A near-death experience turned into a free ride for an owl that was struck by an SUV on the Florida Turnpike and became lodged behind the vehicle’s grill.
Sonji Coney Williams was headed south on the turnpike when she struck what she thought was a bird.
“I felt so bad but it was very dark and we didn’t pull over,” she said. Instead she drove another 100 miles, to Plantation, Fla.
Not until the next day, when she was parking her car, did she discover what she struck was a great horned owl, and that it was alive, well and winking from behind the grill of her car.
“There was a family that pulled in front of my parking space and flagged me down and said don’t move, don’t move, you have something in the grill of your truck. I said, ‘Yes, what is it?’ And they said, ‘It’s an owl.’ And I said, ‘An owl?’” said Williams.
She called Florida Fish and Wildlife and an officer opened the hood and freed the bird from the vehicle.
The owl’s journey was nearly as long as the maybe-record-setting, 110-mile one taken last year by a dog in California, later named Chevy, in the engine compartment of a pick up truck.
Officers say the owl appeared not to have suffered any injuries. It was moved to the South Florida Wildlife Center in Ft. Lauderdale, which said the owl — after some good meals and more testing — would eventually be returned to its natural habitat in Central Florida.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100 miles, car, fish and wildlife, florida, freed, great horned owl, grill, highway, hit, owl, removed, ride, south florida wildlife center, suv, wildlife
The homeless and formerly homeless gathered on Skid Row in Los Angeles late last week to remember one of their own — Sheba, a shepherd mix who spent 17 years living on the streets.
On Tuesday, at about 11:30 p.m., Sheba was struck by a car and killed on Alameda Street.
About a dozen current and former street dwellers and animal activists showed up Thursday at a sidewalk memorial service for Sheba on Gladys Avenue.
Among those paying respects was Georgina Warren, who, homeless and addicted to drugs at the time, heard Sheba’s cries while living in a tent on a Skid Row parking lot 17 years ago.
She went to investigate and found a young German shepherd mix chained to a pole, unable to reach a bowl of water someone had left. Warren borrowed some bolt cutters from a nearby mechanic and freed the dog.
It was Warren who, noting how protective the dog was of her shopping cart, came up with the name Sheba, because she seemed to be respected like a queen.
Warren spent the next 10 years with the dog, Downtown News in Los Angeles reports — minus those periods she ended up in jail. When that happened, fellow street dwellers pitched in to take care of Sheba.
Warren left Skid Row in 2008 and is now in recovery. Sheba stayed.
“Sheba was the community’s dog,” said Lori Weise, founder of Downtown Dog Rescue, which provides services for low-income dog owners.
Weise helped care for Sheba, and arranged for the dog to be spayed and microchipped. She was registered on the microchip as the official contact, and there were 11 times that Weise was called to pick up Sheba from animal shelters, always returning her to the streets and the person who was taking care of her — if not always keeping her leashed — at the time.
Weise and others are making arrangements to have Sheba’s ashes buried in the garden at the Hippie Kitchen, a Gladys Avenue service center where Sheba often hung out.
(Top photo: Georgina Warren, left, and Catherine Harris of the nearby Hippie Kitchen, at the memorial service; by Gary Leonard, Downtown News)
(Bottom photo, of Warren and Sheba, courtesy of Lori Weise, Downtown Dog Rescue)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alameda street, animals, car, chained, community, dog, dogs, downtown dog rescue, freed, georgina warren, hippie kitchen, hit, homeless, killed, lori weise, los angeles, memorial, memory, mix, pets, queen, service, sheba, shepherd, skid row
It was five years ago when strange things started happening at the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
Somehow, the same group of dogs were escaping from their pens at the shelter at night and proceeding to raid the food area, where they ate, played and partied all night long.
The shelter at first suspected staff wasn’t propertly closing the gates. Then they thought maybe it was a practical joke.
Finally, to find the answer, they installed three cameras. The first couple of nights, nothing happened, but then the cameras caught a greyhound mix named Red in the act — first freeing himself, then freeing his friends from their cages.
