PETA blasts AOC for apparently choosing purebred puppy over rescue dog

Liberal firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is once again being dogged by criticism — this time over a puppy.

The animal rights group PETA blasted AOC for apparently buying a purebred French bulldog instead of adopting a homeless dog from a shelter.

“The dog is pretty clearly a Frenchie and a very young puppy who appears to have been purchased from a breeder,” PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne told The Post.

The freshman Democrat introduced the pup to her social media followers Tuesday, but has refused to answer questions about the still-unnamed dog’s origins.

But she is taking name suggestions from her followers: “We are thinking something Star Trek related or Bronx/Queens/NYC/social good related,” she said on Instagram.

PETA didn’t think there was anything cute about AOC’s pet pick.

“With the millions of homeless dogs out there, you apparently chose to buy a purebred puppy instead of adopting one from an animal shelter,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk wrote in a letter to AOC on Thursday.

“Right this minute, on Petfinder alone, there are more than 110,000 dogs — including French bulldogs — who need homes. Animal shelters are bursting at the seams with hundreds of thousands more, many of whom will be ‘put to sleep’ for lack of a home,” Newkirk wrote.

“French bulldogs are inbred in order to produce breed-specific traits, which cause health problems that many people who will be influenced by your purchase won’t be able to afford to address,” Newkirk continued.

“They are particularly at risk because their ‘cute’ features plague them with a lifetime of breathing problems, ear and eye infections, skin irritation, a weak stomach, and other issues,” she wrote.

Newkirk also lectured AOC about proper canine care.

“We’re also sending you a copy of the book Dogs Hate Crates, which explains why crate training is not humane or effective,” Newkirk wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez had posted a video on her Instagram of the bulldog whimpering inside a small black cage.

Reps for the congresswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dogs caught in traps meant for wildlife spurs workshop

JACKSON, Wyo. — Multiple incidents of domestic dogs inadvertently caught in leghold traps intended for wildlife has local advocacy group Wyoming Untrapped warning dog owners and scheduling another informative Trap Release Workshop for this weekend.

Last week, a friend was walking Natalie Tanaka’s dog Roswell up Darby Canyon. They came upon a fox that was caught in a trap. While investigating, Roswell also became ensnared in another trap nearby. Roswell was so panicked he bit his human, who could not get the trap released. A sheriff’s deputy was called and he could not get the dog loose by himself until backup arrived.

Some 45 minutes later, Roswell was freed and pronounced mostly unharmed by a local vet. Just some soft tissue damage. Roswell’s human friend is undergoing antibiotic treatment for the dog bites.

“I appreciate the assistance of all of those who helped. I’m thankful my pup will be okay,” Tanaka told Wyoming Untrapped. “I understand rural life. However, I don’t believe in the inhumane treatment of animals. Traps are nasty, excruciatingly painful, and slow. The tortured animal has to be in pain for days before humans are legally required to go see what’s in the trap. We can do better than this barbaric practice.”

The trap was set legally.

In the days following Roswell’s close call, two more dogs in eastern Idaho were caught in leg snares in Tetonia and Victor.

Lisa Rob, director of Wyoming Untrapped, said, “Due to several pet trapping events in just a week, WU has received several requests to host another Trap Release Workshop.”

The workshop will take place Saturday, November 23, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Teton County Library in Jackson. Carter Niemeyer, retired Fish and Wildlife Director of the wolf recovery, will direct the workshop and share his experiences. He will demonstrate how to release an animal from a variety of traps.


Dog with eyes closed in car
This expression is commonly known as ‘having the sh*ts’. Source: Flickr

Many recent studies have confirmed what you always knew: your dog has feelings.

Dogs can read human emotionsSo, it appears, can horses. Whales have regional accents. Ravens have demonstrated that they might be able to guess at the thoughts of other ravens — something scientists call “theory of mind,” which has long been considered a uniquely human ability. All of these findings have been published within the past several weeks, and taken together they suggest that many of the traits and abilities we believe are “uniquely human” are, in fact, not so unique to us.

That statement probably sounds as if it is veering perilously close to anthropomorphism, and if you know anything about research concerning animal behavior, you likely know this: Anthropomorphism is bad. Animals are animals, and people are people; to assume that an elephant, for example, experiences joy in the same way a human does is laughably unscientific. This has been the prevailing mode of thought in this line of scientific inquiry for most of the last century — to staunchly avoid, and even ridicule, any research project that dared to suggest that animals might be thinking or feeling in the same way that humans do.

