Animals

Pet adoptions, fostering spike amid coronavirus restrictions

The Coronavirus pandemic is proving that man is turning to his best friend in a time of loneliness. But the crisis is also presenting a challenge to animal shelters bracing for a rise in the number of pets whose owners are too sick or poor to provide care. “It has been a whirlwind of wonder,” says Camille Bates of Midwest Animal Rescue. “We put out a national call for foster families and the response has been incredible. If you are going to be at home, fostering or adopting a pet is a great time for you to bond with a buddy.” In New York City and Los Angeles, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says applications to foster dogs and cats is up 200 percent. PetPoint, a software program shared by some 1,200 shelters nationwide, reports fostering and adoptions are up 700 percent over last year. “We are seeing people all over the country stepping up to foster and adopt animals from their local shelters and rescues,” says Human Society CEO Kitty Block. “It has truly been a game-changer in the sheltering world.” The coronavirus has shut down county facilities in most California cities, with social distancing regulations also shuttering most weekend adoption fairs. Faced with a surplus of animals, many shelters reached out on Facebook and social media for assistance. Jeanette White, of Los Angeles, was among those who wanted to help. “I kept thinking how, you know, this is something that I do that’s tangible,” said White, who was joined by her new dog Box. “This particular dog is kind of at risk because he has a health issue. His adoption fell through. It’s something small, but it’s something I can do. Plus, I love the companionship. With this sheltering in place, you need somebody around.” In San Antonio, animal care services adopted out 600 pets in March, but still has 900 animals outstanding with local rescue partners. “If you are going to be home, maybe you could foster a dog,” said Bates, whose group focuses on states from Minnesota to Mississippi. “What we found was an imbalance. We had a surplus of families wanting to adopt in one state and no dogs, and shelters were full in others – like Ohio, which has a high euthanasia rate.” One person who saw her post worked at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, which is now offering a three-month supply of beer for every pet fostered or adopted. If the family still has the pet after 30 days, Busch sends them a $100 voucher. The ASPCA has also started a “Keep Families Together” donation drive to support mobile pet food banks. The Humane Society is working in Oregon, Indiana and Texas to identify food banks are in need of pet food and is attempting to secure donations. In Los Angeles, officials partnered with 150 other counties and private rescue services to try to expand the adoption base and match supply with demand. Shelters are also adopting inventive ways to increase exposure. Each day at 2 p.m., the Wake County SPCA in North Carolina In North Carolina conducts a Facebook Live event to showcase adoptable pets. The Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Mississippi throws its own brand of “slumber parties” – overnight trials for potential adopters. The Animal Protective Association in Missouri has implemented “curbside adoptions”. “The problem is, adoptions are lower, and that’s the reason for our new foster program,” says Sheri Koenig, director of a Los Angeles County shelter. “Folks are driving in here with their masks on and want to foster. That’s the biggest thing I see right now.”

For more on that story about Anheuser-Busch, scroll down to the article immediately below.     🙂

