From Pets

Portland Reptile Expo, August 26th, 9-4

If you’ve ever been to a reptile expo, you know why you should be going, but if you haven’t, let me just say that it’s an experience that must be seen to be believed. The reptile show in Portland, Maine is a new one for me, although I’ve been attending the New England Reptile Expo twice a year for a couple of years now.

NE Reptile Expo

If you have any interest in cold-blooded creatures, or you have kids between the ages of 3-18, the reptile expo is a great place to go on a weekend. There are usually 50+ vendors, each with a wide variety of homegrown reptiles. The difference between buying a pet at a reptile expo and getting one in a pet store is roughly akin to that of visiting a charity bakesale thrown by the American Culinary Association versus buying pre-made cookies in a supermarket. Even if you’re not buying, you’ll see upwards of 100 different kinds of reptiles and amphibians at any given show, which is worth the price of admission itself.

Photo Credit:

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Euthanize Michael Vick for his poor completion rating

Vick is reporting today that Falcons’ QB Michael Vick has been indicted by the Feds on numerous charges involving dogfighting. Among the allegations, the Feds assert that Vick participated in the inhumane killing of several dogs, through methods such as drowning, electrocution, and beating. The reason, of course, was that the dogs were not doing well enough in the fighting pit, and so they ‘deserved’ to die in the eyes of the (allegedly) reprehensibly cruel Vick.

This got me thinking. After all, if Vick feels that dogs that don’t do well in what he considers a ‘sport’ should be put down, often brutally, what should we do with Vick himself? After all, dog fighting allegations or not, the guy has around a 50% completion percentage throughout his career, seriously anemic passing yards and TD/INT ratios, not to mention that it’s been about 5 years of ‘This year will be Vick’s year to break out’ on ESPN. It still hasn’t happened, so what to do? Cut Vick’s contract and go with Harrington? I say no. Instead, Vick should be escorted to a local hospital (or back alley), where he can be put down for being a terrible competitor who can’t win an important game to save his life (or could he, with this strategy maybe we’ll find out). Preferably, Vick would be electrocuted, then drowned, but a severe blow to the head would probably suffice. If it’s good enough for his dogs, it should be good enough for Vick.

euthanasia, michael vick, vick, dogfighting, dog fighting, fight, espn, allegations, grand jury, feds

Pit Bull Myths – Sad, MUST SEE

My fiancee was a vet tech at a shelter for a while, and the local Animal Control Officer was hospitalized one day for being attacked by what the ACO said were three pit bulls. When my fiancee got there to get the animals from the owner, they were golden retrievers. Ignorance runs deep, even to the people who are supposed to know these things as part of their jobs… The good news here is that it quickly made digg’s most popular, so it should be seen by quite a few people.

read more | digg story

California considering mandatory dog spaying law

Shelter DogsIn a move that has my favorite pet Nazis over at the AKC in a tizzy, California’s Senate is considering a mandatory dog spaying law that would impose a $500 fine on anyone not neutering or spaying their pet by 4 months of age. Calling the proposed legislation, which aims to curtail the almost 500,000 dogs and cats euthanized in California shelters every year for lack of space, an ‘anti-dog’ law, the hoity-toity AKC and its slimy collection of breeders is scrambling to protect itself against the rising tide of support for shelters and the dogs they hold.

Its 5,000 member clubs have organized a national letter-writing campaign, while the 122-year-old organization has formed its first ever political action committee to fight what it calls “anti-dog laws” in California and elsewhere.

“Should this bill become law, I fear it could be a catalyst for other states. As the old saying goes, ‘As California goes, so goes the nation,”’ AKC chairman Ron Menaker said in a letter to members.

Animal shelter workers testified in heartbreaking detail about killing litters of kittens and lovable dogs because there are just too many to place in homes. And minutes before the Assembly voted, several wavering lawmakers got a telephone call from Barker, a longtime advocate of fixing pets.

“I had to do what I could to help make it possible for every dog and cat to have a good home,” Barker said. “We desperately need it passed. The overpopulation is really tragic, and it’s not just in California — it’s all over the country.”

It’s pretty amazing that the AKC can stand up and protest against mandatory spaying, especially in light of their supposed pro-dog standpoint and the fact that there are obviously too many pets out there for the people that want them. Somehow, I suspect that the mongrel dogs that meet their demise within the walls of California’s shelters are not ‘real’ dogs in the eyes of many AKC members, since the concept of ‘dog’ only extends to $1,000-a-head, well-groomed purebreds. What makes this worse is that the law specifically will allow breeders who register to continue to breed their purebred dogs–but of course amateurs who decide to ‘breed’ a couple of animals to make a quick buck selling them in the local paper will now be criminals–so the AKC feels the need to defend these individuals’ ‘right’ to add to the overpopulation problem, at the expense of the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals.

The article does raise a good objection to the proposed law, however: it will be difficult to enforce and costly, probably costing more than it will bring in with fines and penalties. If only there were some way to demand a mandatory shelter walkthrough for anyone considering buying a dog from a breeder…if anyone is heartless enough not to be swayed by that, perhaps the dog they get would be better off in a shelter anyway.

akc, dog breed, mandatory spaying, california pet-fixing bill, spay, neuter, neutering, spaying, dog shelter, animal shelter, euthanasia, overpopulation, pets

What a mom!

