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Weekly News Roundup 11/15 to 11/21

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Veterinary services won’t be taxed under new Utah bill after all

Utah’s tax reform task force has agreed to exempt veterinary services from taxation, the Utah Veterinary Medical Association announced this week, withdrawing one of the more controversial proposals from an in-progress bill to change the state’s tax structure. The bill would have taxed all nonemergency veterinary procedures at 4.85% and was opposed by many state veterinarians and veterinary organizations. Pet grooming, boarding, and daycare are still in line to be taxed, but the bill will no longer tax procedures like spaying, neutering, dental work, vaccination, and preventive care. . . . more

Russian man gets his overweight cat on a flight through elaborate body-double scam

A Russian man was penalized by an airline after he scammed his overweight cat into the passenger cabin of a flight. According to NBC News, Aeroflot, a Russian airline, kicked Mikhail Galin off of its frequent flier program and took away his hundreds of thousands of air miles after he shared the details of his elaborate scam on social media. In a Facebook post, Galin explained that airline employees had told him that his cat Viktor was too heavy to fly in the passenger cabin on a cross-country flight from Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia. Viktor weighs 22 pounds and Aeroflot has an 18-pound limit for animals riding in the plane’s cabin. So Galin delayed his flight until the next day and found a body-double cat for Viktor. . . . more

Freeze-dried pets are forever

If you want to preserve your pet for eternity, taxidermy won’t do. Which is where Chuck Rupert, professional pet-drier, comes in. Rupert owns Second Life Freeze Dry in rural northwestern Pennsylvania, where he preserves pets for posterity by freeze-drying them. His subjects have included cats, ferrets, rodents, turtles, and even bearded dragons. Freeze-drying is the art of using extremely cold temperatures and vacuum pressure to remove all the moisture from an animal’s tissue to halt the pesky toll decomposition takes on the dead. Like taxidermy, it leaves animals looking like they did the day they died. Forever. It’s hard to get an estimate on the number of pet freeze-dryers in the country, but fewer than 10 compete for most of the market. Rupert is one of the leading pet freeze-dryers in the business. . . . more

Frozen cat food recalled over Salmonella risk posed to pets and owners

A Utah-based pet food manufacturer is recalling bags of cat food nationwide after some samples tested positive for Salmonella. Go Raw, headquartered in Cottonwood, Utah, is recalling its two-pound frozen bags of Quest Beef Cat Food because it poses a threat to pets who eat the product and humans who handle it, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced. Samples taken in Minnesota tested positive for Salmonella; however, samples tested later in Utah by Go Raw were negative. So far, no illnesses have been reported. . . . more

Cougar or not? Why we think we see big cats in our backyards

“Mom, don’t hit the cougar!” Faren Marée Ramos shouted as her mother pulled into their driveway at Ramos’ house in Nolensville, Tennessee, in June. Ramos quickly snapped some blurry photos of a tawny wildcat striding through the woods, wondering if what she saw was a bobcat or even a cougar, a species long ago wiped out from Tennessee. Lively discussion ensued when she posted the photos to a private Facebook group, so Ramos sent her pictures to Michelle LaRue, PhD, MS, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Minnesota and executive director of the Cougar Network, a group that researches the North American big cats. . . . more