Monterey Bay Aquarium, others offer live experiences from the comfort of home

Need an escape from your house? California’s famed Monterey Bay Aquarium is offering online viewers around the world a chance to visit their facility without making the physical trip via 10 live webcams of animals from sea otters to jellyfish. The free webcams are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT on the aquarium’s Facebook page, its YouTube channel and its website. Specifically, the live views feature their fan-favorite sea otter tank, their kelp forest tank, bird aviary, penguins, open sea tank, jellyfish tanks and live views of the Monterey Bay, which surrounds the aquarium. While most of the aquarium’s 500-plus staff members are working from home under the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19), key employees remain to maintain the building’s operations and tend to the animals there. Those employees include security crews, maintenance workers, and workers who feed and care for the animals. Monterey Bay Aquarium spokesman Ken Peterson told The Mercury News that the sea otters, sea turtles, fish, birds and other wildlife cannot be infected by the virus. “The animals are doing great,” he said. “They are getting the same level of care as they were before. We’re closed on Christmas Day. So, it’s kind of like that for them now.” According to Peterson, during a typical day, about 120 people are watching the wildlife cams online live at any one time. Since the coronavirus outbreak, that number has increased exponentially — more than eight-fold in recent days to more than 1,000 viewers. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is not the only institution offering wildlife webcams. Zoos and museums are also offering more remote experiences. Texas’s Dallas Zoo began sharing behind-the-scenes footage and educational videos on social media with the hashtag #BringTheZooToYou. In a viral video with more than 3.5 million views, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago caught some of its penguins sneaking into their “Amazon Rising” exhibit. The Cincinnati Zoo is also offering a live at-home safari on its Facebook page each weekday at 3 p.m. ET. The video’s first guest? The beloved hippopotamus Fiona. Meanwhile, the San Diego Zoo directed people last week to 10 live webcams that feature the zoo’s koalas, penguins, tigers and other animals. There was also access to archival footage of giant pandas that were returned to China. “Our team is doing all we can to lift spirits during this challenging time,” Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Executive Director Julie Packard tweeted Friday. “I’m so grateful for their dedication!”

How great is this?!?!  Kudos to all of these zoos and aquariums doing this for the public.  If you want to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s YouTube site, just click on the text above.     🙂

Pets can judge time, study says

If sometimes you wonder if your dog is angry with you for staying out late, you might be right. New evidence suggests that animals have a clear sense of time, using previously undiscovered neurons that seem to switch on to count off minutes as they wait. The discovery was made by a team from Northwestern University while studying the medial entorhinal cortex of mice. Located in the mid-temporal lobe, it’s the part of the brain associated with memory and navigation. And since it encodes spatial information in episodic memories, lead study author Daniel Dombeck theorized that it could function as a sort of “inner clock” as well. “There are many similarities between the brains of mice, cats, dogs and humans,” Dombeck told Fox News. “We all have a medial entorhinal cortex (the region we found that may act as an inner clock), so it’s logical to think that this brain region serves a similar function in all of these different species.” To test his theory, Dombeck and his team put a mouse on a physical treadmill in a virtual reality environment. The mouse would run (on the treadmill) down a hallway to a door. After six seconds, the “door” would open and the mouse would get a (non–virtual reality) treat. They would repeat this a few times before making the door invisible. Dombeck was surprised to find that the mouse would still run and stop at the invisible door, waiting for six seconds for it to “open” so it could eat. Since the mouse didn’t know whether the door was open or closed and waited exactly six seconds, the team concluded that it had to have used its inner clock. The researchers also monitored the mouse’s brain activity, finding that the mouse’s neurons would fire as it ran. When it stopped at the door, those neurons would turn off before a new set began firing. These newly discovered neurons only fired when the mouse stopped, keeping track of the time the mouse was resting. Dombeck believes that dogs and cats more than likely have the same neurons that encode time. “There’s evidence that humans and monkeys can estimate time intervals using some form of an ‘inner clock’ and now with our work we know that mice also can explicitly represent time intervals in their brains and can perform timing tasks,” he explained. “Therefore, it’s logical to think that animals in between mice and humans in the hierarchy chain, like our pets (dogs and cats), can also use their brains to estimate time intervals.” The team’s research could have an impact on humans. The entorhinal cortex is one of the first regions of the brain affected by neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and researchers could study how these diseases affect the new time–encoding neurons. “When doing basic research like we are, it’s always difficult to know where or how your findings will make an impact, but it’s really results from basic research like ours that eventually lead to better treatments or understanding of diseases, and sometimes even provide insights into how things like designing better computer software (by mimicking brain function),” Dombeck said. “Since the medial temporal lobe (the larger brain region that includes the medial entorhinal cortex) is one of the first regions affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and since the time keeping properties of this part of the brain were previously unknown, it’s not unreasonable to think that clinicians could soon be asking patients to estimate different amounts of elapsed time as part of the battery of tests to look for early signs of dementia.” The study can be found in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Animal rescue finds dogs left behind amid tons of trash at Dakota Access protest camp

