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Talkin' Pets News

September 2, 2023

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jasmine the Dog Trainer - Tampa, Florida

Producer - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Jayla Green

Social Media - Bob Page

Deep-sea octopuses are typically solitary creatures that inhabit frigid waters in one of Earth's most challenging environments.

The 2018 discovery of thousands of the eight-legged cephalopods about 2 miles below the ocean's surface flummoxed and fascinated marine scientists in equal measure. The consortium of octopuses clustered around a hydrothermal vent — an opening in the seafloor where warm, chemical-rich fluids flow out — about 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) down in what's known as the midnight zone, a place of perpetual darkness.

The octopus garden — found on a small hill near the base of Davidson Seamount, an extinct underwater volcano 80 miles (128.7 kilometers) southwest of Monterey, California — was full of a species called Muusoctopus robustus, nicknamed the pearl octopus by the research team because of the way they look while upside down protecting their eggs.

The find is the largest known aggregation of octopuses on the planet — researchers counted more than 6,000 octopuses in just one segment of the site.

"We think there may be 20,000 octopus there. And the question is, well, why are they there? And why are they aggregating? It looks like the warm waters that are emanating from these springs is a key to why these animals are breeding there," said Jim Barry, a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Researchers believe the octopuses migrate to the deep-sea thermal springs in such numbers to mate and nest, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. After laying eggs, expectant octopus moms keep the eggs clean and guard them from predators. The warmer temperatures speed up the creatures' embryonic development.

"Very long brooding periods increase the likelihood that a mother's eggs won't survive. By nesting at hydrothermal springs, octopus moms give their offspring a leg up," explained Barry, who was the lead author of the study.

The ambient water temperature at 10,500 feet is 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 degrees Celsius). However, the water temperature in cracks and crevices at the octopus garden reaches about 51 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius).

Octopuses are famously self-sacrificial parents — after laying a clutch of eggs, they quit eating and waste away, typically dying by the time the eggs hatch. Dead octopuses and vulnerable hatchlings provide a feast for invertebrates such as sea anemones and sea stars that live side by side with the brooding octopuses.

Researchers have documented a total of four deep-sea octopus gardens to date — two off the coast of Central California on the Davidson Mount and two off the coast of Costa Rica.

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Kab, a 2-year-old Doberman wearing a blue bandanna, is noticeably anxious. Sometimes called “cupcake,” he is roughly the size and weight of a teenage boy and has the energy to match. At the moment, he is being led around the courtyard of a cinema in East London by one of his owners, Luisa Fulcher, to walk off his jitters and allow for one last bathroom break before he and a handful of other dogs settle in for something unusual: their first moviegoing experience.

Last weekend, Curzon Cinemas, a chain with 16 locations in Britain, began allowing dogs to attend select movie screenings with their owners. London is a paradise for pooches, which are regularly found at the feet of their owners at restaurants, pubs, on trains and in many other public places. Movie theaters may be next to welcome dogs, thanks in part to the pandemic.

In Britain, which has a population of about 67 million people, there are an estimated 11 million pet dogs, according to a report this year by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a veterinary charity. Pet ownership surged during the pandemic, and now that workers are being encouraged to return to the office, some pets and their owners are struggling with the transition.

“A lot of people got dogs during the pandemic, and they want to come and see a film with their dog,” said Jake Garriock, head of publicity at Curzon. He said the new screenings were part of a larger program designed to let customers watch films in ways that best suit them, such as screenings for infants that feature reduced volume and increased lighting.

For now, Curzon is allowing dogs of any breed at only one screening a week, at only one of the chain’s London locations, Garriock said. (And no, separate tickets are not required for dogs.) They’re not allowed on the seats, and their owners must clean up any accidents.  Curzon is not alone in welcoming dogs. Picturehouse Cinemas, another British chain, has offered pup-friendly screenings since 2015, and there are numerous independent movie theaters in Britain that do so. (Most cinemas, however, allow only service dogs.)

