Looks like we had no reason to hurry. Though Latham and her attorney were under the impression that a hearing in the case would happen on Wednesday, once they arrived in Environmental Court with supporters and camera crews from local TV stations in tow, they were told the appearance was just an opportunity for Latham to enter a plea. Latham pled not guilty. A trial date has been set for June 27. Latham will be allowed to keep Sooie in her home until the issue is decided.
Interest in the case has been popping like bacon grease since we reported on Sooie's fight with City Hall. The "Save Sooie" Facebook page now has over 1,400 followers. Latham has also started a fundraising effort to help defray ongoing legal costs in the case.
Mike Huckabee pays tribute to his faithful Lab, Jet, in a web post. The dog, a 1998 anniversary gift from his wife, Janet, died Tuesday at 14.
My staff used to joke that in another life they wanted to come back as Jet, meaning that my devotion and unconditional love for that dog was exceeded only by his even greater devotion to me and his unconditional love. He taught me patience because it never irritated him if I was late, or had “one more thing to do.” He taught me forgiveness for he never withheld his affections or love even when I broke a promise to throw things for him to retrieve or to reward him with a treat. He taught me to relax—so much so that in campaigns, the staff actually plotted for ways to keep him with me because his ability to lower my blood pressure and keep me tranquil was visible and palpable.
Penguin parents Skipper and Easy are taking good care of the chick, according to Zoo staff, who says both parents are helping to keep the chick warm and feed it regurgitated fish.
The chick will be off exhibit until it is weaned when it is around 70 days old or if the parents allow it to wander out of the nest box.
Zoo staff say the chick is growing fast and is of normal weight for its age. On the second day after the chick hatched it weighed in at only 54 grams. As of yesterday, only three weeks later, the chick now weighs 943 grams. The chick will continue to gain weight until it is full grown at around 3.4 kilograms.
The chick is healthy and eating well according to Zoo staff who regularly monitor the chick and its parents.
The sex of the chick has yet to be determined and the chick has yet to be named.
The hatching of this chick was at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the African penguin to ensure the long-term survival of endangered and threatened animals.
This is the very last picture that I took with these two just a few weeks ago. Obie thought it would be a good idea to hop up in the chair & sit on me. Bebe thought it would have been funny to follow Obie in his footsteps & also crawl on top of me the same time as Obie did. Never in a million years would I have thought my house would get broken into & lit on fire. I also never thought that my two babies would have left this world that way. I can't even comprehend why anyone would want to hurt any type of animal. My heart is broken into several different pieces & it will never get patched up from this nightmare. Someone wake me up now...
No word yet on what may have been behind this crime. The Facebook page has an outpouring of sentiment from dog lovers the world over. It was an inexplicably cruel act for any living thing. But speaking as an owner of four English bulldogs and, currently, a Frenchified miniature version, it's heightened by the universally gentle nature of the breed.
Margie Foley reported on Facebook on the other dogs:
No this isn't about the sad state of Razorback football, but the sad state of attitudes toward treatment of animals.
TURKEYS: The following ad appeared in the Baxter Bulletin this week:
PETA OFFERING UP TO $5,000 REWARD
For info leading to arrest / conviction of Turkey Trot Festival "turkey drop" participants.
Yes, it's time again soon (Oct. 12-13) for the Yellville Turkey Trot, a festival at which an unsanctioned — wink, wink — tradition of long-standing had terrified turkeys dropped from small planes over the town, sometimes with splattering results. It's defended as very nearly the cornerstone of American life by its fans, who love to speak for the turkeys in saying it's no bother to them. PETA's reward fund and a years-belated FAA crackdown on safety rules put the kibosh on the turkey drop last year, much to the unhappiness of this misguided turkey dropper, who apparently thinks he's funny and is spoiling to terrify turkeys again. From his page:
A Long Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far Far Away, A Mysterious Figure Appeared. His Name: The Phantom Pilot. His Mission: To Hurl Turkeys From Aircraft. His Quarry: PETA. Current Score: Phantom 65 PETA 0.
