Sunday, January 31, 2010

Classic Super Bowl Commercial (Bridgestone)

It's almost time for the big game. If the game is lousy, there are always the commercials!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mom Forces Son to Kill Family Pet

Reported by Tacoma Perry | Edited by Steve Dixon

A Georgia mother is in jail after being charged with punishing her son for a bad report card by forcing him to kill a family pet.
Investigators said the mother ordered her 12-year-old son beat the animal with a hammer.

The crimes the mother is accused of are so bizarre and brutal, top law enforcement officials are stunned.

Investigators said what happened inside a Meriwether County home was a horrific act of violence. But the mother – 38-year-old Lynn Geter -- calls the incident punishment.

"She said she wasn't going to put up with his bad grades," said Meriwether Sheriff Steve WIlcox.

As soon as her 12-year-old son got home from school with those bad grades, investigators said Geter sat him down at the kitchen table with his beloved pet.

"She said that she loved her son and asked if the son loved his gerbil and he said yes. She proceeded to, uh," said Wilcox.

What she is alleged to have done next is hard for even an experienced law enforcement official to say.

Investigators said Geter put the pet in a bag and ordered her son to hit it with a hammer until it died.

The allegations stunned parents who know the family from school.

Investigators believe the boy was threatened. They said he had marks on his neck, which is why, in addition to child and animal cruelty charges, Geter faces a count of battery as well.

Geter is now sitting in a Meriwether County jail cell. Her three children are in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services.

A judge has continued Geter's case until February 8.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Exercise Good for Your Cat

Perhaps your kitty's exercise regimen consists of a mad dash around the house - a furry bullet dashing from room to room. Or possibly it's jumping up on surfaces, tearing up the carpets and furniture, or attacking your feet in the middle of the night. Or maybe it's stalking or pawing at some moving critter, like a fly or a lizard.

Exercise is as important to your cat as it is to you. Young cats as well as healthy adult cats need regular periods of exercise. Even our senior pets need regular exercise to maintain their health and well-being. Here are some tips from the

Play stimulates your cat mentally. When kittens play together they pick up social skills and self-sufficiency. They refine their stalking and pouncing, as well as the coordination and timing required to make a kill. They learn about their environment by exploring and climbing, and they find the best spots to hide in and lie in wait for their victims.

Adult cats, too, enjoy toys that allow them to simulate natural stalking and hunting activity. Commercially available toys are often inviting, but your kitty would probably be happy with anything that he can chase or pounce on.

Here are a few things you can try:

Roll a table-tennis ball across the floor. Sit back and watch as your kitty chases, stalks and swats the ball.
Wad up a piece of paper, attach an old tie around it so that you can drag the paper around the floor. Soon your cat will launch an attack.
Get a tall scratching post, preferably one with "branches," that your cat can run up and down.
Scratching posts assist your cat to flex his muscles and to shed old claw sheaths.
Provide a large paper bag or cardboard box for your cat to explore.
Buy a laser toy to play with your cat.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Salmonella warning issued for some dog treats

WASHINGTON - Consumers should not use certain beef dog treats distributed by Merrick Pet Care because the pet food might be contaminated with salmonella, health authorities warned on Thursday.

Merrick Beef Filet Squares for dogs were distributed nationwide through retail stores and the Internet. No illnesses linked to the products have been reported, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA warned that contaminated pet food could also infect people if they handled the dog treats and have not thoroughly cleaned their hands.

The Merrick Beef Filet Squares were packaged in a 10-ounce green, red and tan resealable plastic bag. They are labeled "best by 111911."

Last month, the FDA conducted routine testing of the treats and found evidence for salmonella. Another inspection found deficiencies in the packaging and manufacturing.

Humans infected with the salmonella can experience fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. It could also cause more serious problems such as arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract problems. In pets, salmonella can cause diarrhea, fevers, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and abdominal pain.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fish Farms Still Hurting

I was talking to someone I know in FL and were telling me that the weather is getting better, but the fish farms are still hurting. People had to work around the clock to keep the koi breeding ponds covered to prevent any freezing. However, since the ponds were covered, they didn't want to open them up to see how the fish were doing, for fear of letting cold air inside the ponds. Now that the weather is getting better, the real damage will soon be getting assessed.

Look for the prices of all things Florida to be up in the next few months.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Florida Chill Threatens Tropical Fish Industry

NEW YORK TIMES - LAKELAND, Fla. — Frosted oranges, strawberries encased in ice: the images of Florida’s freezes are familiar, sad and earthy. But just past the crop rows here in the state’s agricultural core, there swims another sizable industry that has suffered more than any other because of this year’s unusually long cold snap — tropical fish.

