Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your smartest or, if you are playing on my level, embarrassing guesses in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is inconceivable! optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tonight.

nta

Thoughts on Cecil

Regardless of where one falls on the rather broad spectrum of views on hunting, I think nearly everyone agrees that poachers – those who hunt animals illegally – are the worst of the worst.  Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer is a poacher, having plead guilty in 2008 to a felony related to a bear he illegally killed in Wisconsin.

Earlier this month, Palmer paid professional hunting guides $55,000 so he could go to Zimbabwe and kill a lion with a crossbow.  Palmer and his guides tied a dead animal to the back of their vehicle and scented an area just outside Hwange National Park to lure the lion out of the protected area at night.  The 13 year old lion, a beloved tourist attraction named Cecil who was wearing a GPS collar and being monitored by researchers from Oxford University, followed the scent out of the park and onto private property where Palmer lay in wait.  Palmer reportedly shot Cecil with an arrow and the lion fled in terror.  Palmer and his guides tracked the injured lion for 2 days and finally killed him with a rifle.  He then allegedly tried to destroy Cecil’s tracking collar, cut off his head and skinned him, leaving the headless, skinless remains to rot:

The hunt was illegal, according to Zimbabwe parks authorities, who say that the hunter and the landowner did not have permits to kill a lion. The landowner and professional guide accompanying Palmer will face court in early August for poaching charges[.]

Calls for the prosecution of Palmer have been swift and numerous.  In a statement, Palmer threw his guides under the bus and claimed he didn’t know Cecil was collared until after he finished killing him.  His statement fails to address why at that point he didn’t report the killing to authorities but instead went ahead with the beheading and skinning of Cecil.

Trophy hunting is big business and Americans make up the vast majority of trophy hunters.  Lion “trophies” get sent to the U.S. more than any other place in the world.  And some conservationists support trophy hunting as a means to manage and fund conservation efforts.

I don’t know if Walter Palmer is concerned about conservation work or whether he has ever used his money to help animals stay alive.  In researching this post, I found that in 2009, he paid $127,500 and agreed to undergo sexual harassment training to settle a claim filed against him by a female employee who said she “was subjected to verbal comments and physical conduct involving her breasts, buttocks, and genitalia.”  In 2012, he donated $5000 to the presidential election campaign of fellow animal abuser Mitt Romney.  I did not find any record of Palmer funding conservation efforts directly.

Whether one supports or condemns trophy hunting, it is legal and will continue to take place, courtesy of rich Americans mostly.  Poaching of course is illegal but it too will continue so long as there is someone with cash in hand.  On Monday, under cover of darkness, poachers killed an adult female elephant and 4 of her offspring in Tsavo West National Park in Kenya, hacked off their tusks then escaped on motorcycles.  The story barely made the news.

In the midst of all the back and forth over the sinister killing of Cecil, many people have been deeply moved.  Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel choked up on live television when talking about the story.  An interview with Ernest Small, an academic who specializes in biodiversity revealed that, despite understanding the science behind the emotional reaction to Cecil’s death, even he feels upset:

“I was disgusted frankly. If there was a lynch mob I’d probably join it,” he said, acknowledging the irony.

Our relationship with animals is complicated.  I don’t have any particular wisdom to impart regarding Cecil and I am just as sad and angry as everyone else.  I don’t think that signing a petition or making a donation is going to make me feel better although I’m certainly not opposed to either.  Being human is a heavy burden and a great responsibility.  Animals have always made that burden easier for me and in return, I try to be as compassionate and respectful as possible.  It’s not enough and it doesn’t negate the Walter Palmers of the world, but it’s something.  And something beats the hell out of nothing any day of the week.  Where there’s life, there’s hope.

