Treats on the Internets

Extensive piece on animal cruelty in the New York Times which includes an examination of motivating factors behind cruelty as well as therapies used to combat it

Haw River – a town in NC – has a resident whose several dogs annoy her neighbors with their barking.  As such, now the whole class has to suffer.  The town council passed an ordinance that limits the number of dogs people can own to 2 or 3, depending on the size of their property.

Via KC Dog Blog – The San Francisco Animal Control Commission is proposing a ban on the sale of pets in pet stores – basically any small mammal or bird.  The reason behind the ban on puppies being sold in pet stores is purportedly to end puppy mills.  The reason to ban the sale of hamsters and similar type pets?  I haven’t heard of any “hamster mills” so I’m not sure.  Perhaps this is someone with a foot in the door of abolishing pet ownership trying to push himself all the way through.

Temple Grandin talks about the HBO movie about her life

Canine influenza virus vaccine approved by USDA

Several recipes designed to be “kibble toppers” for dogs

17 thoughts on “Treats on the Internets

  1. The sale of small animals and birds at large chains can often be pretty horrific. Many of these animals are impulse buys and quickly die (usually accidentally) because people who don’t bother to take the time to understand their care, or who are often disposed of because their buyer didn’t think about the care they’d require. There’s a decent death rate of animals at the stores too, from a variety of causes. And yes, many do come from “mill” situations. Because they’re smaller it’s easier to have many in a small place it may not reach the same level of cruelty we see in puppy mills, but it’s not far off.

    You can adopt a small animal from a shelter or rescue – like dogs and cats, they’re often euthanized because “no one wants them”. Likewise, birds can be found in shelters and rescues, or if you must, through a reputable bird breeder who can offer advice on care and ensure you’re getting a healthy, socialized, bird obtained through legal means. I’ve worked with rabbit rescues for years and we often get bunnies from bunny mills. They’re usually sad, scared, unhealthy little furballs.

    1. I had a pet mouse when I was a kid. I’m going to call some shelters in my area and inquire about hamster and mouse adoption. Will post a comment with the results later on today.

      1. I just checked the three large shelters in Pittsburgh.

        WPHS and Animal Friends had rabbits, but no “pocket pets.”

        Animal Rescue League has parakeets, rats, gerbils, chinchillas, guinea pigs and ferrets on their adoptable pets page.

        I could find no information on their website about adoption fees or procedures. Zero, zip, nada. So I called.

        The young lady in the adoptions department hemmed and hawed and would not give me even a BALLPARK for adoption fees. I finally got her to tell me that those specific gerbils would be $5. (Which is fine for a healthy young animal, and little enough that it may be fine for a beat-up old one, but how does this translate to other species?) But first she said there was no set fee for different species. I asked her if animals were just priced individually when they came in. No. So do you have a policy for determining adoption fees or not? Yes, there’s a policy. So you have a policy but you don’t publish it? Well, it would take “about three webpages” to publish it. If you are interested in a specific pet, and COME IN, then you can find out what the fee is.

        So, obviously I got sidetracked from the issue of “Do you adopt out pocket pets, how much, and what are the qualifications to adopt?” Into “WTF, is this a ‘If you have to ask you can’t afford it’ thing?”

        I didn’t even get to questions about qualifications.

        So they want someone to come on down with NO IDEA what it will cost to adopt. Not even a CLUE about whether he or she meets whatever their unpublished criteria are. Wonder how many poor families or other riff-raff get turned away after they’ve dragged their kids in to meet Sparky?

        Fuck you, wannabe pet owner.

      2. It would take 3 webpages to publish the adoption fee for a hamster? mkaaaaay…

        This kind of runaround is EXACTLY what runs people off shelters and into the arms of pet stores and unscrupulous breeders. It’s a shame.

  2. Thanks for the info. Going to go check out that New york times article now. Also interested in the movie about Temple Grandin as I am reading her book Animals in Translation right now. I recommend it to anyone interested in animal behavior, specifically fear, emotions, aggression and thinking.

