Weekly News Roundup 12/28/17 – 1/4/18


Who gets the dog in a divorce?

According to a new state law effective Jan. 1, judges in Illinois divorce proceedings can consider the well-being of companion animals in allocating sole or joint ownership. “It sort of starts treating your animal more like children” instead of property, said Illinois state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, who sponsored the legislation. The law applies only to pets that are marital assets, not service animals. Over the last decade, the question of pet custody has become more common, particularly when it involves a two-income couple with no children who shared responsibility for and are both attached to the pet.

Debt repayment for large animal vet students

In the rural Colorado towns where cattle are still king, there is often a very real shortage of large animal and food animal practitioners but the multifaceted problem is being addressed on the floor of the legislature. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program into law last summer. The program will help rural communities secure practitioners to serve residents. Don Brown, state Commissioner of Agriculture and a Yuma County, Colorado, farmer, said he hopes the "loan repayment program will provide additional opportunities for students to ease the burden of debt and move forward with assisting our agricultural producers with the veterinary needs."

Remembering Laika, the first living creature in space

Her true pedigree was unknown. She may have been part husky, part terrier. What is known is that on November 3, 1957, two technicians kissed Laika, a three-year-old stray found roaming the streets of Moscow, on the nose and wished her bon voyage before closing the hatch on the cramped capsule high atop Sputnik 2, the 7.79 ton Soviet rocket that would shortly launch Laika into space and transmit biological and engineering data back to Earth. 60 years later, the Russian people still honor her memory.

Dog sits on peer review journal boards

By day, "Olivia Doll" sits on the boards of seven academic journals; by night, she's a Staffordshire terrier named Ollie. Ollie’s owner, Mike Daube, a public health expert in Perth, Australia, cooked up a ridiculous CV for his dog, claiming that she was senior lecturer at the Subiaco College of Veterinary Science and laying out research interests that included “the benefits of abdominal massage for medium-sized canines,” then submitted it to the boards of a number less-than-rigorous research journals. Every single one of them added Olive to their editorial boards. The Global Journal of Addiction and Rehabilitation Medicine even made her associate editor.

NEWStat Legislation & regulation Interesting/unusual