But new studies like these, along with a slew of recent books by respected biologists and science writers, are seriously considering the inner lives of animals. Now some prominent scientists are arguing that, though the impulse was well-intentioned, decades of knee-jerk avoidance of all things anthropomorphic may have mostly served to hold this field back. “It ruined the field,” biologist and author Carl Safina told Science of Us. “Not just held it back — it’s ruined the field. It prevented people from even asking those questions for about 40 years.”

New studies … are seriously considering the inner lives of animals. Though the impulse was well-intentioned, decades of knee-jerk avoidance of all things anthropomorphic may have mostly served to hold this field back.

The theme of Safina’s book Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel pairs nicely with a forthcoming title from famed primatologist Frans de Waal called Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Both scientists make the case for something the biologist Gordon Burghardt called “critical anthropomorphism” — using your own human intuition and understanding as a starting point for understanding animal cognition. “Thus, saying that animals ‘plan’ for the future or ‘reconcile’ after fights is more than anthropomorphic language: These terms propose testable ideas,” de Waal writes.

Animal behavioral science began in the 1910s and 1920s by focusing on description in order to combat superstition (cats are not witches’ familiars, tortoises are not especially tenacious, and grasshoppers are not lazy, etc). The problem is that, eventually, “[d]escription — and onlydescription — became ‘the’ science of animal behavior,” Safina writes in his book, which was published last summer. “Wondering what feelings or thoughts might motivate behavioral acts became totally taboo.” Here’s an example Safina uses: A “good” scientist’s notes might say something like, “The elephant positioned herself between her calf and the hyena.” A bad, anthropomorphic-leaning scientist, on the other hand, would observe the same scene and write, “The mother positioned herself to protect her baby from the hyena.” How can the scientist prove what the mother elephant was intending to do? You can’t see a thought; you can’t observe a feeling. Therefore, to presume that animals possessed either of these things was considered unscientific.

Even raising the mere question of animal awareness was once enough to potentially ruin a career. In the 1970s, the biologist Donald Griffin published a book that did almost exactly that: Question of Animal Awareness. Griffin at this point was a well-respected scientist who had recently made the discovery that bats use echolocation, or sonar, to navigate their surroundings. But after the publication of his book, his professional reputation was largely ruined. Even Jane Goodall caught some flak for going so far as to “humanize” her chimp research subjects by giving them names, and as recently as the 1990s, a writer in the prestigious journal Science advised that research concerning animal cognition “isn’t a project I’d recommend to anyone without tenure.”

Even raising the mere question of animal awareness was once enough to potentially ruin a career.

Better data, including advances in neuroimaging technology and videos from scientists doing fieldwork, is now forcing many to reconsider some very basic questions of animal cognition. Today it sometimes seems like barely a week goes by without the publication of some new study that shows evidence of one species or another demonstrating what might’ve once been considered a strictly “human” ability or emotion.

Evidence of empathy, and even comforting behavior, has been observed in a variety of species

A recent study proposed that the humble prairie vole, a rodent found across the United States and Canada, appears to console its fellow vole after mean scientists stress it out by giving it a (small) electric shock.

Behaviors that look a lot like consolation have also been observed in animals known for their sociability, like elephants. When one Asian elephant sees that another elephant is agitated, scientists have observed that the calmer one will respond by touching the distressed animal with its trunk. “I’ve never heard that vocalization when elephants are alone,” Joshua Plotnik, who led the study, told Discovery. “It may be a signal like, ‘Shshh, it’s okay,’ the sort of sounds a human adult might make to reassure a baby.”

Contagious yawning, some scientists argue, is another signal of empathy and has recently been observed and recorded in chimpanzees.

Some research suggests that a few animals have demonstrated signals of self-awareness

The best way scientists currently have of measuring this admittedly abstract concept is the mirror recognition test (though some recent work has called the accuracy of this method into question). This usually involves marking the subject with some kind of conspicuous, but odorless, dye and placing it in front of a mirror. Passing the test involves examining the mark in the mirror, and then examining it on their own body; this suggests that the animal grasps that the reflection is a representation of them. Apes and monkeys seem to be able to figure the game out.

In the early 2000s, a pair of scientists found that bottlenose dolphins could also pass the mirror test with flying colors. In her new book Voices in the Ocean, science writer Susan Casey nods to that study, and notes that, in subsequent years, elephants and magpies have also taken the mirror test and passed. (For context, humans don’t pass this test until they are about two.)