A severe guppy shortage has already emerged, according to distributors, while fish farmers statewide expect losses of more than 50 percent as African cichlids, marble mollies, danios and other cheerful-looking varieties sink like pebbles to the bottom of freshwater ponds across Florida.

“It could be devastating,” said Ray Quillen, the owner of Urban Tropical, holding a few angelfish he hoped to save by moving them to indoor tanks. “Not just for me, but for everyone.”

The freezing temperatures have come at the worst possible time. Florida provides about half of the tropical fish sold nationwide (Asia provides most of the rest), and like oranges, the colorful pets sell best in winter.

The fish farmers who serve the $45-million-a-year industry here were already suffering because of the recession and a slow shift away from live hobbies and toward electronics. But the freeze has tipped them from glum to depressed.

“It’s bad,” said David Boozer, executive director of the 120-member Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association. “We were hoping for an economic turnaround to pull us up by our bootstraps, and that may happen, but we certainly didn’t need 10 days of subnormal temperatures.”

Florida, of course, thrives on warmth above all else. The Sunshine State has successfully sold a sweaterless life to retirees. For fish farmers, the subtropical temperatures and high water table made this the best place in America for the outdoor cultivation of tropical fish.

The first entrepreneurs got started in the 1930s, mostly around Miami. When land prices there spiked, the farmers moved here to the lake-filled area between Tampa and Orlando.

Their efforts tend to be hidden, down dirt roads on the edge of quiet towns, and largely ignored. As recently as a few years ago, tropical fish were the No. 1 cargo shipment out of Tampa International Airport, but fish farmers complain that not even the hobbyist who pays $100 for an emperor pleco gives much thought to the producer.

“People know there are pet stores, they know there are fish,” said Mr. Quillen, 49, who got into the business eight years ago after working as trucker. “I guess they think they just appear or come from the wild.”

In fact, they come from places like his — a family-owned hatchery on 20 acres marked by 84 man-made, rectangular ponds the size of large swimming pools. There are a few greenhouses, too, steamy fish locker rooms filled with species bred to be red, green, striped, albino or bearded.

It is a world part science fiction — with row after row of concrete water tanks built from the same molds as burial crypts — and part simple farming: most of the workers end up muddy and pungent by the end of the day.

The freeze, however, has transformed the usual routine. Tropical fish begin to have problems when water temperatures dip below 60 degrees. So for most of the past week, as air temperatures collapsed into the 20s, farmers who should have been filling orders scrambled to cover ponds with plastic and to pump in warm water.

Then, as the cold continued, they started to move as many fish indoors as they could.

At Mr. Quillen’s farm, that meant ditching millions of babies to make room for angelfish closer to the size needed for shipping.

At Imperial Tropicals, a few miles away, Mike Drawdy said the water temperatures in some of his ponds had dipped to 48 degrees when he checked them in the morning. That meant catastrophe — and not just from the cold.

Mr. Drawdy pointed to a row of three-pronged prints in a pond’s sandy bank. At dawn, he said, a scrum of wading birds feasted on the fish that were either dead or too cold to move.

Later in the day, workers pulled a net through the ponds to collect what they could. Only a few dozen fish came from waters that should have produced thousands. Yucatan mollies, marble mollies, pineapple swords — every pond showed another population diminished.

Mr. Drawdy, 31, a commanding former Marine who joined his parents’ business a few years ago, said it would take at least three months to bring the numbers back up to what they should be.

He dumped a small net of ink-black Yucatan mollies into a plastic bin on the back of a golf cart. “This is enough to start a new pond if we had to,” he said. “But we were hoping for more.”

Mr. Boozer, at the Tropical Fish Farms Association, said it would take weeks to determine the scope of the damage. In addition to the fish already dead in the ponds, he said, there will also be fish that die later from the temperature swings or from diseases like Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (also known as white spot disease, which makes a sick fish look as if it has been salted).

In the worst cases, federal aid might be available. Farmers with losses of more than 50 percent can file crop insurance claims with the Department of Agriculture to receive assistance. The area’s congressman, Adam H. Putnam, a Republican, is closely monitoring the situation.

But for Mr. Quillen, Mr. Drawdy and many others, the frigid present is their main focus. They are hoping for high temperatures, or at least sunny days without wind. Those conditions help warm the ponds after a cold night. That helps save the fish. And that helps save their businesses.

“There’s nothing more we can do,” Mr. Quillen said, standing in the cold. “We’ve done everything.”

