Weekly News Roundup 2/1 to 2/7


Dog research at the VA ruled Humane

The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) has ruled that research involving canine models conducted at four Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers (VAMC) is in compliance with animal welfare guidelines, despite recent allegations of abuse by animal rights organizations. Recently, research involving dogs conducted at VA facilities has faced scrutiny from animal rights organizations and lawmakers. White Coat Waste, an animal rights group, first drew attention to dog research at VA facilities in 2017, releasing documents showing botched surgeries on dogs at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VAMC in Richmond, Virginia. The advocacy group, which bills itself as a taxpayer watchdog group, says that “to STOP taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs, monkeys, cats and other animals, we must stop wasteful government spending.” . . . more

Feline medicine scholarship now available

A new scholarship created to support future veterinarians and advance feline medicine is now available. Winn Feline Foundation and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) are offering two third- or fourth-year veterinary students enrolled in accredited colleges or schools in the US or Canada the chance to receive a $2,500 grant. The recipients will be chosen based on academic achievement, financial need, leadership, and dedication to and excellence in the study of feline medicine, health, and welfare. The first $2,500 scholarship will be given to a veterinary student with an interest in feline practice and the second to one with an interest in clinical scientific research. . . . more

New app lets dog lovers swipe right for perfect pet match

Animal lovers in Lithuania have created a mobile application inspired by the popular dating app Tinder to match up dogs in local shelters with new owners. Called GetPet, the app was launched last month and is getting hundreds of new users daily and already has made a few matches. It joins a growing market of apps for people looking to adopt a pet, including PawsLikeMe and BarkBuddy. “It is like Tinder, but with dogs,” said Vaidas Gecevicius, one of app’s creators. “You can arrange a meeting with the dog—a date.” GetPet features profiles of furry four-legged creatures looking up with soft, yearning eyes. Scrolling down reveals more information about the pup, and those interested can then swipe right. But there are limits to the Tinder comparison. It’s a one-sided situation and the dogs don’t get to have a swiping experience. If you swipe left, another dog profile appears. . . . more

US House bill would make animal cruelty a federal offense

US Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) on January 23 introduced the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act to outlaw animal cruelty and make it easier to prosecute those responsible. While Congress passed legislation in 2010 to prohibit the creation and distribution of so-called “animal crush videos”—in which individuals kill, mutilate or torture animals and release the videos to the internet—the underlying acts themselves are still legal under federal law. The PACT Act would close that loophole. Specifically, it would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit intentional acts of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm. Those convicted would face federal felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison. . . . more

Dog foils porch pirate at Utah residence

One Utah family is thanking Zero, its 9-year-old Labrador retriever, for thwarting a would-be thief at its Ogden home. Zero is mostly a timid animal, said his owner, Whitney Cahoon. “He’s just a Lab who’s scared of everyone and everything,” Cahoon said. “I mean dusters, plastic bags, the cats . . . he’s terrified of the cats.” But on this day, the dog went from Zero to becoming a hero. Cahoon’s doorbell camera caught the porch thief running up and grabbing the package, followed by Zero bolting out of the house toward him. The thief had a getaway car, but tossed the package back onto the road by the house as the dog approached. . . . more