Some animals appear to be capable of understanding the perspective of others 

Beyond the raven’s newly discovered behaviors, there is evidence that scrub jays are able to see the world from another scrub jay’s viewpoint, which helps them hide their food. Male Eurasian jays seem to be able to make a good guess at what sort of food female Eurasian jays might like to eat. “It was long thought that only humans could do this,” University of Cambridge psychologist Nicola Clayton told Wired of the jay research. “What we’ve shown in a series of experiments is that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

To be sure, in an era of viral videos, it’s easy to take this idea —Anthropomorphism is okay now! — and get carried away with it. A perfect recent example is a back-and-forth over a picture of a trio of kangaroos. According to the Facebook caption accompanying the photo, the female had recently died, and the male and baby were “mourning” it. Media outlets took this at face value and ran with it, with headlines like “Dying Kangaroo Mom Spends Last Moment Holding Her Baby.”

And then, as is the circle of life for a viral news story, came the debunkings: The male kangaroo was just trying to have sex with the female, these articles scolded, and to believe any differently was a sign of “naive anthropomorphism.” Safina’s impression of the photo, incidentally, is that there really isn’t much we can tell one way or the other from a still photo. Really, the photo — or, more specifically, the instantly polarized online reactions to the photo — tell us more about ourselves than they do about kangaroo behavior.

“The one thing that is almost never allowed, or never thought of, is that there can be nuance,” Safina said. “There can be a range of emotions that happen in nonhumans, just as there is in humans.” After a human death, for example, the person’s loved ones show a range of emotions — denial, confusion, even some terribly inappropriate laughter. “But with animals everything has to be either/or,” Safina continued. People either want to believe that animals are pure and kindhearted and all-around better than we are — or they want to believe the very opposite, that humans are the most remarkable creatures on Earth, and animal behavior is driven only by instinct. (As if human behavior isn’t, too.)

Rushing to an unsupported conclusion that animals are just like us is bad, biased science. But willfully ignoring evidence of animal behaviors that look suspiciously like human emotions is unscientific and biased, too. “The key point is that anthropomorphism is not always as problematic as people think,” de Waal writes, adding that this is probably particularly true of animals with brains like ours: apes, sure, but even elephants and some marine mammals like dolphins. After all, we’re animals, too.

This week Insight is looking at the emotions of dogs and their human companions. Do they actually love us? | Tuesday 26 April, 8:30pm SBS 


Footloose Montana hosts trap-release workshop

trap stockimage

A trap-release workshop will be presented from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at St. Anthony Parish Center, 217 Tremont St.

Learn what to do if your pet steps in a trap, learn first aid, hands-on trap release practice, trapping regulations and what to carry with you to rescue your pet.

Sponsored by Footloose Montana, a nonprofit group educating concerned citizens about traps on public lands. Call 406-282-1482 or visit

Instead of Going Out This 4th of July, These People Comforted Scared Shelter Animals During Fireworks

Although this happened last year, we hope to share this beautiful idea with the aim of inspiring others to do the same thing this 4th of July.

Well here is a story to make you feel a little better about humanity today!

On the Fourth of July in Phoenix, Arizona, the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control began an experimental program called “Calming Companions,” where they invited the public into their shelters to sit with the dogs and cats. The loud and constant noise of fireworks being set off over the holiday can be a terrifying ordeal for small animals, and even more so in the cramped conditions of a shelter.

Around 200 caring people came out to the event, visiting either of the control’s shelters. These wonderful volunteers brought their own chairs and blankets to sit on as they read, played music, and entertained the dogs. Staff at the shelters provided treats, toys, and games that helped keep the dogs and cats occupied, and the joint effort led to a great experience for everyone involved.

Here is what volunteer Amy Engel had to say: “Ever thought about bringing your dog to crowded places? Even worse, crowded places with fireworks? I promise you dogs don’t like it. Tonight was the first year Maricopa County Animal Shelter presented “Comfort the Canines” … approximately 200 people came to help the pooches. Some people sang to them, some people read to them, some people just sat there and gave treats! it was so so awesome because the dogs absolutely love the attention and were focused on the people and not the fireworks going on outside.”

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is used to the chaos that Fourth of July celebrations can bring. Dogs startled by the noise of the fireworks can run away, leaving their owners fearful for their safety and well-being, and they often end up being brought into these shelters. This leads to one of the busiest days for the shelters and their staff. Public information officer for the Control, Jose Santiago, said, “We expect it to be a busy day, unfortunately, a lot of people do leave their dogs outside and those loud noises and explosions cause them to dig under fences, sometimes jump over fences, we’ve heard of cases of dogs jumping through windows, all out of fear from those loud explosions.”