In Great Britain and Ireland, they call the mixed breed “lurchers,” and they’re known for their stealth and cunning.
Red certainly fit that bill — and better yet, shortly after shelter staff brought an end to the late night parties, Red got adopted.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, battersea, behavior, cages, cameras, cats, dog, escape, food, free, freed, greyhound, home, incarcerated, kennels, lurcher, mix, mixed breed, party, pens, red, rescue, security, shelters, who let the dogs out
Tony, the Siberian tiger who has spent the last 11 years as a tourist attraction at a truck stop outside Baton Rouge — either suffering or living the cushy life, depending on your point of view – will likely be leaving Louisiana.
Judge Michael Caldwell has ruled in favor of the Animal Legal Defense Fund in its lawsuit to free Tony from the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete.
Judge Caldwell agreed with ALDF’s argument that the permit that allows the truck stop to keep Tony was unlawfully issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. (Perhaps that fiasco in Ohio was in the back of his head, too.)
The judge ordered the department to revoke the current permit and prohibited it from issuing any new permits to the truck stop.
“We are thrilled that the court made the right decision,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We will continue to do everything we can to make sure Tony’s next home is a reputable, accredited sanctuary that can give Tony the life he deserves.”
Of course, not everybody sees it that way, including Michael Sandlin, owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, whose point of view is seen in the video above, and probably a lot more Louisianians, who take their tigers — the species being the LSU mascot — pretty seriously.
The ALDF — you can find its article on Tony here — says the tiger was subjected to highway noise and diesel fumes 24-hours a day, frequently harassed and taunted by visitors at the truck stop, and spends his days pacing, a sign of stress.
The court originally granted ALDF’s original request for a permanent injunction in May 2011, but in August, the Louisiana Court of Appeals ruled that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop must be named as defendants in the lawsuit and ordered a new trial, vacating the trial court’s earlier decision.
Since ALDF filed its original lawsuit in April 2011, it has argued that the wildlife department violated state law in granting the permit to Michael Sandlin. In yesterday’s hearing, the ALDF argued that Sandlin’s permit to own and display Tony should be invalidated, and that Tony should be released into the custody of ALDF or an accredited animal sanctuary where he can receive care and treatment and live out his life in a more natural environment.
Tony has been on exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop since 2000. Other tigers were there when he arrived, but since 2003, he has been the only one.
ALDF’s lawsuit to free Tony has drawn the support of celebrity advocates like Leonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer, seen in the ALDF video below.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aldf, animal legal defense fund, animals, baton rouge, freed, grosse tete, harassed, injunction, judge, lawsuit, lousiana, lsu, michael sandlin, news, pets, sanctuary, siberian, tiger, tiger truck stop, tony, truck stop, video, wildlife
Dozens of wild animals who escaped from a wildlife preserve in Ohio have been gunned down by police and sheriff’s deputies, and only two — a wolf and a monkey — are still believed at large.
The animals were freed by Terry Thompson, the preserve’s owner, who killed himself after opening all the cages, officials said.
On Tuesday night, a grizzly bear and a mountain lion were killed, but Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz told reporters he can’t be 100 percent sure how many of the 51 animals might still be roaming around Zanesville, Ohio.
Lutz and wildlife expert Jack Hanna, who will take the living animals at the preserve to the Columbus Zoo, urged the public to remain cautious, according to an ABC News report.
Lutz said his officers found grizzly bears, lions, Bengal tigers, black bears and leopards roaming the area around the preserve, many of which had to be killed.
When a veterinarian shot a tiger with a tranquilizer from 15 yards away, Lutz said, it “just went crazy,” and started to run, so officers were forced to shoot it.
Another animal — described only as a big cat — was hit by a car on a highway, and an escaped monkey was eaten by one of the lions.
Thompson, the 61-year-old owner of the preserve, was recently released from prison after serving one year on federal weapons charges. According to investigators he has been cited in the past for animal abuse and neglect.