I went to move one of the cacti I’m plantsitting for my mom, and lo and behold, there was a crazy-looking spider on it. I started taking pictures, because it had what seemed to be an amazing pattern on its back. After about 10 pictures, I noticed that one of the ‘spots’ on the spider’s back had started to move. That’s when it dawned on me that what I was actually looking at was about 20 baby spiders, all clinging to their mother’s back. Here are the two best photos that I got. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any video because it was too dark in the bowels of the cactus.

Spider with Babies

Spider with Babies

spider, baby spider, spider with babies

Happy cat

Socrates gets a mouse

We were standing out on my back porch this evening with our dogs and we heard a cat calling from the woods behind the house. When it came out of the woods in the semi-dark, it looked kind of like our neighbor’s cat, but as it grew nearer, we realized it was our cat Socrates, dangling a brown-and-white mouse from his jaws, while meowing loudly, something I never realized a cat could do with a mouse in its mouth. He then proceeded up the roof and into the 2nd story window we leave open for the cats, and started playing with the mouse. After I took this shot, he proceeded to throw the mouse at my fiancee’s foot while we were trying to shoot some video of him, and now she won’t stop whining about it.

cat, mouse, socrates, cat eating mouse

Bearded Dragon Cam: why wouldn’t there be one?

In case you were wondering why there was no webcam devoted entirely to watching the activities of a single bearded dragon on a 24-7 basis, you can stop wondering. Why? Because that webcam now exists. That’s right, if you’re so bored you feel the need to watch a reptile that basically only moves to sleep, sun itself, and eat, you can do it. Thank you, the Internet, and thank you person in Germany who created this. If you hadn’t done it, someone else probably would’ve. But later on, most likely. Maybe even a year later.

Perish the thought.

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Thinking about breeding your beardies? offers an interesting article entitled ‘Things to Consider Before Breeding Your Bearded Dragon,’ which lists several of the considerations involved in deciding to breed bearded dragons, then goes on to list various methods of actually breeding your beardies.

The article offers suggestions as to which products to buy to breed bearded dragons, and is clearly written by someone with first-hand experience in breeding beardies. The site also offers several other interesting articles about bearded dragons, as well as other reptiles.

bearded dragon, beardie, reptiles, reptile, breeding, reptile breeding

New E.U. law could outlaw certain unhealthy characteristics of purebred dogs

DachshundA proposed law in Scotland could outlaw certain characteristics considered ‘standard’ by breeders of purebred dogs. is reporting that, under legislation already in place in certain European Union countries, breeders are responsible for the ‘anatomical, physiological and behavioural characteristics which are likely to put at risk the health and welfare of either the offspring or the female parent,’ and that such characteristics as the dachshund’s long, sausage-like body constitute such a risk. Kennel club afficionados are already complaining about the restrictions, but the bottom line is that this legislation will help prevent people from breeding animals for a distinct appearance, regardless of whether that appearance might in fact be a health hazard to the animal. Dachshunds, for example, often suffer from back problems as a result of their super-long bodies. Here’s an excerpt from’s article:

Dog breeders fear that the treaty’s terms are so broad that it would effectively forbid the breeding of distinctive types of dog because their defining characteristics could be seen as risking their welfare.

According to the Scottish Kennel Club, ratifying the treaty would mean that anywhere between 30 and 40 breeds would effectively be outlawed. Some distinctive breeds of cat including the Siamese and Persian could also be affected.

“Many breeds would have so many restrictions put on them that they would effectively cease to exist,” said Jean Fairlie, parliamentary liaison officer for the Scottish Kennel Club.

“The convention is too broad, too sweeping – it fails to take account of scientific developments, and the work the Kennel Club and breeders have done since it was drawn up to eliminate some mutations and health problems while maintaining the consistency of the breeds.”

Among the convention’s most enthusiastic supporters is Advocates for Animals, an Edinburgh-based campaign group.

“Pedigree dogs are bred for their appearance rather than for their good health, which often suffers as a result. They are being ‘designed’ to conform to ideal ‘breed standards’ which often involve exaggerated and unnatural physical characteristics that are detrimental to the dogs’ health and welfare,” said Ross Minnett, the group’s director.

Ratifying the convention would “substantially modify extreme breed standards and limit the degree to which pedigree dogs are bred to be intentionally deformed in a quest to produce ‘the perfect dog’,” he said. “But any claims that this convention would lead to the end of pedigree breeds are scaremongering nonsense.”

Beverley Cuddy, the editor of Dogs Today magazine, said she thought breeders were exaggerating the impact ratification would have. “All it means is that breeders would have to put the health of the dogs first instead of their appearance,” she said.

“The Kennel Clubs say they’re setting up new rules and breed standards that mean [ratification] wouldn’t be needed, but it’s too little, too late – judges at shows are still rewarding breeders for producing animals with unhealthy features – bulldogs with bigger heads, things like that.”

The fact is that these breeders and kennel club members have ignored for too long the simple fact that they are creating genetically inbred, weak animals that are susceptible to numerous fatal conditions and who have a much shorter life expectancy than their mixed breed counterparts. Now, they choose to cry foul when legislation is put in place that prevents them from breeding pugs that can barely breathe, since their noses are so squished, or prepetuating other grotesquely unnatural features that have somehow become ‘desirable’ in a particular breed. This law doesn’t seem to be about constricting freedom–it seems to be about stopping a primitive and outmoded practice that we now know creates unhealthy animals.

dogs, purebred dog, breeding, dog breeding, european union, European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, dog breeder, breed characteristics