For other dog owners, the screenings provide a new freedom. Ziad Dajani said he and his partner had not been to the movies together in four years because of Tarçin, their 8-year-old Australian labradoodle, who suffers from separation anxiety. “We’re his hostages, basically,” Dajani said. “So we can’t leave him alone for a minute. Someone has to be with him all the time.”

Inside, the screening was like any other, except for the rustling of collars and the occasional bark. The movie’s sound level was also dialed back. “It’s vital that cinemas reduce the sound at dog-friendly screenings, otherwise the volume could cause them distress and even pain,” Dr. Katherine Polak, a veterinarian and a vice president at Humane Society International, said in a statement. “In principle, it’s similar to cinemas that offer baby-friendly screenings that also reduce sound and accept that some level of disruption is likely.”

Paget Fulcher, Kab’s other owner, said after the screening that Kab had behaved well despite the challenges. “Most of the time, he was laying down on the ground, playing with a toy that we brought for him,” he said. “It was all good. Nothing bad happened. I think we’re very happy with how it went.”

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When a 64-year-old Australian woman was sent to hospital for brain surgery, neurosurgeon Dr. Hari Priya Bandi was not expecting to pull out a live 8-centimeter (3-inch) long parasitic roundworm that wriggled between her forceps.

“I’ve only come across worms using my not-so-good gardening skills … I find them terrifying and this is not something I deal with at all,” Bandi told CNN of the world’s first discovery of a live worm inside a human brain.

The finding unleashed a mad scramble to find out what exactly the parasite was, Canberra Hospital infectious disease expert Sanjaya Senanayake told CNN.

One colleague in the hospital lab was able to reach an animal parasitology expert at a governmental scientific research agency just 20 minutes away – and found their unexpected answer.

“We were able to send the live wiggling worm to him, and he was able to look at it and immediately identify it,” Senanayake said.

Molecular tests confirmed it was Ophidascaris robertsi, a roundworm usually found in pythons, according to a press release from the Australian National University and the Canberra Hospital.

“To our knowledge, this is also the first case to involve the brain of any mammalian species, human or otherwise,” said Senanayake, who is also a professor at Australian National University.

Researchers say the patient lived near a lake area inhabited by carpet pythons in southeastern New South Wales. Although she did not have direct contact with the reptiles, it’s likely she caught the roundworm after foraging Warrigal greens, a native leafy vegetable, which she cooked and ate.

The doctors and scientists involved in her case theorized that a carpet python might have spread the parasite via its feces into the greens, which the patient then touched and cross-contaminated with food or other cooking utensils.

An MRI scan of her brain led doctors to believe a tumor might be the cause of her pain, but after operating and removing the lesion, they discovered it was actually a cyst full of tapeworm larvae.

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CH4 Global, Inc., a climate tech company on the path to radically reducing GHG emissions in animal agriculture, today announced it has raised US$29 million in Series B funding. The company will use the funds to build and validate the CH4 Global EcoPark™, an aquaculture and production facility that will make CH4 Global's signature product, Methane Tamer™, at scale. 

This round, led by DCVC, DCVC Bio, and Cleveland Avenue – with participation from other investors with a strong interest in climate change – brings the total raised to date to nearly US$47 million. It also underscores market demand for safe, viable solutions to vastly reduce enteric methane from ruminant livestock.

When added to cattle feed, Methane Tamer—which uses a red seaweed (Asparagopsis)—reduces the animals' methane emissions by up to 90% while also reducing the feed energy lost to methane emissions. With the development of its CH4 Global EcoPark, the company is poised for expansion in key markets and with key partners throughout all six inhabitable continents.

This is a key development in the fight against climate change. The 1.5 billion cows on the planet produce more than 150 million tons of methane annually -- the largest single source of methane globally. At more than 12 billion tons CO2-e per year (at an average of 100 kg methane/cow), this is a larger GHG output than from the US, the EU, and India combined. Moreover, the UN cites methane as over 80 times more impactful than CO2 on global warming over the next 20 years. 