Cecil with a lioness.  (Photo by Brent  Stapelkamp)

Cecil with a lioness. (Photo by Brent Stapelkamp)

Alabama ACO Fails to Catch Loose Puppies, Guns Them Down

A litter of friendly puppies who appeared to be suffering from mange turned up near a golf club in Boaz, AL.  Two pups were caught by local rescuers and are being treated for mange before they go up for adoption.  The local ACO was called about the other pups who had wandered into someone’s yard.  The ACO reportedly tried to catch them but was unsuccessful so he shot them to death.  There was a public outcry over the killings on social media.  The Boaz police department, which oversees AC, responded by releasing a statement which reads, in part:

The animal control officer responded to the residence where the dogs had been dropped, and the owner of the property wished the dogs to be removed. The animal control officer noticed that the dogs were covered in mange and appeared to be sickly. However, after several attempts to catch the dogs, the officer was unable to do so and informed the home owner of this fact. After talking with the property owner and with a neighbor, it was decided that to remove the dogs, they would have to be put down. The home owner and neighbor both agreed with the animal control officer that because of the conditions of the dogs and for the safety of the public, it was best to put the dogs down. The officer had no alternative except to remove the dogs due to their conditions and concerns about the health, welfare, and safety of the public.

Guys, GUYS – The Neighbor was consulted and agreed that shooting the puppies was a good idea!  Totes reassured.  But just in case any of you nitpicky animal advocates have any lingering questions:

The Boaz police are investigating the incident to insure that all proper measures were taken and to implement corrective procedures if necessary.

The Neighbor gave the thumbs up and the police are investigating themselves so I guess there’s nothing left to do but fall into enabler mode:

Doug McGee [the rescuer who saved two of the pups] said he’s spoken with [Boaz police chief Scott] Farish about the whole thing and is hopeful the animal control officer made the right call. McGee said it’s a sad situation, and it’s hard for anyone who wasn’t there to know if shooting them was a correct move because of the public safety issues involved. He hopes the officer weighed all the options first.

“I wish he could have come up with a different approach. Sometimes decisions have to be made,” he said.

Yeah it’s hard for anyone who wasn’t there to know if shooting puppies was the right thing to do.  Because sometimes shooting puppies is the right thing to do, apparently.  Although no circumstances jump to mind of when that would be exactly.  But The Neighbor agreed.  And the public is now safe.  From puppies.

Animals:  Controlled.  Well done, Boaz.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Be Here Now: Loving Pets Available in Shelters

I was researching a public shelter and couldn’t find a website for the facility so visited its page on Petfinder.  At the top of that page, the shelter had a quote from another website which reads, in part:

ALL SHELTER DOGS WERE ONCE NORMAL PUPPIES eager to learn how to live with people. Yet far too many dogs are surrendered to shelters largely because their owners were unaware of how to prevent predictable puppy/adolescent behavior, temperament and training problems.

While I understand the desire to promote responsible puppy ownership, putting this quote on a shelter’s webpage is a terrible idea because it translates to:

ALL SHELTER DOGS ARE ABNORMAL. They were once normal but that time has passed. As adult shelter dogs, they don’t want to learn how to live with people. It’s not their fault they are defective. Their ignorant former owners saddled them with the behavioral, temperament and training problems they now have.

Myth:  Shelter dogs are damaged goods.  There is a reason they are sitting in a shelter.

Reality:  Shelter dogs are dogs, just like owned pets.  They come in all varieties of behavior, temperament and training, just like owned pets.  They may have had an ignorant owner in the past or a loving owner who was simply unable to care for them any longer or perhaps they haven’t had an owner in quite some time.  Verifiable information about the pet’s past is often not available.

Nearly all dogs are happy to learn how to do what is required of them in order to have a place within a family home.  This is true for dogs adopted from shelters as well as dogs obtained from friends, family or other sources.  Adopters should expect to put some work into their new pet – not because he came from a shelter but because he is a dog.  Adopters can also expect to experience the joys of living with a companion animal.

Wendy, former and current normal dog, was adopted from a shelter and readily took to her bed hog training.

Wendy, former and current normal dog, was adopted from a shelter and readily took to her bed hog training.

Shelter dogs don’t dwell on their past.  Neither should we.  Every dog is an individual with the right to live, love and be loved.  At most public shelters, animals’ right to live is violated by the very people we pay to protect them from harm.  The notion that anyone at a shelter would do anything to discourage adoptions, and thus increase the number of pets going to the kill room, is tragic.