  3. I called a shelter in Columbia, SC that I have actually adopted from myself (a dog). They do not adopt out hamsters, mice or any pets besides dogs & cats.
    To get a sample from outside my area, I called a shelter in Newberry County and another in Aiken. The Newberry Co shelter doesn’t adopt out any animals except dogs and cats. The Aiken shelter *would* adopt out pocket pets but they don’t have any animals except dogs and cats right now.
    Those were the only ones where I actually got a person on the phone. Anyone else have a random sampling for us? I’ve got an inquiring mind!

    1. Here’s a random sampling from shelters in northern california of animals currently or recently available per their website (excluding rabbits, a species easy to find in many shelters):
      * Marin Humane Society: parakeets, geckos, something called a “robo” hamster (which sounds awesome), rats, guinea pigs
      * Peninsula Humane Society: rats
      * Sac County Animal Care and Control: none currently (as a former volunteer, we did get in rats frequently enough that I ended up with four as pets, hamsters not as common)
      * Sac City shelter: hamsters
      * Benicia-Vallejo Humane Society: guinea pigs (they always have gippies for some reason)
      * Petaluma Animal Services: rats
      * SF Animal Care & Control: rats
      * Humane Society of Silicon Valley: hamsters, guinea pigs
      * Watsonville Animal Shelter: chinchillas, guinea pigs, rats
      * Santa Cruz ACC: chinchillas, guinea pigs
      * SPCA of Monterey has freaking degus, guinea pigs, rats

      We also have several rescues – North Star Rescue has a lot of “pocket pets” including guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, chinchillas, etc. Rattie Ratz does, no duh, rat rescue.

      At least in northern california from the bay area to sacramento, you wouldn’t have to drive more than two hours to adopt a small pet. I’m not saying that is ideal, pet stores are usually closer.

      Personally, I don’t think there should be pet stores, only pet supply stores. Rescues can work with pet stores to meet the demand of dogs, rabbits and cats. In some areas, rescues can meet some of the demands of smaller companions. In areas where there aren’t a lot of smaller companions in shelters, pet supply stores could refer people to responsible, reputable breeders who have proven themselves knowledgeable on the species and their care. People seem to believe that because an animal is small, they require less care than a dog or cat. Not always true and, even so, still require more care than I believe most people think.

      1. $10! I guess they are supposed to be a more docile breed of hamster. Hamsters don’t generally make great kid pets – they don’t like being held and they tend to resort to biting when displeased.

      2. I think the littler and cuter a pet is, the desire on the part of the human to hug increases. Unfortunately, so does the tendency of the pet to bite.

  4. Our local shelter does not do rabbits, mice, etc. But there are local privately-run rabbit and rat rescues in my area…

  5. I found a shelter in SC (about 3 hours away) that adopts out small mammals, birds and fish! From their website:
    “Adoption fees and procedures vary by species, feel free to contact our adoption department if you have a question about adopting one of these animals.”
    I clicked on the available pets and there were 3 bunnies and one called “gerbils” (I don’t know how many that would be, the photo only showed one gerbil).

  6. I read the New York Times article earlier today. It is chilling; really horrific what some people will do to animals. I’m glad to see the link between animal abuse and other violence being exposed, and that law enforcement is being trained that animal abuse is not just a “Fluffy and Muffy” problem.
    Laurel, celebrating the love of dogs at

  7. The San Francisco proposal is one of the more ridiculous pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen.

    For the record, in our area, I know of a couple of bird rescues (which is really important because they live so long that a lot of well-meaning people can’t realistic fulfill a lifetime committment) but I’ve never seen or heard of any place that rescues ‘pocket pets’.

  8. I got a lot out of having a pet mouse when I was a kid. My brother got one as well after seeing how I was enjoying mine. I would never have gotten a rat because I was afraid of their tails. (Truth be told, I’m still creeped out by their tails.) A mouse was perfect for me. I learned about keeping the cage/food/water clean, I learned that I was much more into cuddling than my mouse was (related – I learned that mouses bite!), I learned about mouse escape techniques (yes, they can shimmy up the water bottle!) and ultimately, I learned how suddenly a tumor can come up and about euthanasia at the Vet’s office.

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