HOGS: You've read before about the conditions in gestation crates, the tiny pens in which sows are kept in big hog operations. The word is getting out about the conditions, though farmers object. From the New York Times :
This year, however, Mr. Dittmer and fellow hog farmers are under increasing pressure from corporate pork buyers and animal rights groups to return to the old way of doing things: putting sows in group housing. In the last week of September alone, three companies — Dunkin’ Donuts, ConAgra Foods and Brinker International, which operates Chili’s — announced that over the next decade, they would no longer buy pork derived from pigs housed in gestation crates.
This week, the Bruegger’s bagel chain joined them. That brought the number of fast-food companies and food retailers that have made such commitments this year to 32 — a stunning victory for the Humane Society of the United States, which has worked for years to persuade pork producers to make the change. The National Pork Producers Council said it did not know how much pork these companies bought but estimated it might be about one-fifth of the pork produced.
Hog growers aren't happy about it and contend the crates are better for hogs than the alternative. The industry isn't rolling over easily. This is where Arkansas comes in.
Earlier efforts to convert the pork industry have had mixed success. Cargill, the nation’s third-largest pork processor, owns about one-quarter of the sows that produce pigs for the company and began putting them in larger group pens about a decade ago. Smithfield Foods recommitted to transitioning to pens last year, after first promising it would do so in 2007 and then changing its mind. Tyson Foods and JBS, the two other large processors, have refused to budge.
Kissing baby toes — what mother has not done that? Sekani, the new gorilla mother at the Little Rock Zoo, and her as-yet unnamed and unsexed infant, born Sunday, made their first public appearance today. The infant is nursing well, zoo spokesmen say. Sekani appears to be taking to motherhood, holding her baby with both big hands in the photograph below.
The Little Rock Zoo announced today that Sekani, 21, a lowland gorilla, gave birth Sunday to an apparently healthy baby, sex not yet determined. There will be a baby shower at 11 a.m. Sept. 25. Don't know what to buy a baby gorilla? No problem; there's a gift registry. (Link fixed.)
The mother is said to be in good health "and immediately inspected, cleaned, and cradled her new baby and has shown signs of good motherly instinct," the press release said. The baby is nursing well. Fossey, 26, is the father of the baby.
The infant is the second gorilla born at the zoo. Mosi, who recently joined a batchelor group at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, was born in 2006.
Zoo staff say the next few weeks will be critical in the baby's development and bonding with mom. The gorilla family will be off view for the next few days. The may make a public appearance next Tuesday.
And now, the line really is open.
The morning mail brings a forwarded e-mail from the Bayonne Property Owners Association with photos of a feline spotted amid the lush manicured lawns of Hickory Creek, where neighbors report some recent suspicious attacks on dogs. Add it to your urban wildlife file.
I'll add a rear view, given a debate on whether this is a bobcat or some brawny domestic hybrid.
UPDATE: He's asked not to be identified to avoid the hassle, but the Times has spoken with the man who took the two photos with his iPhone through a window beside his front door. He insists the photos, taken last Friday, are legitimate and unretouched. A New York native, he claims no wildlife biology expertise, but said he never saw a cat that big in Manhattan.
In May the Humane Society of the United States released an undercover video of mistreatment of pigs, shot at Wyoming Premium Farms, which supplies Tyson Foods in some fashion. (Tyson denies that Wyoming Premium supplies it’s pork processing business, but suggests that the farm supplies aged sows that are then sold to other distributors). Now the nonprofit, Mercy for Animals, has released another video of pig mistreatment, taken in early 2012 by an employee of Christensen Farms in Hanska, Minn. Christensen is a pork supplier for Wal-Mart and until recently, Costco and Kmart.
In addition to images of bloodied pigs whose injuries appear to go ignored by employees, the video features employees repeatedly slamming piglets against concrete floors, and clipping piglets’ tails (a quick procedure) and yanking out their testicles (a more prolonged procedure) while they are awake and squealing. Christensen also uses gestation crates, a practice that has been condemned by the Humane Society, is illegal in the European Union and nine states, and is shunned by a number of major pork distributors, including Kroger, Safeway, Whole Foods, McDonalds, Wendy’s and Burger King. In the past 48 hours, both Costco and Kmart have sent letters to their suppliers giving them a 10-year grace period to phase out these gestation crates. (Correct. Ten years.)
These crates, which are only slightly longer than a sow, do not allow room for turning and lying down. A female pig may spend most of her life in these crates. In the video, a sow is shown chewing the bar of her crate and another sow is shown repeatedly banging her head against the bars.