Sheriff Lutz warned residents to stay inside until the animals are rounded up. Several schools cancelled classes for today.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bears, cages, captured, freed, jack hanna, killed, leopards, lions, matt lutz, monkeys, ohio, police, preserve, sheriff, shot, suicide, terry thompson, tigers, wild animals, wildlife, wolves, zanesville
Another truckload of dogs have been saved from being slaughtered and sold in restaurants after a standoff between a dog trader and animal activists over the weekend in China.
Two animal protection organizations paid about $13,000 to a dog trader in Southwest China’s Sichuan province to rescue nearly 800 dogs that were due to be delivered to restaurants, China Daily reports.
The deal was reached in the city of Zigong on Saturday night after two-days of negotiations.
The Sichuan Qiming Companion Animal Protection Center (SCAPC), a Chengdu-based animal welfare organization, and the Love of Home Animal Rescue Center (LHARC) in Chengdu raised the funds.
In exchange, the dog trader, Tang Daguo, has promised to give up dog trading.
Supporters were rallied after an animal activist saw caged dogs being loaded on two trucks in a village on Friday evening. One truck with about 500 dogs pulled away, but they managed to stop the second one.
The dog trader refused to release the dogs and asked for money. Eight dogs died in the cages during the standoff, which lasted well into Saturday.
The dogs are now being cared for by the SCAPC and LHARC in Chengdu.
A volunteer said most of the dogs are in poor health after two days without food and water, and some have broken legs as a result of being crammed in cages. At least two of the dogs turned out to be stolen from owners.
In April, animal activists stopped a truck carrying 520 dogs on the Beijing-Harbin Highway and, after a 15-hour standoff, paid 100,000 yuan to save them from being butchered and sold as meat.
(Photo by Chuan You / China Daily)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activists, animal welfare, chengdu, china, dog trader, dogs, freed, love of home animal rescue, paid, rescued, restaurants, saved, sichuan, sichuan qiming companion animal protection center, slaughter, standoff, truck, zigong
It’s the one-year anniversary for 120 beagles who, around this time last year, learned the true meaning of independence.
Up until then, even here in the land of the free, they weren’t.
Instead, like thousands of other beagles bred and born for the sole purpose of laboratory use, they’d never experienced what most dogs take for granted — things like grass and dirt and running — and were destined, once their use in testing was complete, for something quite contrary to a loving home.
The beagles had been left locked in a research facility operated by Aniclin Preclinical Services in Warren County, N.J. after its parent pharmaceutical company went bankrupt. When their situation came to light, a judge order the dogs turned over to rescue groups.
One year ago, a group of them were welcomed to Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in New York, where work began on socializing them so they could be adopted out as family pets.
This coming Sunday, some of them will gather for a reunion.
About 35 of the adopters stay in touch on Facebook, offering support and following each others progress through photos and stories.
They — and any of the others who adopted a “freegle,” as they are prone to calling the dogs rescued from the laboratory — are gathering July 10, from 12:30 to 4 p.m., at Kennedy Dells Park, 355 North Main Street in New City, New York.
Among those attending will be a beagle named Grace, who has her own Facebook page, called Saving Grace. Grace’s owner said that while word of the reunion has gotten out among those who stay in touch, other beagles adopted from the group are also invited, as well as everyone else who participated in rescuing them.
Shelters, sanctuaries, volunteers and staff are “most welcome to attend and meet the families and hear the stories of how the Freegles have been adjusting to the good life.”
(For questions or to RSVP, send an email to email@example.com.)
I met several lab beagles while researching my book — including some flourescent beagle clones in South Korea. In Texas, I interviewed the woman who cared for the beagles used in attempting to clone a dog at Texas A&M University.
Jessica Harrison, a graduate student at the time, was in charge of socializing the beagles and finding adoptive homes for them — not usually the case or fate of laboratory beagles — after their services in the lab were no longer required.
“What they teach them is to be still,” she told me. “As puppies, they teach them to just freeze when a person messes with them. We had to kindo of undo that and say, ‘No,we want you to move around and be excited.’
