Yesterday, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed another lawsuit in the now years-long appeal to force the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., to remove Tony, an 11-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger.
Despite last year's ruling to prevent Tony's owner Michael Sandlin from confining the big cat, Sandlin, the suit charges, still houses Tony at the truck stop. In November 2011, Judge Michael Caldwell of East Baton Rouge District Court ruled that Sandlin's permit to keep the cat (issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, or LDWF) was illegally issued, must be revoked, and can't be renewed. The suit would, according to ALDF, "compel the (LDWF) to take steps to enforce the law and report Sandlin's illegal possession of Tony to local law enforcement for prosecution."
• On the same day, the Spaymart organization is holding a "Paws Cause" fundraiser at the Shamrock in Mid-City, with games, food, a cash bar, a silent auction, pool and dart challenges and more. It's only $10, and funds go to the Spaymart Community Kitten Foster & Adoption Program. Spaymart says it found homes for more than 300 cats last year.
Founded by Tia Maria Torres, Villalobos Rescue Center is the star of the Animal Planet reality series Pit Bulls and Parolees, which follows Torres and the crew at the center. After being forced to move from its California facility, it opened another, this one in New Orleans. The new location celebrates its grand opening tomorrow.
In Barataria Bay, scientists and researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association have been studying bottlenose dolphins in the wake of the BP oil disaster.
The NOAA performed physicals on 32 dolphins in 2011, and today, the early results are dramatic: many are "underweight, anemic, have low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease," and "nearly half also have abnormally low levels of the hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function." One of those dolphins died in early 2012.
An "Unusual Mortality Event" was declared by NOAA following a spike in dolphins entering (and dying in) the northern Gulf of Mexico — since February 2010, NOAA said, more than 675 dolphins have been stranded there (atypical of an average 74 per year). Most have died, but 33 were stranded alive, and seven were put into rehabilitation, according to NOAA.
NOAA told Baton Rouge's Advocate that though a link can't be made between the 2010 oil disaster and the plunge in dolphin health, it's been seen before.
The study was performed under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, a requirement under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
As the New Orleans Saints organization squares its feet following one of the biggest blows to its entire world, some team members, in likely one of their first public appearances following Bountygate 2012, are publicly announcing... their love to animals.
And not just Gumbo, everyone's favorite juiced up St. Bernard. Defensive end Jeff Charleston, center Brian de la Puente, golden-footed kicker Thomas Morstead and center Matt Tennant are active volunteers with the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA/SPCA) — last year, the players completed volunteer orientation and they spend downtime at the Algiers shelter. (Running back Mark Ingram also recently donated $5,000 to the organization's Pet Trust for animals in need.)
Charleston will emcee this weekend's Dog Day Afternoon at City Park, the LA/SPCA's 30th annual event, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 25. The event has live music from Amanda Shaw, a walkathon, food and dog contests.
For more information on pet adoptions, check out some resources in Gambit's fifth annual pet issue.
If you've ever been to Molly's at the Market in the French Quarter, you've probably seen Mr. Wu, the bar cat who's always ready to greet any thirsty patron (except, perhaps, the health inspector). Local Internet man-about-town The Cajun Boy captured a great photo of Mr. Wu enjoying a drink before Krewe du Vieux, and now the image of Mr. Wu on a barstool has gone big time on I Can Haz Cheezburger, the website repository of thousands of "kitteh" pictures with misspelled captions:
Cue squeals of girlish delight around the globe, but note: No, the cat doesn't hang out at a bar called "Cajun Boy."
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., was named the Humane Senator of the Year for his leadership on securing needed funding to strengthen USDA enforcement of key animal welfare laws, as well as on bills to require licensing and inspections of puppy mills selling directly to the public via the Internet or other means (the PUPS Act, S. 707) and to prohibit interstate and foreign commerce in nonhuman primates for the pet trade (the Captive Primate Safety Act, S. 1324). Sen. Vitter helped get a bipartisan group of 34 Sens. to join in seeking funding for USDA to improve its oversight of puppy mills, laboratories, zoos, circuses and other regulated facilities; rein in the illegal “soring” of show horses (where trainers inflict severe pain on the animals’ legs and hooves to make it hurt them to step down, so they will exaggerate their high-stepping gait and win prizes); strengthen enforcement of the humane slaughter law; prevent illegal animal fighting; ease a shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and USDA positions through student loan repayment; and help address the needs of animals in disasters. Sen. Vitter also has been a champion over the years on legislation to require accurate labeling of fur apparel regardless of dollar value, to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting, to ban the creation and distribution of obscene animal torture (“crush”) videos, and to strengthen the law against shark finning (cutting the fins off and throwing the rest of the living animals back in the water).
Vitter announced the news himself on his Twitter feed, noting "My fmly adopted rescue dog-Elle-in '09."
Last month, the Humane Society named Sen. Mary Landrieu its "Humane Horsewoman of the Year":
because of her tireless efforts to introduce and gain support for the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966) in the U.S. Senate. We also recognized her successful efforts as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to help secure a 40 percent increase in funds for the enforcement of the Horse Protection Act to crack down on criminal soring of Tennessee walking horses in show competitions."
Do it for the horses (and the police officers who ride them). Listen to music, eat food from popular restaurants and enter a raffle to ride with the Budweiser Clydesdales in a Carnival parade. You can do those things and more at the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation’s Horses, Hops & Cops fundraiser from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Mounted Division in City Park (Harrison Avenue and Marconi Drive).
Proceeds go to the NOPD Mounted Division to purchase horses and pay for training, technical equipment and supplies for mounted police officers.
The event is co-hosted by local Budweiser distributor Southern Eagle Sales & Service, and the Budweiser Clydesdales will be there. Partygoers can have photos taken with the long-haired equines or participate in interactive activities with the horses. A raffle features a chance to ride in a Mardi Gras parade in a wagon pulled by eight Clydesdales.
Cafe Hope, Cafe Reconcile, Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, Ernst Cafe, Galatoire’s, Remoulade and Zea’s Rotisserie & Grill are among vendors offering food and drinks for $5 per serving. There’s also a crafts marketplace.
DJ Captain Charles and Imaginary Frenz provide the music.
In college, I figured I could manage two and a half jobs. My senior year, on top of classes and keeping deliriously long hours at the school paper and freelancing, I quit a restaurant job and answered a Craigslist ad for a graveyard shift at a soon-to-open clinic for special needs dogs. I was hired, and from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., I'd walk, feed, pet and try not to doze off for too long with dogs big and small, in wheelchairs or incontinent, epileptic or with severe anxiety or worse. Not too sure how I looked or performed in classes the rest of that year, but I remember graduating (then going to work).
The first dog I met there was a white, one-year-old pit bull named Party, who was found over Mardi Gras, abandoned and covered in spray paint. He greeted me when I arrived for the interview, and he never left my side after I arrived for work. The clinic fostered him. He later was adopted, and I was a little heartbroken. There were many, many other pit bulls, and I was lucky to be friends with all of them.
I mention pit bulls because I wrote this week's cover story on them.
Lafreniere Bark, a new five-acre dog park, opens Saturday, Jan. 7, on the north side of Lafreniere Park (3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and event from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to attend the free event, and pet owners are encouraged to dress their dogs in Saints or LSU gear (You can choose another team if you dare.) and enter them in a pet sports costume contest. If you're ready to add a pet to your family, the Jefferson Parish SPCA will have animals available for adoption. Other activities also are planned.
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