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Talkin' Pets News

July 1, 2023

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jasmine the Dog Trainer

Producer - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Jayla Green

Social Media - Bob Page

 

In Tampa, Florida, seven beloved cats will be able to live the good life for the remainder of their days thanks to their owner’s will, which specifies that they are the recipients of her $2.5 million mansion and substantial inheritance.

According to sources, Nancy Sauer’s will specified that her Persian cats, Cleopatra, Goldfinger, Leo, Midnight, Napoleon, Snowball and Squeaky, were to remain in her posh Tampa mansion until the cats had passed. Sauer died in November 2022 at the age of 84.

According to Sherry Silk, executive director of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, funds were also left to ensure that the cats would have enough funds to care for them for the rest of their life.

As reported by the New York Post, a Hillsborough County probate judge has overruled Sauer’s wishes for her cats to stay in their home. Silk explains:

“Cats shouldn’t be left by themselves in a big house. I am going to personally make sure that we can keep as many together as we can and that they go to the perfect house,”

The cats will be made available for adoption this week.

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The Essex County Health Department (ECHD) has issued an alert about a woodchuck that tested positive for rabies.

Officials say a DEC officer was alerted by a resident of a woodchuck acting aggressively. The officer arrived in the area with the intent to capture the wild animal for the purpose of rabies testing.

After consulting with the health department, the specimen was prepared and shipped to the NYSDOH Wadsworth Laboratory.

This is the first confirmed case of rabies in a woodchuck species since 2012 in Ticonderoga. A second woodchuck from Ticonderoga was retrieved and submitted for rabies testing. Those results are pending.

So far in 2023, cases have been confirmed in three gray foxes, one raccoon, and one woodchuck.

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A recent paper published in the journal VetRecord explored health risks faced by cats and uncovered notable variations in the disease rates between purebred and mixed-breed cats.

Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, examined data from Agria Pet Insurance Company – the largest pet insurance provider in Sweden. The data encompassed information from insurance policies, insurance claims, as well as breed, age and sex data for about 550,000 cats.

The study revealed that purebred cats compared to domestic cross breeds were more likely to develop diseases in most disease categories. The disease categories where purebreds had the highest relative risk include:

  • Female reproductive issues
  • Heart disease
  • Complications from surgery
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Immunological diseases

"This study’s findings provide important insight for cat owners, veterinarians, breeders and researchers, offering a comparative look at disease patterns in purebred cats versus mixed-breed cats," said Dr. Barr Hadar, one of the paper’s authors and a researcher involved in the study. "Information on feline disease frequency and risk is a valuable tool that can help guide clinical decision-making, assist in monitoring and planning of breeding programs, educate cat owners and prioritize research. A more granular look into specific causes of morbidity would be beneficial."

Surprisingly, the study also found that domestic crossbred cats were more likely to develop endocrine, skin and mobility issues than purebred cats.

“One of the potential explanations for this finding is that domestic cats might have greater access to the outdoors, leading to more injuries, skin and locomotive issues because they’re outside jumping and running around,” Hadar added.

He went on to say that other studies also have shown that certain purebred cats are at lower risk of hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus – the two main causes of endocrine disease in cats.

The team is currently analyzing the insurance dataset to develop predictive models, with the aim of implementing them in a clinical setting to forecast the likelihood of specific diseases in cats.

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A 28-year-old chimpanzee who spent her life looking through bars saw the open sky for the first time at a Florida sanctuary, rescuers say.

The chimpanzee, whose name is Vanilla, spent the early part of her life at a biomedical research laboratory in New York, according to Save the Chimps, an organization based in Fort Pierce that hosts a sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees.

She was later transferred to Wildlife Waystation, an animal sanctuary in Los Angeles, California, that closed suddenly in 2019, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

When it closed, Vanilla, along with around 42 other chimpanzees, needed to be rehomed, according to Save the Chimps.

The chimpanzees were harder to find homes for than the other animals, which included lions, tigers, bears and jaguars, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Medical research on chimpanzees was outlawed in 2015, so as research facilities shut down, space for the rescued primates dwindled, the agency said.

