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Fugitive's own dog leads deputies to him after chase, officials say

An Oklahoma man is behind bars after his own dog led deputies to him during a search, officials said.

>> Read a Facebook post about the incident here

James L. Ayer's arrest came Saturday, three days after sheriff's deputies served a search warrant for methamphetamine and firearms at a Wagoner County barn that was turned into a house.

When deputies entered the house Wednesday, they said they found Carrie Metcalf hiding inside and arrested her on other warrants.

Drugs and firearms were found during the search, deputies said.

Investigators later identified Ayer as another suspect. He had been on the run from police until his arrest this weekend, officials said.

>> Read more trending news 

Deputies said they spotted Ayer's car Saturday and pulled him over. Ayer got out of the car, ran from deputies and hid in a nearby field, officials said.

Searchlights were put up in the area while officials looked for Ayer. Deputies were able to see a dog's eyes glowing and looking at them, according to the incident report. When deputies went toward the dog, they found Ayer hiding, the report said.

Deputies said they later found out that the dog that helped them was Ayer's personal pet.

'Emotional support' squirrel gets woman kicked off Frontier flight

A Frontier Airlines passenger at Florida's Orlando International Airport was removed from her flight by police Tuesday after she tried to bring her "emotional support" squirrel on board

The woman refused to get off the Cleveland-bound plane, so the crew called police. 

>> No dogs in shopping carts: Publix enforcing service pet policies

Frontier Airlines officials said the woman noted in her reservation that she was bringing an emotional support animal but did not indicate it was a squirrel. 

Rodents, including squirrels, are not allowed on Frontier flights, officials said. 

The crew asked the woman to get off the plane, but she allegedly refused. Orlando police were called and asked everyone to deplane so they could deal with the woman. 

Officers eventually escorted the passenger off the plane and brought her to the main terminal. 

Video shows crowds cheering as she was taken off the plane. 

>> See the video here

The incident is one of many recent cases involving emotional support animals on planes. 

In another case, a woman tried to get an emotional support peacock through security at Newark. 

In the last year, all the major airlines have changed their policies for bringing animals into the cabin. 

>> Read more trending news 

Most airlines require a note from a doctor, advanced notification and the animal’s vaccine records. 

Most airlines have also restricted which types of support animals are allowed on board. 

Delta, for example, has banned goats, hedgehogs and any animals with horns.

Dog electrocuted after stepping on pull box lid, police say

Members of a Florida family are grieving after their 6-month-old dog died after stepping on an electrified pull box lid in Sarasota, the Herald-Tribune reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Lynn McDermott was walking Charlie Blizzard, a Great Pyrenees, on Saturday night. It had been raining, and when the dog’s wet paws touched the lid of the pull box, the shock sent the animal sprawling onto the ground. McDermott reached down to pick up the dog’s leash and also received an electrical shock, the Herald-Tribune reported.

A pull box is an underground container that holds the wiring for street lights. 

McDermott called 911 and began running down the street, the Herald-Tribune reported.

“I thought Charlie got off his chain,” said McDermott’s wife, Debbie. “I got out of my car and saw Charlie; I thought he got hit by a car. But there was no blood.”.

Debbie McDermott began CPR, and Sarasota County firefighters gave the dog chest compressions and an oxygen mask when they arrived, the Herald-Tribune reported.

Public Works Director Doug Jeffcoat told the newspaper that the metal lid became electrified because a faulty wire underground had come into contact with it. Debbie Debbie McDermott said no one from the city or the Florida Department of Transportation have contacted them.

“We haven’t gotten one call,” Debbie McDermott told the Herald-Tribune. “We haven’t gotten anything in the mail. This should have never happened to our puppy.

“People get 12 to 15 years with a dog, but Charlie didn’t die of cancer or old age,” Debbie McDermott said. “For your dog to be electrocuted because of someone else, that is profound. That shouldn’t happen.”

47 dogs died after PetSmart grooming, investigation says

An investigation from NJ.com has found that nearly 50 dogs have died after visiting PetSmart for grooming.

According to a report from Sophie Nieto-Muñoz and Alex Napoliello, families have claimed that their dogs have died during or soon after a grooming at the retail chain. The investigation found 47 documented incidents of pet deaths across 14 states since 2008.

>> Read more trending news 

The NJ.com investigation found that 32 cases happened after the start of 2015, adding that 20 of the 47 documented deaths are English bulldogs and similar breeds with short noses and smushed faces.

In 2017, PetSmart announced new standards at grooming salons, including an express service solely for English bulldogs, French bulldogs, pugs, boxers Boston terriers and animals mixed with those breeds to minimize risk. The company also said cameras would be installed in all grooming salons and emphasized that pet stylists must be trained for a year.