“We slowly exposed them to all the things they’d be exposed to in a family home — like TVs, mirrors, grass, trees, flowers, birds and bees. These dogs had never seen any of that. You put them down on the grass, and they’re like, ‘What’s this?’ It was kind of overwheliming. You get used to it, but at first it’s like, these are dogs, how can they not know these things?”
The use of dogs in laboratory research was declining, but it has jumped up in recent years, with much of the increase due to advancements in, and the promise of, gene therapy.
(Photos: Top photo from the Facebook page of Freegles Justice and Skipper; bottom photo by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, aniclin, animal sanctuary, beagles, best freinds, cloning, dog inc., dogs, experiments, flourescent, freed, freegle reunion, freegles, kennedy dells park, lab animals, lab beagles, laboratory, medical, new city, new jersey, new york, pets, pets alive, pharmaceuticals, rescue, research, reunion, sanctuary, science, shelter, warren county
More than 500 dogs being trucked to a slaughterhouse in China were freed from that fate when an animal activist spotted the truck transporting them on the highway, went on line and used social media to arrange an impromptu blockade.
Around 200 people helped block the truck at a toll booth for 15 hours — until they were able to negotiate the dogs’ release for $17,000, saving the dogs from being slaughtered and served as food.
While farm-raised dogs are traditionally eaten in China and some other Asian countries, the man who arranged the spontaneous road block over the Twitter-like social media site Sina Weibo, in addition to being an animal activist, reportedly suspected they were stolen.
After spotting a truck packed with hundreds of whimpering dogs on a Beijing highway, he put out a call begging fellow animal lovers to come and help him force the driver to release the animals.
Many of the animals were dehydrated, injured and suffering from a virus; at least 68 have been hospitalized, and one has died, the Associated Press reports. Video footage taken Tuesday showed the animals barking and whining in cramped metal crates.
“They were squeezing and pressing on each other and some were biting and fighting, and I saw some were injured or sick,” said Li Wei, manager of Capital Animal Welfare Association and one of the people who participated in the rescue. Li said at least one dog had died in the truck.
The rescue was remarkable on several levels. It was a rare successful case of social activism in China, a sign that new sensibilities are rising when it comes to dogs, and that the traditional practice of eating them is, for many, intolerable.
China has no animal protection laws for dogs or livestock, but animal welfare movements are growing there and in much of Asia.
The activists reached an agreement with the driver to purchase the dogs for about $17,000 dollars — most of which was contributed by a pet company and an animal protection foundation, Li said.
AP reports that dozens of volunteers have flocked to the Dongxing Animal Hospital in Beijing where they are helping to clean cages and mop floors. Sixty-eight dogs were at the hospital, many of them bandaged and hooked up to intravenous drips. Most were severely dehydrated and some had parvovirus.
The rest of the dogs have been taken to a property on the northern outskirts of Beijing where Li’s group is caring for them.
“When I saw the poor dogs on Twitter, I cried and cried, but I thought there was no way they could stop the truck. So I was very surprised when they did it and I wanted to help,” said Chen Yang, 30, a woman who tended to a dog that had given birth to four puppies just after the rescue.
The volunteer response indicates a growing awareness for animal rights, said Lu Yunfeng, a sociology professor at Peking University.
“Dogs were historically on the food list in China and South Korea, while they were loved in Western countries,” Lu said.
But in China, “as people became well-off, they had money to raise dogs, and while raising these dogs, they developed feelings for dogs,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activism, animal rights, animal welfare, asia, attitudes, beijing, block, blockade, cages, changing, china, cramped, dog, dog meat, dogs, eat, eating, freed, meat, movement, purchased, released, rescued, road block, saved, shipped, sina weibo, slaughterhouse, social media, truck, trucked, video
On Friday, the beagles — owned by a research facility in New Jersey whose parent pharmaceutical company went into bankruptcy — were released to the care of animal rescue groups that, after socializing them, hope to adopt them out as family pets.
Beagles are bred especially for use in medical experiments and are used in research because of their affable and passive natures, their relative lack of inherited health problems and their mid-range size. These particular beagles are estimated to be between two and five years of age and have lived their entire lives in a laboratory.