But eventually, Vanilla and some of her family members, including her sister, Shake, flew across the country in a FedEx airplane to Orlando and then rode in a climate-controlled semi-truck about 120 miles southeast to the Save the Chimps sanctuary in Fort Pierce.

After a quarantine period, Vanilla and the other chimps were released into the sanctuary, which encompasses a 3-acre island, according to the organization. This was a new experience for Vanilla, who had spent her whole life in enclosures with “cage tops,” the organization said.

She was nervous to go outside at first, video shared by Save the Chimps shows. But the alpha male of her group, Dwight, opened his arms and “encouraged” her to jump from an opening in their enclosure and into the sanctuary, video shows.

As he wraps his arms around her, Vanilla can be seen turning, gazing up and opening her mouth “in awe.” The camera follows her as she explores her new home, continuously looking up to peer again at the sky.

“My first time outside, (I) was in awe of the open sky, a sight I had never seen in my life as my former homes had cage tops,” Vanilla’s bio on the Save the Chimp website reads. “I enjoy exploring the island and relaxing and grooming with my family on the island.”

People share about 98% of our genes with chimpanzees, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They are listed as endangered, and their main threat is poaching, according to the organization. Save the Chimps says it takes care of more than 200 chimpanzees at its sanctuary.

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BioCraft Pet Nutrition, the first biotech company to develop cultured meat for the pet food market, announced today it has derived and characterized a chicken cell line for both cat and dog food, adding another meat ingredient to its portfolio that already includes cultured mouse meat.  BioCraft’s proprietary cultured chicken offers all essential nutrients cats and dogs need, without chemical and bacterial contaminants, antibiotics, steroids or other hormones such as can be found in traditional meat. Derived from stem cells, BioCraft’s chicken is neither genetically modified nor immortalized. While it is common to license cell lines from third-party providers, BioCraft’s cell lines are wholly owned by the company, with the chicken stem cell line being derived by BioCraft’s in-house stem cell scientist and veterinarian Rupal Tewari, MSc, PhD, DVM. 

Although chicken is among the top allergens for both cats and dogs, it is still one of the most commonly used ingredients in pet food. As such, BioCraft has developed the chicken cell line to meet the demand of pet food manufacturer partners, and consumers, for conventional species.  “While cultured mouse meat—the ancestral diet of the cat—remains our primary focus for cat food, the new chicken cell line for cats or dogs is ideal for pet food manufacturers and ultimately pet parents who lean toward more traditional meat ingredients,” said BioCraft founder and CEO Dr. Shannon Falconer. “Dr. Tewari’s rare combination of expertise in stem cell and veterinary science are unique in the industry, and give us an advantage over every other cultured meat company.” 

BioCraft is working directly with pet food manufacturers interested in transitioning their conventional meat ingredients to supply-chain stable, sustainable, safe, humane cultured meat. BioCrafted meat offers pet food companies a more uniform raw material that is significantly less likely to carry any pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, and other common fecal-borne bacteria that lead to costly recalls.  BioCraft’s chicken is created with the consistency of the “meat slurry” used in conventional pet food manufacturing, and can be used as a one-to-one replacement in wet or dry foods, treats, and fresh pet foods. BioCrafted meats are nutritionally robust, with all required protein, key vitamins, fats and amino acids such as taurine—a nutrient typically lost during high-heat processing during the rendering process of conventional meat, then added back in synthetic form for nutritionally complete pet foods.  

BioCrafted meat grows in a controlled and pathogen-free environment surrounded by a liquid medium of vitamins and minerals formulated without fetal bovine serum (FBS), a process ingredient inhumanely obtained from the slaughter of pregnant cows that has been commonly used to produce other cultured meats.  Conventional meat production—for pets and people—has devastating consequences, including climate change, animal cruelty and risks to public health. Animals are fed diets laden with antibiotics, a primary contributor to antibiotic resistance in humans and pets, and hormonal steroids to accelerate their growth. The intensive confinement of animals to slaughter for meat is contributing to air and water pollution, deforestation, desertification and ocean dead zones, while also promoting deadly outbreaks and zoonotic diseases. More than 25 percent of the environmental impact of animal agriculture is attributed to feeding pets in the U.S. alone: if cats and dogs occupied their own country, they would be the world’s fifth largest meat-consuming nation.  +++++++++++++++++++

The Earth’s axis is shifting east at an estimated rate of 1.7 inches every year due to a decade’s worth of consistent groundwater extraction and relocation, according to a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Ki-Weon Seo, a geophysicist at Seoul National University who led the study, said in a statement, “Our study shows that among climate-related causes, the redistribution of groundwater actually has the largest impact on the drift of the rotational pole.”