"We are receiving massive interest from governments, food producers and farmers of all sizes, fueling our sense of urgency that we must act now to avoid a climate tipping point. What we've developed at CH4 Global is what we call a CH4 Global EcoPark, which enables low-cost growth and processing of Asparagopsis," said Steve Meller, PhD, co-founder and CEO, CH4 Global. "We are formulating our unique feed supplement products, Methane Tamer, to meet the specific needs of each cattle market segment, starting with feedlot operations, beef and dairy, as well as for grazing dairies. Eventually, we will also formulate for remote and generally unattended cattle around the world."

"CH4 Global's secret sauce is its product, plain and simple: the feed additive it has expertly formulated stands apart from other seaweed-based offerings," said John Hamer PhD, Managing Partner at DCVC Bio and a member of the CH4 Global board of directors.

As part of this funding round, Cleveland Avenue, LLC will join the CH4 Global Board of Directors. "We are excited about the opportunity that CH4 Global represents in addressing the major global problem of methane gas emissions. Cleveland Avenue looks forward to supporting CH4 Global's world-class team in this endeavor," said Randall Lewis, Managing Partner at Cleveland Avenue, LLC.

Over 150 countries have signed the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to reduce methane emissions by 30%. This followed the IPCC's May 2021 report that stated that "methane is the single biggest lever for climate change impact in the next 25 years." According to the IPCC, methane emissions must be reduced by 45% by 2030 relative to projected levels in order to put the world on a path consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5˚C target.

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Two male mountain lions died of starvation after California Fish and Wildlife officials moved them from their natural habitat in the eastern Sierra Nevada to the Mojave Desert, hundreds of miles away.

According to a recently released Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program report, the big cats, L147 and L176, attempted to make the long trek back to their home, and their mates, but the journey proved to be fatal, with one cat dying along the way, and the other being found gaunt and near death, too emaciated to be saved.

The cats were transplanted to the Mojave Desert after a mountain lion attack on Bighorn Sheep. Tom Stephenson, a senior environmental scientist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has since admitted that the decision to relocate the lions was a mistake:

“In hindsight, it wasn’t a good place to release those lions. And we’re not moving them to that environment anymore.”

The report indicates that the decision to move the mountain lions lacked critical considerations:

‘More important and practical factors which should influence mountain lion behavior, such as prey availability and habitat familiarity, received less consideration,’

Public comments about the government’s failed experiment have been justifiably harsh.

“They were removed from their habitat for what? Lions can’t survive in the desert. This is animal cruelty. Where is the outrage.”

And:

“I am sick, crying, thinking about the cruelty, and the painful deaths experienced by these living creatures, just trying to go home to their families and homes. Think about the pain of starving to death…”

Questioning how the act was not criminal:

If you transport and animal to an unfamiliar environment and let it starve to death, you would go to jail. If a state wildlife official does it, they just put their hand up and say my bad.

According to the report, further relocation of male mountain lions will be discontinued.

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Bronx, NY – A good Samaritan who tried to stop a man from abusing a dog was beaten so brutally that the police charged the dog abuser with attempted murder. As reported by the New York Post, police charged 34-year-old Rubin Bartley with attempted murder after he viciously attacked the 35-year-old man who intervened on the dog’s behalf when Bartley was trying to choke the dog.

According to sources, Bartley was abusing a year-old Doberman on Sunday afternoon in the area of East 135th Street and Third Avenue. When the good Samaritan approached Bartley in an effort to make him stop hurting the dog, Bartley turned his anger on the 35-year-old man, ruthlessly attacking him with a wooden bat and leaving the man bloodied and suffering from a broken jaw. The victim was transported to Lincoln Medical Center for care.

Bartley was arrested on-site; his arraignment will be held at the Bronx Criminal Court. No word on the condition or whereabouts of the Doberman who was being choked.

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Bucks County, PA – Last week, dozens of cats and three dogs were rescued from a filthy hotel room in Bucks County. According to a release from the Bucks County SPCA, their Humane Law Enforcement Team was notified about the situation by hotel staff, who discovered the cats during a routine inspection of the room.