Best Friends Animal Society headquartered in Kanab, Utah, and Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary, based in Middletown, N.Y., and Elmsford, N.Y., worked together on rescuing the beagles, who had been left locked in the facility operated by Aniclin Preclinical Services in Warren County, N.J.
The facility closed in April, after Aniclin’s parent pharmaceutical company couldn’t pay its bills, according to the Times Herald-Record in New York’s Hudson Valley.
A judge ruled that the beagles could be handed over to animal rescue organizations. Fifty-five primates were also removed from the facility and sent to a simian rescue organization
Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary welcomed the beagles to their new home this weekend, decorated in red, white and blue.
Best Friends, according to a press release, was made aware of the beagles’ dilemma through its Community Animal Assistance national helpline, which fields requests to help animals from around the country. Best Friends contacted Pets Alive, a sanctuary in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York, which offered to take ownership of the dogs. Several other animal rescue organizations have stepped forward, each offering to take some of the beagles.
Best Friends is paying for veterinary care, food and transportation of the dogs from the facility. It will be bringing back as many as 30 dogs to its sanctuary in Utah, including those who may need more time and help before transitioning into family living.
“Best Friends is teaming up with Pets Alive in the New York area to help these beagles get the fresh start they deserve … one that’s long overdue,” said Judah Battista of Best Friends Animal Society.
“These dogs have been in a laboratory, too long without friends,” she said. “Since these dogs have never had the opportunity to discover their true lovable, comical, often boisterous nature, which makes beagles such a favorite family dog, Pets Alive and Best Friends are committed to helping these dogs discover their true personalities.”
“In this case, the cruel and unnecessary practice of animal testing was compounded by the abandonment of these innocent victims,” said Kerry Clair, executive co-director of Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary.
People who live near Pets Alive in Middletown, N.Y., are invited to volunteer their time to help feed, care for and socialize the beagles. To do so contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aniclin, animals, beagles, best friends, best friends animal society, chemicals, dogs, donate, experiments, free, freed, independence, lab, laboratory, new jersey, news, ohmidog!, pets, pets alive, pharmaceuticals, receivership, released, research, sanctuary, utah, vounteer, warren county
Police say an Alameda couple concocted a scheme to free their pit bull, Max, from the Alameda Animal Shelter, which, because he’d been deemed a dangerous dog, was planning to euthanize him Wednesday.
Authorities arrested one of the suspects, Richard Cochran, 57. Cochran admitted to formulating a plan to steal the three-year-old dog from the shelter with Melissa Perry, 38, his girlfriend of 17 years, and two other people whose identities haven’t been confirmed, police said.
He denied playing any other role in stealing the dog, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Perry, meanwhile, called the Chronicle on Thursday evening, saying Max was with her and that a friend was driving them across the country. “I’m almost to Kentucky,” she said.
Perry told the newspaper that, while neither she nor Cochran had anything to do with the break-in, she had told friends she wished someone would “break him out.”
“Max doesn’t deserve to be euthanized. Considering the circumstances, I think he deserves a chance.”
Police say the dog is dangerous. “If anyone comes into contact with the dog and this woman, I really want to stress that they should take caution,” said police Sgt. Jill Ottaviano. “This is a very dangerous animal. It is very protective of this woman.”
Max had bitten two people. While being examined at an animal hospital in Oakland, he bit a veterinary technician. The dog was ordered to be quarantined at his home in an Alameda motel after that, but during the quarantine he bit a friend of the couple.
The animal shelter was ready to euthanize Max on Tuesday, after a court order was issued. The court commissioner agreed that the dog would be kept alive one more day to allow Cochran and Perry to say goodbye.
When shelter staff arrived for work Wednesday morning they discovered someone had used bolt cutters to cut through a cyclone fence and break the lock on the kennel where Max had been staying.
(Photo: Alameda Police Department)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alameda, animal control, animals, bites, broken out, california, courts, crime, dangerous, death row, dogs, escape, euthanasia, euthanized, freed, fugitive, max, melissa perry, news, ohmidog!, owners, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, police, richard cochran, shelter, sprung, stolen