Probably all of us have seen pleas from rescue groups along the lines of “Rover has been living at the sanctuary for X-hundred days – let’s get him adopted.” And yet, rescues seem to turn down so many potential adopters for so many reasons. It seems like when we try to talk about the subject, people get defensive and someone always chimes in with, “You want us to give dogs to Michael Vick?!” (Narrator: We do not want you to give dogs to Michael Vick.) When will we be ready to have a constructive conversation about how we can get more pets into homes, thereby saving the lives of more shelter animals (where rescues get many of their pets)?
A recent study compared a few dozen retriever puppies with a few dozen hand reared wolf puppies and found that wolf puppies lack the social skills that domesticated dogs are born with and can not bond with humans in the way dogs do. Dogs have the innate ability to understand our thoughts and feelings to an extent while wolves raised in a loving home environment do not:
“We find that dog puppies are more attracted to humans, read human gestures more skillfully, and make more eye contact with humans than wolf puppies,” the team wrote. Because of our breeding choices over time, today’s dogs develop communication skills early on, they believe.https://www.haaretz.com/science-and-health/co-sleeping-with-your-wolf-puppy-won-t-make-it-a-doggie-1.9992168
The founder and president of a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit rescue group in Westchester, NY has been charged with grand larceny after an investigation revealed she allegedly stole more than $17,000 from the rescue in 2020.
A study involving more than 10,000 cats over the age of seven found that over 40% of the cats had high blood pressure. Conducted by a global veterinary pharmaceutical and supply company, the study found the hypertensive cats were largely asymptomatic, which makes me wonder whether high blood pressure in asymptomatic older cats is anything to be concerned about or if it’s normal for some cats and the company is just hoping to sell more blood pressure related widgets.
Two former police officers in Rockland, Maine have been sentenced for misdemeanor charges after beating several porcupines to death with their batons while on duty last year. One of the men will serve twenty days in jail in addition to other punishments, and the other will serve ten days in jail, on the weekends (along with additional punishments).
Scientists want incidents of sharks biting humans to be referred to as bites rather than attacks. The reasons: media sensationalism is damaging to efforts to help sharks, who are in dire need. (Pitbull people nodding in agreement.) And then there’s the basic issue of accuracy:
“A ‘shark attack’ is a story of intent,” said Christopher Pepin-Neff, a lecturer in public policy at the University of Sydney who has studied human perceptions of sharks. “But sharks don’t know what people are. They don’t know when you’re in the boat. They don’t know what a propeller is. It’s not an attack.”
A Hawaii government website notes that “dog bites” are called “dog attacks” in only extraordinary cases. Dan Dennison, a spokesman for the Department of Land and Natural Resources, said that whenever he had been asked why a shark attacked someone, “My response is always, ‘Until we can interview the shark we have no idea.’”https://nyti.ms/3isO1ZZ
A Chicago ornithologist, with the help of other scientists and volunteers, has collected more than 100,000 birds who died after flying into windows in the city over the past forty years. An analysis of these birds revealed they have been getting smaller and rising temperatures are the probable reason.