Weekly News Roundup 12/28 to 1/3


New California divorce law: Treat pets like people—Not property to be divided up

A new law unleashed in California on New Year’s Day gives pets’ rights some bite in court cases. The measure provides judges with the power to consider what’s in the best interests of the animal(s) in divorce cases, instead of treating them the way they’ve been treated by courts in the past—as physical property. “I’m very excited,” said David Favre, JD, professor of animal law at Michigan State University College of Law. “It’s important for humans and animals.” The law was sponsored by dog owner and California State Assembly Member Bill Quirk and signed by dog lover Governor Jerry Brown. The measure empowers judges to consider “the care of the pet animal” and create shared custody agreements. . . .more

Most popular dog names of 2018

Roll over Spot, Buddy, and Rover. Say hello to Cardi B, Harry, and Groot! These are just some of 2018’s most popular names for dogs. Last year, pop culture dog names were in, says Kate Jaffe, a dog-name curator for companion-animal service provider Rover. “We saw the royal wedding surging as inspiration for dog names,” she says. “In fact, dogs named Harry and Meghan were both up about 130% [last] year.” Music idols also offered inspiration, with names including Freddie Mercury and the aforementioned Cardi B. And plenty of pups were named after sci-fi characters and superheroes, with names pulled from Guardians of the Galaxy, Rogue One, Wonder Woman, and Black Panther. . . .more

Veterinary technician program closes doors, leaving students out in the cold

Last December 17, the director of Vatterott College’s Fairview Heights campus in southwestern Illinois gathered faculty and students together to say the school would close—for good—in one hour. Similar announcements played out across the for-profit career school’s 14 other campuses in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. It was a shock for everyone, but instructors and students in Vatterott’s veterinary technician program had an added concern: The future of the 40 or so animals in their care. They negotiated with school officials for a reprieve. For a few hours the next day, they put their personal disappointment aside (not to mention their education and career worries) returned to campus, and found homes for the dogs, cats, mice, rats, reptiles, birds, rabbits, and fish they had tended as students and faculty. Vatterott College joins a growing list of failed for-profit career schools. . . .more

New Illinois law holds pet owner responsible for dangerous dog attacks

A new law in Illinois will hold pet owners responsible for their dogs’ behavior. The law, known as the Justice for Buddy Act, deals with situations in which dogs who have already proven themselves to be dangerous are repeatedly found off leash. If that happens, the dog owner will be found to have acted in a reckless manner and can have his dog taken away. The legislation was born out of a 2017 attack in which a 10-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Buddy was killed by a neighbor’s dog. The Justice for Buddy Act, which went into effect Tuesday, defines a reckless dog owner as someone whose dog has been deemed dangerous for killing another dog and is found running at large twice within 12 months of being deemed dangerous. . . .more

Drunk man enters wrong home, beds down with 150-pound mastiff

A Wisconsin homeowner called police early Tuesday after she found a stranger in her house sleeping on her dog’s bed. Police said the man likely entered the home through an unlocked side door. Officers said the man was “heavily intoxicated” after celebrating New Year’s Eve, accidentally entered the wrong residence, and fell asleep with the owner’s 150-pound mastiff, Benton, on the dog bed. Police say the man was cooperative. He was not charged. “They told me it could have been a lot worse. [The man] didn’t know where he was. He couldn’t see—his glasses were tossed around the living room somewhere” said Lynn Sarver, Benton’s owner. “He was very apologetic.” And possibly very cold, if Benton has a habit of stealing the covers. . . .more

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