Related: Two dog owners say their pets died at same PetSmart after grooming appointments

“Some former employees allege PetSmart’s groomer training — which the company touts as the industry’s very best — can fall short of what’s advertised,” the investigation said. “They say they have seen unprepared trainees rushed into stores because of short-staffing, putting dogs at greater risk of injury.

“Increasingly, the company is pressuring groomers to meet sales quotas, the employees said, and many felt either ignored or retaliated against when they spoke up about safety concerns or wrongdoing by colleagues.”

The report added that many owners whose pets died were offered out-of-court payments. In accepting the payment, some had to sign nondisclosure agreements. Those agreements, the investigation said, required them to delete negative comments and social media posts.

Related: Dog owners sue PetSmart after dachshund dies

The report said that individual groomers are not required by any state to be certified, meaning training and safety are not standardized. Owners get little money, should they go to court, because pets are considered property, and causes of death are hard to prove.

PetSmart said it has considered reasons that may be out of the groomer’s control -- such as unknown medical conditions, old age or natural causes -- for the deaths of some animals.

Related: Dog dies during grooming at NJ PetSmart; pet's owner wants answers

“As a company of pet lovers who are dedicated to the health and happiness of all pets, we empathize with these grieving families. Nevertheless, we are not aware of any evidence suggesting that PetSmart services caused the deaths of these pets,” the company said in statement issued Thursday in response to the NJ.com report. 

“In the case of this story, there are 14 names provided for which we have no record of a groom or incident occurring. For the remaining incidents, many of the dogs were advanced in age, overweight or are suspected to have suffered from pre-existing medical conditions. Finally, one specific case involves a pet parent who has repeatedly hidden veterinary records and necropsy reports from PetSmart and the public, but we expect the truth will be revealed through the ongoing litigation process.

“PetSmart works every day to be the trusted partner to pet parents. If an accident or policy violation occurs while a pet is in our care, we take immediate action and full responsibility. We maintain the highest standards in the industry, but by no means are we perfect. That’s why we’re always exploring enhancements to those standards. Our stylists complete at least 800 hours of hands-on instruction and safety certification, working with at least 200 dogs of all breeds and size.”

On Sunday, the company hosted an open house event across the country, inviting pet owners to tour salons and meet groomers.

The full investigation can be read at NJ.com Projects & investigations.

Holy Guacamole! 200-pound turtle to be released after treatment at Florida zoo

Florida's Brevard Zoo will release a 200-pound sea turtle named “Guacamole” into the ocean Monday.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The green sea turtle was found in February at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. Guacamole had several cuts and was missing most of one of her flippers.

She was treated at the Brevard Zoo for seven months.

>> Read more trending news 

The zoo’s website said Guacamole is the first adult green sea turtle zoo employees have released.

Visitors can attend the release at 3 p.m. at Lori Wilson Park. Zoo officials said attendees are encouraged to wear green to show their support.

Hurricane Florence: Trucker driving school bus rescues 64 dogs, cats from South Carolina

A Tennessee truck driver is being hailed as a hero after he rescued 64 shelter dogs and cats ahead of Hurricane Florence.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Florence’s aftermath: The latest news from the Carolinas

According to the Greenvale News, Tony Alsup, 51, from Greenback, Tennessee, drove a school bus to South Carolina last week as the deadly storm strengthened in the Atlantic. Once there, he stopped in Orangeburg, Georgetown, Dillon and North Myrtle Beach, picking up 53 dogs and 11 cats from area animal shelters.

>> Read more trending news 

“It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup, of Tony's Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter, told the Greenvale News. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”

Related: Hurricane Florence: Coast Guard rescues beagles by boatful in floodwater

He drove them to a shelter in Foley, Alabama, which will distribute the animals to other shelters across the nation, the newspaper reported

Saint Frances Animal Center in Georgetown praised Alsup in a Facebook post Tuesday.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

"It's all true," the post said of Alsup, who also has saved animals from hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. "Tony swooped in at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning to pick up our 'leftovers' – the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm. The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart."

>> See the post here

Read more here.

Hurricane Florence: Evacuating a horse? This site can help you find a stable

Families are under evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Florence, and that means taking their pets, too. But when your pet is a horse, things get a bit more difficult. 

>> Watch the news report here

WSB-TV’s Wendy Corona met with a woman who is stepping in to make it easier. 

“If someone had two horses and brought them, they could go here,” GoHorse.com co-creator Jenny Fudge said as she showed WSB-TV the paddocks where she could take in horses that needed to get out of the path of Hurricane Florence.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Hurricane Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas

“The travel situation is complicated, and the sooner they can get out, the better,” Fudge said.

Imagine moving a 1,000-pound horse into a 6-foot by 7-foot trailer, only half of which isn't even an arm’s length wide. That becomes a stressful situation for an animal not used to traveling. 

>> Hurricane Florence: North Carolina's wild horses should survive, experts say

Then throw in the traffic and the heat of the road, and it becomes stressful for the owner as well as the animal.

