Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Man Beaten Trying To Stop Dog Abuse Dies

LONDON, Ont. - The London, Ont., man reportedly beaten when he tried to stop the abuse of three dogs in his apartment building has died. Dan Palmer, 49, died at London Health Sciences Centre's Victoria hospital Monday afternoon, surrounded by family members who agreed to have him taken off life-support. "It is a real tragic story," said his son, John, 21, of London. "He died for his love of animals, for having a good heart and being a good person." Palmer was found in a stairwell at the nine-storey apartment building across from police headquarters, after officers went there about 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 to investigate a report someone was beating dogs in a ninth-floor apartment. The officers heard dogs yelping in pain, then entered an apartment where three dogs were cowering in fear. Police called Animal Control officers to rescue the animals, then arrested Christopher Martin, 26, of London, and charged him with causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal. When police started to walk Martin out to a cruiser, they were confronted by another man who tried to stop them, became belligerent and bit the arresting officer on the hand. The man charged with beating Palmer and biting the officer is Carl Boyer, 26, of London, who is charged with aggravated assault. Police have not said whether charges will be upgraded. As well, a police source has said the beating was not related to the dogs, although residents at the building say Palmer intervened. "For anyone to be beaten like that just for having good morals is sick," said Palmer's son John. "Anyone who can take a human life like that, I think, is a menace to society and should not be a part of it." Residents at the apartment complex said they had seen a man kick at the dogs in the past "for not listening." They described Palmer as a "big-hearted" neighbour and a "special" guy everyone loved.

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*The Toronto Sun

Scarborough Animal Shelter Concerned For Feral Cats During Cold Season

The looming cold weather will hinder the fight to control the overpopulation of feral cats in Toronto, experts say. The Toronto Animal Services shelter at 821 Progress Ave. opened a free spay/neuter clinic in August 2010, which operates about six days a month.
Eletta Purdy, Toronto Animal Services manager, says the clinic will run until mid November and is slated to re-open in January, while they’ re-evaluating their trap-neuter-return (TNR) strategy, in which feral cats are sterilized so that they can’t produce offspring and then returned to their colonies.

“We may start up earlier than we planned depending on the gathering of more information on the releasing of these cats after they’ve been sterilized,” Purdy said. “We’re just concerned - we wouldn’t want to see them be released back into the cold and suffer because of the surgery.” Purdy says that they renovated existing space at the shelter for the spay/neuter clinic for feral cats and pets that are put up for adoption, as they couldn’t afforded to have a new building. She says the city pays for the staffing of the clinic and donations fund the supplies to perform surgeries. “If we want to expand it, we’ll have to look at donations for staffing also,” Purdy said. “Hopefully [donations] will start to go up and then we’ll be able to continue with the clinic. But right now we’re O.K. for this year.”

Kathy Quinn, a Toronto Animal Services supervisor, says the service is “the first of its kind in North America.” Since 2008, the Toronto Feral Cat Project has also helped in the fight to control the overpopulation of Toronto’s feral cats. The organization’s goal is to educate the public on the TNR strategy, as it’s the only proven method of long-term population control, said Roxanne St. Germain, a public relations and education officer of the Toronto Feral Cat Project. She says TNR is the most humane way to deal with feral cats, as all of them can’t be rescued since they’re too many. As well, most are not “sociable,” and therefore they can’t be adopted. St. Germain says the opening of the spay/neuter clinic is a “huge step for the city of Toronto” and people are taking advantage of it as it’s a financial burden to feed cats and get them spayed or neutered. “There are so many people calling trying to get appointments to trap and bring their cats in for spay and neuter at that clinic,” St. Germain said. “So it’s really important that we put pressure on the city of Toronto to fund this solution because it’s the only solution that will work. “It’s really important that the city councillors and the new mayor really take this as an important issue and really allocate some funds and an ongoing commitment surrounding feral cat clinics at the Toronto Animal Services.”

Feral cat caretakers have to register their colony on the Toronto Feral Cat Project’s website and take TNR training sessions to be eligible to go to the Toronto Animal Services’ free clinic, St. Germain said. The Toronto Feral Cat Project works closely with the Toronto Humane Society, which held an event Oct. 16 for Nation Feral Cat Day with workshops to teach people about TNR. “It’s really important that everybody works as a community,” St. Germain said. “You need people, you need organizations, local communities, districts, and the city to be involved - it’s a right-across-the-board project.” She says there are workshops as well as support groups. “And we have a support group that [people] can join and it’s really beneficial because it’s very stressful to take care of a colony of cats,” St. Germain said. “You have to be there every day. It’s financially stressful, it’s a time constraint, emotionally very hard on a lot of the people who take care of these cat colonies, because cats are just vulnerable and they get killed and they get hurt and they get sick.” St. Germain says the organization has a Toronto feral cat survey and they’re asking people to register colonies on their website, which is kept confidential, as they’re trying to find out how many cat colonies exist in Toronto. She says it’s also a way to back up their claims when they ask for funding from the government. The Toronto Feral Cat Project will be ongoing indefinitely, while the organization is in the process of deciding whether it’s going to become a charitable organization or non-profit group, St. Germain said.