The study said researchers from Korea, Australia and the U.S. found that between 1993-2010, humans had extracted more than 2,150 gigatons of groundwater from inside the Earth. The Washington Post said that amount of water could fill more than 860 million swimming pools.

The countries that have extracted the most groundwater were western North America and northwestern India and “if that amount were poured into the ocean, it would raise global sea levels by about 0.24 inches (6 millimeters),” CNN said. The Earth’s axis has shifted eastward at an estimated rate of 1.7 inches every year due to a decade’s worth of consistent groundwater extraction and relocation, according to a recent study.

“The distribution of water on the planet affects how mass is distributed. Like adding a tiny bit of weight to a spinning top, the Earth spins a little differently as water is moved around,” the statement said.

CNN quoted Surendra Adhikari, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: “The ebb and flow of seasonal change is linked to the angle of the planet’s rotational axis, and over geologic time, a wandering axis could affect climate on a global scale.”

According to the United States Geological Survey, the many uses for groundwater include irrigating crops, plumbing, supplying firefighting efforts and sustaining livestock.

Seo told The Washington Post that Earth’s rotational pole is “tilted about 23.5 degrees relative to our plane of orbit around the sun, which is why we have seasons. The exact position of this pole changes a lot as the planet wobbles around, a phenomenon called polar motion.”

The redistribution of groundwater also affects the Earth’s mantle flow, or the flow of lava between the planet’s crust and outer core, which in turn impacts the Earth’s polar motion, CNN said. Adhikari said in the statement, “They’ve quantified the role of groundwater pumping on polar motion and it’s pretty significant.”

Seo said while the discovery was able to explain the cause of the rotation pole drift, “As a resident of Earth and a father, I’m concerned and surprised to see that pumping groundwater is another source of sea-level rise,” per the statement.

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As the saying goes, freedom isn’t free. There is always a cost that someone is paying for it, somewhere. This July 4th, as the country celebrates its Independence, one soldier is on a mission to make freedom the dream for his dog, Bo, who he had to leave behind in the Middle East. He bonded and cared for the dog, only to have to leave him behind when his deployment was over. This soldier who helped his country now needs a little help in return.

“As people plan their 4th of July festivities we are asking them to consider helping a soldier who sacrificed for his country, explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Guardians of Rescue. “This year to celebrate freedom consider putting a few dollars toward helping a soldier relocate the dog he rescued and bonded with while deployed to America.”

While the festivities will be over within a few hours, helping to get Sergeant Little’s dog moved to America to live out his life with him will last for many years, and will save at least one of their lives. While stationed in the Middle East, he saw a dog that was malnourished in poor health hanging around the base. He immediately fell in love and began helping the dog, who became his best friend. He named the dog Bo and the two of them created a bond that dog lovers everywhere can relate to.

The relationship was going great as the two were family away from their family, until Sgt. Little received orders for his deployment to end. The military has a policy against allowing soldiers to take any animals back home with them, so he was told he would have to leave Bo behind. This was something he couldn’t fathom doing, especially in an area of the world know for treating dogs harshly, often killing them. That’s when he reached out to Guardians of Rescue for assistance in getting Bo moved to America to be with him and his family.

“I’ve heard amazing things about the work that Guardians of Rescue does to help military members and I had to take a chance and see if they could help me and Bo,” explained Sgt. Little. “As I celebrate freedom this 4th, I really hope that I will be able to be with Bo, or know that his freedom to be with me is right around the corner. It would mean the world to me.”