The animal welfare agency’s officers served a warrant to the animals’ owner and encountered the squalid conditions. The agency describes the deplorable conditions in the room:

Inside were three dozen animals roaming freely in filthy crowded conditions. Urine and feces littered the room and the strong smell of ammonia stung their eyes as they worked to remove the animals and transport them to the Lahaska Shelter.

The animals were secured and taken to a veterinarian for exams and treatment. The shelter said, “One cat is being treated for pyometra, a serious infection of the uterus.”

All of the animals were surrendered by their owners and they will be held and cared for until they have recovered. As reported by the Philadelphia Enquirer, two men had been living in the room for about six months. They told humane officers that “it just happened,” when the agency inquired where the cats came from.

Charges against their owners are pending.

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This week, the Philadelphia Zoo revealed a little secret to the public: they are now caring for two orphaned puma cubs from Washington state. According to the zoo, the duo was tended to by Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife experts after being rescued on June 28 in Kalama, WA.

The cubs, named Elbroch (the male) and Olympia (the female), were underweight when they were discovered; a farmer is believed to have killed their mother. In a release, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Philadelphia Zoo said:

“This placement is crucial because without the intervention of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Philadelphia Zoo, they would likely not survive on their own and without their mother.”

The cubs are being trained and socialized to help them acclimate to their new home. Curator of Carnivores and Ungulates Maggie Morse said:

“We are so thankful to our keeper and veterinary teams who have stepped up to give these cubs the best care possible, and we can’t wait for the public to meet them and learn their story.” The cubs are not currently visible to the public, but they will be this month when they are moved to their new home in Big Cat Falls.

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San Diego, CA – On Sunday, someone left a dog inside a car parked at a Trolley station in East County. By the time someone noticed the distressed dog and called for help, it was too late.

As reported by NBC San Diego, someone parked their Volkswagen at the Spring Street parking lot around 2 p.m. on Sunday. Two hours later, a MTS bus operations team noticed the dog in the car and called security for help. Security contacted San Diego Humane and MTS K9. Tragically, even though a window of the car was broken to remove the dog, it was too late to save his life.

SDHS spokesman Jordan Frey told the news agency: “We can confirm that the dog had sadly passed away before our Humane Officers and La Mesa PD were on the scene, and our officers confirmed he was deceased. MTS and [bystanders] did legally break into the car and attempt to aid the dog in distress.” Anyone with information about this case is asked to call SDHS investigators at 619-299-7012, option 1.

It bears repeating – on even moderately warm days it is dangerous to leave a dog (or any living being) in a parked car. Please leave your pets at home. If you are walking through a parking lot and see an animal in distress, please take action immediately to help save his/her life.

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As victims of the devastating Maui fires navigate the heartbreak of losing their homes and loved ones and begin the arduous task of rebuilding their lives, Doris Day Animal Foundation is assisting with the monumental effort. "When we got word of the devastating fires, we immediately reached out to local rescue organizations on the island to see how we could help," said CEO Bob Bashara. While we continue to identify additional ways to assist the fire victims, we have earmarked immediate emergency grants for two Maui organizations that are caring for animals affected by the fires:  Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation (HARF) and Save Maui Cats (SMC).

As first responders, the HARF team brought much-needed pet food, water and medical supplies into the disaster zone in Lahaina in the days right after the fire. Now that FEMA, the Red Cross, and other disaster agencies are on site, HARF is focusing its efforts on providing care and shelter to the many displaced pets as their owners, left homeless, begin to recover and rebuild. To make room for displaced pets, HARF is working with partner organizations, such as the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego County, California to transport homeless pets already in the local shelter system and give them a second chance for adoption. DDAF's emergency funding will support HARF's significant efforts to care for and hopefully reunite animals with their families.