Along with tons of garbage left behind at the Dakota Access protest camp, at least eight dogs have been discovered since protesters departed last week under a federal evacuation order. The canines — two adults and six puppies — were picked up by volunteers with Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue after the last of the protesters exited the Oceti Sakowin camp, allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to join the massive cleanup effort. “Yesterday a group of volunteers headed down to the DAPL campsite and surrounding area and brought back some of the animals,” said the Bismarck rescue Saturday on its Facebook page. “They received immediate vet care, were given a bath and love, and will now remain in quarantine until we know they are healthy enough to be with other animals.” Julie Schirado of Furry Friends said the rescue effort has been made more difficult by conditions at the muddy, debris-strewn camp. A Florida-based sanitation company, hired by the corps on a $1 million contract, has moved in with dump trucks, loaders and other equipment to clear the encampment located on a federal floodplain before the snowmelt washes the trash into the Cannonball River. “It’s a mess down there, so it’s really, really hard to find these animals and get them,” Ms. Shirado told KFYR-TV in Bismarck. The protesters have come under criticism for abandoning the animals, but several commenters on the rescue’s Facebook page said that the dogs could have been strays that wandered into the camp on their own during the protest. Rescue workers have asked anyone who believes they own the dogs to contact the facility. Photos of the dogs are posted on the Furry Friends Facebook page.

Gotta love the breathtaking hypocrisy of these extreme lunatic liberal losers who are there, ostensibly, to protest in defense of the environment, and yet they leave TONS of garbage behind when they leave.  Of course the dominantly liberal mainstream media doesn’t report this side of the Dakota Access story, as it would undermine their extreme liberal environmental agenda.  But, I digress…  At the very least, the local authorities should write misdemeanor littering citations to these oxygen thieves; just add that to whatever else these maggots get charged with.  Then, on top of that, we find out that some poor critters have been abandoned.  To be fair, some MAY have wandered into the campsite.  But, c’mon..   None of these bleeding hearts were ready to take them in?  Guess not..  Liberals love to whine, protest, and so on…oh..and spend everyone else’s money..but don’t want to take any personal responsibility of their own.  Typical..

PETA’s Dirty Little Secret: Shelter Puts Down 80% of Animals in Its Care

In a remarkable turn of events, Virginia legislators reportedly have had to step in to protect animals from PETA, which runs a gulag-style animal shelter at its headquarters on the banks of the St. Elizabeth River that euthanized over 80 percent of the animals in its care in 2014. Virginia lawmakers found that rate so abnormally high that they passed a bill in February to redefine a private animal shelter as “operating for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes.” The law will squeeze PETA whose primary service to animals in Norfolk has not been adoption, but rather a quick exit from the world. The bill, put forward by Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin), passed the House of Delegates in a landslide 95-2 vote, after the Senate had approved the measure by 33-5. This despite the fact that PETA hired lobbyist Stephen Haner to try to kill the bill. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took in 3,017 animals in 2014. Of these, a mere 162 were adopted, while 2455 were “euthanized.” This rate of 81% was not exceptional, since in prior years the rate has risen above 90%. A website documenting PETA’s killing record claims that the organization has euthanized more than 33,000 animals since 1998. “It’s just impossible to consider that they are making an attempt to adopt out animals with that failure record,” said Debra Griggs of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. She said that the new law codifies what “all shelters in Virginia are already doing — except for PETA.” PETA’s shelter, in fact, stands alone in its draconian policy, with a kill rate more than three times that of other shelters in the state. Combined, Virginia animal shelters took in 210,599 animals last year, of which only 49,302—less than 25%—were euthanized.

Doesn’t that make you want to vomit?!?  What a duplicitous, arrogant, brazenly hypocritical, and disgusting organization PETA is.  I’ve adopted my last three dogs from the Denver version of the Humane Society (ddfl.org).  And it does some great work!  They certainly put PETA’s adoption rates to shame.