Bo continues to look for Sgt. Little and cries as the days go by without the two being together. Guardians of Rescue has helped numerous other military members relocate the pets they have rescued and bonded as they are stationed around the world. They can help Bo and Sgt. Little be reunited, too. It’s a costly expedition, however, and they will need the support of those in the community who want to help make it happen. To chip in and help with the mission, visit the site at: 
https://guardiansofrescue.networkforgood.com/projects/197510-help-save-bo

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A decade-long campaign by animal protection NGO Cruelty Free International last week ended with the passage of cruelty-free cosmetics legislation in Canada, which bans the testing of cosmetics on animals – yet the United States remains as far away from its own federal law as ever. 

The Canadian measures, introduced through the Budget Implementation Act, also prohibit selling cosmetics that rely on new animal testing data to establish the product’s safety, and the use of false or misleading labelling pertaining to the testing of cosmetics on animals. 

An eleventh and twelfth U.S. state may soon pass their own cruelty free cosmetics laws, with an Oregon bill awaiting the governor’s signature and a bill in Rhode Island under consideration. They would follow California, New York, Nevada, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, Virginia, and Louisiana in banning animal testing for cosmetics, meaning that one third of U.S. citizens (111.76 million) would then live in states which prohibit the manufacture and sale of cosmetics tested on animals. 

Over 40 other countries around the world have also passed restrictions on animal testing, including all 27 in the European Union as well as Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Australia, New Zealand and India. A similar law is also currently in the Brazilian Senate, awaiting signature. 

However, The Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022 (MoCRA) – described as “the most significant expansion of the FDA’s authority to regulate cosmetics since the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act was passed in 1938” and designed to “ensure the safety of cosmetic products many consumers use daily” – failed to include specific restrictions on animal testing. 

The Canadian legislation passed with overwhelming cross-party and public support – and the same would be true of the United States, with voters united across generations, genders, and political affiliations[1]

Cruelty Free International North America Head of Public Affairs, Monica Engebretson, said, “The Canadian government seems to be alert to the importance of this issue to its citizens. It also recognises the benefit to animals and the confidence this will give to Canadian consumers wanting to purchase cosmetics not tested on animals. In contrast, our efforts to convince U.S. decision-makers to introduce a federal ban have not been heeded. 

 

“We applaud the Canadian Government for taking action to fulfil the wishes of the vast majority of Canadian citizens who supported a ban on animal testing for cosmetics and hope that the U.S. will now follow their example by passing similar legislation, thereby harmonizing cruelty free cosmetics rules across both the United States and USMCA region.” 

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An international group of scientists has made a groundbreaking discovery that confirms the existence of gravitational waves first envisioned by Albert Einstein. The report, published on Thursday, says that astrophysicists were able to “hear” low-frequency gravitational waves — changes in the fabric of the universe that are created by huge objects moving around and colliding in space.

“It’s really the first time that we have evidence of just this large-scale motion of everything in the universe,” said Maura McLaughlin, co-director of NANOGrav, the research collaboration that published the results in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

These gravitational waves, detected at low frequencies, create a cosmic background hum that permeates the universe. The research indicates that space is filled with these waves, which oscillate over extended periods, primarily originating from pairs of supermassive black holes spiraling and merging together.

Einstein initially proposed the existence of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time, in 1916 as an extension of his revolutionary theory of general relativity. The famous theory described gravity as the distortion of space and time caused by matter. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that scientists successfully detected these waves directly, having relied on indirect evidence since the 1970s.

The recent research heavily relied on pulsars, which are the highly dense remnants of exploded stars spinning at extraordinary speeds. “Gravitational waves are generated by astronomically dense objects in our universe, typically in orbital motion around each other. As these waves travel through space, they physically stretch and compress the fabric of space-time itself,” Jeff Hazboun, an astrophysicist from Oregon State University and lead author of one of the papers published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters told the Reuters news agency.

The data for the latest report was collected by North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) Physics Frontiers Center, comprising over 190 scientists from the United States and Canada, in the period of 15 years.

Scientists liken the universe’s gravitational wave background to the hum of a large gathering, where individual voices cannot be distinguished. This discovery comes seven years after the initial detection of gravitational waves generated by two distant black holes, dense objects with gravity so intense that even light cannot escape them. The motion of black holes and other massive objects can produce these gravitational waves. The previous research was conducted using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

Hazboun said, “We now have compelling evidence of gravitational wave hum in a new frequency range. These frequencies are significantly smaller, around 10-12 orders of magnitude, compared to those detected by LIGO, and they have wavelengths spanning light years.” He further added, “The most straightforward explanation for these gravitational waves involves a collection of supermassive black hole pairs orbiting each other in our cosmic neighborhood. However, alternative explanations could involve intriguing new physics related to the early stages of the universe, near the Big Bang, approximately 13.8 billion years ago.”

