never have to do anything she didn’t want to do. We kept that promise to her.”

71 peacefully passed away on Friday, September 19,  PAWS reports. She was 26 years old.

“71 was the cornerstone of PAWS. She was the reason for everything that guides PAWS’ founding mission. She leaves a legacy for the other African elephants, Mara, Ruby, Lulu and Maggie, whom she led,” Derby said.

Derby believes captivity — the practice of capturing elephants, tearing them away from their families, forcing them to live in confined spaces, and using often cruel techniques to train them — is ultimately what destroys them.

“I hope everyone who hears 71′s story will remember her when they see elephants languishing in small spaces, rocking and swaying, deprived of their freedom and their families,” she said. 

Founded in 1984 by Derby, a former Hollywood animal trainer (“Flipper”, “Daktari”, “Gunsmoke”, “Lassie”, “Gentle Ben”) and her partner, Ed Stewart, PAWS maintains three sanctuaries for captive wildlife – 30 acres in Galt, California, 100 acres in Herald, California and 2,300 acres in San Andreas, California.

As an animal trainer in Hollywood — one whose methods were based on trust as opposed to fear — Derby was shocked at what she calls rampant neglect and abuse. Her autobiography, Lady and Her Tiger, was the first expose of the harsh training methods that she says once were standard in the entertainment industry.

PAWS is dedicated to the protection of performing animals, to providing sanctuary to abused, abandoned and retired captive wildlife, to enforcing the best standards of care for all captive wildlife, to the preservation of wild species and their habitat and to promoting public education about captive wildlife issues.

(Photo courtesy of PAWS)

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