Unleashed: Critter News Round-up

April 17, 2011 by Categorized: Fur and Feather, Nature in the News.

After hearing repeated complaints from breeders, law makers in Missouri are planning on repealing a voter approved Puppy Mill Law. The main reasons they site for this repeal are the cost of implementation of the bill and that it could be used to punish good breeders. It is estimated that dog breeding earns $1 billion a year in Missouri. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States says:

“The effort in Jefferson City is a piece-by-piece dismantling of every core provision. It suggests to me that this is an industry that wants deregulation. They want to do things that they want and to heck with the people who care about dogs or consumers as long as there are enough dogs purchased.”

One of the stipulations of the law that outrages breeders most is one that disallows them from having more than 50 dogs in their kennels at any given time. Another requires that they give small dogs as much as 12 feet of space to live in and large dogs 60 feet of living space, previously dogs could be kept in cages no larger than 6 inches wider and longer than the dog itself.

Republican state Representative Mike Lair of Chillicothe is quoted saying that

“Dogs are property. Dogs don’t have rights.”



Humpback Whales love a good song, and will pass a catchy tune amongst themselves a new study reports. Researchers in Australia have been listening to Humpback whale song for some time now and have found that whale song will be passed along from one individual to another. This discovery will hopefully lead to a better understanding of whale communication and culture.



For the first time ever the USA Congress will be removing a species off the endangered species list. A budget bill singed by the President will strip protection from gray wolves in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Utah. Wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana had to be cancelled last year as a judge ruled the animals were still in need of protection, but hunters will be free to hunt wolves come this autumn. Wolves in Wyoming may be taken off the list sometime in the future.

Animal rights groups are watching this turning of events with trepidation, concerned it may be setting a bad precedent.



The population of Antarctic Penguins has dropped as much as 50% over the last 30 years. A recent study finds that a shortage of krill maybe be the main cause of the population plummet. The warming of the air and waters in the Antarctic and the rebounding population of whales, who also eat krill, are the leading cause of the krill shortage. With less food available less and less penguin chicks have been surviving each year.



National Geographic recently posted images of a dig in Egypt. Archaeologists are evacuating what is known as the Dog Catacombs, a warren of tunnels and chambers dedicated to the god Anubis and filled with the bodies of dogs and puppies.



After a boon year with Vancouver/Whistler hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, the tourism industry took a nose dive. The Whistler branch of Outdoor Adventures, which includes a sled dog touring facility, ordered the kennel manager to cull roughly 100 dogs. After making a few weak and vain attempts to have that many mush dogs re-homed he set about killing them himself, without the required assistance and supervision of a veterinarian. The culling quickly became a slaughter with animals running off into the woods after being shot and having to be tracked down. At least one animal has its throat slashed with a knife. All this was one within sight of the rest of the pack of dogs before the culled animals were placed in a grave in the woods.

The slaughter of these dogs came to light when the manager Bob Fawcett applied for workers compensation sighting he suffered from post traumatic stress from the incident. A task force was assembled by the Premier of British Columbia to investigate the incident. The investigation into the slaughter continues and now that the ground has thawed the grave will be exhumed so investigators can find more info on exactly what went on as well as give the dog a proper burial.

Memorial vigils, walks and mushes have occurred all over Canada and the United States since the news story broke and new regulations are being proposed to avoid such a tragedy from ever happening again. A Facebook group called Boycotting Outdoors Adventures has bee created which updates regularly on the investigation and memorials.

I will update when more information comes to light through the investigation.



Another reason to not flick your cigarette out the window while driving: A fire that broke out in a horse trailer killed six racehorses on Friday. The horses were travelling on the Interstate-95 were en route to begin training at the Long Island horse track. Officials blame a flicked burning cigarette butt for the fire. Once they spotted the flames the two drivers tried to smother the fire but to no avail, one of them received minor injuries.



A pod of Killer Whales have researchers scratching their heads this weekend, after spotting the orcas eating fish rather than their preferred diet of seafaring mammals. The pod was spotted of the coast of San Pedro, California and researchers are asking fisherman and boaters to photograph the pod, for identification purposes, if possible.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for all the great links!

    The Whistler sled dog massacre has been breaking my heart since I heard about it in the winter. Just horrific…

    Quick note on the orca story: the fish-eating killer whales spotted off the Lo-Cal coast have been identified as offshore orca – an ecotype of orca usually sighted off the coast of British Columbia waters, they eat fish & sharks.

  2. “Dogs are property. Dogs don’t have rights.”

    Really? Then why did Michael Vick go to jail? The dogs he killed and taught to kill were his property…

    Dogs may not have the same rights as people, but they have some rights – and chief among them is the right to not be kept in miserable conditions by humans.

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