*The Toronto Observer

A Reader Submitted List Of The 10 Most Memorable White House Pets

U.S. presidents may be tough, determined and incredibly busy individuals, but almost every commander in chief has owned at least one pet during their presidency. Presidents have shown their softer side by owning a wide variety of animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, birds, cows and even goats that have become famous in their own right. Presidential pets help set each first family apart and provide presidents with some form of normalcy in a life full of responsibility and chaos. Here are the 10 most memorable White House pets:
  1. Millie: Millie was President George H. W. Bush's springer spaniel, who's arguably the most famous dog to ever scamper on the White House lawn. Millie is the first presidential pet to write a dogobiography about life in the White House, where she gave birth to six puppies and sat in during the first lady's children's book readings. Although Millie died of pneumonia in 1997 at the age of 12, her legend continues to live on with a commemorative dog park named after her in Houston.
  2. Socks: Socks the cat belonged to President Bill Clinton and his family. The friendly feline was rescued by Chelsea Clinton in Arkansas and lived in the governor's mansion before making the move to the White House. Socks was known for being as cool as a cucumber, and even tolerant of Buddy, the family's brown Labrador retriever. Socks was often seen sleeping in a blue striped chair next to Betty Currie, Clinton's personal secretary and future owner. When the Clintons left the White House, Currie became Socks' new owner and she kept him at her house in Hollywood, Maryland. In 2009, Socks was put to sleep because he was suffering from throat cancer and was believed to be about 20 years old.
  3. Laddie Boy: Laddie Boy, an Airedale terrier, owned by President Warren Harding was quite a famous presidential pooch. Laddie Boy loved to fetch, especially when Harding played golf and hit a tree where Laddie Boy could sniff it out. The beloved dog even had his own hand-carved chair for sitting in on cabinet meetings, and newspapers ran mock interviews with the dog. The President and Laddie Boy were so close that the pooch supposedly howled nonstop for three days before his master's death in a San Francisco hotel. Today, President Harding and his prized pup are celebrated with a statue of Laddie Boy made from approximately 19,134 melted pennies, which resides in the Smithsonian Institution.
  4. Rex: Rex was President Ronald Reagan and Nancy's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who became a fun-loving symbol for the Reagan presidency. The adorable pup was given to the President by conservative commentator William F. Buckley, Jr., and then given as a Christmas present to Nancy in 1985. Rex is named after Rex Scouten, a former White House Chief Usher, who retired during Reagan's presidency. Rex received some national attention when he helped to throw the switch that lit the National Christmas Tree, but was best known for being a pampered pooch, who had a customized doghouse with curtains and framed portraits of the Reagans. Rex also played a major role in the popularization of the breed in America. In his later life, Rex developed an enlarged heart and was euthanized at 13 years old.
  5. Barney: Barney is President George W. Bush and Laura's Scottish terrier, who was best known as the "First Dog." The handsome black terrier could be seen playing with volleyballs, soccer balls and golf balls around the White House lawn, and enjoyed watching horseshoes games. Barney is even an accomplished actor, making his appearance in several Barneycam films that were produced by the White House Staff. The presidential pup got a surprise in 2005, when Miss Beazley, another Scottish terrier and Barney's niece, joined the Bush family. Today, Barney is 10 years old and kicking back with Miss Beazley and the Bushes in Texas.
  6. Him and Her: President Lyndon B. Johnson's brother-sister beagles, Him and Her, were some of the most memorable White House dogs. The pair loved to play with their master on the White House lawn and go on walks while Johnson talked with the press. Johnson received a great deal of flack when he was photographed lifting Him by the ears in front of a group. Him was the father of a litter of puppies and Johnson's daughter, Luci, kept two of them. Sadly, Her died in 1965 at the White House after swallowing a stone, and Him dies in 1966 after being hit by a car while chasing a squirrel.
  7. Checkers: Checkers was President Richard Nixon's American cocker spaniel, who was given to the family by a Texas supporter who read that the president's daughters wanted a dog. But it wasn't just the cute and cuddly face of Checkers that made her an iconic presidential pet, but rather Nixon's famous "Checkers Speech." When Nixon was running for vice president on Dwight Eisenhower's presidential ticket, he was being questioned about his use of campaign donations. In order to remain on the ticket and save his then clean record, he made a television address to defend himself, making sure to note that the one gift he won't give back is the family cocker spaniel, Checkers. Checkers has been credited for saving the politician's public appearance and keeping him on the ticket.
  8. Liberty: Liberty was President Gerald Ford's golden retriever, who was given to him by his daughter Susan Ford. Liberty was a lively dog and often photographed with her master at the swimming pool, in the Oval Office and at Camp David. The registered purebred gave birth to a litter of puppies at the White House and the family kept one of them, named Misty. It was even said that Ford used Liberty to end conversations and distract guests by wagging her tail to be petted.
  9. Macaroni: Macaroni was President John F. Kennedy and the family's pony. Macaroni was a gift from Lyndon Johnson to Caroline Kennedy when she was five years old. Despite the fact that JFK was severely allergic to animal hair of any kind, he still encouraged his family to ride horses and own animals. The precious pony would sometimes roam freely on the White House grounds, but mostly lived on a farm in Virginia with the rest of the Kennedy's horses.
  10. Tiger (Tige): Tiger, also known as Tige, was one of President Calvin Coolidge's cats who lived in the White House. Tige was an alley cat and Coolidge enjoyed wearing him around his neck. He was known for exploring the White House grounds, even escaping all the way to the Lincoln memorial. It wasn't long after that when Tige disappeared from the White House and never returned.
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