SAVE MAUI CATS, an all-volunteer organization, has been feeding approximately 400 cats while advocating for TNRM (trap/neuter/return/manage) to manage Maui's cat colonies for the past 17 years. Although many of the burn areas are still off-limits to non-first responders, founder and president Michael Willinsky and his small group of volunteers (eight of whom have lost their homes in the fires), have been tirelessly trying to access all areas they can to find, feed and care for surviving cats. DDAF's grant will provide funding for food, carriers and relocation costs.

Often in tragedies such as this where people lose everything, they turn to the comfort of their beloved pets, and we will do everything we can to support the local organizations' efforts to rescue, care for and reunite animals displaced by the disaster with their families. As always, we couldn't do it without the kindness and generosity of our supporters. To help, please visit ddaf.org to make a donation.

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Ensuring pets around the globe receive top-notch veterinary care is the goal of a new American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) international partnership.

The organization has jointly announced with the Korean Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA) a licensing agreement to accredit veterinary clinics throughout South Korea.

“The signing of this agreement signifies a long-standing partnership between KVMA and AAHA—a commitment to work together and leverage our respective strengths,” says KVMA president, Dr. Ju Hyung Hur. “We are determined to create systemic change that will benefit not only the animals we care for, but the people and nature around us. It is a journey of continuous growth and transformation.”

Launched in 1948, KVMA was founded to support veterinary work, research, and dissemination of veterinary science, as well as to establish an ethical code as prescribed in its charter. According to the revision of the Veterinarians Act of Korean Law as of July 2011, all licensed veterinarians are automatically welcomed as members of KVMA.

Approximately 3.129 million households in South Korea (or 15 percent of all households) have animal companions, according to data from Statistics Korea. Dogs are more popular than cats, with a ratio of 3:1 (11.6 percent of households have dogs, while 3.4 percent have cats).

The country has approximately 5,100 veterinary clinics: 1,000 livestock and 4,100 which cater to companion animals.

“Our partnership is an opportunity to exchange knowledge, collaborate, and create best practices that will shape the future of veterinary care in South Korea,” says Garth Jordan, CEO of AAHA. “With 90 years of experience supporting animal hospital staff in the U.S. and Canada, we are confident the process of certification and adoption of standards will help South Korean veterinarians simplify the journey towards excellence in their practices.”

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Nearly 150 exotic animals, including ring-tailed lemurs, kinkajous, wallabies, porcupines, foxes, prairie dogs and ground squirrels, were surrendered by a Michigan animal dealer after alleged violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA).

According to a statement released by the Office of the Public Affairs, the U.S Department of Justice has entered a consent decree in federal court with Zachery Keeler to resolve allegations in a complaint that Keeler violated ESA and AWA. Keeler, who was operating under the name Even Keel Exotics LLC, also agreed to never buy, sell or otherwise engage in commerce related to animals regulated under AWA, and to not apply for AWA licensing or registration.

“The Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act are important tools in protecting our most vulnerable species,” says assistant attorney general Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Even Keel Exotics violated requirements for minimum care of the animals in its possession, failed to provide required access to inspectors and illegally harmed a baby lemur, a protected endangered species.”

The complaint alleges the Michigan animal dealer of violating ESA by unlawfully and prematurely separating a baby ring-tailed lemur from its mother to interact with the public, then tried to sell the endangered species for $3500. Keeler also allegedly violated the AWA by not providing potable water as needed, safe and sanitary conditions and facilities for his animals, or access to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspectors for the health and wellbeing of the exotic animals.

“APHIS is committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for animals protected under the Animal Welfare Act,” said deputy administrator Roxanne Mullaney, DVM, for APHIS’ Animal Care Program. “This includes undertaking aggressive enforcement action against repeat, egregious violators of the law and working closely with APHIS partners to ensure AWA compliance.”

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Improving outcomes for dogs afflicted with a particularly aggressive and fatal type of cancer is the goal of a clinical trial currently underway.

A newly funded study will evaluate the potential of a cancer drug to control tumor growth for dogs with histiocytic sarcoma. The multi-center clinical trial, which is being conducted at Michigan State University (MSU), University of Florida, University of Wisconsin, and Virginia Tech, will be funded by the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA) through Morris Animal Foundation’s Donor-Inspired Study program.