(in the picture, a bearded pleco)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Most Popular Character Dog

Who's the most popular and recognizable dog in America? According to a recent, though unscientific, poll by the American Kennel Club, the most known dogs in pop culture are:

Overall, the top 10 dogs in pop culture were:

1. Snoopy, of the Charles Schulz Peanuts comic strip

2. Reveille, college mascot collie of Texas A&M

3. Scooby Doo, of the cartoon by the same name

4. Eddie, of the television show, “Frasier“

5. Pound Puppies, a line of stuffed animals now owned by Mattel

6. "Dogs Playing Poker," of the oil painting series by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

7. “(How Much is That) Doggie in the Window?“ the 1952 and 1953 pop Patti Page tune

8. Jack the Bulldog, Georgetown University’s mascot

9. "Who Let the Dogs Out?" -- a Baha Men cover and winner of Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2001

10. Brian Griffin, of the animated Fox Broadcasting Company TV show “Family Guy”

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More Greyhound Dogs Need Homes

Associated Press

KENOSHA, Wis. — Seven dog tracks halted racing across the country last year, forcing hundreds of greyhounds into an uncertain future. With fewer tracks available for them to race, the sleek long-limbed dogs are now flooding the adoption market at a difficult time.

Economic hardships are preventing many dog lovers from adopting, or worse, forcing them to give back animals they can no longer afford to keep. Misconceptions about the breed — that greyhounds are hyperactive and crave constant stimulation and exercise — also scare away some potential owners, advocates say.

And most have spent their lives inside racetracks and kennels, with little exposure to families, kids or even the most basic household activities, say greyhound lovers like Rhonda Mack, who took in two more dogs from the Dairyland Greyhound Park in southern Wisconsin, which closed last week.

“You bring a dog home ... They’ve never been outside the racetrack,” said the 50-year-old from Lake Zurich, Ill., who now has three greyhounds, including new additions Lexi and Jack. “They go into your house — they don’t know what a window is, they don’t know what stairs are. They walk right into windows like they aren’t even there.”

The track in Wisconsin ran its last dog race on New Year’s Eve; another in Phoenix and one in Massachusetts also ended dog racing last month, bringing the total to seven tracks that pulled the mechanical rabbit in 2009.

Though there are no precise figures, advocates estimate more than 1,000 greyhounds need new homes.

That’s in addition to the best racers, who will be sent to tracks that remain open elsewhere or to breeders.

Since greyhound racing began decades ago, there’s always been an issue of what to do with retired race dogs.

Previously, they largely found homes through a fragmented network of breed adoption and other placement groups, but the recent deluge of dogs in need of dwellings has magnified the issue.

“It is a domino effect,” said Michael McCann, president of The Greyhound Project Inc., a Boston-based nonprofit that provides support and information about greyhound adoptions. “Everything that happens in one state affects ... the dog adoption effort in other states.”

It doesn’t help that the economic downturn has made some people hesitant to become dog owners and pushed others to give up their pets because of the costs of caring for them.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that as many as 2 million pets have been abandoned since the recession began in December 2007.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Senior Pets With Cataracts

Just as senior citizens experience a progressive decline in visual acuity, so do our four-legged friends.

Approximately 40% of the 130 million pets in this country have some type of eye disorder. As pets age, their eyesight often deteriorates, leading to impaired vision. As you might suspect, the majority of vision-related ailments occur in senior pets. When signs of visual impairment become apparent in your pet, the culprit is usually a cataract. According to a report from the American Pet Products Association, cataracts afflict over 12 million U.S. pets. A cataract, which appears as a slight clouding of the lens or surrounding capsule, can occur in one or both eyes. This condition, if left untreated, will initially cause blurry vision and eventually total vision loss. While cataracts can afflict the eyes of both dogs and cats, the problem tends to be more prevalent in canines.

Historically, cataracts have required extensive surgery, which can cost in the thousands of dollars. What’s even costlier from an emotional perspective is the stress of putting a pet through surgery, as well as the recovery time and treatment involved. In fact, many pets suffer from post-surgical side effects ranging from infection, pain and swelling to total blindness. Some additional risk factors to consider include:
• Scar Tissue. Development of scar tissue from the surgical procedure can limit your pet’s eyesight.
• Glaucoma. Post-operative statistics suggest that this condition can occur in almost 30 percent of dogs that had cataract surgery within 6-18 months. Glaucoma can lead to pain, additional surgeries and even vision loss.

There are many types of treatment available. If you suspect your pet is having eye problems, consult your vet for the best type of treatment.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

I know I'm a couple of days late, but a happy and healthy new year from The Pet Haven. Looking forward to more great discussions on our pets, no matter if they are furry or wet, barks or hops, or anything in between. Here's to the pets that enrich our lives.