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You know instantly when someone is speaking to an infant or small child. It turns out that dolphin mothers also use a kind of high-pitched baby talk. A study published Monday found that female bottlenose dolphins change their tone when addressing their calves. Researchers recorded the signature whistles of 19 mother dolphins in Florida, when accompanied by their young offspring and when swimming alone or with other adults. The dolphin signature whistle is a unique and important signal — akin to calling out their own name.

“They use these whistles to keep track of each other. They’re periodically saying, ‘I’m here, I’m here’,” said study co-author Laela Sayigh, a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution marine biologist in Massachusetts.

When directing the signal to their calves, the mother’s whistle pitch is higher and her pitch range is greater than usual, according to the study published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “That was true for every one of the moms in the study, all 19 of them,” said biologist Peter Tyack, a study co-author from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Obtaining this data was no simple feat. Over more than three decades, scientists placed special microphones multiple times on the same wild dolphin mothers in Florida’s Sarasota Bay to record their signature whistles. That included years when they had calves and when they didn’t — dolphin calves stay with their mothers for an average of three years in Sarasota, and sometimes longer. Fathers don’t play a prolonged role in parenting.

“This is unprecedented, absolutely fantastic data,” said Mauricio Cantor, an Oregon State University marine biologist who was not involved in the study. “This study is the result of so much research effort.”

Why people, dolphins or other creatures use baby talk isn’t certain, but scientists believe it may help offspring learn to pronounce novel sounds. Research dating back to the 1980s suggests that human infants may pay more attention to speech with a greater pitch range. Female rhesus monkeys may alter their calls to attract and hold offspring’s attention. And Zebra finches elevate their pitch and slow down their songs to address chicks, perhaps making it easier to learn birdsong.

For the dolphin study, the researchers focused solely on the signature call, so they don’t know if dolphins also use baby talk for other exchanges — or whether it helps their offspring learn to “talk” as it seems to do with humans. “It would make sense if there are similar adaptations in bottlenose dolphins — a long lived, highly acoustic species,” where calves must learn to vocalize many sounds to communicate, said Frants Jensen, a behavioral ecologist at Denmark’s Aarhus University and a study co-author.

Another possible reason for using specific pitches is to catch the kids’ attention. “It’s really important for a calf to know ‘Oh, Mom is talking to me now’ — versus just announcing her presence to someone else,” added Janet Mann, a marine biologist at Georgetown University, who was not involved in the study.

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A terrifying video posted on social media shows a shark pulling a fisherman into the water Friday in the Florida Everglades, according to the National Park Service.

A visitor to Everglades National Park reported that he was bitten while was washing his hand in the water in Florida Bay, the park said in a statement.

He was treated by a ranger and taken to a hospital.

The statement said: “While shark bites are extremely uncommon in Everglades National Park, we always recommend visitors take caution around park wildlife.”

The video begins when a man wearing a sweatshirt and shorts leans over the edge of a boat and dips his hands in the water. A voice is then heard warning the man: "I wouldn't put your hands in there."

The man in the sweatshirt, appearing to laugh, says, "Two seconds, it won't do anything."

He then puts both hands in the water for a second time. That’s when, the video shows, a shark emerges and latches on to his right hand. He screams, his right hand smacks the edge of the boat, and a blood mark appears on the vessel, the video shows.

The man in the sweatshirt is in the water when a voice is heard shouting: “Get him, get him, get him, get him," the video shows.

The video then becomes shaky, and it abruptly ends as the man appears to have been pulled back onto the boat.

Authorities have not determined what type of shark bit the man; it was possibly a bull shark, the park spokesperson said.