Histiocytic sarcoma was first described in Bernese mountain dogs in the late 1970s, but has since been noted in many other breeds, Morris Animal Foundation reports.

“Histiocytic sarcoma is a devastating disease, and traditional chemotherapeutic drugs have shown limited success in improving treatment outcomes, especially with the disseminated form of the disease,” says the study’s principal investigator, Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan, PhD, a professor of microbiology, molecular genetics, and small animal clinical sciences at MSU. “Based on our studies of the molecular pathways driving tumor growth, we now have an opportunity to use a targeted approach in the treatment of this deadly cancer.”

Trametinib targets and inhibits the molecular pathway responsible for tumor growth, Dr. Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan explains. Extensive testing has demonstrated the drug’s effectiveness against canine histiocytic sarcoma cell lines and in mouse models replicating canine tumors, as well as its safety and tolerability in dogs.

“We are hopeful that the treatment will have a significant and positive impact on the affected dogs,” she says. “We are always guided by data and look forward to seeing what the study will show.”

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Beekeeper Luc Peters says he's found himself in "sticky" situations before but Wednesday morning was the first time he's ever had police call him for a bee-related emergency.  Peters was one of several local beekeepers called in to help after some five million bees fell off a truck on Guelph Line in Burlington, north of Dundas Street. Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) said officers were called to the area around 6:15 a.m. to respond to a truck with a trailer transporting bees. 

"We're not sure how or what exactly took place but at some point the boxes containing bees or beehives slid off the trailer and spilled all over the road," Ryan Anderson, media relations officer with HRPS told CBC News. Though police said early afternoon the scene was cleared, drivers and nearby residents should keep their windows closed.

"It sounds bigger than it is for the most part, because a colony of bees could be 80,000 bees," said Peters, who takes care of the nearly 400,000 bees at nearby Royal Botanical Gardens.

"It kind of depends on how many colonies there are and no doubt to a non-beekeeper that would be rather intense to see regardless... It's important for people to understand that honey bees are fairly gentle and really don't bother people unless they are bothered. This is a rare situation where you have to keep your distance from them." 

A truck transporting a load of honey bees to a farm swerved on a road in Burlington, Ont., releasing five million bees into a residential neighbourhood. Beekeepers from all around heard the call for help and sprang into action to rescue the swarming bees.

Police said beekeepers were brought in "to help get the situation under control" and some beekeepers had been stung — though no one had been transported to hospital, Anderson said. 

Peters said getting stung is all in a day's work for a beekeeper. "I'm not fazed by it really," he said, though he called the incident an "unusual case" because normally this many bees would be staying inside their boxes.  Peters spoke to CBC Hamilton en route to the scene earlier on Wednesday morning, saying his goal would be to try to identify the queen bee and get the queen inside a box. "The rest of the bees will follow," he said. 

Police thanked the "overwhelming response from beekeepers" in clearing the scene and said a driver was charged with two offences under the Highway Traffic Act, including insecure load. Peters said he suspects the bees may have been coming back from a pollination service — when farmers hire beekeepers to pollinate their crops.  Peters said "a few thousand bees" were likely killed as a result of the spill, but it will be some time before total losses are known.

Meanwhile, Anderson said there will be bees flying around in the area in the coming days. "We're going to be leaving some crates behind. Some of the bees have escaped and we're hoping that they'll naturally return to these crates and we'll come back at a later date to pick them up once the bees have returned," he said.

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Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.  It’s almost here!  Throughout the summer, top surf-dog contenders and gromMUTTs have been dreaming of attending the longest-running surf dog competition in the country. Now surFURs can hardly wait to show off their surfing skills at the ultimate summer-closer.  Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 18th annual Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon, dives into action at Dog Beach Del Mar on Sunday, September 10th, 2023, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. PST. 