From that was born GoHorse.com, a site that lists stables along the East Coast, now with a special filter listing where hurricane evacuees are welcome.

>> On WSBTV.com: Hurricane Florence: Evacuating to Georgia? Here's where you can stay

“You just go on there and type the city you're looking for, and it will bring up a bunch of stables,” Fudge said.

The goal: less stress for a horse confined in a trailer and dealing with a possibly dangerous situation.

“They can stop drinking, which can later lead to colic, which can potentially lead to death,” Fudge said.

>> Read more trending news 

Through the website, horse owners who need to evacuate can better plan their escape and get their horses back to their natural environment.

If you have a pasture or stable space, you can also add it to GoHorse.com. It's easy to use and already seeing double its normal traffic due to Hurricane Florence.

Cat's ashes stolen in home burglary, Pennsylvania man says

Images from a Pennsylvania man’s home surveillance system appear to show someone breaking into his Duquesne house Monday morning.

>> Watch the news report here

In the images, you can see the alleged thief trying to get in through a sliding glass door while wearing gloves.

>> Read more trending news 

The homeowner told WPXI that once the man got inside, he went through the house and stole a number of items, including jewelry and ashes belonging to their family cat. 

>> On WPXI.com: Click here to watch a full report from WPXI's Gabriella Deluca

 

Florida alpaca dies after motorist feeds it Doritos, Cheese Nips, peanuts

A Florida animal hospital announced the death of a beloved community alpaca Saturday on Facebook.

>> See the Facebook post here

Creekside Animal Hospital in Fleming Island wrote: "It is with a heavy heart that we want to inform our clients and friends at [Swimming Pen Creek Elementary] that our youngest alpaca that was born out on the shared field over a year ago has passed away."

According to the post, a man in a blue car is responsible for the death of the alpaca.

>> Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, to hang up skis in Florida

The animal hospital said he would dump food onto the field multiple times a week and that they had spoken to him multiple times.

Most recently, he left three boxes of animal crackers, a large bag of Doritos, two boxes of Cheese Nips and two bags of whole peanuts, the animal hospital said.

The animal hospital said the man "leaves the litter behind every single time and we clean it up."

The post said this was the first time peanuts were dumped, and the youngest alpaca overindulged.

>> Read more trending news 

The hospital said it did everything they could for him, even a blood transfusion from his father, but the young alpaca died nonetheless. 

The animal hospital said it "worked on him for 36 hours and just couldn't bring him back."

Employees with the animal hospital said they are now in fear for the rest of the herd, including the goats.

They said they will likely be moving them to a new location because they have no way to protect them from the man with the blue car. 

– Visit ActionNewsJax.com for the latest on this developing story.

Don't touch seal pups, officials say after man brings one to hotel room

They look so cute and so tempting to touch, but the harbor seal pups you see on beaches in Washington state aren’t for petting and they don’t need your help; in fact, your help can hurt or worse — even kill.

>> Watch the news report here

“This is pretty common; we see it all the time. Every year, we get these orphaned animals in that have had some sort of human disturbance,” said Jeff Brown, a wildlife naturalist at PAWS in Lynnwood.

PAWS staff members say what’s far less common is what happened to a baby seal transported to PAWS in mid-June at only a few days old.

>> What is red tide? Inside the toxic phenomenon destroying Florida’s marine life

A man spotted the pup on the beach in Ocean Shores, picked him up, took the animal back to his hotel room and called for help later that night.

“[This seal] did come in with some injuries and he did have some metabolic imbalances because of probably being away from mom for so long and being in the hotel room where he couldn’t get the nourishment he needed. So he is lucky that he pulled through,” said Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, a PAWS veterinarian who worked to rehabilitate the seal.

Other seals who faced human interference haven’t been as lucky; a pup had to be euthanized after someone used a shopping bag to carry it off a beach in Westport two years ago.

Last summer, people crowded around a pup in Edmonds until Seal Sitters — volunteers trained to monitor the condition of our local seal pups — intervened. They tag the animals and often put a barrier around them to minimize disturbances.

“When a seal is hauled out, or comes out of the water, it may look orphaned but it can be there for up to 24 hours without seeing mom so that’s when we have those issues, when people think it’s been orphaned but it’s not,” Brown said.

Your touch, however, is what could cause the mother to abandon her pup.

>> Read more trending news 

So you’re welcome to take in the view from afar, and maybe you’ll even see PAWS’ success story swimming around Grays Harbor; he’ll be released Tuesday.

“We’re really excited. It was a little touch-and-go in the beginning; he had some wounds over his back and those metabolic imbalances that were concerning. But after a couple of weeks in care, he hit his stride and took off and has been putting on weight and eating really well, so yeah, we’re excited,” Rosenhagen said.

Experts say you should always stay at least 100 yards away from a seal on the beach, keep your dogs on a leash, and call NOAA at 866-767-6114 if you are concerned the animal is in distress.

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