If you are considering adopting a shelter pet, don’t be fooled by the myths.  A dog sitting in a shelter is a dog – no more, no less.  It’s possible they might be a little more appreciative than average because you saved their life but you can probably manage.

ASPCA All Done with Bunny Publicity Now

In January and February 2015, the ASPCA and NYPD seized 175 rabbits from a woman in Brooklyn.  The rabbits were reportedly living outdoors, suffering from syphilis, conjunctivitis and other illnesses.  Logo jackets were donned, sad rabbits were displayed, photographs were taken and presumably, donations were collected.  Since the seizure, approximately 60 more bunnies have been born.  And the bills for housing the animals have been adding up all these months.

The owner was charged with animal cruelty but has yet to go to trial.  She has claimed the rabbits were part of a breeding scheme, designed to produce pastel colored bunnies and make her a multi-millionaire.  I wonder where she got the wacky idea that there are millions to be made off animals.

The ASPCA sent an attorney to a bond hearing in the case last week to fight for permission from the judge to kill the seized animals.  The judge ruled in favor of the bunnies:

“None of the rabbits shall be killed,” the judge order, adding, “If they die of natural causes that’s one thing, but if they need to be euthanized you need a further order.”

One of the animal advocates closely involved with the case said on social media that the “ASPCA lawyer jumped to her feet to argue for him to change his mind” but the judge did not waiver.  I always wondered what it would take to get the ASPCA to jump in response to an animal case.  Now I know.  

The judge ordered the owner to pay the ASPCA for the cost of caring for the rabbits but it’s not known if or when that might happen.

Anyhoo, so tragic.  The ASPCA is going to have to actually do their jobs and prevent cruelty to animals instead of inflicting it via mass bunny killing.  And they’re going to have to open up their fat wallet and part with some dollars too.  *single tear*   

(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)

Weekend Jade

Special efx

Special efx

Open Thread

black catPost anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

Treats on the Internets

Sea World announced the death of a 3 week old baby beluga born in captivity, referring to her as “it”, thanking people “for their thoughts and support during this difficult time for our team” while failing to mention the mother at all.  Also:  fuck Sea World.

Commentary on the grand jury’s failure to indict the TX veterinarian who shot a cat to death with an arrow and bragged about it on Facebook.  (Thanks Loran.)

One of the candidates for mayor of Memphis has caught the attention of animal advocates.  (Thanks Claire.)

A pet shop in Brazil put shelter puppies and kittens in its cages for one day and gave them away to customers.  (Thanks Lisa.)

The ceremonial burial of a bobcat 2000 years ago in IL leads to speculation that the animal was kept as a pet by Native Americans.

I wonder how long this gator was walking around Manhattan before anyone noticed.

Abandoned chicken church now serving as lover’s lane.  (Thing I’ve always wanted to write.)

Lost, Microchipped Pets – Emphasis on LOST

In theory, microchipping your pet is an excellent way to help get him back home should he ever get lost.  In reality, microchips are useless if the organization taking in lost pets doesn’t scan for them or contact the registered owner (and the alternate contacts, if necessary).  There have been a spate of stories recently involving microchipped lost pets being found and the owner not being contacted.

A Pennsylvania family who left their microchipped German shepherd Sophie with a relative while they went on vacation this month only found out she had gotten lost on July 4th after they returned home on the 13th.  They immediately called the HS of Westmoreland Co and learned their pet had been impounded on July 6 and adopted to a new owner six days later.  The HS says it tried to reach the registered owner (whom the family obtained the dog from) listed on Sophie’s microchip but the voicemail at that number was not set up.  After the 48 hour holding period elapsed, they offered the dog for adoption.  The original owner disputes the shelter’s claim about her voicemail.

Either way, if a chip’s first phone number doesn’t yield results, there are always the alternate contacts as well as registered mail and good old knocking on door.  But I guess that sounds like work.  The HS claims the adoption is legal and that the family never legally owned Sophie anyway because they hadn’t licensed her.  So stuff it, basically.