The temperatures will stay hot to close out the dog-days of summer and so will the competition out on the waves. Helen Woodward’s Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon was the first-of-its-kind, turning ‘dogs on surfboards’ into a platform to raise life-saving funds and reminding the world that “man’s best friend” can do phenomenal things. In addition to the joy and amazing athleticism of the event, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon is the only one of its kind with 100 percent of the proceeds supporting shelter orphan pets and programs. 

Del Mar Dog Beach is the place to be to witness the cutest surf competition of the year. Hoping to join a coveted list of “Top Surf Dogs,” more than 70 surfing dogs will compete in 10 minute heats. SurFURs will show off their skills before a panel of judges consisting of surf pros and aficionados. Canines will be judged on the length of their ride, wave technique, and enthusiasm and confidence on the board. First, second, and third place winners will be awarded for each weight class and the first-place winners will move on to the finals – Best-In-Surf.  But the fun on the water doesn’t end there. A unique freestyle surf contest will award points for creativity! Tandem rides for dogs who can ride with their best friends and even their favorite human, eye-catching tricks and costumes are encouraged to wow the judges.

“There’s a reason this is one of our most popular events,” said Center Special Events Manager Eva Lagudi-Devereux. “The absolute heart in this day is unmatched. The love these pet parents have for their dogs, and the joy these dogs have doing something they adore with their owners, reminds us all that pets do really change our lives for the better.”

Spectators will not want to miss other family-friendly activities including live beach tunes with the Salton City Surf Club Band, the crowd-pleasing Canine Costume Contest (This year’s theme is Rockstars & Music Legends!) and a FREE special Kid’s Activity area – with crafts and games, the BARKet Place featuring a variety of exhibitor booths with pet products and local businesses handing out giveaways, a free agility course for dogs to try out, sponsored by San Diego Pet Training, a special honorarium to recognize Surf Dog legend and fundraiser – Ricochet, and the exciting awards ceremony!  Those who cannot make it to the beach can watch the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon unfold on Facebook by heading to https://www.facebook.com/surfdogsurfathon/ at 8:30 a.m. PST.

Registration is still available for surf-loving canines to enter the surf and freestyle contests. 100 percent of the proceeds from the event support the life-saving work at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Top fundraising pooches not only get to help orphan pets, they will win outstanding prizes, including a one-night stay at the Kona Kai Resort with breakfast for two.

The 18th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon is free to attend.

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Police in Norfolk, Nebraska, responding to calls of a man driving with a “cow” in his car were stunned to discover a local man with a huge Watusi bull riding shotgun in his vehicle.

“The officers received a call referencing a car driving into town that had a cow in it,” Capt Chad Reiman told News Channel North-East Nebraska. “They thought that it was going to be a calf, something small or something that would actually fit inside the vehicle.”

In fact, the animal was a Watusi bull – a breed of cattle famous in Africa with gigantic horns.

The driver was identified as Lee Meyer of nearby Neligh and police performed a traffic stop on his car. Meyer told them that the Watusi bull’s name was Howdy Doody.

“The officer wrote him some warnings,” Reiman told the TV channel. “There were some citable issues with that situation. The officer chose to write him a warning and ask him to take the animal back home and leave the city.”

Meyer – whose car appeared specially outfitted to have a bull as a passenger – promptly did.

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Three snow leopards have died at the Lincoln children’s zoo in Nebraska of complications from Covid-19. The zoo made the announcement in a Facebook post, describing the deaths of the three leopards – named Ranney, Everest, and Makalu – as “truly heartbreaking”.

“Ranney, Everest and Makalu were beloved by our entire community inside and outside of the zoo,” the statement said. “This loss is truly heartbreaking, and we are all grieving together.”

The zoo began treating the leopards and two Sumatran tigers for the virus last month. The zoo said the tigers, Axl and Kumar, have made a recovery.

The zoo said it remains open to the public and continues to take precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to humans and animals.

Zoos across the country, including at the St Louis zoo and the Denver zoo, have battled Covid-19 outbreaks among their animals.

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