Weekly News Roundup 4/5 to 4/11


Dog discovers 250,000-year-old woolly rhino bone

A beagle in the UK has sniffed out a leg bone from a woolly rhino that died 250,000 years ago. Four-year-old Crystal has been trained to sniff out fossils and the remains of prehistoric creatures by her paleontologist owner, Jamie Jordan. “Beagles are well known for their sense of smell, and if they can be trained to sniff out drugs, weapons, and bombs, why not try fossils?” he said. Jordan, who runs museum and educational center Fossils Galore in March, Cambridgeshire, trained Crystal by having her sniff out bones from the Ice Age. “They have a very organic, very pungent, and clay-like smell,” he said. Crystal’s biggest find came in 2016 when she sniffed out the leg bone of a woolly rhino, which has been dubbed ‘“Stompy.’” Recently released images show the pooch and her prehistoric prize. . . . more

South Dakota veterinary program aims to fill rural shortage, ease student debt

South Dakota State University (SDSU) is creating a new veterinary program with the University of Minnesota to address a shortage of rural care in the region. Under the new program, 20 students will complete their first two years of courses at South Dakota State University and the remaining two years at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul. The partnership aims to fill a care shortage in rural areas, said John Killefer, SDSU’s dean of agriculture. Less than 2% of practicing veterinarians go into rural care, and schools don’t have enough students graduating with the desire to enter rural practices. “Our program is designed to reduce that debt load by $100,000 per student by the time they get done,” Killefer said. . . . more

North Carolina man will not be prosecuted for abandoning his pet fish

A North Carolina man will not face charges for abandoning a pet fish. Michael Hinson, 53, was charged on April 4 with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count of misdemeanor abandonment after sheriff’s deputies said they discovered his pet fish swimming in a dirty tank with open sores and lesions on his head. Hinson posted a $4,000 bond and was released. Authorities dropped all charges Tuesday, however, because North Carolina law protects dogs, rabbits, baby chicks, fowl, and other animals—but not fish, specifically. . . . more

Texas affordable pet care bill on hold for now

Pet owners in Texas who rely on low-cost veterinary clinics are breathing a temporary sigh of relief now that lawmakers are taking another look at a bill designed to limit pet care access to only the most indigent clients. House Bill 3806 would outlaw nonprofits from providing any veterinary services besides spaying, neutering, and vaccines to anyone other than the poorest pet owners. Further, pet owners who don’t qualify based on their income would have to go to private veterinarians to receive treatments such as heartworm prevention, flea control, or lifesaving procedures. . . . more

Dogs, like people, tend to stay away from people who behave negatively

A new study shows that dogs are more likely to avoid people exhibiting unhelpful behavior toward their owners. Researchers from Japan’s Kyoto University have found that dogs are extremely sensitive to social signals from humans and quickly learn to stop trusting people who behave negatively toward their owners. As part of the study, researchers divided 54 dogs into three different groups, with each group participating in a slightly different variation of the same interaction. In each test, the dog’s owner pretended to have difficulty removing the lid of a transparent jar, which contained an item that had no value to the dogs. . . . more