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Adult albatrosses on a remote island are being attacked and eaten by an aggressive invasive species — mice. Invasive mice have been wreaking havoc on the ecosystem of Marion Island — located about halfway between South Africa and Antarctica — for decades, chowing down on native invertebrates and the chicks of many seabirds that breed there. But the latest discovery is the first time they've been documented attacking adult albatrosses on the island. "If the mice are starting to attack the adults, that's becoming really problematic," Maëlle Connan, a researcher at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa, told Live Science.

At 115 square miles (298 square kilometers), Marion Island is about half the size of Chicago but is home to an impressive array of wildlife, including king penguins, elephant seals and seabirds like wandering albatrosses, one of the world's largest flying birds. The island wasn't home to any non-marine mammals until about the 19th century, when house mice were introduced by humans via ships. 

Since then, mice have decimated many of the invertebrates and plant species that live there. But in recent decades, the local mouse population has boomed, likely as a result of warmer and drier weather due to climate change.  The carcasses showed evidence of mouse attacks, such as wounds on their elbows, Connan said. News of this discovery was first reported in Nature Africa. Blood patterns suggest the injuries were inflicted while the birds were still alive, the report said. 

Wandering albatrosses have a 10-foot (3 meters) wingspan so are significantly bigger than mice, but they evolved to live on islands without any mammalian predators and have no defense mechanisms against the invasive rodents, Anton Wolfaardt a seabird researcher with The Mouse-Free Marion Project told Live Science. The project is an initiative of the South African government and the nonprofit organization BirdLife South Africa.

It's not clear exactly how the albatrosses died, but it could have been due to infection from the mouse bites or even starvation if the birds were too injured to go out to sea and find food, Wolfaardt said. Long-term, this predation could have a significant impact on the global wandering albatross population — about a quarter of which lives on Marion Island.

Mice have also recently been observed attacking adult albatrosses in other seabird hotspots, such as Tristan albatrosses (Diomedea dabbenena) on Gough Island in the South Atlantic and Laysan albatrosses (Phoebastria immutabilis) on Midway Atoll in the Pacific. That's a worrying trend for this threatened group of birds — of the 22 species of albatross worldwide, nine are listed as endangered or critically endangered.

On Marion, there's a plan to fight back. The Mouse-Free Marion Project is planning to spread rodenticide all over the island, which the conservationists hope will kill off all the mice, Wolfaardt said. The local native seabirds mostly look for food in the ocean, and the native invertebrates aren't affected by rodenticide, he said, so this technique would only target the invasive mice living on the island. If it's successful, the Marion Island ecosystem may finally start to heal.

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A Republican New York City council member is attempting to strengthen penalties for animal abusers after several dog killings and other cases of animal cruelty in the city.

Vickie Paladino, who represents Queens, has started the process of introducing a resolution demanding Albany lawmakers increase prison time and the number of charges that can be prosecuted as felonies for cases of animal abuse.

"If they can do this to an animal, they can do this to a human being without as much as a blink of an eye," she told the New York Post. "I truly believe that If you could kill a poor innocent animal you could definitely kill a human being."

Under current New York state law, killing a companion animal is a felony and carries a maximum sentence of two years. However, offenders are often given lesser sentences, and other animal abuse crimes like torturing and mutilating an animal are only misdemeanors.

Paladino tweeted on Monday she would like to see the state increase the number of animal cruelty crimes treated as felonies. Her office said it wants punishments raised to five years in prison and called for the creation of a public animal-abuser registry to track convicted offenders.

It could be weeks until the final resolution is taken to the floor for a vote. Some animal abuse crimes like torturing and mutilating an animal are only misdemeanors.

"We have created a culture of animal lovers. [Pets] have become people’s children," said Paladino, owns a New Zealand white rabbit named Diva and a bearded dragon lizard named Frank. 

Queens Democratic Councilman Bob Holden said he would support Paladino's resolution and he hopes the laws could apply to the city’s long-suffering carriage horses. "People who abuse defenseless animals should be charged with a felony," he told the New York Post. It's unclear if the law would only apply to certain animals, such as pets, or all animals.

Paladino's office said it does not have the jurisdiction to alter the criminal code, but it is working with Staten Island Republican Assemblyman Sam Pirozzolo on legislation in Albany that could lead to changes at the state level. Killing a companion animal is a felony in New York and carries a maximum sentence of two years under current state law.