Christensen responds to the video here.
Mercy for Animals is in discussions with Walmart, which they say is currently refusing to drop Christensen Farms or other suppliers who use gestation crates. The Arkansas Times is seeking comment from Walmart. It has told others that it sells gestation crate-free Harvestland brand pork products in a number of its stores and will try to increase that number. But this article didn't mention whether Walmart had responded to other complaints about the supplier.
UPDATE: Further from Walmart in prepared statement:
We will not tolerate animal mistreatment by our suppliers. As soon as we were made aware of the video, we immediately reached out to our suppliers who source from this farm. If we determine that there was mistreatment, we will take action.
All states have animal cruelty laws, but often these laws don’t apply to livestock. Nor does the federal Animal Welfare Act apply to livestock. Federal laws do regulate transport and slaughter.
OK, I know. Deer in Arkansas are pretty commonplace. But I snapped this fellow off my deck this morning. He's standing, as the crow flies, approximately 200 feet uphill from the drive-through loudspeaker at the Sonic on Cantrell Road.
I've been wondering about him. For years now, I've been seeing a herd of scrawny doe wandering through Knoop Park and forest around the water treatment plant. But bucks were in short supply. He had a companion who slipped behind the brush just before this shot.
The Little Rock Zoo this weekend will roll out a new cheetah exhibit. It features mother and daughter cheetahs. They came from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., and the zoo hopes to begin a successful breeding program.
Good timing. The work of that institute is featured in a New York Times article today about the difficulty of breeding endangered species like the cheetah in captivity. The article brings up the debate over breeding programs versus attempts to preserve natural habitats.
Each year the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington spends about $350,000 on breeding cheetahs at its 3,200-acre campus here in Front Royal, which houses 18 other species. That budget supports data collection and the logistics of long-distance matchmaking, among other expenses. Similar cheetah breeding programs exist at four other domestic centers run by zoos.
Yet despite two decades of sustained effort, the captive population of 281 cheetahs in North America gives birth to only 15 cubs, on average, a year, exactly half of what their keepers estimate is necessary to maintain a healthy replacement level.
Cheetahs are much more finicky than, say, their big-cat cousins, lions and tigers, which reproduce with ease. But they are not nearly as difficult to breed as pandas, which have not produced a cub in captivity in the United States since 2010.
Although they are not critically endangered, the world’s population of cheetahs has plummeted. At the turn of the 20th century, roughly 100,000 cheetahs roamed from Africa to the Mediterranean to India, according to the Smithsonian. Today, Panthera and zoo association officials estimate that 7,000 to 10,000 remain in the wild as a result of habitat loss, poaching, and conflicts with farmers and ranchers.
The Little Rock Zoo invited press this morning to see the new cheetah display and Brian Chilson was on hand to snap Maggie and Zazi. The Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost opens to the public at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Blog reader Raymond Williams encourages a link to this news — a successful effort in Congress, over the objections of the Farm Bureau, not to fund USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities. This effectively makes horse slaughtering in the U.S. impossible.
Williams, who lives in rural Pulaski County, operates a useful blog on the issue, Stop Horse Slaughter.
Farm Bureau: They'd slaughter horses and allow pollution of Lake Maumelle. And came slowly and grudgingly to animal cruelty legislation. And espouse individual liberty to pollute while grasping for taxpayer subsidies. Will their lobbying control the county governing body of the state's most urban county on the Maumelle issue? It's beginning to look ominous.
The city animal shelter (animal village) is a sponsor of the event and City Director Joan Adcock will introduce Pacelle.
Pacelle had been scheduled originally to appear and sign books at Barnes and Noble, but that has been changed. The Humane Society's work is controversial in some quarters, particularly in the corporate agriculture business.
Doug Smith talked with Pacelle for an article in this week's Times.
The Little Rock Zoo has a new female Malayan tiger from the Baton Rouge Zoo.
Coming soon: Introduction to the zoo's male Malayan tiger.
Paul Bookout is a stand up guy I remember playing against him in Tennis tournaments…
Go to FINRA's website, check any brokerage houses history regarding penalties assessed fines etc. ~Stephens…
WOW that's interesting did anyone ever mention what came out of the audit? it was…
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