While fireworks can be fun for some people, we have to bear in mind that not everyone enjoys loud displays.

This Calming Companions’ initiative was such a success that it will likely be repeated again next year. Maricopa County Animal Care and Control works tirelessly to care for the animals in their community, helping pets be reunited with their families and finding stray animals loving new homes. If you are looking to adopt, volunteer, or help in any other way, please get in touch.

Written by Kelly Wang for OneGreenPlanet

100,000 Dogs Are Killed Annually From Riding in Truck Beds

Posted by Christy Caplan
Dog In A Truck

When you see a dog riding in the back of a truck, does it concern you at all? I worry about the sudden starts and stops but also about the warmer temperatures during the summer.

We learned some very compelling statistics about why this isn’t a good idea. (You likely don’t need stats to agree that this is simply dangerous). Dogs transported unsecured in the cargo area or truck bed of vehicles is at risk of injury as they can easily jump or are thrown from the vehicle. 

KHQA ABC News spoke with Steve Scherer with Quincy Animal Control and they confirmed that the risk to the dog is just too great.

“The dog could see something and jump. Most dogs are smart enough not to, though, but I would worry about getting in an accident – the dog’s going to be a projectile then. I would also worry about a dog being tethered in the back of a truck because it could jump over the side of a bed and hang itself,” explained Scherer.

The bottom line? Don’t let your dog ride in an open truck bed. The American Humane organizationshares these facts about why this is so dangerous:

  • Any sudden start, stop, or turn may toss your pet onto the highway where it can get hit by oncoming traffic. It is estimated that at least 100,000 dogs die this way each year.
  • Open truck beds do not provide any protection from the weather. The hot sun can heat the metal floor of a truck bed enough to burn a pet’s paw pads. A dog left sitting in the broiling sun without water or shade may suffer from heat stroke before long.
  • Do not leash your pet inside the truck bed — many dogs have been strangled when tossed or bumped over the side of the truck and been left helplessly dangling.

Dog In A Truck

 The cargo area of a pickup truck is not a good place for your best friend.

 What are the current laws related to riding in the back of a pickup truck? Only a handful of states have laws that prohibit dogs from riding unrestrained in the back of pickup trucks.

Most state laws that address the issue make it illegal to transport a dog “on a public road in the back of an open bed vehicle.” This likely means that any travel on a private road or driveway with a dog in the bed of a truck would not be outlawed in these states. As of 2019, it appears that only six states (CA, CT, ME, MA, NH, and RI) have such laws.

Given the serious injuries, dog owners need to put pet safety first in this case. Riding in the back seat of a car in a crate is a better alternative.

Riding in a truck bed may place dogs in contact with shifting loads sufficient to cause injuries and, if the truck bed is uncovered, expose them to road dust, debris, and heated metal surfaces.

What do you think? Do you agree with the story? Please leave us a comment below! 

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Lucy’s Law: Puppy farm ban set to be confirmed

PuppiesImage copyrightPA

A new law aimed at cracking down on so-called puppy farms in England is being presented to Parliament on Monday.

Known as Lucy’s Law, it will ban the sale of kittens and puppies from third parties from spring 2020, making buyers deal with breeders directly.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the new rules would give animals “the best possible start in life”.

The RSPCA said it was “absolutely thrilled” with the legislation – but stressed it required enforcement.

Presentational grey line
Presentational grey line

The new law would require animals to be born and reared in a safe environment, with their mother, and to be sold from their place of birth.

The rules, which will apply to England, are also designed to deter smugglers who abuse the Pet Travel Scheme to bring young animals into the UK to be sold.

Named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who died in 2016 after being poorly treated on a puppy farm, the ban is scheduled to come into force on 6 April next year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

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Marc Abraham, Lucy’s Law campaigner and founder of Pup Aid, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Lucy’s Law is now being laid in Parliament and will come into effect from April 2020.

The story of the dog behind Lucy’s Law

Rogue puppy farmers hit with £1m tax bill

What are conditions like inside a puppy farm?

“Lucy’s Law is named after one of the sweetest, bravest dogs I’ve ever known, and is a fitting tribute to all the victims of the cruel third-party puppy trade, both past and present.”

But Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, urged the government to go further.

She said: “We would like to see additional measures introduced to ensure the ban is as robust as possible.

“There is time before April 2020 for the government to consider regulation of re-homing organisations and sanctuaries, ensure full traceability of all puppies sold, and strengthening of the pet travel scheme.”

Senator Rand Paul Destroyed Pet Food Safety