"I love the idea very, very much. I will absolutely introduce legislation once we get a determination about what the best way forward is," Pirozzolo told the New York Post. 

Pirozzolo said he believed the effort could receive support from Assembly Democrats, which is required for any bill to pass.

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Eight puppies were discovered by a "Good Samaritan" in a garbage bag during a heat wave in Austin, animal rescue officials said.

The puppies, who were only two or three days old, were all in critical condition on Thursday. One of the puppies passed away, but the other seven are recovering.

"We received a call that a Good Samaritan had brought in a litter of puppies that were found in a garbage bag right next to a dumpster," President and CEO of Austin Pets Alive! Ellen Jefferson told FOX 7 Austin. "They probably saw them writhing around in the bag and did something, and that is huge."

Veterinarians and medical experts worked around the clock to heal the puppies, who were sweltering in the triple-digit heat. The pups were hungry and under extreme stress, which made them hypoglycemic.

The puppies, who were only two or three days old, were all in critical condition when they were discovered.  Jefferson said that the puppies were probably left at the dumpster the day they were found, and could have died if they stayed for more than a day.

"I know they would have died if they had been out there in the storm the other night, or if they had been there, you know, longer than the day. So my guess is that they were probably placed by the trash that morning," Jefferson said, adding that the suspect's actions were unacceptable.

"I try to have empathy for the person that did that. They must have been in a really bad situation to feel like that was their only course of action, but it is heartbreaking, and it's just not acceptable," she explained. "It's cruel to the animals and there are other options out there."

Austin Pets Alive! is currently looking for volunteers to foster the pups. The pups were hungry and under extreme stress, which made them hypoglycemic.

"We know that our community really cares, and it's not just on the animal shelter to solve problems like this," Jefferson said. "We can connect the dots and help somebody who wants to help these little babies survive and go on to live wonderful lives. That's a win-win."

Local resident Sanaz Mozafarian told FOX 7 that she's fostering three of the puppies. "They're so cute. I'm just really hoping to bring them home and give them some love and some warmth and help them to grow up," Mozafarian said.

"Our immediate need is support for the critical medical attention they deserve," Jefferson told Fox News Digital. "It can cost over $1000 per puppy to provide basic medical care and supplies, so we ask people who can support Austin Pets Alive!’s lifesaving efforts to donate directly on our website." "We want anyone anywhere to know that there are better options in times of need," the statement added.

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A Queens man admitted in federal court in Albany Wednesday that he smuggled three Burmese pythons in his pants into New York State from Canada in 2018, federal prosecutors said.

Calvin Bautista, 37, admitted that he smuggled the three snakes as he rode on a bus that cross the U.S.-Canada border at Champlain, prosecutors said.

Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the snakes while reviewing Bautista’s passport and conducting a border search. The young adult snakes were in bags attached to his pants, near his inner thigh, officials said.

Bautista did not obtain the required permits to import the snakes. They are not native to North America and are considered an invasive species, officials said. Bautista is to be sentenced in October and faces a potential maximum term of 20 years in prison.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Customs and Border Protection officers investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander P. Wentworth-Ping is prosecuting.

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Officials said an "aggressive cow" that was first spotted around town and on campus Sunday has returned. According to Matt Santos with Kutztown University, the same cow seen in a now-viral video returned to the edge of campus Tuesday night.

"I've been at Kutztown University for three decades, and this is a very unusual situation," said Santos, vice president for university relations and athletics. "We've never had a situation where livestock is on campus and it wasn't scheduled to be on campus."

At one point, Kutztown University Police had the cow in their sights in the area of Lytle Hall, but the animal ran into a field by the school's water tower and went back into the surrounding woods. The cow was last seen Tuesday night on the edge of campus near the Kutztown University water tower. 

The university is concerned as it currently has more than a thousand young campers on campus. "It does pose a dangerous to those on campus particularly the number of people on campus," said Santos.  University officials want to get the word out that the cow is still around, still considered aggressive and to warn students and residents not to approach the animal if spotted.

A crew has been out checking the area Wednesday morning but there have been no sightings of the cow yet today. Anyone with further information regarding this situation should contact Kutztown University Police at 610-683-4001.

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