***

In Sonoma Co, CA, a lawsuit has been filed by the original owner of a 10 year old tuxedo cat who was microchipped at the time he went missing several years ago.  The current owner, who says she bought the cat 5 years ago from a rescuer she met through her veterinarian, only found out the cat was chipped last year when she took him to a new vet who scanned him.  She attempted to register the chip in her own name, prompting the chip company to contact the original owner.  The original owner says she bottle fed the kitten from birth, searched for him extensively when he got lost and still wants him back.  The current owner loves him too and doesn’t want to give him up.

Had either the rescuer or the first vet scanned the cat at the time he was found, he could have been returned to the original owner.  Now two people are heartbroken over the matter and a cat is caught in the middle.

***

The city of Alton, IL recently eliminated funding for its ACO position, turning those duties over to police.  This week, Alton police responded to a call about an injured dog in a store parking lot.  The 15 year old dog, called Buster, had wandered away from home and apparently hurt his rear leg.  His owner had filed a missing pet report with the police department including a description of Buster and his microchip information.

A witness says she saw police coax him into their car with bologna.  State law requires the officers to take the dog to a vet’s office to be scanned for a microchip.  Once the chip’s information had been read, the owner could have been contacted.  Instead, the officers reportedly drove the dog to the AC facility where one shot him twice with a .12 gauge shotgun and the other put two bullets from his .40 caliber Glock 23 into the pet.  After Buster was dead, a chip scan provided his owner’s information and the owner was notified of his pet’s killing.  Oh and the police love animals:

“We know what our protocol has been up to this point,” said Emily Hejna, public information officer for the Alton Police Department. “We were presented yesterday with some law saying something that might contradict what what we have been using as practice.”

Rather than task the police department with figuring out how to work compliance with some law into their protocol, the city voted to reinstate the ACO.  Hopefully the ACO has – and uses – a chip scanner.  While animals are still alive.

***

(Thanks to everyone who sent me links for this post.)

Roswell: Some People Just Don’t Get It

The city of Roswell, New Mexico, whose mayor Dennis Kintigh may be under alien mind control, has an ordinance stating that lost and homeless animals must be killed after 7 days at the shelter, regardless of how many cages sit empty.  Animal advocates have called for an end to that policy but the mayor and the police chief have refused, in the most gleeful sounding ways.  But now the city is planning to hire someone new to run the shelter and will begin accepting bids for the position on July 28.  Major reform may be within reach:

“If they want to keep animals longer, they can,” Kintigh said.

That’s because the shelter is getting new management. The city will take applications, and rescue groups will be included.

“The idea is those that have a passion for caring for animals would step up and provide a level of care and service that those that don’t have the passion wouldn’t be able to provide,” Kintigh said.

Note the they – just one side-eye short of those people.  At issue is management of the public shelter paid for by taxpayers in the city this mayor runs.  Where is he coming up with this they notion?  If the mayor is not invested in his own community’s shelter, why would anyone else?

As a reminder, the primary complaint is that management needlessly kills animals they have resources to shelter – because they can.  It would seem that the only thing the current management has a passion for is killing animals.  Regardless, the mayor’s assertion that people who don’t care passionately about animals are unable to perform the same quality of work as those who do is ludicrous.  He’s giving a pass to animal killers for not doing their jobs because of some perceived lack of ability.

First off, many people who work for a living do not have a passion for bagging groceries, driving a cab, buffing floors or what have you.  That’s why they call it work.  We do it for a paycheck and if we want to keep those paychecks coming, we do it well.  I have never worked for a boss who told me it was fine to be a total slack ass because hey, if you don’t feel it, you just don’t.  Secondly, human beings have free will and can choose to feel empathy for the animals entrusted to their care.  Just because management in Roswell has chosen not to do so in no way excuses the needless killing of shelter pets.

I hope Roswell is able to attract a compassionate manager for its shelter.  I hope that not every decent candidate looks at the job opening and thinks they would not work for that mayor for love or money.  I fear that the applicants who would think working under this ready-made-excuse-mayor sounds appealing would not be the type to buck the system and institute meaningful reform at the shelter.  I also question whether the mayor is truly willing to allow for major changes.  Maybe if they do their work quietly and don’t cause a fuss.

(Thanks Karen for the Open Thread link.)