By David S. Greene
June 20, 2011
Piercing cats to give them a “goth” appearance qualifies as cruelty. That’s the essence of a ruling from a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel who affirmed the conviction of a groomer in Sweet Valley, Penn. Details from the New York Times.
The groomer, Holly Crawford of Sweet Valley, Pa., offered the kittens for $100; Judge Kate Ford Elliott wrote in a 19-page opinion that â€œmetal protruded from the kittensâ€™ small bodies, pierced through their ears and necks, and at least one of these kittens also had an elastic band tied around its tail, an attempt at docking, which is a procedure to stem the blood flow so that the tail eventually falls off.â€
An investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals posed as a customer and met with Ms. Crawford in 2008 and reported her to the authorities. The kittens were seized, and a jury found Ms. Crawford guilty of animal cruelty; in April of last year she was sentenced to six months of home detention and electronic monitoring, followed by probation.
Ms. Crawford, who was described in the opinion as having â€œseveral facial piercingsâ€ and being â€œenthusiastic about piercing,â€ had admitted to piercing the kittens herself without anesthetic, though she did treat them with antiseptic after the procedure.
That’s the important part of the story, but my favorite section (and yours, I’m betting) comes at the very end…
Judge Elliott wrote, â€œAppellantâ€™s claims center on her premise that a person of normal intelligence would not know whether piercing a kittenâ€™s ears or banding its tail is maiming, mutilating, torturing or disfiguring an animal.â€
The judge added, â€œWe disagree.â€
Paralyzed tornado dog is walking again: Debbie and Daniel Leatherman live in Joplin, Missouri. They thought they had lost their 10 year-old cocker spaniel, Sugar, after the catastrophic tornado tore their house apart last month. Luckily, Sugar wasn’t lost. He was discovered by a stranger and brought to Joplin Humane Society, and his injuries took him to the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was grim: a traumatic rupture of Sugar’s spinal cord. He was paralyzed. The operative word of the last sentence is ‘was. ‘ Thanks to the veterinary staff in Columbia, Sugar is now walking again. Thanks, Phyllis.
Historic cancer breakthrough? A couple weeks back, Dr. Tony Johnson wrote a sobering post about the canine version of a heart attack, called hemoabdomens. As Dr. Tony explained, the root cause is often a ruptured mass on the spleen due to an aggressive malignancy called a hemangiosarcoma. A hemangiosarcoma is often considered a nearly universal death sentence…or is it? Research out of Oregon State University signals hope for a previously hopeless cancer.
No more goldfish in Baghdad by the Bay: San Francisco is pushing to enact some of the toughest regulations outlawing the sale of animals of any municipality in the nation. But they’re not stopping at outlawing trade in puppies and kittens. As SFGate reports, the city’s Animal Control and Welfare Commission wants guppies and goldfish to receive the same protections. Thanks to Susan Fox for the link.
Everybody’s got something to hide except me and my monkey: If you have a therapy animal, is he protected from seizure by authorities? Yes? Always? What if he’s a monkey? In certain places, not so much. And the authorities’ show of force can be a little over the top, too. Hat tip to Mary Cvetan.
The secret life of feral cats: Do you ever wonder what the lives of cats are like when they’re on their own? Where do they go? How far do they roam? Is there a difference between ferals and cats who have owners? Jeff Horn wondered, too. Jeff was a grad student at the University of Illinois. He put radio-tracking collars on forty-two cats, some owned and some unowned, and let them do what they do. The results are summarized in Science Daily:
One of the feral cats in the study, a mixed breed male, had a home range of 547 hectares (1,351 acres), the largest range of those tracked (red outline). A pet cat in the study, by contrast, stayed very close to home.
“That particular male cat was not getting food from humans, to my knowledge, but somehow it survived out there amidst coyotes and foxes,” Horn said. “It crossed every street in the area where it was trapped. (It navigated) stoplights, parking lots. We found it denning under a softball field during a game.”
The owned cats had significantly smaller territories and tended to stay close to home. The mean home range for pet cats in the study was less than two hectares (4.9 acres).
“Still, some of the cat owners were very surprised to learn that their cats were going that far,” Horn said. “That’s a lot of backyards.”
The pet cats managed this despite being asleep or in low activity 97 percent of the time. On average, they spent only 3 percent of their time engaged in highly active pursuits, such as running or stalking prey, the researchers reported. The un-owned cats were highly active 14 percent of the time.
Simon’s Cat: That’s right, it’s time once again for our favorite feline line drawing! Today, we’re in the kitchen.
I always like to hear from readers, especially if you have tips, and links for interesting stories.Â Give me a shout in the comments, or better yet,Â send me an e-mail.
Photo credit: Piercing, a11news.com. Sugar, munews.